The Prix littéraire Lucien-Barrière is awarded in conjunction with the Festival du Cinéma Américain de Deauville and so you can see how this prize -- which they've been handing out since 1976 ! -- would be both American- and cinematic-heavy.
It is also the most brow-indifferent -- as in: high ? low ? no ? whatever ... -- winner's list I've ever seen for a literary prize, ranging from a Nobel (Peace) Prize-winner (Elie Wiesel) and some fairly serious authors (if not always their finest work ...) to ... well, some decidedly (and undeniably) 'popular' authors.
William Kennedy, William Styron, Jim Harrison, Colum McCann, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Ford, and Dinaw Mengestu on the one hand, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins Clark, Michael Crichton on the other.
This year's winner ?
Camino Island, by John Grisham .....
See the official announcement, and then scroll down through that whole wild winners list.
They've announced the winners of this half-year's (yes, they're biannual prizes) Akutagawa and Naoki prizes, with 送り火, by Takahashi Hiroki, winning the Akutagawa (see also the 文藝春秋 publicity page) and ファーストラヴ (yes, 'First Love'), by Shimamoto Rio taking the Naoki (see also the 文藝春秋 publicity page, and the brief Books in Japan entry on the author)
Both authors have apparently been Akutagawa Prize-finalists several times each, while Shimamoto has also previously been up for the Naoki.
See also The Japan Times' report, Hiroki Takahashi wins Akutagawa literary award, while Rio Shimamoto bags Naoki Prize.
And see the Index of Akutagawa Prize-winners under review at the complete review.
A good, lengthy background/overview article in The Guardian by Andrew Brown about the Nobel Prize in Literature-deciding Swedish Academy's recent troubles, and The ugly scandal that cancelled the Nobel prize.
A good reminder, too, about what a bizarre and hard -to-take-seriously institution this has always been (which is also part of what has always made Nobel Prize-watching and speculating so much fun).
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Committee has announced that John Irving will receive this year's Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.
He gets to pick it up at the Dayton Literary Peace Prize awards ceremony, on 28 October.
Several Irving titles are under review at the complete review:
The American Literary Translators Association has announced the longlists for its National Translation Awards.
This prize impressively: "includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work" -- which should be particularly interesting this year, with a translation of Homer's Odyssey in the running .....
None of the poetry titles are under review at the complete review -- though I actually have, and hope to get to, some of these -- but several prose titles are:
Affections , by Rodrigo Hasbún, translated by Sophie Hughes
Compass, by Mathias Énard, translated by Charlotte Mandell
Dandelions, by Kawabata Yasunari, translated by Michael Emmerich
Also on the longlist: Will Vanderhyden's Best Translated Book Award-winning translation of Rodrigo Fresán's The Invented Part .
The shortlists will be announced in September, and the winners will be announced at ALTA's annual conference (to be held 31 October to 3 November).
At The Paris Review's Daily weblog Kalle Oskari Mattila explains How Finland Rebranded Itself as a Literary Country.
He presents Sofi Oksanen's Purge as a break-through work with its international reach -- though I'd argue that The Year of the Hare-(etc.) author Arto Paasilinna has been a bigger brand for much longer -- just not in the English-speaking world (but he's a big hit internationally otherwise).
And for every Johanna Sinisalo success, worthy authors such as Kari Hotakainen struggle to get more than one title into English -- while huge-in-Finland works like Laura Lindstedt's Oneiron get translated but lag in attention.
(But, yes, at least more is being made available, which is great.)
FILI, the 'Finnish Literature Exchange ', do do a nice job -- though amazingly: "FILI will be closed for the summer holidays from 25 June to 31 July 2018 inclusive".
And see also the site for the Elina Ahlback Literary Agency (which goes un-diacritical at the official site).
I'm not too sure about this (altered, simplified) junior version of The Story of The Stone (a.k.a. Dream of the Red Chamber and A Dream of Red Mansions), as described by Mei Jia in China Daily, in Classical text gets novel treatment.
The simplifier, Liu Xinwu, at least seems to be an expert on the novel -- among his previous works is even one 'completing' it -- but I still have my doubts.
(Let them read the real thing !)
Still, any excuse to mention this great work and its significance -- and the article has a few interesting observations and quotes, including how big a fan Mao was (not necessarily a selling point ?) -- and that:
"You can talk about it (the novel) only after reading through it at least five times," Mao had said.
In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung Paul Jandl has an interesting (German) piece on Thomas Bernhard's first editor at Suhrkamp/Insel, Anneliese Botond, reviewing a collection of her correspondence with the author -- Wer hätte schon Thomas Bernhards Lektorin sein wollen ? Diese Frau war es !
Worth pointing to because it gives me an opportunity to remind you of the neat Korrektur Verlag publishing house, who brought out this collection, Briefe an Thomas Bernhard (see their publicity page).
I've mentioned them before, and they continue to do great Bernhard-inspired and -related stuff.
But Anneliese Botond is also interesting beyond her Bernhard-work; among the other authors she worked with was Paul Celan, and she translated an impressive array of authors from the French and Spanish, from Foucault and Simenon to Onetti,, Puig, and, above all, Alejo Carpentier.
(I happen to be knee-deep in her translation of Carpentier's outrageously not available in English La consagración de la primavera, so it's amusing to come across her in this very different context too.)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Roberto Arlt's 1926 novel, Mad Toy.
My review is based on the 2002 Michele McKay Aynesworth translation (Duke University Press) -- and, yes, I acquired the book in 2002; sometimes it takes me a while to get to a book ... -- but another translation, by James Womack, was published in the UK in 2013 (by Hesperus).
Another of his novels, The Seven Madmen, has, oddly enough, also been translated twice -- while the rest of his output has so far mostly been ignored (though a translation of The Flamethrowers -- the continuation of The Seven Madmen -- is apparently forthcoming from River Boat Books; see here (scroll down)).
Le HuffPost -- yes, there's a French version of this site -- asked a variety of popular French authors and other "professionnels du milieu littéraire" to name their top twenty French classics, tallying the totals to make a list of ten essential classics (for purposes of a summer reading challenge to entertain/occupy their readers) -- and Lauren Provost now sums up the results in Les 10 plus grands romans français selon les écrivains pour notre défi de l'été.
The list is definitely old-classics-heavy -- even the least long-dead of the authors died over twenty years ago -- and partially very predictable (Les Misérables, The Red and the Black, Madame Bovary).
(Only the Flaubert and Le Grand Meaulnes are under review at the complete review.)
Interesting to hear that, for example, there were a lot of votes for Zola-titles -- but that they were spread over so many titles that none made the cut.
More interesting, of course, are the individual selections -- which you can see by clicking on the links.
It is a ... curious selection of author-selectors, ranging from Marie Darrieusecq to Marc Levy to Franck Thilliez.
The „Brücke Berlin“ Prize is a German literature-in-translation award, the winning translation getting a prize of €20,000, shared equally by author and translator(s), and they've now announced that this year's prize goes to the German translation (by Natia Mikeladse-Bachsoliani) of Zaza Burchuladze's novel, ტურისტის საუზმე; see, for example, the Georgia Today report, Zaza Burchuladze Awarded Literary Prize, and the Georgian and German publishers' publicity pages for the book
Burchuladze's adibas came out in English from Dalkey Archive Press a couple of years ago; no word yet as to whether this will get a US/UK publisher.
This prize does look like it has a pretty good track record, beginning with the neat double for its opening award in 2002, an Esther Kinsky translation of an Olga Tokarczuk work.
Works by David Albahari, Andrei Bitov, Krasznahorkai László, Nádas Péter, and Serhiy Zhadan have also taken the biennial prize since.
In the Irish Times Michael Cronin profiles 'Irelandís most distinguished living literary translator', in From 'La Bamba' to Houellebecq: Frank Wynne's linguistic odyssey.
Wynne managed the neat feat of placing two translations on the longlist for this year's Man Booker International Prize list -- particularly neat because the translations were from different languages (Spanish and French).
Quite a few of his translations are under review at the complete review, from several Pierre Lemaitres (including the prix Goncourt-winning The Great Swindle), Houellebecqs (e.g. Platform), and Frédéric Beigbeder's Windows on the World ) to a few Spanish-language works, such as Tomás Eloy Martínez's Purgatory.
A German prize for the best book published by an independent publisher has now relesed their 30 finalists (more convenient list/overview here), selected from 161 entries; readers can now vote for their favorites.
Always interesting to see what the smaller presses are bringing out in other countries -- especially also since a lot of these are titles in translation.
Among the authors with longlisted books: Marcel Schwob, Judith Kerr, Dennis Cooper, Shelley -- and Arthur Koestler, with Darkness at Noon.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ōhara Mariko's 1990 science fiction novel, Hybrid Child, just out in English from the University of Minnesota Press.
Wild stuff but certainly of some interest.
In this week's Times Literary Supplement Sam Leith tries to explain Lee Child's success, in Looking up to Jack Reacher.
As Leith notes, his fans and admirers are many -- not just the book-buying public that propels the books up the bestseller lists, but also those of an ostensibly more serious literary bent.
(Among those he doesn't mention are also César Aira, while Man Booker-winning author Eleanor Catton said he was one of her holiday go-to authors in a TLSTwenty Questions, and both John Lanchester and Malcolm Gladwell have enthused about him in The New Yorker (here and here).)
Only two Reacher novels are under review at the complete review -- Killing Floor and The Affair -- and while I suspect I'll get to a few others, I'm not an entirely won over die-hard fan.
The French 'rentrée littéraire' -- the big flooding of the book market with the big (and prize-contending) titles is still more than a month off, but the preview are beginning -- beginning with the numbers.
As widely reported, 567 novels will hit the market -- down from last year's 581, but more than 2016's 560.
One interesting note: fiction in translation continues its slow decline, with only 186 foreign works, the lowest since 1999 (!).
(The decline has been slow rather than precipitous -- there were 191 last year, 196 in 2016 -- but it's a steady, continuing decline).
On the other hand, first novels are better-represented than any time since 2007 -- a sign, perhaps, that the French are looking for something new .....
Previews of the big titles should be appearing over the next couple of weeks.