The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced the 173 Fellowships they awarded this year.
Fiction prize-winners include Sacred Games-author Vikram Chandra and Rivka Galchen.
Two fellowships went to translators: Ross Benjamin and Tess Lewis; it's not clear for what projects.
[Updated - 11 April: In fact, the pdf list gives a bit more information about many of the fellows' projects -- including those of the translators: Tess Lewis will be translating Ludwig Hohl's Notizen, whole Ross Benjamin is working on Kafka's Complete Diaries -- two major, ambitious projects.]
The museum will make Norenskaya a place of pilgrimage for Brodsky lovers from different countries, schoolchildren and university students, said the press service.
Yeah, okay, sure .....
I note that the Wikipedia page on Norenskaya -- suggesting it really is little more than a spot -- is unclear exactly about how populous it is ... but apparently the 2010 census counted all of seven souls.
Also: the museum: "is located in a cottage on the spot where Brodsky lived" -- but:
The cottage was in such disrepair that it was knocked down and replaced with a similar cottage found nearby.
Still, it's a museum, poetry and Brodsky are being celebrated ... who could complain ?
Words without Borders has announced that Sara Bershtel, publisher of Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, will be the recipient of the 2015 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature.
She'll receive it at the Words without Borders gala on 2 November.
Having won the 2014 Friedrich Ulfers Prize -- awarded for championing "the advancement of German-language literature in the United States", Bershtel has now, in quick succession, won two of the major US foreign/international literature lifetime achievement awards.
Two days after the announcement of the US Best Translated Book Award longlists (see my mention) the shortlist for the UK Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has now been announced; see also Nick Clark's report in The Independent.
The six finalists are:
By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel
New online periodical the Literary Hub started publishing yesterday.
It is apparently meant to be: "an organizing principle in the service of literary culture, a single, trusted, daily source for all the news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life".
It certainly looks like it's offering some interesting material -- a Lydia Davis profile, first published in the Norwegian Morgenbladet, is a pretty impressive opening salvo (with bonus points for the Dag Solstad mentions).
Fairly promising, and worth keeping an eye on.
Geographically and linguistically it's a pretty decent spread -- though Spanish is definitely the language-of-the-year (eight titles); Chinese also had a good showing (three titles).
Among the surprises: nothing in Arabic, Japanese, or Korean -- and perhaps the biggest surprise of all: no German titles -- despite making up a full third (5 of 15) of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist this year, leading Boyd Tonkin to suggest a possible change in the literary balance of power (well, that definitely didn't register on the other side of the Atlantic).
Not all the same titles were BTBA-eligible, but Jenny Erpenbeck's The End of Days is certainly among the high-profile BTBA omissions, as is Daniel Kehlmann's F (and Judith Schalansky's IFFP-longlisted The Giraffe's Neck was also BTBA-eligible).
A good variety of publishers are represented -- but translation powerhouse (and two-time defending BTBA winner) New Directions was shut out -- despite contenders including the Erpenbeck and Roberto Bolaño's A Little Lumpen Novelita.
The only title to make both the BTBA longlist and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist was The Last Lover, by Can Xue
The only two titles to make the BTBA longlist and the PEN Translation Prize longlist were Baboon, by Naja Marie Aidt, and The Woman Who Borrowed Memories, by Tove Jansson.
Despite such a large longlist, some notable and excellent books failed to make the cut.
Chad mentioned some already; from Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano's Suspended Sentences to two by Murakami Haruki (the IFFP-longlisted Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and The Strange Library) to Man Booker International Prize-winner Ismail Kadare's Twilight of the Eastern Gods other prominent names also fell by the wayside.
Still, overall this feels like a very strong longlist -- a bit more story-collection- and Spanish-tilted than I would have anticipated (liked ?), but thoroughly defensible.
Unlike in some previous years, it feels more even too -- with very few exceptions, it's hard to guess which titles will make the next cut, to the ten-title the shortlist.
Meanwhile, note that the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize shortlist will be announced on Thursday.
(For some reason they've already told me what's on it, but I'll refrain from commenting for now.)
They've announced the twenty-five-title strong (South African) Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize longlist.
Lots of familiar big names -- Zakes Mda, Zoe Wicomb, and Ingrid Winterbach among them -- and several books that I catually have, but haven't yet gotten around to covering: Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut, Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes, and Tales of the Metric System by Imraan Coovadia (the latter two I should be getting to, sooner rather than later).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Valeria Luiselli's Faces in the Crowd.
This was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award (see above); I've been holding off covering any of the eligible titles the last few weeks, to avoid tipping any hands, but I should get to a couple more in the coming weeks (though there are quite a few I won't, for various reasons, be posting reviews of).
I hadn't realized this came out in the UK in 2012 already (go figure -- despite her much closer US-connections ...); it would have been 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize eligible, but did not make that longlist.
Gotta believe her The Story of my Teeth is an early favorite to achieve the BTBA/IFFP-longlist double; see the Granta publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.co.uk, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com.
The 25-title strong longlist for the fiction category of the Best Translated Book Award will be announced at Three Percent at 12:00 EST today (with the poetry longlist announced at 10:00 EST).
Given that it's only being unveiled this late in the day I'll leave my commentary for tomorrow (rather than updating this post) -- so for now you have to check out Three Percent to see what made the cut.
At Three Percent Chad Post already did reveal The Books I Thought Would Make the BTBA Longlist ... But Didn't -- listing some of the bigger surprises (though there are others, too -- as I'll note tomorrow).
Obviously, I'm especially surprised The Symmetry Teacher didn't make the cut (despite its translation-focus -- on top of its general excellence ...).
Reminding you again of how the longlist was reached: each of the nine judges (I'm one of them) voted for their top ten titles (in order of preference), and the top sixteen vote-getters made the longlist.
Then each judge got to put up a personal selection, rounding out the twenty-five.
As you'll see, it works out pretty well -- and I suspect most observers would have a hard time guessing which titles were voted in by all, and which were the personal selections.
Nevertheless, with nine judges involved, personal favorites did not always fare well: only three of my top ten made the top-sixteen cut (including only one of my top four selections !), and none were personal selections of the other judges, leaving only my personal selection to round out the final twenty-five with four of my initial top ten.
(Yes, the Bitov was one of my initial top four selections that did not make the cut; while subjectively I favored it I had to put forward another title as my personal choice because it seems the objectively overall stronger candidate.)
I think this is the lowest percentage of titles that I voted for to make the longlist (last year six of the final 25 featured on my top ten, the year before it was seven) -- my influence seems to be waning (or my tastes diverging from the norm ...) !
Of course, we only vote/rank our top ten; several more of these titles would have made my personal top-twenty-five, if there had been reason to select that many .....
But I have to admit, if I were an outsider, guessing the longlist, I don't think I would have guessed much more than 10 of the 25 titles .....
Remember also that at Three Percent we'll be posting -- practically daily, starting tomorrow -- a 'Why this book should win'-defense/argument/explanation for each of the longlisted titles !
The 2014 VIDA Counts are now up, measuring the sex-divides at various publications re. contributors, authorship of reviewed books, and bylines.
Always interesting to see -- and usually leading to some useful discussion (though also admittedly a lot of less than useful discussion ...).
In The Myanmar Times Zon Pann Pwin reports on the Burmese publishing (well, printing) industry, in Hot off the press.
Things have improved since the 1950s -- when there were: "about 10 book publishers who owned manual presses" -- though the transition to offset printing was ... offset, until recently, by stricter censorship.
And interesting that even now: "Every printing press in the country is second-hand".
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Margaret Millar's Edgar-winning 1955 novel, Beast in View.
Syndicate Books acquired the Millar estate last year and plan to re-issue her books, starting this fall (in this, her centenary year).
Here's hoping her often re-published (but rarely remaining in print) titles show some more staying power this time around.
In The Observer Peter Conrad profiles literary critic (and one-time novelist) James Wood.
The occasion is apparently the publication of Wood's The Nearest Thing to Life, out from Jonathan Cape in the UK (see their publicity page) and ... Brandeis University Press in the US (see their publicity page); get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The longlist for the Best Translated Book Award (for which I am a judge) will be revealed in all its 25-title-strong glory on 7 April, but all last week Chad Post has been providing clues as to what made the cut at Three Percent.
Helpfully, Trevor Berrett sums them up (and tries to make sense of them) at The Mookse and the Gripes.
As he notes, one of the clues is more than that .. a gimme, unambiguously revealing one of the longlisted titles.
As to the other twenty-four ... well, you can narrow a few possibilities down (and the gimme helps with another clue, too), but they only help so far ....
For additional speculation, see also The Mookse and the Gripes Forum's speculation discussion .....
The Hindu puts out the call for The Hindu Prize 2015 -- you (meaning, sigh, publishers) have until 31 May to submit titles.
Alas, written-in-English only -- "Works in Indian languages or translations are not eligible" -- because, you know, it's an Indian literary prize, and who could imagine local writers writing in other languages .....
Yes, the first reviews went up at the complete review sixteen years ago today.
3500 and some odd reviews later ... well, here we are.
Hope you enjoy being here: I still do.
(But: sixteen years ?!??
Man, time flies.)
At PEN America they helpfully transcribe a recent Three Percent podcast with Chad Post, Tom Roberge, and Alex Zucker discussing: 'Translators, Rates, Money, and Unions'; you can also listen to it here.
Lots of interesting (and generally depressing) odds and ends about the business of translating, and what the PEN Translation Committee tries to do.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ippolito Nievo's nineteenth-century classic, Confessions of an Italian, a Penguin Classics edition now also available in the US -- and the first unabridged English translation.
A recent Vogue-profile of Italy's currently hottest writer, Elena Ferrante, reported:
At sixteen, Ferrante found herself captivated by Ippolito Nievo's Confessions of an Italian
And this translation made two 'Best of 2014' lists, The New Yorker's (Elizabeth Kolbert) and the New Statesman's (Lucy Hughes-Hallett).
Tim Parks' recent review in The New York Review of Books seems to have helped generate some interest in this title, too -- good to see it get all this attention.
The Crossword Book Award is a leading Indian literary prize with several categories -- fiction, non, children's, and translation -- and they've now announced their shortlists.
Bafflingly, what appears to be the official site only has the 'Popular Choice Award' finalists (for which readers can vote), and you can apparently only find the actual prize shortlists at their 'Facebook' page.
As someone who does not use 'Facebook' and can only be persuaded to visit any 'Facebook' page in extremis I am reluctant to point you there, but ... hey, a prize for translations from Indian languages, gotta support that, sigh.
So here are the shortlisted translated titles -- and good to see Perumal Murugan's One Part Woman already US/UK available: get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
I hope more of these titles also become (readily) available outside India -- especially Basti-author Intizar Hussain's The Death of Sheherzad; see the Harper Collins (India) publicity page.
(As to the fiction shortlist -- you can find that here.)
While I'm disappointed that the Commonwealth book prizes are no more, the replacement Commonwealth Short Story Prize at least seems to be getting a lot of people involved, which is probably also a good thing: they've just announced this year's shortlist, and the twenty-two stories were selected from: "nearly 4000 entries".
While I fundamentally like the idea behind The New York Times Book Review's weekly By the Book-feature I often find myself disappointed/baffled by it, completely unfamiliar with/uninterested in the sometimes not so literary types that are featured.
Not so this week, when it's Can't and Won't-author Lydia Davis who plays along.
Great to hear she's reading more Dag Solstad -- Armand V., one of my favorites (and still not translated into English ...).
Fun to hear she can see Bouvard and Pécuchet as favorite fictional heroes.
And neat that she's got a Wolf Haas on deck "in preparation for a trip to Austria and Germany" -- though I really hope/think she should get her hands on his The Weather Fifteen Years Ago (which really sounds like her kind of thing, too).
Very few Burmese writers are internationally known.
The Asia-based literary agent Kelly Falconer, who attended the festival with some of her authors, acknowledges that Burma has yet to produce the book that defines its recent history in the international imagination.
It has had no Solzhenitsyn, and no equivalent to Jung Chang's Wild Swans, which carried the Chinese story into popular awareness when that country began to open up.
Falconer says: "Who is going to write that book for Myanmar ?
We are waiting to find out who they are, and we are waiting for Burmese writers to find out who we are."
Because Burma has been so closed for so long, that there is hardly any awareness of what international literary recognition means.
Writers have been working in a vacuum.
While no doubt (?) such books need to be written, personally I have ... limited, at best, interest in: 'the book that defines its recent history in the international imagination'.
(Indeed, I find the 'international imagination' -- and playing to it/writing for it -- rather suspect.)
What I'm really curious about is what they produced or are producing -- especially what they're producing with 'hardly any awareness of what international literary recognition means', in that vacuum she's talking about.
That sounds interesting, in this globalized world .....
(Ever hopeful, there's been an index of Burmese Literature at the site for a while -- but, alas, there are still just two bona fide Burmese works of fiction to be found there.
Here's hoping more gets translated soon.)
They've announced the winners of the 80th (!) Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards -- "the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity".
None of the five winning titles are under review at the complete review.
Okay, I'm a bit late with this .. but then most of you probably already knew and had celebrated that Yan Lianke receives Twitter Literary Prize.
Still ... an intriguing headline, right ?
I kept my fingers crossed that at least it was an award for 'tweeted' fiction.
Alas, not even that, apparently -- it seems to be this (and this), and Yan Lianke's Lenin's Kisses was the top vote-getter in the international category of this Japanese prize.
Of a very limited number of votes -- thirty-four was enough to win: see the full run-down here.
(It is an interesting list -- with Brian Evenson's Fugue State seventh (with sixteen votes) -- but not too many folks seem to have played along.)
Okay, so this is not an award that can/should be taken too seriously.
The China Daily article doesn't even bother trying to find the title the novel was published under in English, referring to it as The Joy of Living (but it is, indeed, Lenin's Kisses).
But the article does provide some additional interesting information, claiming the Japanese edition of the winning title was:
published at the end of last year with a first run of 8,000 copies, which immediately sold out.
As of right now, the book has been reprinted three times, with each run consisting of 3,000 copies.
That's not bad -- probably more than it's sold in English.
But the article claims that those numbers mean the novel: "has broken all records of sales of Chinese writers' works".
So the bestselling Chinese work in nearby Japan has sold ... less than 20,000 copies ?
We're still waiting for the big Chinese breakthrough in the English-speaking world, but I'm surprised that closer to home success seems also to have been limited, so far.
Meanwhile, Yan's novel The Four Books has just come out in English; see the publicity pages from Grove Press and Chatto & Windus, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
I haven't seen it yet, but I'll probably have a look; I wonder whether it will sell more than 20,000 copies in the US/UK.
Snigdha Poonam's look at how: 'India's male and female romance writers follow opposing codes', Terms Of Endearment, is now freely accessible at The Caravan -- maybe not many authors familiar to non-Indian readers, but still of some interest.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Octave Mirbeau's The Diary of a Chambermaid -- another in my preparation for Dalkey Archive Press' forthcoming 21 Days of a Neurasthenic (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), after Torture Garden.
This is probably his best-known work -- in no small part due to the two film-versions of it: few books have gotten such prominent double treatment (Lem's Solaris, filmed by Tarkovsky and Soderbergh is one of the few others), as this was filmed by Jean Renoir in 1946 (starring the husband-and-wife team of Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith !), and by Luis Buñuel in 1964 (starring Jeanne Moreau and Michel Piccoli).
(Bonus Hollywood trivia reminder: Goddard's husbands before and after Meredith were Charlie Chaplin and Erich Maria Remarque, respectively.)