In an opinion piece in The New York Times Ian Allen argues that: 'To understand why white supremacists back the president, we have to understand the books that define their worldview' -- leading him: Inside the World of Racist Science Fiction.
Not a great place to be -- including with discussion of the one of these titles under review at the complete review, Jean Raspail's The Camp of the Saints. -- which is apparently: "at the top of the white supremacist best-seller list".
The NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates through four genres (fiction, poetry, children's literature, and drama) and this year is a drama year -- and they've now announced the eleven-title strong longlist (selected from 89 entries).
I like how they look ahead to the next stages:
A shortlist of three is expected in September and a possible winner will be announced by the Advisory Board in October.
Well, they have failed to award a prize on previous occasions, so .....
No mention of it in the longlist announcement, but when they announced how many entries there were they also noted:
This year's award will run concurrently with NLNG's Prize for Literary Criticism for which only two entries were received for this year's competition.
Signs of an underdeveloped critical culture ?
Given that the writing- and publishing-sectors seem to be thriving in Nigeria, it's disappointing that the critical sector is lagging.
Not the most vital piece, but surely a helpful one for the overall literary culture.
Good for the Pakistani The News on Sunday for devoting a special report today to Literature In Translation -- six articles, including Asif Farrukhi's 'overview of the situation of translations related to Urdu, but more about Urdu into other languages', Literature in translation, Sarwat Ali on the translation of regional languages, in Within the region, and the overview-editorial.
The British Public Lending Right office has released the data for UK public library book borrowings for the year 2016-17 (more specifically: apparently July 2016 to June 2017) -- unfortunately and disappointingly only ranking the books and authors and not providing actual borrowing numbers.
James Patterson was, yet again, the most borrowed author (that's eleven consecutive years he's held the top spot), while Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train was the most borrowed title.
(The Girl on the Train was also the sxith most borrowed title -- the paperback edition, that is; the hardcover edition was the one that topped the list, as apparently it's too difficult to actually count titles and they instead count different formats separately .....)
The PLR information sheets -- all, alas, in the dreaded pdf format -- giving more detailed information, include:
Each year The New York Public Library honors several distinguished individuals for outstanding achievements in their respective fields of arts, culture, letters and scholarship by naming them Library Lions.
They've now announced this year's five honorees -- Ron Chernow, Francis Ford Coppola, Jessye Norman, Claudia Rankine, and Elizabeth Strout -- and they'll be honored at big bash on 5 November.
An Untouched House is just out in the UK, from Pushkin Press, with a US edition due in October from Archipelago.
Amazing that it took this long for this 1951 work to make it into English -- and disappointing that it hasn't gotten more attention, at least in the UK, yet .....
Okay, maybe it's not that amazing that it took so long to see this in English -- after all, we still haven't seen Onder professoren translated, nor the book Cees Nooteboom calls: "his other masterpiece", De tranen der acacia's (nor the one I'm particularly fond of, Au Pair) .....
Indeed, in his afterword to An Untouched House Nooteboom describes Hermans' archives as: "thirty meters of coagulated anger", and only a couple of inches worth have been translated into English -- surely we deserve (a lot) more !
I missed this a few weeks back when it appeared, but over at the Süddeutsche Zeitung Felix Stephan looks at the numbers, in Ist der Literaturbetrieb wirklich so sexistisch wie sein Ruf ? to see if the German literary industry -- as reflected in its prizes -- is as sexist as everyone seems to think.
They tallied up the numbers from the fifty biggest German literary prizes over the past ten (or twelve ?) years and found that men did get an overwhelming majority of the prizes -- just a shade under two-thirds.
The two top prize winners, however, were both women, Terézia Mora and Sibylle Lewitscharoff, picking up eight apiece, two more than the most successful man, Lutz Seiler.
And at least the general trend seems to be in the right direction, with prize-parity even having been achieved in both 2015 and 2017.
They also did the sums with the jurors, with Daniela Striegl the most active -- sitting in judgment an astonishing 35 times.
Other less useful odds and ends: the most common first name of prize winners was 'Peter' (nine winners), while the most popular (by far) first name among jurors was 'Michael' (21, ahead of 'Peter', with 14).
They've announced the shortlists for the various CWA Dagger Awards, including the Gold Dagger ("awarded to the best crime novel of the year") and the CWA Intenational Dagger (for best crime novel not originally written in English).
One International Dagger finalist is under review at the complete review: Three Days and a Life, by Pierre Lemaitre, in Frank Wynne's translation.
An Oliver Bottini is also on the shortlist -- announced just as another of his novels is named one of the three finalists for the (German) Crime Cologne Award (though that official site doesn't have the news yet -- but see the report at boersenblatt.net).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Georges Perec's Wishes, just out in English from Wakefield Press.
Oulipo-author Perec's work of course always poses a challenge to translators, and this one in particular -- it's no wonder that, though first published in French in 1989, no one had a (full) go at it until now.
And pseudonymous translator Mara Cologne Wythe-Hall didn't settle on a singular translation of the text(s) either: he does it twice, once literally, then the whole thing all over, considerably more freely .....
They've announced the longlist for this year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and the books making the cut are:
Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson
From a Low and Quiet Sea, by Donal Ryan
In Our Mad and Furious City , by Guy Gunaratne
The Long Take, by Robin Robertson
The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner
Milkman, by Anna Burns
Normal People, by Sally Rooney
The Overstory, by Richard Powers
Sabrina, by Nick Drnaso
Snap, by Belinda Bauer
Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje
Washington Black , by Esi Edugyan
The Water Cure, by Sophie Mackintosh
Presumably, Nick Drnaso's Sabrina getting longlisted will draw the most attention -- it's the first graphic novel ever to make the cut; see the publicity pages at Drawn & Quarterly and Granta, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
None of the longlisted titles are under review at the complete review -- indeed, I don't have any of them, so I'm not sure I'll be getting to any before the prize is announced.
The shortlist will be announced on 20 September, and the winner on 16 October.
I'm a big fan of the old African Writers Series, and have a couple of dozen of them; nineteen of them are under review at the complete review.
Now, in Lapham's Quarterly, Josh MacPhee goes: 'Looking back at the design of the African Writers Series', in the interesting Judged by Its Covers.
(And don't forget James Currey's invaluable companion-guide to the series, Africa Writes Back, a must-have for anyone interested in it (or, indeed, African literature in the second half of the twentieth century).)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Imraan Coovadia's A Spy in Time, due out next month in the US from California Coldblood Books.
(It's already out in South Africa.)
This is kind of a change for him -- honest to goodness science fiction -- but then he's repetedly tried new directions in his fiction.
Good to see, in any case, that he has a US publisher for this: The Wedding got a US release and decent attention almost twenty years ago, and Green-Eyed Thieves was/is nominally available (from Seagull Books); High Low In-Between and The Institute for Taxi Poetry didn't make it to these shores, and Tales of the Metric System only after some delay (and then published by not-so-commercial Ohio University Press ...).
It'll be interesting to see whether the genre-embrace leads to more attention (and leads some new readers back to his backlist)..
With all due respect to the BDS organizations, most writers are enthusiastic about being translated into foreign languages.
An interesting/messy meeting of literature and politics -- though Kinneret Zmora-Bitan's Ziv Lewis claims:
I haven’t come across Western writers who identify with BDS.
A writer wants his book to be read by as many people as possible.
They may not want to contribute to public relations, won’t agree to be interviewed – but they want to be read.
The same is true of writers from the Arab world whom we contact: Unofficially they all want to be published everywhere and in any language, including Hebrew.
In the 1 July issue of The New York Times Book Review Benjamin Moser reviewed Kate Briggs' This Little Art (see the Fitzcarraldo Editions publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- and it was iimediately clear that some of what he said would not go over well with (many) translators (though note that Moser is also -- and writes as -- a translator).
Now comes the first major counter-punch, a letter to the editor signed by an all-star cast of major translators (including Susan Bernofsky, Lydia Davis, John Keene, Lawrence Venuti, and Emily Wilson).
(There are also two individual letters responding to the review.)
Many other translators have voiced their support/enthusiasm regarding this reaction as well (especially on Twitter).
I hope this develops into a broader debate, as well -- there's lots to discuss here (but, no, I'm not going to, not here, not right now -- though I do have the book and should be covering it).
Yesterday was Uwe Johnson's birthday, so they took the occasion to announce the winner of this year's Uwe Johnson Prize -- Der Gott jenes Sommers, by Ralf Rothmann; see also the Suhrkamp foreign rights page.
English-language rights have already been sold, so you'll be seeing this -- and, like his previously translated To Die in Spring (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), it's a set-in-1945 work .....
Meanwhile, even if you didn't celebrate Uwe Johnson's birthday by pre-ordering the must-have Anniversaries -- well, it's never too late .....
(And, hey, it's not set in the Nazi-era !
Doesn't late-1960s New York City (with some East German contrast-material) sound more fun ?)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Muḥammad al-Tūnisī's nineteenth-century In Darfur: An Account of the Sultanate and Its People, in the Library of Arabic Literature's two-volume, bilingual edition.