In the Arab News series of 'Moments that Changed the Middle East' Abdellatif El-Menawy writes about Naguib Mahfouz's Nobel Prize in Literature.
Given some of the Swedish Academy's choices one probably shouldn't over-rate this validation, but it's still kind of nice to see that something like this is considered significant.
(Mahfouz is the author with the most titles under review at the complete review -- 26.)
The Women's Prize for Ficton was first awarded -- then still as the Orange Prize for Fiction -- twenty five years ago, and at The Guardian they get all the previous winners to say: Women's prize at 25: what it is like to win -- with many also answering the supplemental question, sharing: "their favourite books by women" (interesting to see who does and who doesn't share ...).
The shortlist for this year's prize will be announced in a few days, on 21 April -- but the winner will only be revealed 9 September.
I recently reviewed the new translation of Alexander Griboedov's Woe from Wit, by Betsy Hulick, and now there's also a review, by Laurence Senelick, at the arts fuse.
He makes some interesting observations about this play that is -- as he calls it --: "one of the most stageworthy social satires ever written", especially regarding the likelihood: "that a regional repertory or university theater might venture on a production".
He's not particularly hopeful -- noting, among other reasons, that:
As recent productions of Shakespeare have shown, standard training provides neither the breath control nor the phrasing, let alone the diction, to handle plays reliant on poetic dialogue.
Woe from Wit needs polished and virtuosic execution from its players.
Finally: a friend of mine recently combed through the listings of the magazine American Theatre and found that, with the exception of Shakespeare, only four pre-20th-century plays were regularly produced by regional theaters: Tartuffe, A Doll’s House, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Arms and the Man.
No Greek or Jacobean tragedy or comedy, no commedia or ballad opera, no Victorian farce or melodrama, no symbolism, expressionism or futurism, no Asian or African play: in short, most of the drama of the past lies neglected by the professional American stage.
Whether the reasons are artistic or economic, this suggests that it may be a while before the Hulick translation of Woe from Wit finds the theatre audience it deserves.
I'm quite surprised that the contemporary stage in the US is quite so modern-heavy -- though I suppose not that it plays it so safe.
Too bad, however -- Woe from Wit (and many other classical (and foreign) plays) deserve more than the very occasional staging.
They announced this year's The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, in fourteen categories.
The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner, won for best fiction; Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha, won for best mystery/thriller, and The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpell, won for best first fiction.
They've announced the finalists for this year's European Union Prizes for Literature -- 47 titles from the 13 countries up for the prize this year (they rotate through all the EU nations, 12 or 13 at a time).
These shortlists -- as also the winners -- are selected by national juries (as, admittedly, it would be hard to find jurors capable of assessing all these books, often only available in their original language), so the 'EU' aspect of the prize is kind of hard to discern (it's also thirteen prizes, not one ...), but if it gets some attention for some of these smaller-language literatures (Cyprus, Kosovo, and Luxembourg, among others this year) then that is certainly a good thing.
Brazilian author Rubem Fonseca has passed away; see, for example, the El País (Brasil) report.
Open Letter brought out a collection of his stories a few years ago, The Taker -- see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- but he's probably best known for his novel High Art; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the winner of this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and it is الديوان الإسبرطي ('The Spartan Court') by Abdelouahab Aissaoui.
As: "funding will be provided for the English translation" -- along with the US$50,000 prize -- we can expect to see this in English sooner or later.
They've announced the winner of this year's Stella Prize, which celebrates Australian women's writing and considers both fiction and non titles -- and it is See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse, by Jess Hill.
See also the Black Inc. publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Hungarian author Esterházy Péter would have turned 70 today (if he hadn't died in 2016), leading hlo to offer some excerpts from his novel Esti -- a good occasion to again complain: why hasn't an English translation of the whole book been published ?
It came out in 2010 in Hungarian -- see the Magvető publicity page -- and of course takes as its starting point another Hungarian classic, Kosztolányi Dezső's Kornél Esti (which fortunately is available in English); there's actually a longer excerpt at Asymptote, and see also Dezső Kovács' introduction/overview.
Quite a bit of Esterházy's work has been translated -- and several are under review at the complete review; see, for example, The Book of Hrabal -- so I am surprised we haven't seen this one out in the US/UK yet.
In malta today Laura Calleja notes that the: 'Small size of Malta book market has seriously limited the capital available for quality publications, research and development, translation and marketing', in reporting that Revamped Malta Book Fund increased to €105,000 to support industry; see also the Malta Book Fund information.
Good to see that a significant proportion of the money -- €40,000 -- is: "for translation projects of Maltese works".
We could definitely do with more translations of Maltese works .....
Arno Schmidt's monumental Zettel's Traum -- which came out in John E. Woods' translation as Bottom's Dream from Dalkey Archive Press a few years ago -- was first published 50 years ago this month, and at literaturkritik.de Peter Kock now looks back on 'der Hype um das Riesenbuch', in Zur Selbstqual und -zerstörung der „Poearnographie“ (yes, only in German, I'm afraid ...), a good overview.
For those for whom War and Peace or Zibaldone -- two popular read-along choices at the moment ... -- isn't challenge enough, maybe it's time to tackle this one ...?
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alexander Griboedov's early nineteenth-century classic, Woe from Wit: A Verse Comedy in Four Acts, just out in a new translation in Columbia University Press' Russian Library.
I'm surprised this isn't better-known outside Russia.
There have been several translations of it, but I guess none of them really took; for what it's worth (quite a bit, I'd say) even Vladimir Nabokov wanted to take a stab at translating this one.
They recently announced the finalists for this year's Hugo Awards, as well as the finalists for the 1945 Retro-Hugo Awards (which looks back at the work from 1945 -- meaning novel-finalists, for example, include works by Robert Graves, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Olaf Stapledon).
None of these are under review at the complete review, but the lists make for a good overview of current science fiction (and that of 1945), as well as films and TV shows (hey, the 1945 finalists include a René Clair film ...).
But now, neither the people who make comic books nor the veteran observers of this industry see a quick solution; they cannot predict whether the current calamity will eradicate only some stores and publishers or an entire, decades-old model of doing business.
With major distributor Diamond not distributing and stores closed, the disruption is considerable, and it remains to be seen whether the old system can be revived.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ruth Rendell's The Vault.
This is an interesting Inspector Wexford novel -- first off, because Wexford is no longer an inspector here, but rather retired, but also because it is a sequel of sorts to the non-Wexford earlier stand-alone, A Sight for Sore Eyes.