John Irons studied modern & medieval languages at Cambridge before doing research within the field of poetic imagery. Since the mid 1980s he has translated poetry, fiction and non-fiction from the Scandinavian languages and was awarded the NORLA translation prize for non-fiction in 2007.


John on The Looking-Glass Sisters:

'Sisterly rivalry is one thing, but when the younger sister is hardly able to walk after contracting polio as a child, their parents are old and die when the elder sister, Ragna, is 24 and the younger 19, and the location is the desolate moorlands of northern Norway, the scene is set for forced interdependence to signal potential catastrophe. This comes, after 29 years of their living alone together, in the form of Johan, who enters Ragna’s life and, when they marry, the sisters’ house.

The story is told by the younger sister, whose knowledge of the word is gleaned from the ten volumes of Home University, and whose first-person narrative is perhaps not to be trusted, coloured by her fear of being relegated to a nursing home. The story she tells is harrowing and scary. And as readers we are fascinated by but distrustful about what we are being told.'