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the Literary Saloon at the Complete Review
opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


Note: posting will be more sporadic through
ca. 22 November; apologies for the inconvenience

- the Management

26 October 2021 - Tuesday

Amazon in France | Chinese Nebula Awards | Never review

       Amazon in France

       At Reuters Elizabeth Pineau reports on how France moves to shield its book industry from Amazon, as there's a new law ("adopted by parliament but not yet enacted") that seeks to level the playing field by setting a minimum price for book deliveries. Since discounting isn't permitted in France, this is one of the ways Amazon could still beat other retailers' pricing, as:
French law prohibits free book deliveries but Amazon has circumvented this by charging a single centime (cent). Local book stores typically charge about 5-7 euros ($5.82-8.15) for shipping a book.

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



       Chinese Nebula Awards

       At China.org.cn Zhang Rui reports on the latest Chinese Nebula Awards, in 'Crossing Saturn's Rings' wins China's top sci-fi award, as Xie Yunning's 穿越土星环 took the top prize.
       Jiang Qian's translation of James Gunn's Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction was named the best translated work.

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



       Never review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ken Follett's new thriller, Never.

       This surely is (or soon will be) the most best-selling book I've reviewed this year -- and, indeed, in a long time.

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



25 October 2021 - Monday

Q & As: Fleur Jaeggy - Paul Auster | Forward Prizes

       Q & A: Fleur Jaeggy

       At The New Yorker Dylan Byron has a lengthy Q & A 'with the reclusive author of Sweet Days of Discipline and The Water Statues about writing, silence, and the soul', in Fleur Jaeggy Thinks Nothing of Herself.

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



       Q & A: Paul Auster

       Paul Auster's latest book is Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane -- see the publicity pages from Henry Holt and Faber, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and in Forward Irene Katz Connelly now has (more or less) a Q & A with him, How Paul Auster writes doorstopper novels without touching a computer.

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



       Forward Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's Forward Prizes for Poetry, "the most influential awards for new poetry in the UK and Ireland", with Notes on the Sonnets, by Luke Kennard, winning the best collection category.

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



24 October 2021 - Sunday

Translation from ... Malayalam
Philosophische Notizbücher / Philosophical Notebooks review

       Translation from ... Malayalam

       Two of the five finalists for the JCB Prize for Literature are translations -- and both are translations from the Malayalam. In The Hindu Saraswathy Nagarajan profiles the translators, in reporting that Malayalam literature translates into success stories.
       It's good to hear that:
With several publishers actively looking out for good writers in Malayalam, new works in Malayalam are reaching English readers soon after the book gets published in Malayalam, says Benyamin.
       Of course, not everything published in India is readily US/UK available -- but hopefully that too will change.

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



       Philosophische Notizbücher / Philosophical Notebooks review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the impressive bilingual edition of Kurt Gödel's Philosophische Notizbücher - Band 1: Philosophie I Maximen 0 / Philosophical Notebooks - Volume 1: Philosophy I Maxims 0.

       This is the first of fifteen planned volumes; the second one has also appeared already (see the De Gruyter publicity page), and I am lucky enough to have a copy; it looks even more interesting than this one. I was hoping to review both in quick succession, but it'll take me a liitle longer to properly deal with that one -- but review is forthcoming.

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



23 October 2021 - Saturday

PW's best of the year lists | Tsitsi Dangarembga Q & A
Prix Émile Guimet longlist

       PW's best of the year lists

       It's already October so of course it's time for ... best of the year lists ?
       Publishers Weekly at least has the excuse that they usually get to books long before the publication date and have actually already seen and/or reviewed more or less everything that has been or will be published in 2021, including the books coming out in the next two months, so their Best Books 2021 lists aren't as far-fetched as some.
       As usual, not too many of these are under review at the complete review, but I at least have two of their overall top 10 (the Ridgway and the Cusk), and have been meaning to get to them.
       Elsewhere, things look a bit better: I've reviewed three of their top fiction titles (yes, all works in translation):        Also: one on the Mystery/Thriller list (with the Le Tellier soon to follow -- it's not officially out yet):        And one in the nonfiction category:
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Tsitsi Dangarembga Q & A

       At Deutsche Welle Annabelle Steffes-Halmer has a Q & A with this year's Peace Prize of the German Book Trade-winner Tsitsi Dangarembga: 'There is no freedom of expression in Zimbabwe'
       She will receive the prize tomorrow; se also my review of her Nervous Conditions.

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



       Prix Émile Guimet longlist

       They've announced the ten titles making up the longlist of the prix Émile Guimet de littérature asiatique, a prize for the best Asian works translated into French. (Despite the more ambitious schedule posted at the official site, they do seem only to have gotten around to picking the top ten now; the shortlist of five is due on 18 November.)
       Always interesting -- and somewhat envy-eliciting ... -- to see what gets translated into other languages ..... One of these was originally written in English (Djinn Patrol on the Purple Lin, by Deepa Anappara), and others have been translated into English (Oyamada Hiroko's The Factory and Geetanjali Shree's Tomb of Sand), but only other works by authors such as Okuda Hideo and Chi Ta-wei are available in English for now.

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



22 October 2021 - Friday

Prémio Camões | New Asymptote | Silverview review

       Prémio Camões

       They've announced the winner of this year's Prémio Camões, the leading Lusophone author prize, and it is Paulina Chiziane; see also the Portuguese-American Journal report, Honor: Writer Paulina Chiziane winner of the prestigious Camões Award.
       Archipelago brought out her The First Wife a few years ago, but that appears to be the only one of her works available in English.

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



       New Asymptote

       The October issue of Asymptote is now out -- lots of great material to keep you busy all weekend.
       Of particular interest in this issue: a series where 'Institutional Advocates Take Questions'.

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



       Silverview review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of John le Carré's posthumously published novel, Silverview.

       I hadn't read any John le Carré in a quarter of a century; I should probably check out some of those I've missed in the time since then.

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



21 October 2021 - Thursday

Cundill History Prize finalists | Canada at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Dune in Hebrew

       Cundill History Prize finalists

       They've announced the three finalists for this year's US$75,000 Cundill History Prize.
       The winner will be announced on 2 December.

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



       Canada at the Frankfurt Book Fair

       The Frankfurt Book Fair runs through the 24th, and Canada is the Guest of Honour this year; see also their official site, 'Singular Plurality'.
       For an overview, see Elizabeth Grenier reporting at Deutsche Welle on how Canada spotlights diversity at the Frankfurt Book Fair

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



       Dune in Hebrew

       In Tablet Raz Greenberg profiles translator Emanuel Lottem, in Is Dune Better in Hebrew ?
       It wouldn't be the first work of fiction improved in translation .....

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



20 October 2021 - Wednesday

Albertine Prize shortlist | The Believer shutting down
Grand Prix de Littérature américaine | Ex Libris review

       Albertine Prize shortlist

       The great NYC French bookstore Albertine has an annual prize, recognizing: "American readers' favorite French-language fiction title that has been translated recently into English", the Albertine Prize, and they've now announced the five-title shortlist.
       Only 'Albertine Members' will be able to vote for the winner; I've seen two of the titles but haven't reviewed any of them.

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



       The Believer shutting down

       The Believer was founded in 2003, and just four years ago moved to Las Vegas, becoming part of UNLV's Black Mountain Institute -- but BMI has now decided they've had enough of it and are shutting it down. Apparently, finding: "The Believer consumed a significant proportion of BMI's resources", they've decided enough was enough and they are pulling the plug in the spring.
       See also, for example, Dorany Pineda's report in The Los Angeles Times, The Black Mountain Institute will cease publishing venerable Believer literary magazine.
       Sad news. It will certainly be missed.

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



       Grand Prix de Littérature américaine

       The French prize for best American novel, the Grand Prix de Littérature américaine, has announced its three finalists; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The winner will be announced 8 November.

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



       Ex Libris review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Matt Madden's new book, Ex Libris.

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



19 October 2021 - Tuesday

German Book Prize | Everything and Less review

       German Book Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's German Book Prize, and it is Blaue Frau, by Antje Rávik Strubel; see also the S.Fischer foreign rights page.

       The only one of her works translated into English appears to be Snowed Under; see the Red Hen Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       The only of her books under review at the complete review is Tupolew 134.

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



       Everything and Less review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mark McGurl on The Novel in the Age of Amazon, in Everything and Less, just out -- today -- from Verso.

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



18 October 2021 - Monday

Premio Strega Europeo | Translation credit

       Premio Strega Europeo

       They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Strega Europeo, an Italian prize for a work in translation, and it is the Italian translation of Georgi Gospodinov's Времеубежище.
       This is coming out as Time Shelter in English next spring, from Liveright in the US and Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK; pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Translation credit

       At Publishers Weekly Sophia Stewart picks up the story of how Translators Fight for Credit on Their Own Book Covers, reporting on the #TranslatorsOnTheCover open letter calling on: "every writer to ask their publishers for cover credits for the people who translate their work".
       As Stewart notes:
Of the 368 English-language translations of fiction and poetry published in 2021 that are in the Translation Database hosted by PW, only 162, or 44%, credited translators on their front covers, while 206 did not.
       Interesting to read the different reactions -- including:
One small press publisher of literary translations, who spoke with PW on the condition of anonymity, took issue not with crediting translators but with the #TranslatorsOnTheCover campaign itself. “I think the issue is more complicated,” the publisher said, “and that the campaign is conflating not being on the front cover with not being recognized at all,’ which I think is kind of disingenuous. I think translators’ names should be on the cover -- just not always on the front.” The publisher feels there “are better ways to highlight and support the translators” by focusing on issues like royalties, rights, and pay -- as echoed in the Authors Guild’s statement—rather than using cover credits as “the centerpiece of some sort of PR campaign.”

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



17 October 2021 - Sunday

(American) National Translation Awards | Baillie Gifford Prize shortlist
Dictionary collections | Mita Kapur Q & As

       (American) National Translation Awards

       The American Literary Translators Association has announced the winners of this year's National Translation Awards.
       The winner of the prose award is Tejaswini Niranjana's translation (from the Kannada) of Jayant Kaikini's story-collection, No Presents Please -- published by Tilted Axis Press in the UK and Catapult in the US; get your copy at Amazon.com. (I haven't seen this one.)
       The winner of the poetry award is Geoffrey Brock's translation of Giuseppe Ungaretti's Allegria.
       They also announced the winner of this year's Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, Archana Venkatesan's translation (from the Tamil) of Nammāḻvār's Endless Song -- a book I'd really love to see but which hasn't been published in the US yet; see the Penguin Random House India publicity page.

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



       Baillie Gifford Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction -- a £50,000 prize.

       I can't help but note that this sounds like a rather dark-mysterious list, the subtitles and title of these works including:
  • 'the End of History'
  • 'Life in the Post-Human Landscape'
  • 'Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich'
  • 'The Mystery'
  • 'The Secret History'
  • 'Things I Have Withheld'
       The winner will be announced 16 November.

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



       Dictionary collections

       Yesterday was apparently "National Dictionary Day" in the US, and: "In celebration, the Lilly Library announces the establishment of the Merriam-Webster Archive, as well as the acquisition of the complete Madeline Kripke Dictionary Collection, of which the archive is a part", as Michelle Crowe reports in IU is America's Dictionary Destination.
       Kripke's: "stockpile of more than 20,000 linguistic books and ephemera was often referred to as the world’s largest and finest dictionary collection"; so far, they've inventoried about a third of it.
       Very impressive !

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



       Mita Kapur Q & As

       In the Hindustan Times Simar Bhasin has an Interview: Mita Kapur, Literary Director, JCB Prize for Literature - “I want to make the JCB Prize a true representation of what India reads”, while last week in The Hindu Anusua Mukherjee also had a Q & A with her, Art will always rise up to face adversity and succeed’: Mita Kapur.

       The winner of this year's JCB Prize for Literature is to be announced on 13 November.

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



16 October 2021 - Saturday

Premio Planeta | Gordon Burn Prize | The Daughter of Time review

       Premio Planeta

       They announced the winner of this year's Premio Planeta de Novela last night, but earlier in the day they already dropped a bombshell about this prize which has long been by far the richest single-book-prize going: while they've paid out €601,000 to the winner in recent years, they've now topped-up the prize money, with the winner from now on getting a cool million. Very cool -- at yesterday's exchange rate that's about US$1,160,000 (or about 116 times what an American National Book Award winner-gets, or 77 times what a Pulitzer Prize-winner collects), and, at least this year, that's more than the Nobel Prize pays out. (The euro/dollar value of the krona-denominated Nobel varies year to year, depending on the exchange rate.) See, for example, the El Mundo report.

       Manuscripts for the prize are often submitted under pseudonyms -- among this year's finalists, pseudonyms included: 'Yuri Zhivago' and 'El Arlequinado' -- and this was also the case for the winning title, submitted as Ciudad de fuego by 'Sergio López'. It turns out there's a well-known name behind Sergio López -- Carmen Mola, who has published several popular books in Spanish (none of which appear to have been translated into English yet); see, for example the Hanska agency information page, or 'her' official site. But ... 'Carmen Mola' is, itself, a pseudonym ! And the three -- yes, three -- authors behind the name revealed themselves for the first time with the Premio Planeta win: Jorge Díaz, Antonio Mercero, and Agustín Martínez. So they'll have to divide the (record) prize money by three .....
       Not only was the name they submitted the manuscript under fake, so was the title: it will be published as La bestia.
       See also, for example, the EFE report, El Planeta del millón de euros acaba con el secreto de Carmen Mola.

       The winner was selected from 654 entries, including 13 from the US, 2 from Israel, 1 from Romania, and 389 from Spain. There was only 1 entry from Cuba, but 39 from Mexico, 41 from Argentina, and 18 from Colombia.

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



       Gordon Burn Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Gordon Burn Prize -- which celebrates: "those who follow in Gordon Burn's footsteps by recognising literature that is fearless in both ambition and execution" --, and it is the essay-collection A Little Devil in America, by Hanif Abdurraqib.

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



       The Daughter of Time review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Josephine Tey's classic mystery, The Daughter of Time.

       This regularly features high on 'top mysteries of all times'-lists -- including the top spot on the 1990 Crime Writers' Association list of the top 100 crime novels of all time.

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



15 October 2021 - Friday

Shortlists: GGs - Österreichischer Buchpreis - T.S.Eliot Prize
Chi Ta-wei Q & A

       Shortlists: GGs

       The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the shortlists for this year's Governor General's Literary Awards, one of the leading Canadian literary prizes.
       There are fourteen categories, seven each in English and French.
       The winners will be announced on 17 November -- the same day as the American National Book Awards ceremony .....

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



       Shortlist: Österreichischer Buchpreis

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Austrian Book Prize -- and one of the five titles is already under review at the complete review: Raphaela Edelbauer's Dave.
       The winner will be announced 8 November.

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



       Shortlist: T.S.Eliot Prize

       They've announced the (not-so-)shortlist for this year's T.S.Eliot Prize, a leading poetry prize, ten titles selected from 177 submissions.
       The winner will be announced 10 January 2022.

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



       Chi Ta-wei Q & A

       At The Paris Reviews's The Daily Chris Littlewood has Never Prosthetic: An Interview with Chi Ta-wei.

       See also my review of Chi Ta-wei's excellent novel, The Membranes.

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



14 October 2021 - Thursday

K-Lit in Japan | Sally Rooney (not) in Israel

       K-Lit in Japan

       In the United States, (South) Korean literature hasn't achieved the popularity of K-pop or Korean movies and TV shows -- Squid Game etc. -- yet, but it definitely has taken off quite a bit over the past decade or so. Closer to home now, Kawakatsu Miki reports at nippon.com After K-Pop, K-Lit ? Why Young Korean Writers Are Creating a Stir in Japanese Publishing.

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



       Sally Rooney (not) in Israel

       I had not thought that Sally Rooney (or any author) could possibly get more (over-heated) press coverage, good and bad, than she recently has after the publication of her new, very bestselling novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, but oh how wrong I was .....
       As you've no doubt heard, Rooney has, as she puts it: "for the moment, chosen not to sell these translation rights [for Beautiful World, Where Are You] to an Israeli-based publishing house"; you can find her full statement here, for example.
       This has ... elicited reactions.
       No way am I weighing in on this, thank you very much, but I am impressed by how quickly everyone seems to have formed an opinion (and, in most cases, published it), and obviously it's a 'big' story; if you do want to wade in, here are some links:
       [Note: links are not to be considered endorsements of the opinions or the framing of the facts and/or arguments in these pieces. I've collected what I could find and thought might be of interest; I'm sure I've missed many insightful takes and the fact that that (or your) perceptive piece/take is not linked to should be considered an oversight, or attributed to hitting paywalls, or simply my laziness or carelessness; any and all snubs are not intentional.]        And for some laughs (okay, yes, I do presume to judge at least this piece ...), check out Harriet Johnston's *thorough* spin on/take-down of Rooney in the Daily Mail with the breathless and very, very long headline, Normal Marxists ! How Sally Rooney loaded bestselling books with communist ideas -- from saying the 'world's beauty died with the fall of the Soviet Union' to money being a 'social construct'.
       Shocking !

       About any and all of this: no e-mails, please; thank you.

       Oh, yes, also: I haven't read or reviewed (or indeed seen) any Sally Rooney titles (or TV-miniseries adaptations), but if you're interested in Beautiful World, Where Are You, see the official site, or the publicity pages at Faber and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. (It's also been widely -- to say the least -- reviewed.)

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



13 October 2021 - Wednesday

Abdulrazak Gurnah reactions | Leo-Perutz-Preis
Be as Children review

       Abdulrazak Gurnah reactions

       Last week, they announced that Abdulrazak Gurnah will get this year's Nobel Prize in Literature -- see also my mention -- and there have been a fair number of reactions now. Some of interest include:        See now also David Shariatmadari's profile in The Guardian, ‘I could do with more readers!’ – Abdulrazak Gurnah on winning the Nobel prize for literature.

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



       Leo-Perutz-Preis

       The Leo Perutz Prize is a prize for the best Viennese mystery -- named after the great Leo Perutz; see, for example, the Pushkin Press editions -- and they've now announced this year's winner: Alle kleinen Tiere, by Anne Goldmann; see also the Argumente publicity page.

       This is a nice little local prize -- and one of the previous winners, by Alex Beer, has been translated into English; see the Eruopa Editions publicity page -- but what struck me is that it is funded: "mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Bestattung Wien". That's the municipal undertaker -- as in funerary service provider. Friendly support indeed .....

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



       Be as Children review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Vladimir Sharov's Be as Children, just out from Dedalus Books.

       Great to see Dedalus continuing to bring out his work -- here's hoping that Царство Агамемнона ('The Kingdom of Agamemnon') is next.

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



12 October 2021 - Tuesday

Feminism in Urdu literature | Lemon review

       Feminism in Urdu literature

       In The Express Tribune's T-Magazine Shazia Tasneem has a Q & A: "about feminism in Urdu literature with poet Dr Nuzhat Abbasi", in The 'F' factor in Urdu literature.

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



       Lemon review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kwon Yeo-sun's Lemon, out from Other Press in the US and Head of Zeus in the UK.

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



11 October 2021 - Monday

Seoul International Writers' Festival | Ahab (Sequels) review

       Seoul International Writers' Festival

       This year's Seoul International Writers' Festival, with a theme of 'Awakening', opened on Friday and runs through the 24th; there's a solid list of participants. Apparently, it is a hybrid online/in-person event this year.
       See also previews in The Korea Herald (Seoul International Writers' Festival to shed light on literature's role in post-pandemic era, by Kim Hae-yeo) and The Korea Times (Seoul Int'l Writers' Festival to kick off next week, by Park Han-sol.)

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



       Ahab (Sequels) review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pierre Senges' Melville-variation-novel, Ahab (Sequels), coming from Contra Mundum Press.

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



10 October 2021 - Sunday

Murakami and the Nobel | Franzen's memorable reads

       Murakami and the Nobel

       They announced the winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday and, yet again, Murakami Haruki did not win it.
       That's not a huge surprise -- a lot of authors are among the betting favorites, year after year, and don't get the prize -- but they make a fairly big deal about it in Japan; see, for example, Katie Pask on how Haruki Murakami denied Nobel Prize in Literature AGAIN, so summer is officially over.
       There are any number of other authors where, year in, year out we hear (or heard) about the outrage/disappointment of them falling short yet again -- Philip Roth, for one -- but Murakami strikes me as an unusual case in that the Japanese seem to be convinced that he's their only contender. The idea that any other Japanese author could win doesn't seem to get much traction -- it's Murakami or nothing (and, so, year after year, it's nothing). There must be some small countries which similarly pin all their hopes on one author, but generally the national complaints are about a whole language/literature being overlooked -- no Dutch-writing author ever getting the prize, no Korean author, etc.
       It's all the more surprising since contemporary Japanese literature is much, much more than a one-author-show. True, as far as what's available in translation the selection is still surprisingly limited -- but still, Japanese is the most-translated non-European literature and a lot of very good writing should be coming to the attention of even the Swedish Academy. (To be considered for the prize, authors must be nominated, by someone from the pool of experts and former winners that the Swedish Academy relies on; there's no doubt that several of these experts are Japanese and it's likely that these predominantly nominate Japanese authors; given that Murakami is not a literary-establishment-favorite in Japan it also seems likely that those nominations are of other Japanese authors.)
       In The Japan Times Tomohiro Osaki wonders -- like so many in Japan apparently do -- Why is the Nobel Prize so elusive for Haruki Murakami ? It's an interesting overview -- though I think the more interesting question is why there aren't more Japanese authors considered Nobel-worthy -- both by the Japanese public, as well as, apparently, the Swedish Academy -- and, indeed, why none has won the prize since 1994.

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



       Franzen's memorable reads

       At Elle the author takes their "literary survey", in Shelf Life: Jonathan Franzen
       Lots of familiar recommendations -- "I've become a broken record on the subject of Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children" he notes, for example -- but no harm in that, and there is quite a variety here.

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



9 October 2021 - Saturday

Publishing in ... Saudi Arabia | Margó Prize nominees

       Publishing in ... Saudi Arabia

       The Riyadh International Book Fair is on through tomorrow, and at The National Mariam Nihal reports on it, speaking with Mohammed Hasan Alwan, chief executive at the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission at the Saudi Ministry of Culture, among other things, in Saudi publishing chief says it's a 'very exciting time' for kingdom's literary sector.
       Hassan seems all business:
The literature and publishing industry is already an essential domestic industry and we are developing the sector which will in turn drive economic growth through job creation and inward investment
       Well, whatever works ....

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



       Margó Prize nominees

       At hlo they report on The 2021 Margó Prize Nominees -- ten works in the running for this Hungarian best prose debut prize.
       The winner will be announced at the Margó Festival, upcoming next week.

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



8 October 2021 - Friday

Shortlists: French prizes - HWA Crown Awards
Akutagawa Prize acceptance speech

       Shortlists: French prizes

       The Nobel Prize in Literature dominated the literary world yesterday -- see also my coverage --, but it's a busy prize-season elsewhere too, notably in France, where several more shortlists have been announced in the past few days:

        - the prix Renaudot -- the second-most-important fiction prize, after the Goncourt -- has announced its 'deuxièmes sélections'; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report. (Yes, like the Goncourt, this is a four-round prize, and these are the shorter longlists or the longer shortlists; the lists of finalists are to be announced on 28 October.) Among the books left in the running: Amélie Nothomb's Premier sang,.
       This award also has a non-fiction category -- and they're already down to just five titles here.

        - the prix Jean Giono has announced its première sélection; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report. This one is noteworthy because of the payout -- €10,000 -- as many of the most prestigious French prizes pay out very, very little.

        - they've also announced the finalists for the prix Médicis, in all three of its categories -- fiction, non, and fiction in translation; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report. One third of the foreign novels left in the running are translations from the English.

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



       Shortlists: HWA Crown Awards

       The Historical Writers' Association has announced the shortlists for this year's HWA Crown Awards.

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



       Akutagawa Prize acceptance speech

       In July, they announced that 彼岸花が咲く島, by Li Kotomi, was one of the two winners of the latest Akutagawa Prize -- see my mention -- and on 27 August she accepted the prize; at nippon.com they now have: A Miracle for Survival: Li Kotomi's Akutagawa Prize Acceptance Speech.
       She said:
Literature gave me a means of expression. This allowed me to assimilate subjective emotions like despair and powerlessness, anger and hatred, anguish and pain. Rather than turning my ear to society’s shallow cacophony, I became engrossed in reading, and instead of gouging out pieces of myself, I carved out words.
       And how disturbing to hear that:
After it was announced that I had won the prize in mid-July, I was bombarded with innumerable messages of abuse, slander, and hate speech from people who had likely never read a word that I have written. “You foreigner, don’t insult Japan !” “Get out, Japan-hater !”

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



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