Exactly 82,636 titles were released in 2017. A decade ago, that figure was around 95,000. A steep decline.
Also interesting -- and a reflection of just how ridiculous the US/UK market-for-translation is:
Are there strong sales of German books to be found in the big, wide English-speaking world ?
Not at all. As far as the licensing business is concerned, the English-speaking countries are not even in the top 10.
China has claimed the top spot for years.
In 2017, for the first time, Turkey is in second place.
Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands follow.
They've announced the five-title shortlist for the Austrian book prize.
Among those making it through who have previous titles translated into English are Milena Michiko Flašar and Josef Winkler; among those falling short: Arno Geiger.
The winner will be announced 5 November.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Karen Duve's The Prepper Room.
This got quite a few devastating reviews in Germany, while the UK edition -- it's been out for a couple of months there -- seems to have gone largely unremarked upon (not even the cover ...).
Dedalus is bringing it out in the US next February, and I'm curious whether it will attract any attention.
Set in 2031 and covering a lot of hot-button (in the US) issues, it seems like a good fit .....
They've announced the fifteen-title longlist for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.
Only one of these titles is under review at the complete review: Belladonna by Daša Drndić; disappointingly many of these are not (yet, in some cases) readily US-available.
Czech author Jiří Hájíček was awarded this year's Czech National Literature Prize -- but, as Brian Kenety reports at Radio Praha, Writer Jiří Hájíček Rejects National Literature Prize -- apparently: "because some jury members had quit after the parliamentary elections and so the award cannot be considered apolitical".
This prize has a solid list of previous winners -- Jáchym Topol won last year, and previous winners include Patrik Ouředník (2014), Daniela Hodrová (2011), and Ludvík Vaculík (2008).
Hájíček's Rustic Baroque is available in English -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and see information about the author at Czech Lit.
They've announced that this year's WELT-Literaturpreis will go to Virginie Despentes; she gets to pick up the €12,000 on 17 December.
This international author prize has a decent if somewhat mixed list of winners that includes early on good call future Nobel laureate Kertész Imre (2000), Amos Oz (2004), Yasmina Reza (2005), Philip Roth (2009), Murakami Haruki (2014), and Karl Ove Knausgaard (2015); they seem to have skipped the award last year.
Despentes has been attracting more attention in the US/UK too, as more of her books become available in translation -- even if Vernon Subutex still isn't out in the US yet ... (two volumes are in the UK).
The most recent translation to appear is Pretty Things -- one of her early books.
Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart's classic How to Read Donald Duck is being re-issued -- in what is apparently the first ever US edition (though some UK copies did make it into the country, back when, and weren't impossible to find; I got one in high school, and was thoroughly impressed at the time) -- and in The Guardian Dorfman explains How we roasted Donald Duck, Disney's agent of imperialism.
See also the OR Books publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com.
This has always seemed to me to be a fairly fundamental/essential contemporary text, one of those I'd never think of not having in my library (yes, along with many, many hundreds of other volumes, but still ...).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Marc Behm's Afraid to Death, recently re-issued by Arcadia Books.
Although Behm wrote this in English it was first published in French translation, as Trouille, in 1991 and only appeared in the original English in 2000.
Which is still more than can be said of a lot of his work -- available in French (translation) but not in the original English.
They've announced this year's 25 MacArthur Fellows, "Awarding unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction" -- the famous 'genius'-grants that come with US$625,000, no-strings-attached.
The usual variety of artists, activists, scientists, and others, including several writers, such as Kelly Link (who is also a co-founder of Small Beer Press) and John Keene.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Manzoor Ahtesham's The Tale of the Missing Man, recently out from Northwestern University Press.
The Translation Database currently lists 589 translations -- fiction and non, poetry, and children's -- being published for the first time in the US in 2018 -- and shockingly and embarrassingly, this is the sole title translated from the Hindi that appears there.
(Of the 724 translated titles published in 2017 there was also only one lone translation from the Hindi -- so at least the percentage has improved ?)
Sure, more are translated and available in India, so if you really try hard you can find a couple more, but it's amazing that nothing else from such a major language -- both in terms of reading population and literary significance -- is being published in the US.
And, mind you, this is a 1995 novel -- certainly worth seeing, but a long way from current.
The piles of just the recent stuff we should be seeing .....
Of course, South and South East Asia continues to be miserably under-represented in US/UK translation across the board -- to the extent that the Translation Database (covering 2008 to 2019 !) doesn't even bother listing national languages from Thai to Malaysian, Sinhalese, Nepali, Lao, or Cambodian -- because apparently there isn't a single title in these languages that qualifies for inclusion (in over a decade !); Burmese makes the cut with ... one title for the whole span.
(Tilted Axis' expansion to US distribution will help slip in some, fortunately -- Prabda Yoon ! -- but that's still just a drop in the bucket.)
Of course, the previous title I reviewed was from a language which also didn't see a single title translated into English and published in the US for the first time in 2018 .....
They've announced the finalists for the Canadian Governor General's Literary Awards -- seventy titles in all, five books in each of seven categories in both English and French, including translation (French into English, and English into French).
The fourteen winning titles will be announced 30 October, and the awards ceremony will be on 28 November.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Aka Mortschiladse's Obolé -- just out in German translation, but not yet in English; Levan Berdzenishvili recently included this among his Top Five Georgian Novels -- indeed, it is his favorite.
Dalkey Archive Press did bring out his Journey to Karabakh a couple of years ago, but, despite Georgia being the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair which starts next week, translations of other Georgian works into English have been ... lagging: the Translation Database lists zero new translations from the Georgian being published in the US in 2018 .....
The Germans are doing much better, and I have a few more new translations which I hope to get to; meanwhile, see also this Q & A (it's in English, after the short intro) with someone from the Santa Esperanza Bookshop about the Georgian book market, as well as the official guest of honour site, Georgia Made by Characters.
The big annual Georgian literary award is the Saba Literary Award -- with Obolé picking up the 2012 best novel prize -- and this year they'll be announcing the winners at the Frankfurt Book Fair, on 12 October; among those in the running for this year's best novel prize is Lasha Bugadze, whose earlier The Literature Express is available in English (unsurprisingly, also from Dalkey Archive Press).
In the Forward Aviya Kushner discusses Why Transliteration Matters -- an always fascinating topic.
Kushner focuses on words for which there is no English equivalent, or where there's some other reason to use the foreign word in transliterated form -- but, as she notes, it also comes into play with regards, for example, to author-names, as I have often noted re. Russian, Arabic, and other examples.
(Among my favorite examples: it comes up in other languages too: 'Shakespeare' is 'Szekspir' in Polish.)
The prix Goncourt has announced its second selection -- the shorter longlist of eight titles, with the announcement of a shortlist (30 October) and winner (8 November) still to come; see, for example the Livres Hebdoreport.
(As the report notes: just one female author left in the running -- not very impressive.)
Walter Laqueur, who wrote extensively on terrorism, among other subjects, has passed away, see, for example, the obituaries in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
None of his many books are under review at the complete review, but I read several over the years and found them interesting and useful.
They've announced that Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, has won this year's Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.
See also the publicity pages from Doubleday or PublicAffairs, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Latvian Literature helpfully has a list of the 10 saddest Latvian books.
None seem to be available in English yet -- but don't worry, apparently you too can soon be saddened, as: "Several books in the list are soon to be available in the UK and other English speaking countries in translation".
In the Myanmar Times Zon Pann Pwint finds Southeast Asian Novels Lost Without Translation.
Not much is translated from the Burmese, but locally they also find relatively little is translated into Burmese from other Southeast Asian countries; translation from the English still completely dominates the market.