Sandra Smith was born and raised in New York City. As an undergraduate, she spent one year studying at the Sorbonne and fell in love with Paris. Immediately after finishing her B.A., she was accepted to do a Master’s Degree at New York University, in conjunction with the Sorbonne, and so lived in Paris for another year. She then moved to England, where she began teaching 20th Century French Literature, Modern French Drama and Translation at Cambridge University. She currently lives in the New York area and teaches at NYU and has given Master Classes at Sarah Lawrence and Columbia.
Sandra Smith is the translator of all 12 novels by Irène Némirovsky available in English, as well as a new translation of Camus’ "L’Etranger" ("The Outsider", Penguin UK, 2012). Her translation of Némirovsky’s "Suite Française" (2006) won the French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize for fiction, as well as the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize, the first time that the same book has ever won both prizes in the same year. Suite Française also won the Independent British Booksellers Book of the Year prize and was voted Book of the Year by The Times of London.
Smith’s translation of "The Necklace and Other Stories" by Guy de Maupassant was inspired by her belief that Maupassant was a master of the short story genre who should be discovered by English speaking readers.
Her translation of Marceline Loridan-Ivens' "But You Did Not Come Back: A Memoir" won the National Jewish Book Award in 2017.
Six of Smith's translations have been adapted as radio plays on the BBC.
Her translation of a biography of Jacques Schiffrin will be published by Columbia University Press early in 2019.
Awards and Recognition
- French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize for fiction
- PEN Translation Prize
- Independent British Booksellers Book of the Year prize 2006
- Suite Française voted Book of the Year by The Times of London 2006
- National Jewish Book Award 2017 for But You Did Not Come Back: A Memoir by Marceline Loridan-Ivens