They've announced the shortlist for this year's Wellcome Book Prize -- "celebrating the best new books that illuminate the many ways that health, medicine and illness touch our lives" --, another prize that doesn't care whether a book is fiction or non, though only two of the six finalists are novels.
The winner will be announced on 1 May.
At the Dutch Foundation for Literature they announce the latest batch of Translation Grants for Foreign Publishers -- thirty-six in all.
Always interesting to see what is getting translated, and into what languages -- and always disappointing to see how little of that is into English .....
None of the fiction, none of the non-fiction ... just one lone poetry collection.
They've announced the longlist for this year's Rathbones Folio Prize, for which: "All genres and all forms of literature are eligible, except work written primarily for children", as long as they're written in English and published in the UK -- which is why there are works of fiction, non, and poetry in the running.
It is UK-focused, but I'm still surprised I've seen ... all of one of these (Will Eaves' Murmur, which I hope to get to).
The shortlist will be announced 4 April; the winner 20 May.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Libris Literatuur Prijs, one of the leading Dutch book prizes.
Finalists who have had books translated into English include Rupert: A Confession-author Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (see also the Dutch Foundation for Literature information page for his shortlisted Grand Hotel Europa) and Esther Gerritsen (see also the Dutch Foundation for Literature information page for her shortlisted De trooster).
The winner will be announced 6 May.
Israeli poet Agi Mishol was awarded this year's Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award; previous winners include W.S.Merwin (the first winner of the prize, in 2013), Lars Gustafsson (2016), and Breyten Breytenbach (2017).
Some Mishol is available in English, including Less Like a Dove from a few years ago; see the Shearsman publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
And, of course, returning to master Zbigniew Herbert's own work is always worthwhile !
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of David Toscana's The Enlightened Army, recently out from the University of Texas Press.
Part of the story: a group of Mexicans aim to reconquer Texas !
Every time I return to Japan I'm reminded of the moment I enter a bookstore.
I gaze at the sea of compact, gorgeously miniaturized books, and enviously wonder why we North Americans can't enjoy such sensibly-sized reads.
The neat compactness of the Japanese book -- the fact that it fits easily into the palm of one's hand; the fact that it slips unobtrusively into the pocket of a trenchcoat or even a blazer -- all of this speaks to the delight of the Japanese book.
And I too wonder:
The 'trade paperback' -- whoever invented such an affront to basic aesthetics ?
How much better the world would be -- and how much more space I'd have on my bookshelves ! -- if all books were the size of the traditional Japanese paperback !
(Green Integer is among the few who do it right -- though even they had to go oversize for Arno Schmidt's The School for Atheists.)
Apparently it was time for another of these pieces: in the April Harper's Christian Lorentzen expounds on: 'The fate of the book review in the age of the algorithm' in Like This or Die.
Lorentzen mentions that, not long after New Yorkannounced it was: "greatly expanding and reimagining its books coverage" his: "contract to review books at New York magazine was dropped".
'Expanded coverage' apparently does not include reviews; instead he finds (and argues): "Books coverage now rises or falls in the slipstream of social media".
Among much else, he offers an overview of book-reviewing -- including the apparently brief blog-flourishing:
The early book bloggers -- typically amateurs, many of whom have gone on to become authors and critics for mainstream outlets, among them Mark Athitakis, Maud Newton, Mark Sarvas, Levi Stahl, Tao Lin -- were an anarchic bunch, pursuing their own idiosyncratic enthusiasms and antagonisms (Sam Tanenhaus, then editor of The New York Times Book Review, was a frequent target of their ire, envy, and, occasionally, awe).
Constricted neither by convention nor by editors, the bloggers, at their best, popularized worthy but obscure writers, circulated the most interesting criticism that caught their eyes, and devoted tremendous energy to indexing the literary scene.
They were passionate.
At their worst, they aired uninformed opinions about books they hadn't read, but mostly their work was a tonic.
Group blogs such as The Millions (recently purchased by Publishers Weekly), Electric Literature, and HTMLGIANT became forums for recent MFA graduates and geographically isolated aspiring writers to work out their ideas in public and form their own communities.
As with blogs generally, book blogs entered a decline as social media became the zone where people ventured their considered or (increasingly) stray thoughts.
Oh, well -- I'm still enjoying the ride on the way down .....
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Elena Chizhova's 2000 novel, Little Zinnobers, recently out in English, from Glagoslav.
Lots of Shakespeare-in-(still-Soviet-)Russia, among other things.
They've announced the 2018 (American) National Book Critics Circle Awards.
Winners include Milkman by Anna Burns -- which also won the Man Booker Prize -- for fiction, and Zadie Smith's Feel Free for criticism.
Maureen Corrigan won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
They've announced the 2019 Windham-Campbell Prize winners, two each in the categories of fiction (Danielle McLaughlin and David Chariandy), non ( Raghu Karnad and Rebecca Solnit), drama (Young Jean Lee and Patricia Cornelius ), and poetry (Ishion Hutchinson and Kwame Dawes); each receives a tidy US$165,000.
They've announced that this year's (American) National Book Awards are now open for submissions -- and who the twenty-five judges will be.
The Translated Literature panel is made up of: Keith Gessen, Elisabeth Jaquette, Katie Kitamura, Idra Novey, and Shuchi Saraswat.
The Fiction panel is made up of: Dorothy Allison, Ruth Dickey, Javier Ramirez, Danzy Senna, and Jeff VanderMeer.
The longlists will be announced sometime in September, and the finalists on 8 October.
I'm not sure that I'm up to tackling Robert Alter's new translation of The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary (see the W.W.Norton publicity page or get your copy at Amazon or Amazon.co.uk), but the most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of two works dealing with translating the Bible:
There's very little overlap with the Best Translated Book Award-eligible titles his year -- including the two titles under review at the complete review, neither of which is eligible for this year's (2018-covering) BTBA (the Ernaux came out in the US in 2017, the Hwang is coming out later this year).
As best I can tell, only the Mingarelli, Can Xue, and Vásquez are eligible for this year's BTBA (though several more of these have come out/will be coming out this year, and so will be in the running for the 2020 BTBA).
Since the Can Xue is the only other one of these titles I have actually seen, I can hardly hazard a guess as to what the contenders are -- though I'm thrilled to see the Ernaux qualified, and I would imagine it would be tough to beat.
Interesting also to note the complete dominance of small and independent publishers .....
HarperCollins has announced the launch of a new imprint, HarperVia, "focused on acquiring international titles for World English publication".
As I've repeatedly noted -- and as, for example, the make-up of the just announced Man Booker International Prize longlist (see above) would seem to confirm, the translation-into-English field is dominated by independent and small publishers, so it's good to see one of the majors make a more dedicated effort.
Still, this looks more ... AmazonCrossing-like, playing it fairly safe and popular, at least to judge by the first few titles and authors they have up.
Still, great to see an international/translation focus, and it will be interesting to see how this goes.
I recall a discussion on the jury of an international prize in which it was felt that the work of the great Indian writer U.R. Ananthamurthy would simply be too strange for an Anglo-Saxon audience.
Which tells us volumes about what we mean by "international prize": foreign writers who make sense to us.
(The prize in question was the 2013 Man Booker International Prize (when it was still a (biennial) author-prize, rather than the (annual) book-prize it has since been turned into); the judges that year, beside Parks, were Christopher Ricks, Elif Batuman, Aminatta Forna, and Yiyun Li; they gave Lydia Davis the prize .....)
If Bharathipura and Samskara-author Ananthamurthy can be considered too strange for an Anglo-Saxon audience .....
Bernard Binlin Dadié has passed away, aged 103; see, for example, the Jeune Afriquereport.
A leading author, he was also Minister of Culture in Côte d'Ivoire 1977 to 1986.
Several of his works are available in translation, including One Way: Bernard Dadié Observes America from the University of Illinois Press; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.