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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


19 March 2019 - Tuesday

Folio Prize longlist | Libris Literatuur Prijs shortlist | Snapshots review

       Folio Prize longlist

       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.

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



       Libris Literatuur Prijs shortlist

       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.

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



       Snapshots review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Claudio Magris' Snapshots, just out from Yale University Press in their Margellos World Republic of Letters.

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



18 March 2019 - Monday

Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award | The Enlightened Army review

       Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award

       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 !

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       The Enlightened Army review

       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 !

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



17 March 2019 - Sunday

Literary criticism in ... India | Proper-sized books

       Literary criticism in ... India

       Scroll.in has a Q & A with an author and literary editor, 'We have an assembly line approach to writing about books': Anjum Hasan on literary criticism.
       She notes that in India: "We have an inchoate book reviewing culture on the whole"
       A good historical perspective too, and interesting re. the changing concept/significance of 'Indianness'.

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       Proper-sized books

       At PopMatters Hans Rollmann reviews the new Red Circle Minis (two of which are also under review at the complete review, Hanawa Kanji's Backlight and Shiraishi Kazufumi's Stand-in Companion), but what I really appreciate about the piece, Small Books for Big Brains: Red Circle Minis' Pocket-sized Japanese Fiction, is the spirited case Rollmann makes for properly (i.e. pocket-) sized books:
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.)

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



16 March 2019 - Saturday

W.S.Merwin (1927-2019) | 'The fate of the book review'
Little Zinnobers review

       W.S.Merwin (1927-2019)

       Leading American poet and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner W.S.Merwin has passed away; see, for example, Margalit Fox's obituary in The New York Times.

       None of his books (or translations) are under review at the complete review, but most of his work is available -- get, for example, the Library of America collections Collected Poems 1952-1993 (publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) and Collected Poems 1996-2011 (publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).

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



       'The fate of the book review'

       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 York announced 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 .....

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       Little Zinnobers review

       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.

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



15 March 2019 - Friday

NBCC Awards | The Tale of Genji exhibit

       NBCC Awards

       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.

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



       The Tale of Genji exhibit

       There's a The Tale of Genji exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York through 16 June
       See also the report at The Japan Times -- and if you're in the Genji-mood, check out Michael Emmerich's fascinating study, The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature

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



14 March 2019 - Thursday

2019 Windham-Campbell Prizes | NBA judging panels
Biblical translation reviews

       2019 Windham-Campbell Prizes

       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.

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



       NBA judging panels

       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.

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       Biblical translation reviews

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



13 March 2019 - Wednesday

Man Booker International Prize longlist | HarperVia
'Too strange for an Anglo-Saxon audience' ?

       Man Booker International Prize longlist

       They've announced the thirteen-title-strong longlist for this year's Man Booker International Prize:
  • At Dusk, by Hwang Sok-yong; tr. Sora Kim-Russell
  • Celestial Bodies, by Jokha Alharthi; tr. Marilyn Booth
  • The Death of Murat Idrissi, by Tommy Wieringa; tr. Sam Garrett
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk; tr. Antonia Lloyd-Jones
  • The Faculty of Dreams, by Sara Stridsberg; tr. Deborah Bragan-Turner
  • Four Soldiers, by Hubert Mingarelli; tr. Sam Taylor
  • Jokes for the Gunmen, by Mazen Maarouf; tr. Jonathan Wright
  • Love in the New Millennium, by Can Xue; tr. Annelise Finegan Wasmoen
  • Mouthful of Birds, by Samanta Schweblin; tr. Megan McDowell
  • The Pine Islands, by Marion Poschmann; tr. Jen Calleja
  • The Remainder, by Alia Trabucco Zerán; tr. Sophie Hughes
  • The Shape Of The Ruins, by Juan Gabriel Vásquez; tr. Anne McLean
  • The Years, by Annie Ernaux; tr. Alison Strayer
       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 .....

       The shortlist will be announced 9 April.

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



       HarperVia

       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.

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       'Too strange for an Anglo-Saxon audience' ?

       At The New York Review of Books' weblog Tim Parks wonders Does Talking About Books Make Us More Cosmopolitan ? -- which includes this depressing titbit:
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 .....

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



12 March 2019 - Tuesday

Alex Zucker Q & A | Article 353 review

       Alex Zucker Q & A

       At Radio Praha Ian Willoughby has a Q & A with translator-from-the-Czech Alex Zucker: I don't want to translate books, I want to translate authors.

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



       Article 353 review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tanguy Viel's Article 353 -- out today, from Other Press.

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



11 March 2019 - Monday

Bernard Binlin Dadié (1916-2018) | Bright Young Things review

       Bernard Binlin Dadié (1916-2018)

       Bernard Binlin Dadié has passed away, aged 103; see, for example, the Jeune Afrique report.
       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.

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



       Bright Young Things review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Scarlett Thomas' 2001 novel, Bright Young Things.

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



10 March 2019 - Sunday

Haziq and Mohi | Translation prize anticipation

       Haziq and Mohi

       At Scroll.in Mallik Thatipalli profiles Haziq and Mohi, explaining Why a tiny Hyderabad store with tattered old books has been attracting scholars for decades.
       The store has gotten quite a few mentions over the years, including The Hindu articles on Death of a book connoisseur and explaining how A year after Awad Bafanna's death, his brothers still sorting books.
       Sounds like a fantastic shop.

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



       Translation prize anticipation

       The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize will be announced on the 13th -- Wednesday -- and the Best Translated Book Award longlist is due on 10 April.
       The Mookse and Gripes Goodreads discussion board has speculation threads for both the MBIP and BTBA, and quite a few weblogs have posted predictions -- see, for example, Tony's Reading List, Beyond the Epilogue, and Knowledge Lost.
       Unfortunately, the Man Booker International Prize does not reveal what titles are in the running for the prize (eligible titles have to be submitted, and they won't tell you wish ones are), so there's some guesswork involved in what is even being considered; since the MBIP relies on UK publication and release dates I have seen fewer of the eligible titles and can't even hazard a guess as to what might be in the running.
       The Best Translated Book Award is at least very open about what titles are being considered: in the fiction category, it's any work of fiction (except anthologies) published or distributed in English translation for the first time in the US in the past calendar year -- and they're all listed on the Translation Database (check '2018' and then 'fiction' under 'Genre' and search ...). Currently, there are 504 fiction titles listed at the Translation Database for 2018; subtract a few dozen anthologies and you more or less have the list of titles the judges are considering (and they do try to consider them all, though a few probably fall between the cracks).
       I've only reviewed a disappointing 81 of the Translation Database-listed titles to date -- of which two aren't actually BTBA eligible (An Untouched House and The Fourth Circle). I rarely guess well as to what might make the longlist -- even when I was a BTBA judge, i.e. has some actual input, I did not get a good percentage of my favorites on the 25-title longlist ..... But, of course, it's fun to play .....
       Of the titles under review at the complete review, I('d like to) think a few stand a very good chance of making the longlist [books marked with asterisks (*) are probably also eligible for the MBIP]:        Reviewed books that I'd like to see on the longlist but that I worry won't make it include:        Reviewed books that I suspect stand a greater chance of making the longlist but which would be a close call for me include:        Reviewed books that I'd be tempted to longlist but seem more like outside shots include:        Books that I haven't reviewed that I suspect stand a good chance of getting longlisted:
  • CoDex 1962* by Sjón
  • The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti
  • Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
  • Madame Victoria by Catherine Leroux
  • One of the Wolfgang Hilbig books
       But there are just way too many factors involved (mainly: the whims of the judges, and the way the longlist is selected) .....
       Anyway, I look forward to the announcements, next week and next month; it's much easier narrowing down the best and worst from those (and complaining about the worthy titles that didn't make the cut).

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



9 March 2019 - Saturday

French-American Foundation Translation Prize finalists
The Handsome Monk review

       French-American Foundation Translation Prize finalists

       The French-American Foundation has announced the finalists for its Translation Prize in the two categories:
  • Fiction:
    • The Hospital by Ahmed Bouanani, tr. Lara Vergnaud
    • Imaginary Lives by Marcel Schwob, tr. Chris Clarke
    • Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, tr. Linda Coverdale
    • Small Country by Gaël Faye, tr. Sarah Ardizzone
    • Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants by Mathias Énard, tr. Charlotte Mandell

  • Non-fiction
    • The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga, tr. Jordan Stump
    • The Eye by Philippe Costamagna, tr. Mark Polizzotti
    • Good Government by Pierre Rosanvallon, tr. Malcolm Debevoise
    • Nocturne: Night in American Art by Hélène Valance, tr. Jane Marie Todd
    • The Order of the Day by Eric Vuillard, tr. Frank Wynne
       I have quite a few of these and hope to get to some more before they announce the winners -- on 14 May.

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



       The Handsome Monk review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tsering Döndrup's The Handsome Monk and Other Stories, just out from Columbia University Press.

       There's very little Tibetan fiction that's been translated into English, but the last few months have seen a little boom: there's this, the OR Books anthology Old Demons, New Deities (see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) and the Pema Tseden-collection, Enticement, recently from the State University of New York Press (see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk). The latter two include both translations from the Tibetan and Chinese (and some English originals in the case of the anthology), but given that most of what has been available to date has been translated from the Chinese this certainly expands what's on offer.

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8 March 2019 - Friday

EBRD Literature Prize | Stella Prize finalists
Friend of My Youth review

       EBRD Literature Prize

       They've announced that Hamid Ismailov's The Devils' Dance, in Donald Rayfield's translation, has won this year's EBRD Literature Prize, with author and translator sharing the €20,000 payout.

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



       Stella Prize finalists

       They've announced the six finalists for the 2019 Stella Prize, the Australian prize "celebrating Australian women's writing", open to both fiction and non.
       The winner will be announced 9 April.

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



       Friend of My Youth review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Amit Chaudhuri's Friend of My Youth, now also out in a US edition, from New York Review Books.

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



7 March 2019 - Thursday

Translation success in the UK | Walter Scott Prize longlist
War Songs review

       Translation success in the UK

       The Man Booker International Prize commissioned Nielsen Book to research UK sales of translated fiction, and they found Translated fiction continues to grow.
       Impressively:
the category denoted as 'general/literary fiction' in translation stood out for its extreme growth, of 20% over the course of 2018. This is in marked contrast to the sales of English-language fiction in that category, which have plateaued.
       Among the other interesting findings:
  • the crime and thriller genre, which has historically been a large contributor to the sales of translated fiction, has declined by 19%
  • there has been an extremely substantial growth -- by 90% -- in sales of translated short stories and anthologies between 2017 and 2018
       French continues to be the most popular language -- as in the US -- but Spanish, the American number two is way down the UK list, while: "for new books published in the past five years, Norwegian and Swedish are the most popular languages of origin". (The focus here and throughout seems to be on sales volume, rather than number of titles.)
       They list the top selling translated titles from 2018, with three titles shifting more than 100,000 copies; only four sold enough that they should have made the top-100 of the year (but The Guardian's premature (sales only through 8 December) in fact lists only one). Translations from Scandinavian languages and Japanese dominate, with only one French and one Spanish (at nr. 20) title making the top twenty, and no German titles making it.
       The most amazing sales success remains Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist -- this translation from 1993 (!) still sold 40,322 copies in 2018, good enough to make it the eighth-best-selling translated title.

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



       Walter Scott Prize longlist

       They've announced the twelve-title-strong longlist for this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
       The shortlist will be announced next month, the winner on 15 June.

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



       War Songs review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of ʿAntarah ibn Shaddād's sixth century War Songs, recently out in NYU Press' Library of Arabic Literature series.

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



6 March 2019 - Wednesday

Confirmed: two Nobel Prizes this year | RBC Taylor Prize
New Zealand Book Awards shortlists | Bookselling in ... Germany

       Confirmed: two Nobel Prizes this year

       The Nobel Foundation has announced that ... it's back: after not being awarded last year, the Nobel Prize in Literature to be awarded again ! And, as expected: "this autumn Laureates for both 2018 and 2019 will be announced"
       Apparently, the Nobel Foundation is convinced the Swedish Academy has gotten its act together sufficiently to be entrusted with selecting the laureates again; no doubt, it's no coïncidence that this announcement comes after they finalized the exit of former permanent secretary (the position in charge of the Nobel duties at the Swedish Academy) Sara Danius (see my previous mention) and, in what was presumably the final obstacle, getting another former permanent secretary, Horace Engdahl, to at least separate himself from the Nobel Committee, as announced today by the Swedish Academy.

       It'll be interesting to see how they handle the selection of two laureates; it seems like it would be difficult to really select them separately, as would have happened had they selected last year's laureate ... last year. Will they select them from two different pools of nominations (presumably nominations were submitted last year as well as this -- though maybe fewer nominators were willing to suggest people this year) or consider everyone nominated over the past two years ? Will they aim for some balance -- novelist/poet; man/woman; old/young; geographic and linguistic ?
       Let the speculation begin .....

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



       RBC Taylor Prize

       They've announced that the RBC Taylor Prize -- a prize: "to enhance public appreciation for the genre known as literary non-fiction" -- goes to Lands of Lost Borders, by Kate Harris.
       See the HarperCollins publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       New Zealand Book Awards shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for this year's Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
       Hopefully the exposure will mean that more of these become available in the US/UK as well .....
       The winning titles will be announced 14 May.

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



       Bookselling in ... Germany

       At Deutsche Welle Sabine Peschel has a Q & A with Alexander Skipis, the CEO of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, about the future of books, Strategies to help bookstores survive reader atrophy.
       The insolvency of Germany's largest book distributor is just one of the current bumps in the trade.
       Interesting also to hear that:
Earlier, a title was called a bestseller if it sold 4, 5, or 600,000 copies. Nowadays, a book is a best-seller if 100,000 copies are sold.

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



5 March 2019 - Tuesday

Europese Literatuurprijs longlist | The Club review

       Europese Literatuurprijs longlist

       They've announced the twenty-title-strong longlist for this year's Europese Literatuurprijs, awarded for the best translated novel from Europe that appeared in Dutch last year.
       Always interesting to see what gets translated -- and acclaimed -- in other countries and languages -- though of course it's a bit of a shame that this is restricted to European fiction.
       Many of the longlisted titles are available in English (indeed, a few are translated from English ...), and two are under review at the complete review: The Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard and Melancholy by Jon Fosse.
       The shortlist will be announced 25 June.

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



       The Club review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Takis Würger's The Club, just about out in English.

       Würger's latest work, Stella, recently came out in German -- and has caused quite a stir; see, for example, the Deutsche Welle report, Novel based on Jew 'catcher' Stella Kübler stirs controversy.

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



4 March 2019 - Monday

Women's Prize for Fiction longlist | On translation | Aviaries review

       Women's Prize for Fiction longlist

       They've announced the sixteen-title longlist for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction, selected from 163 (disappointingly unrevealed) entries.
       Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer is the only longlisted title under review at the complete review -- indeed, the only one of these titles I've seen.
       The shortlist will be announced 29 April, and the winner on 5 June.

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



       On translation

       In Prospect Miranda France writes on Between worlds: in praise of the literary translator.
       Among her observations:
What makes a translation vitally different from the original text is its impermanence.

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



       Aviaries review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Zuzana Brabcová's Aviaries, just out from Twisted Spoon Press.

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



3 March 2019 - Sunday

Republic of Consciousness Prize finalists
Fostering translation | At Dusk review

       Republic of Consciousness Prize finalists

       They've announced the six finalists for this year's Republic of Consciousness Prize -- awarded for: "the best fiction published by publishers with fewer than 5 full-time employees" -- and they are:
  • Dedalus by Chris McCabe
  • Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić
  • Kitch by Anthony Joseph
  • Lucia by Alex Pheby
  • Murmur by Will Eaves
  • Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine
       (Apparently publishers with few employees are particularly successful with one-word titles .....)
       I recently got the ARC of the US edition of Will Eaves' Murmur (coming from Bellevue Literary Press), so I hope to get to that as well soon.

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



       Fostering translation

       At Scroll.in Mohini Gupta has a Q & A, asking: Do literary translations need financial patronage ? Ask Kalpana Raina, who has been doing just that.
       Among the institutions she is associated with discussed here are Words without Borders and The Yali Project

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



       At Dusk review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hwang Sok-yong's At Dusk, already out in the UK from Scribe, and coming to the US in July.

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



2 March 2019 - Saturday

Translation in the US | New Books in German
My Sister, the Serial Killer review

       Translation in the US

       There seems to be lots of interest and enthusiasm -- but, writing in Publishers Weekly, Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent, and the Translation Database, finds: 'Despite the success of translations in 2018, production fell', in considering The Plight of Translation in America.
       A variety of interesting statistics -- including that Spanish has taken over as the most-translated-from language (101 titles, versus 97 from the French in 2018), and that: "Independent presses (including AmazonCrossing) and nonprofit presses published most works in translation: 86%, compared to 14% from the Big Five".

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



       New Books in German

       A new set of reviews of recent German titles is up at New Books in German -- fiction, non, and children's and YA.
       A good variety and overview of titles, a few of which should eventually be available in English translation.

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



       My Sister, the Serial Killer review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer.

       Neat to see this book, first published as an e-novel in Nigeria as Thicker than Water, get picked up, edited, and re-packaged for the US/UK market, and turn into such a smashing success.

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



1 March 2019 - Friday

Wole Soyinka Q & A | NSW Premier's Literary Awards shortlists
Indonesia as LBF Market Focus

       Wole Soyinka Q & A

       The 21 March issue of The New York Review of Books has a conversation between Wole Soyinka and Henry Louis Gates Jr., ‘There’s One Humanity or There Isn’t’: A Conversation.
       More about politics and politicians than literature, but they do get to it as well -- as well as:
Gates: Were you surprised when the Swedish Academy named Bob Dylan a [Nobel] laureate ?

Soyinka: Yes, I was surprised, and at the beginning I had a sort of mixed reaction toward it. Afterward I came down heavily on the side of the negative.
[...]
I considered it one of those gestures: “Let’s break the mold for the sake of breaking the mold.” I wasn’t impressed at all. Even if you’re going to do that, you should proceed as you do normally for literature. You want to take the lyrics out of the music and say this is literature also, in spite of its being in the musical mode ? Then you must apply the same stringent standards, and I do not believe that those standards were applied. I look at the list of poets who’ve been nominated in the past. I compare their work with the lyrics of Bob Dylan, and it is ridiculous.
       Amen to that. Amen.

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



       NSW Premier's Literary Awards shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, one of he leading Australian literary prizes, with awards in eleven categories; unfortunately, the official site does not simply conveniently list the finalists, but at least Readings does list them in seven of the categories (but for, for example, the translation prize, you still have to click through at the official site.
       The Christina Stead Prize for Fiction is the big prize; beside the new Tim Winton, Gerald Murnane's Border Districts is also still in the running.
       The winners will be announced on 29 April.

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



       Indonesia as LBF Market Focus

       Indonesia will be the Market Focus at this year's London Book Fair, which runs 12 to 14 March.
       At The Bookseller Caroline Carpenter offers a good overview of the publishing situation there, and for Indonesian authors abroad, in Indonesia and its 'islands of inspiration' set to star at LBF.

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



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