MBJ author photo


Michelle Bailat-Jones was born in Kagoshima, Japan and then raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States by a Scottish father and a Pennsylvania German mother. She’s lived mostly outside the US since 1999, studying and working in France and again on Kyushu, in Japan.

In 2005, she moved to Switzerland, where she is now a citizen and delighted to live in a country with four national languages.

It’s no surprise that ideas of culture, language, migration, and geography inspire both her writing and her passion for translation.


Her first novel, Fog Island Mountains (Tantor, 2014), won the 2013 Christopher Doheny Award from The Center for Fiction and Audible. You can find more information about it here.

Her second novel, Unfurled (Ig Publishing, 2018) was selected by the Women’s National Book Association for its Great Group Reads program. You can order it on Indiebound and also here.


You can find a full list of Michelle’s short fiction and novel-length translations here, but she is pretty proud of Beauty on Earth and What if the Sun… by the renowned Swiss modernist C. F. Ramuz, both published by Skomlin Press in Australia and elsewhere, as well as Bullshit by Nicole Kranz and a series of prison letters and diaries between the great Claude Cahun and her partner Marcel Moore.

Forthcoming in 2022 is her translation of Corinne Chaponnière’s massive biography of Red Cross Founder and winner of the first ever Nobel Peace Prize (and gloriously imperfect human) Henry Dunant.

For complete lists of Michelle’s publications, please see the other pages on this site.

If you are looking to hire her for commercial translation or editing work, please find her here.

She is the Translations Editor for Necessary Fiction

You can read her short essay on reading, writing & translation here.