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The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 June 2018

11 June: Bookselling in ... India | Translation into ... Dutch | Sōseki postcards
12 June: Murata Sayaka profile | Prix du livre Lorientales | Death Notice review
13 June: Internationaler Literaturpreis | Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
14 June: International DUBLIN Literary Award | PEN Pinter Prize | Havoc review
15 June: Q & As: Translating from ... Romanian - Translating from ... Hebrew | A Biography of a Chance Miracle review
16 June: Premio Internazionale Elena Violani-Landi
17 June: Walter Scott Prize | The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature review
18 June: Miles Franklin shortlist | Collected Premchand (stories)
19 June: 2017 VIDA Count | Thomas Mann House
20 June: Sebald Lecture | Interior review

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20 June 2018 - Wednesday

Sebald Lecture | Interior review

       Sebald Lecture

       Arundhati Roy delivered this year's Sebald Lecture on literary translation two weeks ago, and they've now posted the full video of it.

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

       Interior review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Thomas Clerc's Interior, a variation on the 'Voyage around my Room'-genre, coming soon from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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

19 June 2018 - Tuesday

2017 VIDA Count | Thomas Mann House

       2017 VIDA Count

       The 2017 VIDA Count -- which: "looked at 15 major print publications over the course of 2017, analyzing how many women and gender minorities are represented", as well as considering the 'Larger Literary Landscape ' -- is now out, the results impressively presented, in words/numbers and graphics.

       (The complete review remains woefully far behind the curve in these areas -- see the terrible statistics --, explained in part by the focus of the site (books in translation still tend to be male-authored more often than not, though fortunately that trend is changing) but obviously also the issue/problem is a more deep-rooted one. But then it is only one of many areas in which I feel I am not doing enough (yes, there many, many categories of authors/languages/eras that are even less representatively represented.)

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

       Thomas Mann House

       In 2016 Thomas Mann's onetime California residence, at 1550 San Remo Drive, was bought by the German state, to prevent it from being destroyed and redeveloped; they've now made it: "home to a residency program which offers intellectuals and visionaries an opportunity to engage in an exchange about the most important questions of our time", the Thomas Mann House; the opening/inaugural was last night, with the German president in attendance; see, for example, the Deutsche Welle report, German president to attend opening of Thomas Mann House in LA. (American excitement/coverage of the lead-up to this has been ... quiet.)
       Deutsche Welle also has a Q & A with one of the first fellows who will get to enjoy the facilities, Heinrich Detering, who notes that Thomas Mann was disappointed by America's populism.

       (Updated - 23 June): See now Alex Ross reporting At Thomas Mann's House, the German President Defends Democracy at The New Yorker.

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

18 June 2018 - Monday

Miles Franklin shortlist | Collected Premchand (stories)

       Miles Franklin shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's (Australian) Miles Franklin Literary Award.
       It includes books by two former winners -- Michelle de Kretser and Kim Scott -- as well as Border Districts by Gerald Murnane.
       The winner will be announced 26 August.

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

       Collected Premchand (stories)

       I've mentioned the Penguin India four-pack of The Complete Short Stories by Premchand previously (and continue to long for my own copy ...); Kalyanee Rajan's recent write-up at The Wire, Give Us This Day Our Daily Premchand ! is good reason to make note of it again -- especially since, while not officially US/UK published, it is almost reasonably available from and, and definitely looks worth getting. (Those page counts -- 750 pp at, and a mere 120 pp at are, however, most definitely not right ....)
       See also the Penguin India publicity page.

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

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17 June 2018 - Sunday

Walter Scott Prize | The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature review

       Walter Scott Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, and it is The Gallows Pole, by Benjamin Myers
       This was published by relatively small independent Bluemoose Books; see their publicity page, or get your copy at or

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

       The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of John Whittier Treat's The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature, just out from the University of Chicago Press.

       This is a fascinating, irritating, and quite clever study of Japan going considerably beyond just the literary -- the second impressive Japan-study, along with R.Taggart Murphy's Japan and the Shackles of the Past, that I've read in the past few years. It comes with a (The Fall of Language in the Age of English-author) Mizumura Minae blurb (that begins by calling it: "Erudite but saucy" ...) but promises to be... hackle-raising among at least some Japan-specialists; I'm looking forward to seeing the reactions to this.
       Amusingly, there's some interesting information about one of the stories Treat devotes much of one chapter to, Higuchi Ichiyō's 'Child's Play', in yesterday's The Japan Times, where Kris Kosaka writes about the 1981 Robert Lyons Danly translation of Higuchi's work, In the Shade of Spring Leaves. Kosaka suggests that:
A new translation of "Child’s Play" into modern Japanese by acclaimed writer Mieko Kawakami demands an English translation,
       Ms Ice Sandwich-author Kawakami is one of the much-touted new guard of Japanese writers who seem to be on the verge of an English-language breakthrough, and it's great to see she's done something like this; it does indeed sound like it would be worthwhile to get an English version of it. (See also the Kawade Shobo Shinsha publicity page.)

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

16 June 2018 - Saturday

Premio Internazionale Elena Violani-Landi

       Premio Internazionale Elena Violani-Landi

       Dutch author Cees Nooteboom remains best-known in the English-speaking world as a prose writer, but he is also a well-known poet: see, for example, The Captain of the Butterflies , or Roman Bucheli's (German) review of a new collection of his poetry, or the Seagull Books collections Light Everywhere (publicity page) and Monk's Eye (publicity page).
       As the Dutch Foundation for Literature now report, he's also now been awarded the the Premio Internazionale Elena Violani-Landi

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

15 June 2018 - Friday

Q & As: Translating from ... Romanian - Translating from ... Hebrew
A Biography of a Chance Miracle review

       Q & A: Translating from ... Romanian

       At the Los Angeles Review of Books Scott Timberg has A Conversation with Philip Ó Ceallaigh, Translator of “For Two Thousand Years”
       The Mihail Sebastian novel is under review at the complete review.

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

       Q & A: Translating from ... Hebrew

       At the Jewish Review of Books Rachel Scheinerman has Equine Ambles into a Watering Hole: An Interview with Jessica Cohen, the translator of the Man Booker International Prize-winning David Grossman novel, A Horse Walks into a Bar.
       Among the interesting observations:
I think of Hebrew as a “depth language,” as opposed to English, which is a “breadth language.” What I mean is that although the Hebrew vocabulary is substantially smaller than that of English, there are many Hebrew words that carry multiple layers of meaning and allusions (historical, cultural, biblical and so forth). So, while I can often find several English words that have almost the exact same meaning as a particular Hebrew word, it is usually next to impossible to find one that conveys all of that Hebrew word’s associative weight.

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

       A Biography of a Chance Miracle review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tanja Maljartschuk's A Biography of a Chance Miracle, a recent Ukrainian novel just out in English from Cadmus Press.

       Interestingly, Maljartschuk -- who has lived in Vienna since 2011 -- will be competing in the upcoming German-language read-aloud Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis. She's not the first author who has published more in another language to compete: American John Wray did last year, for example.

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

14 June 2018 - Thursday

International DUBLIN Literary Award | PEN Pinter Prize | Havoc review

       International DUBLIN Literary Award

       They've announced the winner of this year's International DUBLIN Literary Award -- "the world's largest prize for a single novel published in English", paying out €100,000 -- and it is Solar Bones, by Mike McCormack.
       This had already picked up the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize (which is: "is awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best"); I haven't seen it yet, but see for example the publicity pages from Tramp Press, Canongate, and Soho Press, or get your copy at or

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

       PEN Pinter Prize

       They've announced that this year's PEN Pinter Prize will go -- on 9 October -- to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
       As they explain:
The Prize is awarded annually to a writer from Britain, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world, and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’.
       The winner also gets to choose an international recipient whom they share the prize with -- "someone who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs".

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

       Havoc review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tom Kristensen's 1930 Danish classic, Havoc (a title/word that looks/sounds even better in the original: Hærværk).

       Nordisk Books re-issued this 1968 translation in the UK last year, and it's just out from New York Review Books in the US now.

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

13 June 2018 - Wednesday

Internationaler Literaturpreis | Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

       Internationaler Literaturpreis

       They've announced the winners of the German Internationaler Literaturpreis - Haus der Kulturen der Welt, awarded for the best translation of a work of contemporary literature into German -- and paying an impressive €20,000 to the winning author, and €15,000 to the translator.
       This year's winner was the German translation, by Alida Bremer, of Ivana Sajko's novel, Ljubavni roman (Liebesroman; 'Love Novel'); see also the publicity pages from Meandar Media and Voland & Quist.
       This hasn't been translated into English yet; it'll be interesting to see if this helps it find a US/UK publisher.
       See also Stuart Braun's DeutscheWelle report, Croation [sic] author Ivana Sajko wins International Literature Award.
       The award ceremony will be 28 June.

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

       Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

       They've announced the winners of this year's Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the prestigious prize that is awarded on the final day of the Frankfurt Book Fair (14 October this year), and they are the husband and wife team of Aleida und Jan Assmann.
       Many books by both are available in English -- though none are under review at the complete review.

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

12 June 2018 - Tuesday

Murata Sayaka profile | Prix du livre Lorientales | Death Notice review

       Murata Sayaka profile

       With Murata Sayaka's Akutagawa Prize-winning Convenience Store Woman just about out in the US, the author is getting some good publicity, notably now a profile by Motoko Rich in The New York Times, For Japanese Novelist Sayaka Murata, Odd Is the New Normal, as well as a 'Lunch with the FT' with Leo Lewis in the Financial Times, [£ ?] Sayaka Murata: 'My parents don't want to read my books'

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

       Prix du livre Lorientales

       L'Amas ardent, by Yamen Manai (see the elyzad publicity page), has picked up quite a few literary prizes over the past year -- and now adds another to the list, winning the Prix Lorientales.
       I'd be surprised if this didn't appear in translation sooner or later -- it sounds like a pretty easy sell -- though one doesn't see much Tunisian fiction in translation .....

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

       Death Notice review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Zhou Haohui's Death Notice, a huge bestseller in China just out in the US from Doubleday.

       This is the first in a trilogy -- and, interestingly, Steven Lee Myers' profile in The New York Times reports that while Doubleday has options on the next two instalments, it: "has not yet committed to them". Apparently, they want to test the market with this one first.
       Also ... interesting:
For commercial rather than political reasons, Mr. Zhou's literary agent here also made changes in the English-language version of the book, translated by Zac Haluza. The action now takes place in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, not Yangzhou or nearby Nanjing, the cities Mr. Zhou said he had in the back of his mind when crafting the story. The assumption was that Chengdu, which is best known for pandas and spicy food, would be recognizable to foreign readers and give the drama a more visceral feel, Rob Bloom, Mr. Zhou's editor at Doubleday, said in an email.
       I had no idea that Chengdu was/is so much better known (or at least that there's a perception that it is).

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

11 June 2018 - Monday

Bookselling in ... India | Translation into ... Dutch | Sōseki postcards

       Bookselling in ... India

       The bookstore profiled by Damini Kulkarni in, Pune's Sophia Book Store: The bookshop with heart that could (so it did) become successful, is basically a used bookstore, stocked mainly with books in foreign languages -- sold (and bought) by visiting foreign tourists --, but the article offers quite a bit of interest about bookselling in contemporary India.
       The reliance on a foreign clientele ("very few customers buy Hindi books") and used books prove to be a good formula -- especially as:
Several other bookstores operating in the area were forced to close after the advent of online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart
       (Showing the impact of online retailers .....)

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

       Translation into ... Dutch

       The Dutch Foundation for Literature reports on the recently announced Schwob grants for translations of modern classics of world literature into Dutch.
       Always interesting to see what is being (and hasn't been, until now ...) translated into foreign languages, and this is a good list of some fine work, most of which has been translated into English -- or, in the case of Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries, is about to be published. Other titles include Tove Jansson's Fair Play and Inoue Yasushi's Bullfight.

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

       Sōseki postcards

       No surprise to anyone who has read John Nathan's Sōseki-biography -- or, indeed, anyone who knows anything about Sōseki --, but as Tomoyo Fukumiya reports in The Asahi Shimbun, Soseki in London felt lonely and sad, postcard to friend shows.
       The postcards were apparently long missing, and now they're on display, through 24 June, at the Fukui Children's Museum.
       Maybe not worth the trip just for the three postcards, but still .....

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

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