PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA – South Dakota’s state-owned publishing house is considering an offer for the rights to translate into Japanese the best-selling memoir by prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society Press, told the Capital Journal (bit.ly/1VZybX6 ) that Japanese people are big fans of the author of the “Little House” books.
“It does not strike anybody in the Wilder world as odd,” Koupal said. “Because the Japanese are avid fans of the ‘Little House’ books, and they have all been translated into Japanese.”
“Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography” has turned out to be a blockbuster for the small publishing house. The memoir, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, spent time on the New York Times best-sellers list.
The press recently ordered another run of the autobiography, which will put the number of copies in print at 165,000. The book was written for an adult audience and gives a more realistic, grittier view of frontier living than Wilder’s popular children’s series.
Wilder wrote her autobiography in the early 1930s. By then, she had been settled on her Missouri farm for decades, but her early life took the Ingalls family on a journey that includes what today are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota.
The translation offer still has to be accepted by the press, Koupal said.
“It’s exciting. It’s going to be fun to see what it looks like,” she said. “But I’m thinking it won’t be the big smash it was here.”
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