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22 September 2019 - Sunday

'100 best books of the 21st century' ? | Berta Isla review

       '100 best books of the 21st century' ?

       The Guardian offers The 100 best books of the 21st century -- covering both fiction and non.
       I'm not sure about the value of the exercise, beyond as clickbait -- but it's certainly effective as that .....
       Anyway, a number of the titles -- though not all too many -- are under review at the complete review:
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Berta Isla review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Javier Marías' recent novel, Berta Isla, now also out in a US edition -- almost a year after the UK edition appeared.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



21 September 2019 - Saturday

National Book Award for Fiction longlist | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Q & A

       National Book Award for Fiction longlist

       They've now announced all the finalists in the various categories of the (American) National Book Awards, finishing off with the announcement of the ten fiction finalists, selected from 397 (unfortunately and disappointingly not revealed) submissions.
       I've only seen one of these -- Disappearing Earth, by Julia Phillips -- and don't imagine I'll get to any of the others before the shortlists are announced on 8 October.
       The winners in all the categories will be announced 20 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Q & A

       At Deutsche Welle Ulrike Sommer has a Q & A with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on politics, human rights and storytelling.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



20 September 2019 - Friday

New Françoise Sagan novel | Nelly-Sachs-Preis

       New Françoise Sagan novel

       The big surprise-novel -- an impressively well-kept secret -- of the French 'rentrée littéraire' has been unveiled, as Plon has published a newly-discovered Françoise Sagan-novel, Les quatre coins du cœur; see their publicity page or get your copy at Amazon.fr.
       See also the AFP report, here at The Guardian, 'Lost' Françoise Sagan novel causes stir in France -- reporting that her son Denis Westhoff dug up the manuscript and:
Westhoff decided to work on the book himself, adding missing words and sometimes whole passages where he said corrections seemed necessary, taking care not to change the novel’s style or tone.
       Meanwhile, Sagan's editor apparently didn't want to publish it .....
       There has, of course, been tons of coverage in the French press; see, for example, Marianne Payot, who considers Faut-il lire le roman inédit de Françoise Sagan ? in L'Express.

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       Nelly-Sachs-Preis

       The Nelly Sachs Prize is a biennial international author prize awarded by the city of Dortmund for outstanding creative accomplishments in the literary and intellectual fields, and especially those which have a goal of improving the cultural relationships between people. It has an impressive list of previous winners, including Ilse Aichinger (1971), Elias Canetti (1975), Nadine Gordimer (1985), Milan Kundera (1987), Juan Goytisolo (1993), Michael Ondaatje (1995), Javier Marías (1997) Christa Wolf (1999), Aharon Appelfeld (2005), Margaret Atwood (2009), and Marie NDiaye (2015).
       Two weeks ago they decided that this year's prize would go to Kamila Shamsie; after reports reminding them that Shamsie supported the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement they undecided, taking back their choice and deciding not to award a prize this year; see, for example, their official statement on not awarding the prize.
       You might figure they would have been aware of Shamsie's position earlier, but they say they weren't -- allowing them to explain their change of heart as being based on new information rather than, say, the bad press they were getting after announcing Shamsie would be getting the prize.
       Shamsies's response can be found in the Middle East Eye report by Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Kamila Shamsie stripped of German literary prize over support for BDS; they also report that Shamsie: "asked Dortmund’s city council to include her statement in their official press release, but they refused".
       See also, for example, Alison Flood's report in The Guardian, Kamila Shamsie's book award withdrawn over her part in Israel boycott.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



19 September 2019 - Thursday

And the Bride Closed the Door review

       And the Bride Closed the Door review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ronit Matalon's And the Bride Closed the Door, just about out from New Vessel Press.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



18 September 2019 - Wednesday

National Book Award for Translated Literature longlist
German Book Prize shortlist | Swiss Book Prize shortlist
Change Me review

       National Book Award for Translated Literature longlist

       They've announced the ten-title strong longlist for this year's (American) National Book Award for Translated Literature, selected from 145 (unfortunately and disappointingly not revealed) submissions; the titles were originally written in ten different languages.
       I've only seen three of these, and The Memory Police by Ogawa Yoko is the only title under review at the complete review -- though I should be getting to the Krasznahorkai (Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming) as well.
       The shortlist will be announced 8 October, and the winners 20 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       German Book Prize shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's German Book Prize; see also Sabine Peschel's Deutsche Welle report, German Book Prize shortlist announced,with brief descriptions of the finalists.
       I haven't seen any of these, but I am curious about Das flüssige Land, by Raphaela Edelbauer; see also the Klett-Cotta publicity page.
       The winner will be announced 14 October.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Swiss Book Prize shortlist

       In perhaps not ideal timing (see above) they've also announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the five-title shortlist for this year's (German-language-)Swiss Book Prize.
       I haven't seen any of these, but I have been sorely tempted by the Sibylle Berg; see also the Kiepenheuer & Witsch foreign rights page.
       The winner will be announced 10 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Change Me review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Andrej Blatnik's Change Me, just about out from Dalkey Archive Press.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



17 September 2019 - Tuesday

Europese Literatuurprijs | Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize shortlist
FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year shortlist
In the City a Mirror Wandering review

       Europese Literatuurprijs

       They've announced the winner of this year's Europese Literatuurprijs, the Dutch prize for the best translation of a European novel into Dutch, and it is the translation of Arno Geiger's Unter der Drachenwand -- no information yet at the official site, last I checked, but see the announcement at the Dutch Foundation for Literature
       Geiger's We Are Doing Fine won the German Book Prize in 2005, and this one was longlisted for last year's German Book Prize; he's been reasonably well translated into English -- see also The Old King in His Exile -- and English-language rights to this one have also already been sold; see also the Hanser foreign rights page (and hope that they don't actually call it 'Beneath Drachenwand Mountain' in English).

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       Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize shortlist

       The American Literary Translators Association has announced the shortlist for this year's Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, promoting "the translation of Asian works into English"; I haven't seen any of these.
       The winner will be announced at ALTA's annual conference in early November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Financial Times and McKinsey & Company Business Book of the Year Award -- though the announcement is bizarrely paywalled at the official site, but see the report by Katie Mansfield at The Bookseller.
       The winner will be announced 3 December.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       In the City a Mirror Wandering review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Upendranath Ashk's In the City a Mirror Wandering, the second in his six-volume Falling Walls novel cycle.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



16 September 2019 - Monday

Writing (and translation) in ... Burma | MoLI preview | Tulu

       Writing (and translation) in ... Burma

       The Myanmar Times offers a top-ten list of local (Burmese) authors and translators.
       Very little Burmese fiction is available in translation (hence also very little under review at the complete review), but maybe some US/UK publishers will take a look at some of these .....
       And neat to see translators considered such a significant part of the local literary culture to be (such a big) part of a list like this.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       MoLI preview

       The Museum of Literature Ireland opens its doors on Friday, and in the Irish Times Gemma Tipton offers a First look inside the new Museum of Literature Ireland.
       It certainly sounds like it will be worth a visit.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Tulu

       The Deccan Herald reports on B A Viveka Rai's call that 'Novels, stories should be translated to Tulu', as he noted:
Tulu has all qualities to be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, however, lack of interest in taking up the issue has left the language get unnoticed
       There are a lot official languages in India -- and a lot of others -- but Tulu seems an interesting case. Not a huge number of speakers (readers ...), but Deepa Bhasthi's article in ArtReview Asia, Lost in Translation, suggests it (and its literature/orature) are worth a closer look (and is also a fascinating piece on the script which is used to write a language).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



15 September 2019 - Sunday

Prix Sade | The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin review

       Prix Sade

       They've announced the winners of this year's prix Sade -- there's no official site, just, ugh. a ... Facebook page, but fortunately also a Twitter-mention from the chair of the jury, Emmanuel Pierrat, who reports that Querelle by Kevin Lambert (see also the Le Nouvel Attila publicity page) and Métaphysique de la viande by Christophe Siébert (see also the Au Diable Vauvert publicity page) shared the prize.

       (Updated - 16 September): See now also the Livres Hebdo report.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Geoffrey Hill's posthumous collection, The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin, recently from Oxford University Press.

       Nice to see this getting some serious coverage elsewhere too -- including now a more than 6000-word review by Seamus Perry in the current London Review of Books.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



14 September 2019 - Saturday

György Konrád (1933-2019) | Syrian Book Fair | Dhahan Prize
Translation: Chinese → Arabic

       György Konrád (1933-2019)

       Hungarian author György (George) Konrád has passed away; see, for example, the Pablo Gorondi/AP obituary in The Washington Post
       Best-known for his first novel, The Case Worker -- is that really out of print in English ? -- quite a few of his works have been translated into English; The City Builder, which first came out in English in the Philip Roth-edited 'Writers from the Other Europe'-series from Penguin and was reïssued by Dalkey Archive Press about a decade ago, might be your best bet; see the Dalkey publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       See also the official Konrád site.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Syrian Book Fair

       Syria may be war-torn, bombed to pieces, and with a majority of its population internally and externally displaced, but that hasn't stopped the regime from trying to maintain a semblance of behind the head-/front-lines normalcy -- and so, for example, they're currently holding the 31st Syrian Book Fair.
       Really.
       The Syrian Times reports that 31st Book Fair Witnesses Notable Arab and Foreign Participation (publishing houses representing ... all of ten countries are apparently on hand, from: "Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Sudan, Iran, Russia, Indonesia and Denmark") -- with the (to me) most surprising titbit being that: "237 publishing houses, including 150 Syrian ones are taking part" -- i.e. there are 150 functioning Syrian publishing houses ?!??
       SANA (the Syrian Arab News Agency) reports how 31st edition of Book Fair kicks off at al-Assad Library -- counting only six foreign participants, but noting that this year's theme is: "the book is a creation for brain". (SANA also have an Arabic report on what appears to have been one of the poetry festival events, with the ... welcoming title 'Greetings to the Resistance' (yeah, I think they mean that differently there ...); this article does not appear to be available in an English version .....)

       Maybe I shouldn't be surprised -- I've mentioned Somalia's thriving book fairs several times in recent years, for example -- but I have to admit I'm still shaking my head. And yes, sure, books, good -- but .....

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Dhahan Prize

       They've announced the winners of this year's Dhahan Prize, the Canada-based prize: "awarded for excellence in Punjabi literature" which awards: "$25,000 annually to the best book of fiction published in either Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi scripts, along with two additional finalist prizes of $10,000 CDN"
       A short story collection by Jatinder Singh Haans took the top award this year.
       See also the Vancouver Sun report.

       I think this is wonderful -- with the odd Canadian locale actually seeming help get some cross-border attention for Punjabi fiction -- desperately needed, apparently, because how many books translated from the Punjabi into English do you think are listed at the entire (2008-2020) Translation Database at Publishers Weekly ? (Clue: they don't even bother/need to list 'Punjabi' among the long list of languages from which works have been translated into English .....)

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Translation: Chinese → Arabic

       At Xinhua, in Interview: Translation main way to narrow gap between Arabic and Chinese cultures: Egyptian translator, Marwa Yahya and Maryam Kadry speak with Ahmed al-Saeed, who says: "Translation of Chinese books is the main gate to narrow the gap between Arabic and Chinese cultures".
       Hey, it's not the worst idea -- and more translation between these languages is surely welcome.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



13 September 2019 - Friday

'Francis Bacon: Books and Painting' | Baillie Gifford Prize longlist

       'Francis Bacon: Books and Painting'

       At the Centre Pompidou the exhibition Bacon en toutes lettres ('Francis Bacon: Books and Painting' they're calling it in English) is on through 20 January.
       It's inspired by his reading -- relying also on Bacon's Books: Francis Bacon's library and its role in his art, where they also inventoried his personal library of about one thousand books; eventually they plan to to digitally catalogue the texts (including: "the digital scanning of book covers, and those pages in the texts that are marked with the artist's notations, paint accretions, and heavy usage/wear"); for now you can at least download the list of books (warning ! .xls file !).
       In The New York Times Cody Delistraty introduces the exhibition, in Francis Bacon Read Just as He Painted: Deep, Dark and Bleak.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Baillie Gifford Prize longlist

       They've announced the twelve-title longlist for this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction (yes, what used to be known as the Samuel Johnson Prize and then the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize).
       I haven't seen any of these -- but I am curious about Julia Lovell's Maoism: A Global History; her The Politics of Cultural Capital: China's Quest for a Nobel Prize in Literature was certainly interesting.
       The shortlist will be announced on 22 October, the winner on 19 November

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



12 September 2019 - Thursday

New Asymptote | Prix Femina longlists | Serotonin review

       New Asymptote

       The September issue of Asymptote is now up -- and it's an all-Catalan issue (though there aren't quite as many pieces as in the usual issue).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix Femina longlists

       They've announced the longlists for this year's prix Femina, another French literary prize that awards a prize both for the best work of French fiction and the best foreign work; translations from the English in the running include novels by Maggie Nelson, Sigrid Nunez, and Edna O'Brien (the Chris Kraus is the German one, not the American one); see the Livres Hebdo report.
       This is also a four-round prize, with the short lists to be announced 8 October, shorter lists on the 23rd, and the winners on 5 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Serotonin review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Michel Houellebecq's Serotonin, due out in a couple of weeks in the UK from William Heinemann and in November in the US from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

       There are already quite a lot English-language reviews of it -- but I'm a bit surprised the translation hasn't gotten more anticipation buzz yet. Come on -- it's Houellebecq !

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



11 September 2019 - Wednesday

Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis shortlist
Grand prix de littérature américaine longlist

       Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Wilhelm Raabe Literature Prize; see, for example, the BuchMarkt report.
       There is some overlap -- two titles -- with the recently announced German Book Prize longlist -- the novels by Norbert Scheuer and Saša Stanišić.
       The Wilhelm Raabe actually pays out more than the German Book Prize -- €30,000 vs. €25,000 -- and has also been around longer, but between 2000 and 2010 it was only awarded biennially; it is also a sort of successor to the Wilhelm Raabe-Preis der Stadt Braunschweig, awarded between 1944 and 1990 (triennially, from 1954 on), but a sometime book, sometime author prize (which did go to some great authors and books, however, including,in 1975, Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries).
       Winners of the more recent iteration under review at the complete review are: Wolf Haas' The Weather Fifteen Years Ago (2006), Sibylle Lewitscharoff's Blumenberg (2011), and Christian Kracht's Imperium (2012).

       This year's winner will be announced 3 November.

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       Grand prix de littérature américaine longlist

       They've announced the longlist Grand prix de littérature américaine -- a French prize for the best American work; see the Livres Hebdo report.
       The winner will be announced 11 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



10 September 2019 - Tuesday

Prix Médicis longlists | aspekte-Literaturpreis finalists
German-Israeli Literature Days

       Prix Médicis longlists

       They've announced the longlists for the prix Médicis, with fifteen novels in the French category, and thirteen in the foreign category; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Always interesting to see what translated fiction is attracting notice abroad, and beside several English-language titles -- novels by Joyce Carol Oates and Regina Porter, and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi's Kintu -- they also have works by Mircea Cărtărescu, Christian Kracht, and Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, among others.
       This is another four-round prize -- i.e after this they'll announce a shortlist (30 September), shorter list (29 October), and only then the winner (8 November).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       aspekte-Literaturpreis finalists

       They've announced the five finalists for this year's aspekte-Literaturpreis, a German debut-prose prize.
       They've been awarding this since 1979, and the roster of winners is quite impressive -- including Herta Müller, who won for her 1984 debut -- but the only winning title under review at the complete review is Eugen Ruge's In Times of Fading Light (2011).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       German-Israeli Literature Days

       They recently held German-Israeli Literature Days (4 and 8 September), and at Deutsche Welle Sabine Peschel reports on them, and on how Authors react to growing populism at the German-Israeli lit fest

       (Updated - 11 September): See now also the Q & A with Dov Alfon and Friedrich Ani at Deutsche Welle.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



9 September 2019 - Monday

Enrique Vila-Matas Q & A | Welcome to America review

       Enrique Vila-Matas Q & A

       At the Los Angeles Review of Books Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi has a Q & A with Enrique Vila-Matas.
       They discuss his recent Mac's Problem (published in the UK as: Mac and His Problem, because ...); there are seven other Vila-Matas titles under review at the complete review, including Because She Never Asked.

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       Welcome to America review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Linda Boström Knausgård's Welcome to America, just out in English from World Editions.

       This was a finalist for the leading Swedish literary prize, the Augustpriset, in 2016, when the prize went to Lina Wolff's The Polyglot Lovers; I liked that one too, but this is an even finer work.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



8 September 2019 - Sunday

Translating Anniversaries

       Translating Anniversaries

       Damion Searls' translation of Uwe Johnson's great novel, Anniversaries, was one of the major translation-events (and -accomplishments) of recent years.
       Though not eligible for either the Best Translated Book Award (because there was a previous -- though criminally abridged -- translation of the work) or the Man Booker International Prize (because author Johnson is dead), it was awarded the 2019 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize -- and at Words without Borders you can now read Searls' acceptance speech, Vitality Enough: Translating "Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl".

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



7 September 2019 - Saturday

Sunday Times Literary Awards | Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne
Österreichischer Buchpreis longlist | Prix Sade shortlist

       Sunday Times Literary Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's (South African) Sunday Times Literary Awards, with The Theory of Flight, by Siphiwe Ndlovu, winning the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize; see, for example, the Penguin publicity page.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne

       They've announced the winner of this year's prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne, awarded to the best European novel translated into French in the last year, and it is Le assaggiatrici by Rosella Postorino, published as At the Wolf's Table in the US (see the Flatiron publicity page) and forthcoming as The Women at Hitler's Table in the UK (because god forbid they'd use the same title in two English-language markets ...; see the HarperCollins publicity page). It beat out Robert Menasse's The Capital, and books by Gonçalo M. Tavares, Julian Barnes, Graham Swift, and Bernhard Schlink, among others.
       Previous winners of this prize include Antonio Tabucchi's Pereira Declares (1995), Harry Mulisch's The Discovery of Heaven (1999), Angel Wagenstein's Farewell, Shanghai (2004), and Christoph Ransmayr's Atlas of an Anxious Man.

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       Österreichischer Buchpreis longlist

       They've announced the ten title strong longlist for this year's Austrian Book Prize, selected from 140 titles.
       It includes books by Norbert Gstrein, Gerhard Roth, and Clemens J. Setz; the only title also longlisted for the German Book Prize is Marlene Streeruwitz's Flammenwand.
       The shortlist will be announced on 8 October, and the winner on 4 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix Sade shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's prix Sade -- noteworthy not only because Sade romancier by Dominique Dussidour didn't make the cut, but because two titles that were not on the longlist did make the shortlist (this happens with some French literary prizes), including a second Pierre Louÿs title; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The winner will be announced 14 September.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



6 September 2019 - Friday

Kiran Nagarkar (1942-2019) | Ottaway Award
BookSpot Literatuurprijs longlists | The Chestnut Man review

       Kiran Nagarkar (1942-2019)

       Indian author Kiran Nagarkar has passed away; see, for example, the Scroll.in report, Kiran Nagarkar (1942-2019): A writer both bawdy and lyrical, both irreverent and political.
       Seven Sixes are Forty-Three is the only one of his books under review at the complete review, but by an odd coïncidence, his Cuckold is among a batch of used books I ordered online a couple of days ago; it is in the mail as I write this.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Ottaway Award

       Words without Borders have announced that their Ottaway Award -- which: "recognizes an individual whose work and activism have supported WWB's mission of promoting cultural understanding through the publication and promotion of international literature" -- will go to translator and Why Translation Matters-author Edith Grossman this year.
       She gets to pick it up at the Words Without Borders Gala on 29 October, with Daniel Hahn presenting the award.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       BookSpot Literatuurprijs longlists

       The longlists for the Dutch BookSpot Literatuurprijs, awarded in both fiction and non categories, have been announced, fifteen titles each.
       Previously known as the ECI Literatuurprijs, and before that as the AKO Literatuurprijs, this remains one of the leading Dutch literary prizes, and continues to pay out €50,000 to the winners; several previous winning titles are under review at the complete review -- Marcel Möring's The Great Longing (1993), Arnon Grunberg's Phantom Pain (2000) and De asielzoeker (2004), and A.F.Th.van der Heijden's Het schervengericht (2007) --, and several others have also been translated into English.
       Admirably -- and like all prizes should -- they reveal the groslijst (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) of all the titles considered for the prize.
       The shortlists will be announced 25 September, the winners on 14 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       The Chestnut Man review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Søren Sveistrup's thriller, The Chestnut Man, now just out in a US edition as well.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



5 September 2019 - Thursday

JCB Prize for Literature longlist | Embargo-busting Amazon | Nada review

       JCB Prize for Literature longlist

       The Indian JCB Prize for Literature has announced its ten-title longlist -- though not very conveniently at the official site; see, instead, for example, The Wire report, Four Debutants in 2019 JCB Prize for Literature Longlist.
       Books written in six languages were considered, but only two translations made the longlist -- Manoranjan Byapari's There's Gunpowder in the Air, translated from the Bengali (by Arunava Sinha) and Perumal Murugan's Trial by Silence and Lonely Harvest, translated from the Tamil (by Aniruddhan Vasudevan) -- while: "Several "fine novels," said Krishen were let down by their poor translations"
       The shortlist will be announced on 4 October and the winner on 2 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Embargo-busting Amazon

       One of the fall season's most anticipated titles is Margaret Atwood's The Testaments -- her sequel to The Handmaid's Tale -- and it has an on-sale date of 10 September, with Penguin Random House imprint Nan A. Talese insisting booksellers hold back on selling it until then. One bookseller didn't -- Amazon.com, sending out a few hundred copies more than a week early -- and everyone else is ... not pleased.
       Claire Kirch reports in Publishers Weekly that Indie Booksellers Incensed as Amazon Breaks 'Testaments' Embargo, where Rachel Cass of the Harvard Bookstore sums up the problem:
"It makes us look bad," she told PW. "This is bigger than just this book. Customers will see that people who ordered online got their books. They will come into our store and see that we don't have it yet. They won't know or care about embargoes; they will just see that Amazon can supply them a book and we can't. They might not come in next time."
       The American Booksellers Association has also issued a statement.
       It will be interesting to see how Penguin Random House reacts -- but, given Amazon's market dominance, they might well think they can't afford to punish them as they would an independent bookseller. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if in future Amazon doesn't bother even with the pretense of sticking to publication dates and simply starts shipping out books as soon as they are in stock, since they have no real incentive not to.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Nada review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jean-Patrick Manchette's Nada, just out in English from New York Review Books as they continue to bring out translations of his books.
       Claude Chabrol directed the film-version, The Nada Gang.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



4 September 2019 - Wednesday

Booker Prize shortlist | National Translation Awards longlists
Prix Goncourt long(est)list | Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist
The Reproductive System review

       Booker Prize shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's Booker Prize:
  • Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann
  • Girl, Woman, Other , by Bernardine Evaristo
  • An Orchestra of Minorities, by Chigozie Obioma
  • Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie
  • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, by Elif Shafak
  • The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
       The only one of these I have seen -- and have -- is Ducks, Newburyport, which does look intriguing; I don't see myself seeking out or getting to any of the others before the winner is announced on 14 October (the same day they're announcing the German Book Prize ...).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       National Translation Awards longlists

       The American Literary Translators Association has announced the longlists for this year's National Translation Awards
       Amazingly, there are as many longlisted poetry titles under review at the complete review -- two: Decals by Oliverio Girondo, translated by Rachel Galvin and Harris Feinsod, and War Songs by ʿAntarah ibn Shaddād, translated by James E. Montgomery with Richard Sieburth -- as prose titles: Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson, translated by Damion Searls, and In Black and White by Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, translated by Phyllis I. Lyons.
       The shortlists will be announced later this month.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix Goncourt long(est)list

       They've announced the première sélection -- the first of the four (rather than more usual three) rounds -- of the prix Goncourt, the leading French literary prize.
       Authors with longlisted titles who have (other) works available in English include Nathacha Appanah, Jean-Paul Dubois, Léonora Miano, Hubert Mingarelli, Amélie Nothomb, and Olivier Rolin.
       The next selection will be announced 1 October, with the finalists to be announced 27 October, and the winner on 4 November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist

       They've announced the twelve-title longlist for this year's (Canadian) Scotiabank Giller Prize, selected from 117 (unfortunately not revealed ...) submitted titles.
       I haven't seen any of these.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       The Reproductive System review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of John Sladek's 1968 novel, The Reproductive System.

       This is one of those fill-in-the-blanks (or rather: gaping voids) at the site titles; I recently picked up a three-book Sladek omnibus, and so I should be covering more of these; certainly of some interest (and interesting to compare the reviews of the day with his slide from much present-day view ...).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



3 September 2019 - Tuesday

DETECt | Translating Central Asian literature
Prix Renaudot longlists | Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize shortlist

       DETECt

       Via I learn of DETECt -- Detecting Transcultural Identity in European Popular Crime Narratives -- which:
investigates the topics of identity and popular culture and aims to show how, from 1989 to the present, the transnational circulation of crime narratives from various European countries has contributed to the formation of a plural, shared European identity
       Could be interesting -- especially given the scope, and institutions involved. (And: it must be nice to have EU funding, sigh .....)
       They're also holding a conference soon, about: 'Producers, distributors and audiences of European crime narratives': Euronoir at Aalborg University, Denmark, 30 September to 2 October.
       I look forward to hearing more about this, as well as to seeing some of the resulting work and research.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Translating Central Asian literature

       As longtime readers know, I frequently complain about the lack of translated fiction from Central Asia -- one of the last frontiers ... (though honestly, there are so many languages from which so little is translated ... but, yes, Central Asia has been particularly poorly represented) -- so it's neat to see this Q & A by Filip Noubel at Global Voices with translator of Uzbek and Kazakh literature Shelley Fairweather-Vega who is working at Decolonising and demystifying Central Asian literature through translation.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Prix Renaudot longlists

       French prize season starts up in serious now, and the first big longlists to be announced are those of the prix Renaudot -- sixteen titles in the fiction category and nine in the non category; see the Livres Hebdo report.
       Authors in the fiction category who have had previous works translated into English include: Nathacha Appanah, Hubert Haddad, and Abdourahman A. Waberi.
       The (non-fiction) title I really want to see is Charles Dantzig's Dictionnaire égoïste de la littérature mondiale (see the Grasset publicity page); I have, and have long enjoyed, his Dictionnaire égoïste de la littérature française and so this complementary international volume -- only 1248 pages ! -- sounds like a must-have.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize shortlist

       At Scroll.in they report on the just-announced Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2019 shortlist: Three Indian writers, one Pakistani, one Bangladeshi, with brief descriptions of the five finalists.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



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