Alan Brown was the fourth and final translator of Gabrielle Roy’s fiction. In addition to Children of My Heart, he translated her 1975 book Un Jardin ou bout du monde as Garden in the Wind. His archives at the University of Calgary also include translations of works by such major Quebec writers as Hubert Aquin, Anne Hébert, Jacques Godbout and André Langevin.
Born in Peterborough, Brown did wartime service in the R.C.A.F., then earned his M.A. at Queen’s University. He was literary editor of the Canadian cultural periodical Here and Now in 1947, and won the 1974 Canada Council Translation Prize. At one time Radio Program Director for the C.B.C., Brown always made time for what he called “an addiction to translating.” He lived in Toronto and then Montreal before he died in the mid-1990s.
Brown compared Roy’s works to William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience: “The songs of innocence were the stories about the Prairies, the songs of experience were the ones about the city. She needed them both, but there was something very powerful and renewing about her relationship with the Prairies.”