They celebrated Oxford Translation Day 2018 the past two days, with a full and interesting program (including 'A Day in the Life of Ann Goldstein', and readings from and discussion of Ellen Wiles' Saffron Shadows and Salvaged Scripts), culminating in the announcement of this year's Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize -- which is awarded: "for book-length literary translations into English from any living European language".
The winning title was Lisa Dillman's translation of Andrés Barba's Such Small Hands.
This one surprisingly did not make either the Man Booker International Prize or Best Translated Book Award longlists, but finally gets deserved recognition; it was one of the best books I reviewed last year.
They've announced the winners of this year's Griffin Poetry Prize, with Debths, by Susan Howe, taking the international category.
I have a pile of Howes -- including this one -- I've long, long been meaning to cover here; I've long admired her work.
See also the New Directions publicity page for the book, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
At BBC Radio 3 you can listen to a lengthy programme where: 'Arundhati Roy, Meena Kandasamy and Preti Taneja share thoughts about translation', in The rise of translation and the death of foreign language learning.
(I don't have the patience to listen to anything like this (or like most anything else) on the computer, so I can't vouch for it, but the subject matter is interesting, and they devote a good amount of time to it, so it sounds promising.)
Via I'm made aware of the death of Hong Kong author Liu Yichang; no English-language reports yet, last I checked, but the Chinese media has many (Chinese) reports.
He is probably best-known outside China as the author whose stories are the basis for Wong Kar-wai's 2000 film In the Mood for Love (see, e.g. the IMDb page); Francis Ford Coppola published one of the stories behind it in his Zoetrope.
The Cockroach seems the only vaguely available-in-English Liu title; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
At another level, Nepal's many languages have to struggle even harder.
Maithili, the second most popular language in Nepal, is spoken by 11% of the people and is known to be one of the oldest Indo-European languages.
The 14th century Maithili poet Vidyapati influenced later writers in many languages, but Maithili enjoys a far less exalted status today.
"Maithili continues to produce quality literature, but nobody gets to read it, sometimes not even Maithili readers," noted Janakpur based writer Rajendra Bimal.
"Nobody wants to invest in Maithili literature because the market is so small.
As readers know, among the recent publications I'm most excited about is the double-dose of Dag Solstad novels that just came out, T Singer and Armand V, and at The White Review they now have a Q & A (by Sam Riviere) with the Norwegian master,
Disappointingly, he doesn't answer all the questions:
If on the other hand you ask me who the most overrated Norwegian author is, I have a burning desire to tell you who it is.
But I wisely keep my mouth shut.
And I particularly like this concept:
The novel consists of an enumeration of all these titles, from the thousands of books in my library, and 'I' in the middle of it all.
Daša Drndić has passed away; see, for example, Alison Flood's report in The Guardian.
She was just beginning to really make her mark in the US/UK -- but at least there are still translations to look forward to (such as EEG, forthcoming -- at least in the UK -- in the fall).
The only Drndić title under review at the complete review is the very fine Belladonna.
They've announced the winner of this year's $100,000 Jewish Book Council Sami Rohr Prize, and it is If All the Seas Were Ink, by Ilana Kurshan.
(The prize alternates between honoring fiction and non; this was a non year.)
See also the St. Martin's Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Among the literary prizes the Académie Goncourt gives out is the Goncourt de la Biographie Edmonde Charles-Roux, for best biography (usually a literary biography), and they've announced this year's winner: Salinger intime (yes, as in J.D.Salinger), by Denis Demonpion; see also the Robert Laffont publicity page.
Demonpion has also written a Houellebecq-biography; no word yet (as far as I can tell) if/when this (or that) will be available in English.
The Royal Society of Literature has elected 31 new fellows -- "double its usual intake".
Quite a mix -- and they include the recently deceased Philip Kerr (who apparently accepted his Fellowship of the RSL in early 2018).
They've announced this year's winner of the Wolfson History Prize, and it is Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation, by Peter Marshall; see also the Yale University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of José Pablo Feinmann's Heidegger's Shadow.
This came out from Texas Tech University Press two years ago, in their 'The Americas'-series -- but seems to have sunk pretty much entirely unnoticed in the US; I didn't see a copy until recently, either, though I've been looking for it since I heard about it.
I'm surprised: okay, Heidegger limits the audience somewhat -- but surely Heidegger and his Nazism remains a very hot topic.
But not even the media (or the blogs) engaged with it (whereas there was quite a bit of Spanish-language and Italian coverage for the book).
(Disappointing also: 'The Americas'-series seems to have petered out -- this is the most recent volume, and it's not that recent ....)
In The Arab Weekly Khaled Bayoumi has a Q & A with Hussein Mahmoud Hamouda, who has translated both from Italian to Arabic as well as Arabic to Italian.
Good to see it pointed out that: "Translation, however, is an excellent medium for dialogue" -- and good to hear that interest in Arabic literature in Italy has grown greatly (after, amazingly: "only five literary works had been translated to Italian" before Naguib Mahfouz's Nobel win).
I was surprised to learn that (most of) Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time was, until recently, unavailable in German translation.
At Lady Molly’s (volume four) was translated in 1961, and then the first three volumes were published in Heinz Feldmann's translations in the mid-1980s -- but he only recently got to do the rest (and revise his earlier translations), with Elfenbein-Verlag bringing them out since 2015; indeed, they're not finished yet, with the twelfth and final volume only due out this fall.
(By comparison: the French seem to have finished up their translations more than two decades ago -- not too speedily, considering when the originals were published, but still.)
Maybe Powell was seen as too quintessentially English ?
(I would have thought that that would be just one more selling point in translation, but with publishers ... who knows ?)
Even now, he seems to have been a somewhat hard sell, the commitment apparently too much for any of the larger houses to take it on; Elfenbein has an impressive list, but it's a pretty small outfit).
In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung Jan Wilm offers a nice (German) introduction/overview.
See, of course, also the convenient four-volume University of Chicago Press edition -- which I've long been meaning to tackle .....
Judith Rosen reports at Publishers Weekly that IPS Starts Translation Campaign.
That's Ingram Publisher Services, which is: "introducing a seven-month-long promotion to encourage booksellers to sell more books in translation" -- 'Be Worldly. Read Lit in Translation'.
This sort of nudge from a major industry player certainly can't hurt -- good to see them give it a try, and one hopes it will meet with some interest and success.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Edogawa Rampo's The Early Cases of Akechi Kogorō, out from Kurodahan Press a couple of years ago; it's one of several Edogawa collections they've published.
(And, yes, 'Edogawa Rampo' is a pseudonym -- meant, of course, to suggest/echo 'Edgar Allan Poe'; he is one of the pioneers of Japanese mystery fiction.)
(That's the first review posted in over a week -- sorry about that: packing and moving threw me a bit out of my usual routine.
Not the longest or first such hiatus, but it's been about a decade since reviews have been so spaced out.
The pace should be back to normal relatively soon, I hope -- once/if I can unpack my TBR pile(s).)
In The Africa Report Alex Macbeth profiles Eduardo Quive, president of the Movimento Literário Kuphaluxa.
Fairly interesting -- but I won't link to the Revista Literatas web presence (at blogspot) because of the spammy-viral pop-up that it unleashed when I had a look; I didn't bother opening the Kuphaluxa site, expecting more of the same ...).
The Tehran Times headline -- Leader asks literati to break new ground on justice and resistance -- sounds promising, but Ayatollah Khamenei also emphasized "and the promotion of morals" .....
Clearly, rather than new ground as far as justice and resistance go what he's looking for is a retread of the (very) old, narrow conceptions of justice and (the specifically contemporary Iranian idea of) 'resistance'.
He said that the enemies of the Islamic Revolution are trying to lead the Persian poetry toward the superficial understanding, carelessness, surrender and indifference.
Ayatollah Khamenei also praised the modesty of the Persian poetry and strongly advised that modesty be kept in the literary currents of the country.
On the one hand, it's pleasing to see some interest in and engagement with contemporary writing from a country's (or, in this case, also the Islamic Revolution's) leader -- and recall that Khamenei has a decent-sounding familiarity with literature -- but when a government wants to direct writing in a certain (limited) direction -- justice and resistance being very narrowly defined terms, as he means them here --, that's disappointing.
They've announced the winners of this year's Best Translated Book Awards (though not yet at the official site, last I checked; given the hometown win, it's understandable that celebration and partying takes precedence for a few hours ...).
The fiction prize went to The Invented Part, by Rodrigo Fresán, in Will Vanderhyden's translation, published by Open Letter (who also brought out last year's winning title); see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
(I have to admit that, while this sounds like it would be right up my alley, I have not managed to get into it; I've tried a couple of times, and will try again, but so far it hasn't grabbed me.)
The poetry winner is Before Lyricism, by Eleni Vakalo, in Karen Emmerich's translation, published by Ugly Duckling Presse; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The German Litprom focuses on writing from Africa, Asia, the Arab world, and Latin America, and they regularly publish a 'best'-list, of the best new titles from those areas translated into German; they've just now published their Summer 2018 list, which includes Waguih Ghali's Beer in the Snooker Club, as well as books by Guadalupe Nettel, Samanta Schweblin, and Marcelo Figueras, with five of the seven titles translations from the Spanish.