French-Canadian writer, and 2009 Worldcon Guest of Honour Élisabeth Vonarburg‘s excellent speech is now online:
But I write in French. I can translate my own fiction — to the utter dismay of my dear translators, Jane Brierley first and now Howard Scott, as they have to slog through it afterwards — but I can’t write directly in English. Because a writer’s native tongue is her Motherland.
Now what about her Fatherland The Checkbook ?
Well. Being a French female writing SF in French in Quebec, Canada, is not exactly conducing to making the Fortune 500 list. In fact, writing SF&F in French or any other langague than American English is kind of the dumps. Unless, you’re from the Roc — the Rest of Canada, for you Southerners — or the UK. More or less.
So why do we do it ? Because we really, really want to. Because we really, really, love it. Because, most of the time, we can’t imagine writing anything else… – read the rest of the speech.