Books have always been part of the life of Barbara Basbanes Richter, who’s both a bibliophile and a Francophile, and there was no way she could have grown up without an appreciation for the power of the printed word. After receiving both a BA and an MA in French Literature (Smith College and Tufts University, respectively), she taught French and Latin for the better part of a decade. As the department chair of a world languages program inFairfax County, Virginia, she led the development of a school-wide world language curriculum and resurrected a dying French and Latin program.
She also has translated works from French to English before, and her translations have appeared in the following books by non-fiction author Nicholas A. Basbanes: On Paper (Knopf 2013), Every Book Its Reader (HarperCollins November 2005), and Patience and Fortitude (HarperCollins October 2001). In 2015, she translated nineteenth century French correspondence for Wedgestone Press, an endeavor funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities dedicated to transcribing and publishing the documents of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their circle.
Now, in addition to translations, she interviews authors, illustrators, and other movers and shakers in the book world for Fine Books and Collections Magazine and for Literary Features Syndicate. She has written about spy libraries, book arts programs for children, Alice in Wonderland’s 150th birthday, Shakespeare on Letterpress, even bibliotherapy and how ISIS funds its terror programs by selling antiquarian books. She also wrote an essay about danger in children’s literature for theSpring 2015 issue of The Sewanee Review, and a long article, “Benjamin Franklin and thePamphlet Wars,” for the digital version of Humanities Magazine, the magazine for the National Endowment for the Arts. Other publications include reviews and profiles for High Country News, Ravishly.com, FACES Magazine, and FSR Magazine.