The Trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation have announced that they've gotten new sponsorship, to replace the Man Group, that's bowing out after this year; now, Crankstart is the new supporter of the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize.
Yes, Crankstart -- devoted to supporting: "the forgotten, the dispossessed, the unfortunate, the oppressed and others where some help makes all the difference" (and, let's face it, publishing falls in all those categories pretty well).
Disappointingly, however, they apparently aren't demanding the prize-names be changed; once the Man Group is out of the picture:
Thereafter the original prize will once again be known as The Booker Prize, while the prize for literature in translation will become The International Booker Prize.
The prize-money is expected to remain unchanged, though I suspect they'll want the overall budget to maybe be kept a bit better in check .....
For now, the arrangement is set for five years,with an option to renew for another five.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Émile Zola's The Bright Side of Life, a new translation of La joie de vivre, by Andrew Rothwell, recently out from Oxford World's Classics.
This is definitely one of the Zolas that was in need of a new (and unexpurgated) translation.
They've announced the winners of the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards.
The US$75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award went to Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah; the $3000 PEN Translation Prize went to Martin Aitken's translation of Hanne Ørstavik's Love, while the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (also paying out $3000) went to Richard Sieburth's translation of Henri Michaux's A Certain Plume
Being a member of the Nobel Prize in Literature-deciding Swedish Academy used to be a lifetime sentence/sinecure -- you couldn't leave, even if you wanted to -- but the turmoil of the past year or two has seen the venerable institution shaken to its roots -- and still working out what it will wind up looking like, and being.
The latest casualty is Sara Danius, who had presided over the recent Nobel decisions -- including the unspeakable one of 2016 --, as they've now announced Sara Danius lämnar Svenska Akademien.
Apparently this was a negotiated exit and settlement; amazingly, Danius not only gets a pension from the Swedish Academy as a matter of course, but also some nine months of severance pay; see, for example, the Sverige Radio report.
A forceful figure in the Swedish Academy, Danius' departure presumably means yet another realignment in the ongoing power-struggles over the Swedish Academy and its future course; where all this leads ... well, it'll be interesting to see.
(Note that nominations for this year's Nobel were due in by 31 January, and they should have already been working on whittling down the list; I wonder how that's going ... especially since they also want to award last year's prize this year .....)
support will take the form of disbursements to enable works in progress, and of the bestowal annually of a series of prizes, to be known as the Silvers-Dudley Prizes, recognizing outstanding achievement in the kinds of writing Silvers and his late partner, Lady Grace Dudley, embraced and encouraged: the Robert B. Silvers Prize for Journalism; the Robert B. Silvers Prize for Criticism; and the Grace Dudley Prize for Writing on European Culture.
Prizes awarded will be $30,000 each for writers over 40, and $15,000 each for those under 40.
They've announced the finalists for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, thirteen finalists from eight Scandinavian regions; the best-known name among the authors is probably Helle Helle, nominated for her novel de.
Last year's winner was Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir; a surprising number of winning titles are under review at the complete review.
The winning title will be announced 29 October.
The Swedish Academy turmoil continues, but, while that's hampered their Nobel Prize-decision-making-process, they still also award quite a few other prizes, and they've at least managed to keep up with those.
The biggest of their other prizes is the Nordic Prize -- not quite paying out as much as the Nobel (though the SEK 400,000 -- just under US$43,000 -- isn't too shabby either) and limited to Scandinavian authors, but still highly regarded, and they've now announced that this year's award will go (on 3 April) to My Struggle-author Karl Ove Knausgård.
Previous winners include Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer (1991), Inger Christensen (1994), Jon Fosse (2007), Sofi Oksanen (2013), and Dag Solstad (2017).
He won’t accept advances, he says, because he wants the freedom of writing whatever he wants for whomever he chooses.
He finishes a novel, loads it onto a USB stick and hands it over to the publisher of his choice.
“I just visit some publisher and say, ‘Here is my fiction’.
The publisher is so surprised!
They’re happy, I’m happy.
I like to be free.
I have my own right to give it to anybody.”
Good to see his translation-enthusiasm, too -- "the key to his intuition as a fiction writer":
“I learned so many things from translation”, he says.
“In writing there is a kind of secret to it.
So when you do the translating, you can catch the secret.
For instance, you translate The Great Gatsby.
There are so many secrets for writing in that book, and you can catch them.
If you just read that book, you can feel those secrets but you cannot catch them.
But if you translate, it’s the ultimate close reading.”
The biggest literary prizes -- the Pulitzer, the Man Booker -- definitely have an appreciable effect on book-sales -- but what about translation prizes ?
The National Book Award for Translated Literature -- awarded for the first time in over thirty years last year, to Margaret Mitsutani's translation of Tawada Yoko's The Emissary (published in the UK as The Last Children of Tokyo) -- apparently does: as John Maher reports in Publishers Weekly, NDP Scores with NBA's New Direction, as:
The book sold roughly 70 copies per week on average before the award, but after the NBAs that number jumped to more than 325 per week on average through the end of 2018.
The book had a 5,000-copy first printing, but New Directions has gone back to print a few times since the award, first in a rush order of 1,500 copies to meet demand, then with another order of 4,000 copies, for a total of 10,500 copies in print.
That looks like pretty convincing evidence that readers paid attention to the prize.
At Aeon Bruce Fudge makes the case that: 'The Satanic Verses would not be written or published today. What's changed since Salman Rushdie's notorious novel ?' in Islam after Salman.
As he notes, the to-do around the novel: "has subsumed the novel itself" -- to quite a remarkable extent.
(To me, it is still, along with Shame and Midnight's Children, peak Rushdie.)
In the Global Times Wang Qi offers Path to success, where: 'Paper Republic founder Eric Abrahamsen talks about his site's push to promote contemporary Chinese literature'.
Certainly a site you should be familiar with if you have any interest in Chinese literature.
They've announced the finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.
Quite a few categories, but the only title under review at the complete review is in the Mystery/Thriller category -- Leila Slimani's The Perfect Nanny (published in the UK as Lullaby).
The winners will be announced on 12 April.