The Latvian Ministry of Culture has announced ten translation projects "for publishing literary works of Latvian authors abroad", subsidized to the tune of a total of €24,552.90.
Only one of the translations is into English -- but Nora Ikstena's Soviet Milk, translations of which are being supported into Ukrainian and Croatian, is already available in English.
Somewhat disappointingly, the new Prix Littéraire des campings is apparently not limited to books about camping, but rather more generally for a best holiday read .....
At least they have a dedicated site for the prize -- unusual for a French literary prize -- but they hadn't posted the announcement of the four finalists, last I checked -- but you can find them at ActuaLitté.
The winner will be announced 2 July.
Last year there apparently weren't any funny (enough) books, so they just didn't bother, but this year they've come up with six titles for the shortlist for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, selected from 71 submissions; see, for example, Mark Chandler's report at The Bookseller, Stibbe and Doyle make female-dominated Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist.
The winner of this prize gets champagne (Bollinger), books (a complete set of the Everyman Wodehouse), and a pig.
A surprising number of previous winning titles -- nine of the eleven awarded between 2000 and 2010 alone -- are under review at the complete review; I don't review that much English-language fiction, but apparently I review the funny stuff ?
(Ian McEwan's Solar (2010) is among them, as is the terrible Vernon God Little (2003), so their notions of 'comic' are certainly ... expansive.)
The winner will be announced at the Hay Festival, which starts 23 May.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of another of Lee Child's Jack Reacher thrillers, Make Me -- the fifth of these under review.
Not sure how many more of these I'll bother with, but they've proven decent pass-time reads.
'U.S. readers want books from around the world, so why can't publishers deliver them ?' Terena Bell wonders in her piece on Lost translations at The Outline, and while I'm not sure about American readers wanting books from around the world (sure, many do, but I'm not sure how many ...) she does address some of the problems regarding how, and from what languages, translations get published in the US.
(I also take issue with the idea that: "some countries' books get over-translated for the U.S. market": no country or language gets 'over-translated' -- not even close.)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Johanna Sinisalo's Renaten tarina -- a novelization of the first of the Iron Sky movies, for which Sinisalo was one of the screenwriters.
In an effort to make a show of greater transparency, the Nobel Prize in Literature-deciding Swedish Academy has, for the first time, published its (Ernst & Young audited) annual report -- only in Swedish (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), but still.
Not sure how revealing this is, but I look forward to taking a closer look.
And certainly interesting to see some of the numbers, including the personalkostnader, even if many of the categories are way too broad ("böcker, tidskrifter, databas och datasystem" all in one, for example) to provide great insight.
"The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and FACE Foundation have announced the recipients for the 2018 fiction and nonfiction French Voices Grand Prizes", with Lara Vergnaud's (still-looking-for-a-US-publisher-)translation of Sciences de la vie by Joy Sorman taking the fiction grand prize; see also the Seuil publicity page.
The press release lists all thirteen selected titles -- and while the Grand Prize winners get US$10,000, the others get a still-impressive US$6,000 each (distributed between translator and publisher).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Doron Rabinovici's Die Außerirdischen.
I'm a bit surprised this doesn't seem to have any Western foreign publishers yet (Suhrkamp just lists rights sales to Hungary and Bulgaria); it certainly seems like a book that could attract some attention.
They've announced the winners of this year's Pulitzer Prizes, a leading American journalism and arts prize.
The Fiction prize -- probably still the most prestigious American book award -- went toThe Overstory by Richard Powers; the other finalists were The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai and There There by Tommy Orange.
The Criticism prize went to Carlos Lozada of The Washington Post -- a book critic ! (links to his work at the winner's page); the other finalists were Jill Lepore and Manohla Dargis
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Wolfson History Prize (at their brand new dedicated prize-site), the £40,000 prize that celebrates: "the best new historical non-fiction books in the UK".
The winner will be announced 11 June.
Nobel laureate (1917) Henrik Pontoppidan's Lucky Per is out today in an Everyman's Library edition.
This translation actually came out almost a decade ago, from Peter Lang, but that probably didn't make it to too many bookstore bookshelves, so it's great to see a more commercial edition out that should attract a bit more attention.
(In fact, there's a second recent translation, by Paul Larkin, A Fortunate Man, out from Museum Tusculanum Press -- but it's probably the Everyman's Library edition that is most likely to be found at your local bookstore.)
Maybe it's the recently released film version -- directed by Pelle the Conqueror-director Bille August; see the IMDb page -- that helped pave the way for this new edition, but introduction-writing Garth Risk Hallberg (who pointed me to the original edition, back in the day) surely also helped it along a great deal.
In Publishers Weekly Jason Boog reports on The Netflix Literary Connection, as: 'The streaming service is on a book-buying spree as it seeks more content for its ever-growing global subscriber base'.
Apparently some fifty "literary properties are being turned into series projects, while the screening service has announced plans to adapt only a handful into features"; among the most notable of the projects is a series based on Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Many of Netflix's deals begin with Maria Campbell Literary Associates.
In 2017, Netflix exclusively retained that agency for its book-scouting efforts to find English- and foreign-language titles to adapt from around the world, including from the U.S.
The Nigerian NLNG Literature Prize rotates through four genres (fiction, poetry, drama, children's books), and this year is a kids' book year -- and this year's submissions have now been tallied up and, with 173 entries, are way up over the last batch four years ago (though it's likely not all will ultimately be found eligible); see, for example, The Nation report by Evelyn Osagie, 2019 NLNG's Literature Prize gets 59% increase Inb.
The large increase suggests something of a boom in local children's literature -- certainly welcome !
It's also particularly good to see that there were ten entries for the Literary Criticism Prize; this one -- admittedly not nearly as remunerative as the (at US$100,000) very well-endowed main prize -- has struggled to get even a handful of entries in previous years.
Hopefully, this is a sign of a general increase in interest in and availability of literary criticism, surely a vital part of any literary culture.
In The Guardian Anita Sethi has a Q & A with The Art of the Publisher-author Roberto Calasso.
Regrettably, he refuses to answer the question: "What writers working today do you most admire ?"
And of all the problems to have, this is one I'm jealous of:
I have about 50,000 books in five different places.
It's a drama every day trying to find a book.
They've announced the winners of this year's The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.
The fiction prize went to The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai; the only title under review at the complete review is the mystery/thriller winner, My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.
In China Daily Mei Jia again finds an international Appetite for fantasy, sci-fi from China.
Not sure that Jia Pingwa's Broken Wings really fits in, but it is good to see so much greater variety being translated from the Chinese now.
The Goethe Institut has announced the shortlist for this year's Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, "awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year", covering all genres -- with the official page also helpfully listing all twenty-eight submitted titles, which makes for a good (if not quite complete) overview of German translations published in the US in the past year (including re-translations, which aren't included on the other main resource to check what's recently been translated, the Translation Database at Publishers Weekly).
Two of the six finalists are under review at the complete review: Tim Mohr's translation of Wolfgang Herrndorf's Sand and Damion Searl's translation of Uwe Johnson's monumental Anniversaries (not eligible for the Best Translated Book Award (or the Man Booker International Prize, or the National Book Award for Translated Literature), but surely the odds-on favorite here).
The Japanese Booksellers' Award is a more popular-fiction prize than the better-known Japanese literary ones (Akutagawa and Naoki, for example), and Tsundoku Reader has a good English Round-up of the 2019 Booksellers Award Nominees, with a look at the books (and winner) -- an interesting glimpse of some contemporary popular fiction we haven't (won't ?) see in English yet.
They've announced (at The Millions) the longlists for this year's (American) Best Translated Book Award -- 25 fiction titles, and 10 in the poetry category.
A surprising 9 of the 25 fiction titles are under review at the complete review (though none of the poetry titles are):
Seventeen by Yokoyama Hideo, tr. Louise Heal Kawai
I am surprised by many of the omissions -- including all of those I hoped would make the list but worried wouldn't, as well as quite a few that I was fairly certain would (notably at least one Dag Solstad !); more good books -- and some great ones -- than usual seem to have slipped through the process (especially considering some of the titles that made it ...).
One fun oddity: three one-name authors !
Frankétienne, Ondjaki, and Sjón.
For discussion of the list see, for example, The Mookse and the Gripes thread.
The shortlists are scheduled to be announced 15 May, the winners 31 May.
They've announced this year's Guggenheim Fellowships -- 168 of them.
The fiction fellows are: Edward Carey, Patricia Engel, Michael Helm, Catherine Lacey, Carmen Maria Machado, Helen Schulman, and Luis Alberto Urrea.
They've announced the winner of the 2019 Stella Prize -- the A$50,000 Australian prize that considers both fiction and non -- and it is The Erratics, a memoir by Vicki Laveau-Harvie; see also her acceptance speech -- where she notes:
The Erratics, which is my first book, has had an unusual publishing story.
It won the Finch Memoir Prize in 2018, and then found itself out of print six months later, last December, when that publisher closed.
This does not appear to be readily available in the US/UK; in Australia, it was picked up by Harper Collins after the demise of her original publisher; see also the Fourth Estate publicity page.
They've announced the shortlists for this year's Griffin Poetry Prize, a Canadian poertry prize that has an international and a Canadian category, each paying out C$65,000 to the winner.
The judges apparently: "each read 510 books of poetry, from 32 countries, including 37 translations", and two of the four international finalists are in translation -- collections by Luljeta Lleshanaku (translated by Ani Gjika) and Kim Hyesoon (translated by Don Mee Choi).
The winners will be announced 6 June.
The Harry Ransom Center has announced the acquisition of Rachel Cusk's papers (without revealing what they paid for them ...).
As Alison Flood notes in her report in The Guardian -- though it's not mentioned in the Ransom Center press release --:
The cache, however, contains none of her draft manuscripts, which she admitted had been used to light fires, drawn on by her children, or lost.
At hlo they've started a new series, asking: "21st century thinkers for their intellectual strategies", and first up is the Q & A with Nádas Péter (see also the Hungarian original).
Cheery morning reading:
Regression, repetition, rehashed ideas, empty words and pestilential, petit-bourgeois pontificating all have bright futures ahead of them, as does everything in literature and the arts which has been done once, twice, five times already.
Rehashed belches with genteel mannerisms.
What will thrive in popular culture, meanwhile, is everything which the modern world once knew belonged in its past: mysticism, magic, tattooed bodies and tribal dances, the voluntary abandonment of an individual self, dissolving without a trace into the multitude.
Issue 36 of the Asia Literary Review is now out, summed up as 'Era Reformasi -- Indonesian Stories', with a great batch of writing from Indonesia from the past twenty years -- and it appears to all be readily accessible online !
See Zen Hae's Introduction - Indonesian Stories -- and dig through those stories !
You have until 30 April to apply for this, and if you're a translator-from-German (with at least three published translations) it really sounds like you should: The Frankfurt International Translators Programme for Translators of Literature and Non-Fiction.
The programme takes place around the Frankfurt Book Fair, 14 to 17 October, and it's a very generous pretty-much-all-expenses-paid deal (flight and up to four nights in a hotel in Frankfurt; trade visitor ticket to the Book Fair).
They're selecting up to thirty translators from the German language to go.
I look forward to hearing some of the reports from the participants in the fall.
The (US) Best Translated Book Award will announce its mammoth (25 title) longlist tomorrow, and leading up to that they've been offering a few clues at the Three Percent weblog about what will be found there.
Today's fun feature may be the most helpful, since personal taste figures so greatly in what gets selected, and in Meet the BTBA Judges ! the judges introduce themselves and give some insight into their literary preferences -- naming: 'What is your favorite non-BTBA book that you fit into your reading these past few months ?' and, even more helpfully, their: 'Top five favorite international authors ?' (with several judges naming authors have books that are eligible for this year's list (three name Fleur Jaeggy !) ...).
For more speculation as we come down to the wire, see also (and participate in !) the ongoing discussion at The Mookse and the Gripes' 2019 BTBA Speculation thread at Goodreads.
And there's also my Translation prize anticipation-post from a month ago, for a few of my thoughts.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Eugen Ruge's recent novel, Follower: Vierzehn Sätze über einen fiktiven Enkel.
This is apparently due out from Graywolf in English, eventually.
Around 7 percent of publishers account for 95 percent of the total turnover of more than €5 billion ($5.62 billion).
The remaining 93 percent are small and medium-sized independent publishers. These
are often companies that are run with a lot of commitment and little money by one, two or a small group of people and that publish less than 10 books a year.
The bankruptcy obviously hit the small publishers particularly hard; hopefully, the pain/damage will be limited.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of San Antonio's Thugs and Bottles.
'San-Antonio' (usually with the hyphen, but not on the cover of this one) is, of course, the pseudonym under which Frédéric Dard wrote his wildly popular (in French ...) series.
Only a handful of these have been translated into English, and they're long out of print (while more recently Pushkin Press has published a nice little selection of his non-San-Antonio work, like Crush) -- and this one probably isn't the one to start with, since the publishers seem to have ... fallen a bit short in the English version.
Still, I have a few more of these and will try to put up reviews of others -- they're really out there, and certainly not without appeal.
These translations are about fifty years old, and I wonder if some publisher (or translator) might not be tempted to have a go at some other San-Antonio titles now -- the wordplay must be enormously tempting (while also being incredibly challenging), and they could have a lot of fun with these.
The site went live 31 March 1999, but the first reviews (i.e. actual content) were posted at the complete review on 5 April 1999, which makes that the official start date/anniversary of the site -- yes, twenty years ago today.
A relic from the previous millennium, the site has puttered along steadily ever since, with over 4300 titles now under review and (more or less -- sorry, not tomorrow) daily coverage at this Literary Saloon (that since August 2002 -- the weblog was a later addition).
I suppose I should note and comment on the occasion -- though it's hard for me to think of it as an occasion: not much changes hereabouts, and hitting twenty doesn't come with a new batch of grand insights (even as the internet, and the literary scene and literary coverage on it, have of course been transformed over the course of these two decades).
Part of what I like about the site, and what I do, is that it's more or less exactly like it always was (just with evermore reviews ...).
The fundamentals of the site remain unchanged: aggregating and providing links to as many available book reviews, as well collecting representative quotes (as opposed to what winds up getting used for back-cover blurbs) from various review-sources; my own reviews; as well as (at this Literary Saloon), pointers to and occasional commentary about the literary news of the day.
For a while I also maintained the complete review Quarterly, but that was impossible to sustain in any meaningful form.
In particular, I soon found that that I had little interest in functioning in any sort of editorial capacity -- hence also the site has become even more 'my' site: my reviews, my interests, my voice.
I believe (in other words: tell myself) the site has benefitted from the narrower (and, I suppose, more personal) focus.
The greatest frustration I've found is the impermanence of the internet, which I have to admit took me by surprise.
I had expected to essentially be able to simply build up a library of pages and links, with curation of posted pages limited to going back to add links to new reviews and coverage, or new editions or translations of a title, as they appeared; instead, links need constant revision.
I did not expect to have to spend as much of my time updating and weeding out links, and continue to be shocked and disappointed by the vast amount of information -- reviews and other material -- that is no longer readily available (i.e. is/was only temporarily available).
(Some lingers on at the invaluable Internet Archive / waybackmachine, but rooting through that is also arduous.)
I suspect that less than 10 per cent of the original links to pages I linked to in 1999 still work -- and that the percentage of pages I link to now that will still be accessible at the same URL twenty years from now will only be slightly higher.
Updating links remains a Sisyphean task (all the more frustrating because the top of that mountain (indeed, mountain range) is never even visible ...).
Even where sites maintain information -- i.e. the pages continue to exist online -- it remains bafflingly popular to change URLs, far too often still without forwarding capacity, leaving links to nowhere (i.e. 404) pages.
I continue to curse (daily) all site re-designs that fail to take inbound links into account (i.e. most of them) -- and publishers' constant fiddling with their sites has been a constant source of aggravation.
When I started the site, it seemed to me that coverage of and interest in fiction in translation had diminished to ridiculously low levels in the US (and probably the UK, too), and I did shift the original, more general focus of the site more in that direction; I note with relief that ca. 2000 was probably the nadir, and it's nice to see how things have improved and that there's so much more interest and activity (and sites and pages to link to) in that area now.
Books in translation are perhaps still a bit of a niche-area, but at least it's a much, much larger one now.
It's gratifying to see continuing great interest, from around the world, in the site and what's on offer here, and I'm glad to see that the complete review continues to be of interest and use to a large and very diverse readership.
As to the future -- well, I daren't look ahead twenty more years, but for now see no reason why it shouldn't ... putter along as usual for the foreseeable future.
Onward to the 5000th review !
If you want to support the site,
consider becoming a patron:
The Bibliothèque nationale de France has announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) that their prix de la BNF -- a €10,000 French author- (as opposed to book-)prize -- this year goes to Apocalypse Baby-author Virginie Despentes; see also the LivresHebdo report.
The prize has been awarded since 2009 and has a solid (if rather male-dominated) list of winners that includes Patrick Modiano, Milan Kundera, and Michel Houellebecq.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Rathbones Folio Prize, the £30,000 sort of Man Booker alternative prize (for which, however, works of non-fiction are also eligible).
Anna Burns' Milkman is in the running for this, too, and the winner will be announced 20 May.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alexander Lernet-Holenia's 1936 novel The Resurrection of Maltravers, which came out in English in a nice Eridanos Library-edition in the late 1980s.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's International DUBLIN Literary Award -- an award that considers books available in English, whether originally written in it or translated, with libraries from around (parts of ...) the world nominating the titles to be considered; the prize pays out an impressive €100,000.
The ten finalists are:
(The way the prize works means it generally lags a season or two behind what's current on the US/UK market (hence, for example, books familiar from the 2017 Man Booker Prize longlist (the McGregor, Fridlund, Hamid, and winner Saunders) only now are in the running for this one).)
Usually dependably including quite a few books in translation -- last year it was 6 out of 10 -- somehow only one title in translation made it (while 39 of the 141 longlisted titles were translations).
Kind of disappointing -- and with three Man Booker Prize 2017 finalists among the final ten (as well as one more title that made the longlist that year) the prize certainly doesn't have its usual distinctive look this year (and instead has quite pronounced retread feel).
The winner will be announced 12 June.
As has been widely noted, Microsoft closed down its ebooks 'category' a few days ago: they no longer sell or support ebooks at the Microsoft Store.
That, itself isn't much of an issue -- but some of the consequences are.
As far too many readers seem unaware, when you 'purchase' an ebook, you're almost never actually buying it in any physical-electronic form, but rather you're paying for a use-license, with the seller still having ultimate control -- forever.
And so, as Microsoft helpfully explains to consumers who relied on the company and its products:
What happens to books I've already purchased ?
You can continue to read books you've purchased until July 2019 when they will no longer be available, and you will receive a full refund of the original purchase price.
Yes, you get your money back -- but your books are all gone .....
This is the reason I have never -- and can't imagine ever -- 'purchasing' an ebook on Amazon (on Kindle) or on any of the other usual platforms.
(Same with music downloads, which generally operate under a similar principle.)
Ownership may arguably be overrated, but I like to have control over these kinds of things -- I like them to be mine.
I do (reluctantly) read etexts -- and do occasionally download free temporary ones (library ebooks, or, in extremis, from one of the book-industry book preview providers such as the abomination that is Edelweiss) -- but would never pay for access that isn't mine for ever and always.
Not everyone seems to think this is a big deal (Alex Cranz reports that Microsoft Nukes Its Ebooks Store, and That's Probably for the Best and thinks: "that's great" (because it means Microsoft is: "is focusing and recognizing that even an enormous tech company with billions of devices in the wild cannot be everywhere and cannot touch every facet of your life" -- collateral consumer damage apparently be damned)).
Me, I still like the idea that when a company sells you something it'll stand behind that -- though of course in the software world that's always been anything but the case.
But boing boing gets it.