At the Columbia University Press blog series editor Christine Dunbar offers An Overview of the Inaugural Russian Library Titles (three of them to get things going).
I've mentioned this project before -- in particular as the first instance, a collaboration with Overlook Press, apparently died a(n exceptionally) quiet death.
But it looks like they're actually going through with this -- with publicity pages for the first titles (e.g. Sokolov's Between Dog and Wolf) already up (though note that the 'Series: Russian Library' link doesn't lead anywhere yet ...).
Looks good and promising; can't wait to see these (and future) titles.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of (prix Goncourt-winning author) Marie NDiaye's Ladivine, just out in English.
This is an exceptionally good piece of writing -- that is also exceptionally difficult to like/enjoy.
NDiaye's presentation of family-/personal relationships makes Thomas Bernhard look like a softy .....
(And where Bernhard goes all bitter his depictions at least have a comic edge; NDiaye is rarely bitter but heartlessly earnest -- which is, far, far worse.)
This title/translation was longlisted for this year's Man Booker International Prize, but fell short of the shortlist; I'm very curious how it will do at next year's Best Translated Book Award: on the face of it it is (in its very good translation) an obvious finalist -- and yet .....
At Music & Literature they print Thomas Bumstead's translation of Enrique Vila-Matas' talk when he received the premio Juan Rulfo at the book fair in Guadalajara on 28 November of last year, The Future (original) -- well worth a read.
(Many Vila-Matas titles are under review at the complete review -- with the recent Because She Never Asked a particular favorite (which I don't think has gotten its due, critically or otherwise).)
This is one of two titles -- along with the latest Elena Ferrante -- that is a finalist for both the Best Translated Book Award and the Man Booker International Prize this year, so it's hard not to consider it one of the biggest titles-in-translation of 2015.
In The Nation Evelyn Osagie reports that 173 authors in race for NLNG $100k literary prize (meaning, presumably, 173 books, since it's a book prize (though possibly some authors might have entered more than one title ...)).
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates through four different genres (poetry, drama, kids' stuff, and prose fiction) -- and they're finally back to the one that counts, which Chika Unigwe won in 2013 -- as she: "beat 213 authors to the prize".
(Interesting that there were considerably more entries (entrants) last time around.)
Last year was the kid-lit turn, but they didn't find anything was deserving of the prize.
While this prize will pay out in US dollars (if they award it ...), there's also a literary criticism prize ("open to literary critics from all over the world") which only pays out in local currency -- and while NGN 1,000,000 might sound good, well, it's only about US$5000.
Even more depressingly, Osagie reports that they got all of ... two entries for the prize.
They've announced that Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba [مصائر: كونشرتو الهولوكوست والنكبة] by Rabai al-Madhoun has won this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
The US$50,000 award is one of the leading Arabic literature prizes, and does the best job of publicizing winning works abroad, with most of them appearing in translation in a variety of languages.
The winning author is not unknown in English, as Telegram published his (IPAF shortlisted) The Lady from Tel Aviv a few years ago; see their publicity page, and get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards -- and there's even one of the novel finalists under review at the complete review, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.
Apparently, there are issues regarding the voting process and campaigns by groups -- of 'Sad Puppies' and 'Rabid Puppies' -- but it's all rather beyond me; see, for example, David Barnett on Hugo awards shortlist dominated by rightwing campaign in The Guardian.
The Austrian State Prize for European Literature only honors European authors, but as that list of previous winners shows, they have a pretty damn good track record.
They've now announced the 2016 winner -- albeit only in a ridiculous summary-press release unworthy of the prize -- and it's Polish author Andrzej Stasiuk, who has been reasonably well translated into English.
Two of his books are under review at the complete review: Fado and Nine.
They've announced the winner of this year's Wellcome Book Prize (for a book with a: "central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness"), and the £30,000 prize goes to It's All in Your Head (by Suzanne O'Sullivan).
The US edition is only due out in 2017 (pre-order your copy at Amazon.com), but it's out in paperback in the UK; get your copy at Amazon.co.uk.
At the Asymptote blog Frances Riddle has a Q & A with New Directions-publisher Barbara Epler, in Publisher Profile: New Directions
Lots of interesting observations and comments -- and among the most exciting is the mention that New Directions will be publishing (along with books by many other wonderful authors) some more by much-admired-hereabouts Shyness and Dignity-author Dag Solstad.
The PEN World Voices Festival officially starts today in New York City, with a lot of promising-sounding events scheduled.
A big Mexican focus, but also a lot beyond that -- well worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood.
At Scroll.in they report that: 'An app that aims to transform reading is a huge bet to attract smartphone warriors to books', in Books 2.0: Juggernaut's bold new social reading and publishing venture goes live on mobiles, as juggernaut launches in India.
E-publishing has been a complete dud in India, so it will be interesting to see whether "original books tailored for mobile and for India" will fly.
It would seem to have some potential -- especially at that pricing -- but it will be interesting to see whether it's actually a viable reading/business model.
At YouGov they offer Shakespeare 400 years on: every play ranked by popularity, as they surveyed 1661 adults and asked: "Which, if any, of the following Shakespeare plays have you ever read or seen ?"
Romeo and Juliet easily tops the list, the only play which more than half the respondents had seen/read; Hamlet is a somewhat surprising distant (31 per cent) fourth -- and I was very surprised that King Lear didn't even break the top ten.
(See also the full(er) survey breakdown (warning ! dreaded pdf format !).
Among the observations there: Scottish respondents were less likely than the national average to have seen/read Macbeth -- and far behind Londoners; the only play male respondents were more likely to have seen/read than female ones was ... King John (3 per cent to 2), while several plays were far more likely to have been seen/read by women (notably Romeo and Juliet (62:40) and As You Like it (21:10)); and a far-above average (5 per cent) of Londoners answered 'Don't know' (9 per cent).)
Vinutha Mallya's lengthy piece on 'The possibilities and pitfalls before India's publishing industry' in The Caravan, Numbers and Letters, is now freely accessible online -- a good overview of the current state of affairs and some of the (logistical and other) issues the industry has to deal with.
Fifty years ago today the German group of everyone-who-was-anyone authors, the 'Gruppe 47', ventured to Princeton for an infamous get-together (that also pretty much killed the group-as-group (though its more-or-less demise was already very much in that late-60s air), and really put Peter Handke on the map).
They have a page on it at the Princeton University site -- and, more impressively, they have the audio recordings from (almost) all the readings.
The German feuilletons are full of anniversary coverage, though the impression stateside seems to have been less ... lasting.
But maybe someone will publish a translation of Jörg Magenau's new Princeton 66: Die abenteuerliche Reise der Gruppe 47 (see the Klett-Cotta publicity page) .....
At the Literary Hub Ilan Stavans and William P. Childers discuss What Borges Learned From Cervantes: On Language, and the Thin Line Between Fiction and Reality.
They discuss 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote' at some length -- with Stavans suggesting it's:
arguably his most influential story and -- I don't believe I'm over-inflating it ! -- perhaps the most important one of the entire 20th century
As long-time readers know, I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but I've always admired and enjoyed Borges' (see also my review of his Collected Fictions) and, along with Hugo von Hofmannsthal's 'Chandos-letter' ('Ein Brief'), 'Pierre Menard' is probably the only short story I would count as among the most influential(-on-me) literary works I've read (top twenty-five, certainly; maybe even top ten, depending on the day).
They've announced that The Dinner-author Herman Koch wil be writing next year's 'Boekenweekgeschenk' -- the widely, freely distributed work written by a Dutch author that is the centerpiece of the big annual Boekenweek.
Pretty much everyone who is anyone in Dutch writing gets a go at this -- and quite a few of the resulting titles are even under review at the complete review: Hugo Claus' The Swordfish (1989), Cees Nooteboom's The Following Story (1991), A.F.Th. van der Heijden's Weerborstels (1992), and Harry Mulisch's Het theater, de brief en de waarheid (2000).
This is the first one in the series I've covered (I only recently got my first batch, of the four most recent releases), and I'm very impressed by the look (and content) of these volumes.
Bilingual editions -- covering a wide range of languages, not just Sanskrit -- they're definitely yet another original-text-plus-translation classics-series that is well worth collecting (following on the Loeb Classical Library and the Library of Arabic Literature).
It's disappointing, however, to see how politicized this series has (bizarrely) become there where it should be most celebrated -- in India: see, for (a horrible) example, the 'customer reviews' for this title at Amazon.in.