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22 July 2019 - Monday

Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlists | The Untranslated Q & A
Empty Hearts review

       Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlists

       The shortlists for the (South African) Sunday Times Literary Awards have been announced -- five books each for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and the (non-fiction) Alan Paton Award.

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



       The Untranslated Q & A

       At The Collidescope George Salis has a Q & A, Towers of Babel: An Interview with The Founder of The Untranslated -- as in The Untranslated, which you should certainly be familiar with.

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



       Empty Hearts review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Juli Zeh's thriller, Empty Hearts, coming next month from Nan A. Talese.

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



21 July 2019 - Sunday

Philip Roth estate auction | Translation from ... Thai

       Philip Roth estate auction

       They auctioned off a bunch of stuff from The Plot Against America (etc.)-author Philip Roth's estate yesterday.
       A lot of furniture and household stuff went under the hammer -- down to the patio furniture -- and fairly little that's literature-related. At least most of the stuff went for more than the estimates (the television stand -- despite being in: "good condition used, sturdy" and: "From the Roth Living Room" ! -- was one of the few real bargain items).
       There were three typewriters up for auction: an Olivetti Lettera 32 with Case (estimate: US$300-500; sold for $17,500), and two IBM Selectric IIs, the first of which had an estimate of US$100-150 (seriously, what were they thinking ?) and sold for $5,000, the second of which had an estimate of US$150-250 and sold for $4,800
       I remind you that nearly a decade ago Cormac McCarthy's Olivetti went for US$254,500 .....

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       Translation from ... Thai

       In the Nikkei Asian Review Max Crosbie-Jones reports on Found in translation: Thai literature reaches West. ("West" here means "English", sigh .....)
       Finally, a trickle of Thai works is appearing in the US/UK -- notably two by Duanwad Pimwana (I have both, and should be getting to them) -- but there's still a long way to go.
       Among the interesting observations:
Prabda [Yoon] said the fact that all but one of the recent releases were translated by Mui [Poopoksakul] is as worrying as it is impressive.
       And good to see a (small) nod to Marcel Barang and his efforts with Thai Fiction in Translation.

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20 July 2019 - Saturday

Translating from ... Russian to Pashto | Bathroom literature

       Translating from ... Russian to Pashto

       Amie Ferris-Rotman reports in The Washington Post how This Afghan ambassador in Moscow mixes diplomacy and Dostoevsky as admirably: "When [Latif] Bahand is not navigating his country's changing relationship with Moscow, he is translating".
       He's working on Crime and Punishment, and has already translated And Quiet Flows the Don, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina.
       Interesting too that:
There was also a shortage of words to work with. Russian has around 150,000 words in current usage; Pashto has around 100,000. "It's like taking a vase of water and trying to fit it into a teacup."

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



       Bathroom literature

       In the Taiwan News Lyla Liu reports that a Bathroom literature exhibition in Taipei aims to promote gender equality, as there are: "36 compositions displayed in restrooms of National Museum of Taiwan Literature".
       I'm not sure about some of this:
In the first-floor lobby, visitors can view an art installation, "Flowers in the Toilet." It symbolizes literature's irrigation of the human mind, which, like plants, need to be watered to grow stronger, said the museum.

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



19 July 2019 - Friday

Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes | Luciano De Crescenzo (1928-2019)
New Asymptote | Adrift in the Middle Kingdom review

       Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes

       They've announced the latest winners of the biannual Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes; see, for example, the Kyodo News report, Two women named for Japan's Akutagawa, Naoki literary awards.
       Imamura Natsuko (今村 夏子) won the Akutagawa Prize for むらさきのスカートの女; see also the Asahi publicity page.
       Oshima Masumi (大島真寿美) won the Naoki Prize for 渦 妹背山婦女庭訓 魂結び; see also the Bunshun publicity page.

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



       Luciano De Crescenzo (1928-2019)

       Italian author Luciano De Crescenzo has passed away; see, for example, the ANSA report.
       His Thus Spake Bellavista attracted some attention when it came out in English; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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       New Asymptote

       The July issue of Asymptote is now out -- as always, loads of material of interest, including a Q & A with Edith Grossman.

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



       Adrift in the Middle Kingdom review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jan Jacob Slauerhoff's 1934 novel, Adrift in the Middle Kingdom, coming out from Handheld Press.

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18 July 2019 - Thursday

Andrea Camilleri (1925-2019) | Neal Stephenson conversation
Translation ... from Russian into Chinese

       Andrea Camilleri (1925-2019)

       Italian author Andrea Camilleri, best known for his Inspector Montalbano mystery series, has passed away; see, for example, the obituaries in The Guardian and The New York Times and Mark Lawson on how Andrea Camilleri had a late but great career in crime writing.
       The only book by Camilleri under review at the complete review is his Hunting Season; I do have a pile of the Montalbano books and should get to some eventually.

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



       Neal Stephenson conversation

       Tyler Cowen's latest conversation is with Fall-author Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality (and a lot more).

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



       Translation ... from Russian into Chinese

       In the Global Times Chen Xi reports New 22-volume collection gathers the complete works of China's most famous Russian-to-Chinese translator as, impressively, translator Cao Ying (Sheng Junfeng) is apparently well-known enough that they published The Complete Translations of Cao Ying (草婴译著全集; see a picture).
       In how many other languages would a translator get billing and a collection like that published ?
       The collection includes twelve volumes of Tolstoy and seven of Sholokhov and Lermontov.

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



17 July 2019 - Wednesday

Hong Kong Book Fair | 'World's top thinkers' ? | Georges Perec

       Hong Kong Book Fair

       The Hong Kong Book Fair opens today and runs through the 23rd; with ongoing protests in town that should be ... interesting.
       See also Erica Fong's preview in the Hong Kong Tatler, Hong Kong Book Fair 2019: Everything You Need To Know.

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       'World's top thinkers' ?

       Prospect has made their list of The world's top 50 thinkers 2019.

       Books by three of those on the list are under review at the complete review: Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl), Robert Alter (The Art of Bible Translation), and Adam Tooze (Crashed and The Wages of Destruction).

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



       Georges Perec

       At The New Yorker's Page-Turner Paul Grimstad writes on The Absolute Originality of Georges Perec.

       With thirteen titles by Perec under review at the complete review -- along with David Bellos' wonderful biography I am obviously a big fan .....

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



16 July 2019 - Tuesday

'Second-Half 2019 Book Preview' | A Double Life review

       'Second-Half 2019 Book Preview'

       The Millions has their Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2019 Book Preview, with more than a hundred (mainly pretty mainstream) US titles.
       Only two of these are already under review at the complete review -- The Memory Police by Ogawa Yoko and Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić --, and I only have one more of them (Empty Hearts by Juli Zeh, which I should be getting to soon); I do suspect/hope there are a lot more other interesting titles out there beyond these.

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       A Double Life review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Karolina Pavlova's A Double Life, out in a new edition in Columbia University Press' Russian Library.
       This is Pavlova's only novel, but she has an interesting biography, from being tutored in Polish by Adam Mickiewicz ("she already knew Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Dutch, as well as Russian" translator Barbara Heldt notes (slightly overenthusiastically ...) in her Introduction) to the literary circles she moved in -- though she had a hard time in the very male and sexist Russian literary world of the time.

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15 July 2019 - Monday

Children's literature in ... India | Human Matter review

       Children's literature in ... India

       In the Firstpost Ruth Dsouza Prabhu reports on how Children's literature in India undergoes revolution as publishers experiment with regional languages, genres, which certainly sounds good.

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



       Human Matter review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Rodrigo Rey Rosa's Human Matter: A Fiction, recently out from the University of Texas Press.

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



14 July 2019 - Sunday

9mobile Prize for Literature ? | Publishing in ... Iraq
Fidelity & Constraint review

       9mobile Prize for Literature ?

       The Etisalat Prize for Literature was a promising-looking prize for a best work of first fiction by an African author; winners include We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (the first winner, in 2013) and Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015). When Etisalat was taken over by 9mobile they continued the prize under their name -- now the 9mobile Prize for Literature -- until, apparently, they didn't .....
       Yes, there's still an official site, but it seems ... stuck on last year's shortlist, with the last news update dated 29 January 2018. Jennifer Malec reported on this a month ago in The Johannesburg Review of Books, in The mysterious demise of the 9mobile/Etisalat Prize for Literature -- the world's biggest Pan-African book award while Olayinka Oyegbile now wonders What happened to Etisalat literature prize ? in The Nation (Nigeria).
       What indeed.

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



       Publishing in ... Iraq

       In The Arab Weekly Khulud al-Fallah reports that Iraqi publishing industry faces challenges in fast-moving landscape.
       Publisher and bookseller Safa Diab is quoted:
He said novels were "currently losing a bit of their lustre" because of declining quality.

"Some books just carry the phrase 'A Novel' on the cover. The best proof of the loss of popularity of the novel is its dwindling sales at book fairs in the Arab world during the past two years," he said.
       Well, that is disappointing.

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



       Fidelity & Constraint review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Lawrence Lessig on How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution, in Fidelity & Constraint, recently out from Oxford University Press.

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



13 July 2019 - Saturday

Alasdair Gray profile | German 'Hotlist'

       Alasdair Gray profile

       In Prospect Stephanie Boland profiles the Poor Things (etc.) author, in Alasdair Gray’s literary socialism
       His essay collection, Of Me and Others, is recently out from Canongate; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       German 'Hotlist'

       The German 'Hotlist' invites all German-language independent publishing houses to submit one book to compete in a three-phase competition that begins with the Hotlist board of trustees selecting a longlist of thirty titles, which the public can then vote on (though only the top three vote-getters make the final ten; the remaining seven titles are chosen by the Hotlist jury); the jury then picks the winning publisher (it is the publisher, rather than the book/author that gets the cash).
       They've now announced the thirty-title longlist -- and opened the voting. (Admirably, they also reveal all 160 submitted titles, as every literary prize should .....)
       This gives a good overview of what independent German publishers are publishing -- even if the one-book-per-publisher limit is rather ... limiting. They do include some big names: among authors in translation with books in the final thirty are Anthony Burgess, Patrick Deville, Helen Oyeyemi, and Boualem Sansal.

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12 July 2019 - Friday

Man International Booker Prize judges | FLIP
Prix littéraire « Le Monde » longlist

       Man International Booker Prize judges

       They've announced the judges for the 2020 [no-longer-'Man'] International Booker Prize, and they are: Ted Hodgkinson (chair), Lucie Campos, Jennifer Croft, Valeria Luiselli, and Jeet Thayil.
       The longlist will be announced in March 2020.

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



       FLIP

       The Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty runs through Sunday.
       In The Rio Times Richard Mann has a thorough overview, in Paraty Hosts 17th Edition of its International Literary Festival Through Sunday.

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



       Prix littéraire « Le Monde » longlist

       With the start of the French 'rentrée littéraire' -- the fall book-flood, this year with 524 titles (down from 567 last year (and 727 in 2007 ...)) -- the longlists for the fall book prizes start appearing -- a good overview of some of the interesting new titles coming up.
       The Prix du Roman Fnac -- which considers both French fiction (there are 366 in this year's rentrée) and translated fiction (188) -- has announced its huge, thirty-title selection, which includes titles by Nathacha Appanah, Laurent Binet, Marie Darrieussecq, Edna O'Brien, and Juli Zeh.
       The prix littéraire « Le Monde » has also announced its (considerably shorter) longlist; it also includes new books by Leonora Miano and Jean-Philippe Toussaint (La Clé USB; see the Les Éditions de Minuit publicity page).

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



11 July 2019 - Thursday

Studio Créole | Iris Murdoch | Somehow, Crystal review

       Studio Créole

       Among the events at this year's Manchester International Festival is Studio Créole: "an intimate laboratory for stories where we can hear writers read in their original language and simultaneously listen to a live translation, channeled through a lone performer", which runs from 12 to 14 July.
       The seven writers involved are: Patrick Chamoiseau, Sayaka Murata, Adania Shibli, Sjón, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Dubravka Ugrešić, and Alejandro Zambra -- quite the line-up ! -- while the project was conceived and is curated by Adam Thirlwell, is co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and was designed by Rem Koolhaas and Cookies.
       At the Times Literary Supplement Thirlwell has an introductory overview as he "considers the history of créolité and literature transcending a single language" in World literature: lightness, multiplicity, transformation.

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



       Iris Murdoch

       Lots of Iris Murdoch material in this week's Times Literary Supplement -- it's her centenary; she would have turned 100 on the fifteenth -- including them having their "contributors reflect on the novelist's impact" in What does Iris Murdoch mean to you now ?
       I'm a huge fan -- and pleased that there are still a few of her works I haven't gotten to; I only got around to An Accidental Man last year, and it was the best book I read all year.

       (Updated): Iris Murdoch coverage abounds -- see now also Leo Robson on Iris the insoluble in the New Statesman -- though obviously I move in the wrong circles (at least on the internet) and can find no evidence that: "Iris Murdoch's work has fallen out of fashion", as everyone (properly) gushes about her work. Even before the current centenary-interest, I don't think any title has popped up on the weblogs and Twitter-feeds I read, going back many, many years as often as a favorite read as The Sea, the Sea (though obviously that's influenced by what weblogs/Twitter-feeds I follow -- my kind of readers ...).

       (Updated - 14 July): See now also Alex Clark in The Guardian on Iris Murdoch at 100: 'Her books are full of passion and disaster'.

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       Somehow, Crystal review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tanaka Yasuo's 1981 novel, Somehow, Crystal, just out from Kurodahan Press.

       I review far too few books that I read before I started the site but I actually have read this one before -- the German translation, some twenty-five years ago. It's not a great book, but of enough interest that it was certainly worth covering (if not necessarily revisiting ...) -- and I fear it won't get all that much coverage otherwise (though surely The Japan Times will at least get to it). Indeed, it's notable enough -- for several reasons -- that if the English translation had been available I would have mentioned it in my The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction.
       If you need further convincing/tempting: Sayonara, Gangsters-author Takahashi Gen'ichirō wrote the Introduction to this -- and he concludes it by suggesting:
There has never been anther novel like this, nor is there likely to be on in the future. I can think of no other novel that so deeply and thoroughly confronts capitalist society. If Marx were still alive, his follow-up to Das Kapital would surely have been a novel like Somehow, Crystal.
       That last sentence is some tag-line; I hope some booksellers use it .....

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10 July 2019 - Wednesday

Georg-Büchner-Preis | Publishing in ... Iran | Three Summers review

       Georg-Büchner-Preis

       They've announced the winner of this year's Georg-Büchner-Preis, the leading German author prize, and it is Lukas Bärfuss, who will pick up the €50,000 prize on 2 November; see also the Deutsche Welle report, Swiss writer Lukas Bärfuss wins prestigious Georg Büchner Prize.
       His Rwanda-novel One Hundred Days has been published in English; see the Granta publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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       Publishing in ... Iran

       In the Tehran Times they report on Mahmud Barabadi's comments that Translated books easier to publish in Iran (than domestically-written books).
       Among the reasons he gives: "due to the lack of copyright legalities in Iran, the publication of translated books are easier for the publishers in Iran", while also noting that:
Iranian writers write books inspired by the local and cultural atmosphere and need to attract Iranian readers. Unfortunately, the great number of restrictions on Iranian writers in choosing topics, characters, and even the descriptions of events lead to failure in this field

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       Three Summers review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Margarita Liberaki's Three Summers, just out from New York Review Books.

       This translation actually came out almost a quarter of a century ago -- but locally, in Greece, and until now it hasn't been readily available in the US/UK, so it's good to see this edition.

       Liberaki is the mother of well-known (and more translated) author Margarita Karapanou (Kassandra and the Wolf, etc.) -- but they are not the first parent-child duo with books under review at the complete review.

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9 July 2019 - Tuesday

Caine Prize | Translating from ... Tibetan | Babel review

       Caine Prize for African Writing

       They've announced the winner of this year's Caine Prize for African Writing -- the leading African short story prize -- and it is Skinned (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), by Lesley Nneka Arimah, originally published in McSweeney's.

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       Translating from ... Tibetan

       At the Asymptote blog Max Berwald has a Q & A Translating Contemporary Tibet: In Conversation with Christopher Peacock -- the translator of The Handsome Monk by Tsering Döndrup.

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



       Babel review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Babel: Adventures in Translation -- the book to go with the recent Bodleian Library exhibit.

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



8 July 2019 - Monday

'New Dutch Writing' | The last 100 reviews

       'New Dutch Writing'

       Campaign launched in the UK promoting Dutch literature in translation to UK readers, the Dutch Foundation for Literature recently announced; it is set to include: "over 70 author events at a range of festivals and literature venues nationwide, featuring Dutch writers in conversation with their British counterparts".
       There's already an official site -- New Dutch Writing -- which: "aims to engage UK readers with stimulating, cross-cultural debate", but there's ... not much content available yet.

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       The last 100 reviews

       I recently reached 4400 books under review at the complete review, so it's time for another overview of the past 100 reviewed titles (4301 through 4400).

       - The last 100 reviews were posted over 162 days -- slightly longer than the previous 100 (145 days), but totaling considerably more words: 138,605 (last 100: 127,620 words), by far the highest average review length for any 100-review period to date. The longest review was 6501 words, and eleven reviews were over 2000 words long.
       Reviewed books had a total of 25,858 pages, slightly above the previous 25,405 but with a considerably lower pages-per-day rate (156.8, down from 175.2).

       - Reviewed books were originally written in 27 different languages (including English), one down from the previous hundred; English led the way, with 23 titles, followed by French (16), German (12.5), and Japanese (7). One new language was added -- Tibetan -- bringing the total number of languages covered to 78. (See also the updated full breakdown of all the languages books under review were originally written in.)

       - Reviewed books were by authors from 36 countries (previous 100: 36), France and the UK tied for the most (12), followed by Germany and Japan (7).

       - Male-written books were overwhelmingly dominant -- but slightly less so than usual, with 73 of the reviewed books written by men (improving the horribly sexist average of written-by-women titles under review to ... 16.81 per cent).

       - No books were rated A+ or A, but 10 were rated A-; B was the most common grade (56), while one title each got a B- and a C.

       - Fiction dominated, as it always does, with 83 titles that were novels/novellas/stories.

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7 July 2019 - Sunday

Sjón's ecological template for literature | US support for Taiwanese literature
The Song of Kiều review

       Sjón's ecological template for literature

       At Eurozine they have Moonstone-author Sjón's Wespennest article On the organic diversity of literature where he considers 'How can a writer possibly contribute to averting catastrophic climate change ?'

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



       US support for Taiwanese literature

       In the Taipei Times Han Cheung reports on how 'The US Information Services supported and translated works by young Taiwanese modernist writers during the 1960s, as part of efforts in a 'Cultural Cold War' against communism', in Taiwan in Time: Waging war with pen and paper, as:
Under [Richard] McCarthy, the USIS sponsored and translated a significant number of works by young Taiwanese writers, and also published books featuring local avant-garde artists
       Ah, the good old days .... (?)

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       The Song of Kiều review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Timothy Allen's new translation of Nguyễn Du's Vietnamese classic, The Song of Kiều: A New Lament, just out in the Penguin Classics series.

       This is apparently the first Vietnamese title in the Penguin Classics series -- long overdue, one would think. But this is certainly the obvious choice for the series, and while there have been several previous translations this one certainly has the potential of reaching a broader audience.

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



6 July 2019 - Saturday

Premio Strega | Teju Cole keynote | Leïla Slimani Q & A

       Premio Strega

       They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Strega, the leading Italian literary prize, and it is M. Il figlio del secolo, getting 228 votes, more than a hundred more than the runner-up among the five finalists.
       The massive, largely documentary novel is forthcoming from HarperCollins in the US and Fourth Estate in the UK -- and already got some US coverage in The New York Times, where Emma Johanningsmeier wrote about how A New Book About Mussolini Is Provoking a Debate Over His Legacy.
       See also the Bompiani publicity page.

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



       Teju Cole keynote

       Teju Cole gave the keynote speech at the awarding of the Internationaler Literaturpreis a few weeks ago, and the NYRDaily they now have a transcript, Carrying a Single Life: On Literature and Translation -- but you can also watch the whole speech on video.

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



       Leïla Slimani Q & A

       At Qantara.de Schayan Riaz has a Q & A with The Perfect Nanny-author Leïla Slimani.
       Among her responses:
As a child, I was an inveterate liar, always living in a fantasy world. I dreamt about having an extraordinary life, a passionate life, the life of a great author. I wrote poems and wanted to kill myself.

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



5 July 2019 - Friday

Prix Émile-Guimet | De man zonder ziekte review

       Prix Émile-Guimet

       They've announced the winner of this year's prix Émile-Guimet de Littérature asiatique, a leading French prize for an Asian work of fiction -- and it is The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Miyashita Natsu -- selected from a rather disappointing mere seventeen submissions.
       See also the Doubleday publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       De man zonder ziekte review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Arnon Grunberg's 2012 novel, De man zonder ziekte.

       As you may recall, Open Letter was interested in publishing this, but .....
       Sigh.
       It's not the best not-yet-translated Grunberg work, but it definitely is among those that should be available in English.

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4 July 2019 - Thursday

Deep Vellum expands | Water management fiction
Leo-Perutz-Preis shortlist

       Deep Vellum expands

       At Publishers Weekly Ed Nawotka reports that Deep Vellum Acquires Two Publishers, Adds Imprints, as:
Dallas-based translation publisher Deep Vellum acquired the backlist of two separate independent publishing house -- Phoneme Media of Los Angeles and A Strange Object of Austin, Tex. -- and is expanding into publishing works originally written in English.
       Also good to hear:
Recent translation acquisitions include internationally-renowned Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu's most recent novel, Solenoid
       Definitely something to look forward to.

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



       Water management fiction

       There's recently been news of water shortages in India, so it's good to see that among the reactions is a look at the ... literature, as Kavitha Muralidharan writes about From Sangam era to Silappadhikaram, what Tamil literature tells us about harvesting water, as:
Ancient Tamil literature speaks eloquently about Tamils' knowledge in judicious use of water.
       Whatever works .....

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



       Leo-Perutz-Preis shortlist

       Austrian crime fiction hasn't exactly broken through internationally but has certainly blossomed domestically over the past decade -- and for the past decade they've been awarding the Leo-Perutz-Preis für Wiener Kriminalliteratur -- the Leo Perutz Prize for Viennese Crime Fiction, paying out a decent €5,000. Yes, more books by Leo Perutz have been translated into English -- several now available from Pushkin Press -- than winners of this prize have, but still .....
       They've now announced the five finalists for this year's prize -- which include an Alex Beer title (Beer has actually been translated into English ...); the winner will be announced 5 November.

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



3 July 2019 - Wednesday

Miles Franklin Award shortlist | Feluda reviews

       Miles Franklin Award shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award, one of the leading Australian novel prizes
       The finalists include two-time winner (in 1982 (!) and 1994) Rodney Hall (for A Stolen Season) and Gail Jones, who previously had shortlisted titles for a three-year run 2006 through 2008.
       The winner will be announced on 30 July.

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



       Feluda reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of two of Satyajit Ray's novels featuring private investigator Feluda:        Yes, film director Ray also wrote a lot of basically young adult crime fiction -- almost three dozen works starring Feluda.

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



2 July 2019 - Tuesday

Writing in ... Georgia | New World Literature Today

       Writing in ... Georgia

       I mentioned the rumblings of discontent about this recently: the Georgian Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport -- itself newly consolidated -- decreed a few weeks ago that the (existing and apparently quite successful) LEPLs ('Legal Entities under Public Law'; read the official explanation here, if you're really interested ...), the Georgian National Book Center and the Writer's House have been "abolished" -- and replaced by a new LEPL that is presumably meant to assume their functions, the "National Foundation of Georgian Literature" (ლიტერატურის ეროვნული ფონდი; I have not yet been able to find a website for it yet -- or even an official announcement of its creation, beyond that reporting the appointment of its first director, Irma Ratiani).
       The Georgian (and, admirably, the German) press are full of coverage about this -- and see now also English-language reports such as Ana Dumbadze's report in Georgia Today, Writers Boycott National Foundation of Georgian Literature, noting that:
Writers, translators, publishers and former employees of the abolished organizations are demanding the restoration of the abolished organizations and the abolishment of a newly established entity instead.
       The protestors promise: "Our boycott will be comprehensive and noisy".
       It's a shame: there's no question that the Georgian National Book Center did great work in support of Georgia's recent turn as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair (which is why the German publishing professionals, impressed by the Georgians' work, are so active in their support of their Georgian colleagues) -- though admittedly that hasn't (yet) extended to convincing US and UK publishers to take on many works ..... And it's certainly not good to hear that, for example: "the need for preparation for the Paris 2021 Book Fair are being completely ignored". Continued support for Georgian literature, domestically and abroad, would certainly be helpful (like in so many other places -- but the Georgians really seemed to be on the right track, until this recent going-off-the-rails ...).
       See also the Georgian literature under review at the complete review.

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



       New World Literature Today

       The Summer issue of World Literature Today is now out, with a focus on climate change -- and, as always, a nice big selection of book reviews.

       It is the 'Summer issue' which, yes, confirms that World Literature Today has gone seasonal -- and now only comes out four times a year. In 2018 it was a bi-monthly, so that's quite a fall back (though of course there may well be as much overall material, just spread out over fewer issues) -- though 2014 through 2017 they split the difference, with only five issues a year (bi-monthly, with a double issue covering the summer); the entire preceding decade they put out six issues annually. I mention this because -- coïncidentally or part of a larger trend ? -- for the first time since 2004, the current issue of the otherwise always monthly Words without Borders covers two months, June-July (i.e. they aren't putting out as much either).
       For all the apparent interest in literature in translation and international literature, even these leading publications are pulling (if ever so slightly) back ? It makes me worry/wonder .....
       (Somewhat similarly: traffic from the US was actually slightly up at the complete review in June, over May -- but the percentage of all traffic that is from the US was down to a low of just over 28 per cent -- far off the 40 per cent that was the norm just a few years ago: the site audience is increasingly international.)

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



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