At the Nikkei Asian Review 'Novelist Nobuko Takagi examines the enduring appeal of an ancient romantic', in 'Tales of Ise': the book where Japanese literature found beauty.
As Takagi explains: "I brought back to life the story of Ariwara no Narihira, a Japanese poet who lived 1,100 years ago and is considered the main character of "Tales of Ise," in novel form" -- in her recent novel, 小説伊勢物語; see also the publisher's publicity page.
The Tales of Ise has, of course, been translated into English -- see my review of the Peter MacMillan translation -- and I wonder whether this will make it into English; Vertical did bring out her Translucent Tree in 2008.
the Chinese government supports strongly the translation movement, noting that "China despite its huge progress in all domains, still believes it needs to learn from and benefit of the others' experience."
Translation, in Krishnan’s words, “is essentially a re-conceptualization of some untranslatable original, a feat of ‘linguistic yoga’, as every language comes with its own idiosyncrasies of grammar, syntax and vernacular”.
And of course one has to appreciate:
“I wish I had a crore of rupees.
I would have commissioned a 100 translations, given bursaries to translators, settled authors with handsome fees and handed over the translations to publishers and said “Thou shalt publish!”
They've announced the winner of this year's FIL Literary Award in Romance Languages, a US$150,000 author prize for a Romance-language writing author, and it is Portuguese author Lídia Jorge.
See also the Mertin Literary Agency Lídia Jorge page for some information about her work; among the (few) titles available in English is The Painter of Birds; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Jorge gets to pick up the prize on 28 November at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Nagroda Literacka „Nike”, the leading Polish book prize; outrageously and ridiculously the official nike.org.pl site forwards to the Wyborcza-site, where the relevant information-articles, including the one listing the seven shortlisted titles, are ... paywalled, so you have to resort to outside sources -- so see, for example, the Rozrywka.blog overview.
Helpfully, at least, Portia Kentish does offer a quite extensive overview at Emerging Europe, with A closer look at the Nike Literature Award's seven finalists
The winner of the 100,000 zł. prize will be announced 4 October.
They've announced that the winner of this year's £50,000 International Booker Prize is The Discomfort of Evening, by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison.
I only have an e-galley of this for now -- a major reason I haven't gotten to it yet -- but will likely eventually have a proper look; meanwhile, see the publicity pages from Faber & Faber and Graywolf Press, the Dutch Foundation for Literature information page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The Australian Crime Writers Association has announced the shortlists for this year's Ned Kelly Awards.
In three categories -- Best Crime Fiction, Debut Crime Fiction, and True Crime -- they're honoring Australian writing, but for the first time they've added a category for International Crime Fiction (published in Australia); regrettably, all four finalists in this category are English-language works.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alain Mabanckou's The Death of Comrade President, already out in the UK, from Serpent's Tail, and now coming to the US, from The New Press.
They've announced the second selection of the Prix Jan Michalski -- the longer shortlist, with a shorter one to follow in October before the winning title is announced 25 November.
Five titles are left in the running for the CHF50,000 prize.
The two remaining French titles were both proposed by Benoît Duteurtre -- this is one of those the-judges-propose-the-books-that-are-considered prizes; the other finalists include a Mia Couto-trilogy, Fran Ross' Oreo, and Philippe Sands' East West Street.
The Poetry Foundation has announced this year's Pegasus Awards winners: Marilyn Chin won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a US$100,000 prize in recognition of outstanding lifetime achievement for a US poet, and Saskia Hamilton won the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, for The Dolphin Letters and The Dolphin: Two Versions.
The river that sustained the literature has now dried up and there is a clear lack in establishing new avenues in literary writing.
The topics explored have been exhausted to the point where they actually taste like over-chewed gum; limited in flavour and lacking all the suspense needed to have the reader yearning for the next page.
There is need therefore for the literary field to find new themes to explore if we are to have anything called Lesotho literature in the near future.
They've announced the winners of the 'Steed Awards', awarded for national minority literatures in China, with twenty-five awards (selected from 376 works, published 2016 to 2019) announced in five categories -- novel, novella, reportage, poetry, and prose -- as well as five awards for translation.
The novel award went to works by Yi, Yao, Mongolian, Tibetan, and Korean authors.
Maybe eventually some of them will be translated into English .....
Bloomsbury India had planned to publish -- rather soon after the fact -- Delhi Riots 2020 by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar, and Prerna Malhotra; see their publicity page -- but now it looks like that subtitle proves all too apt: The Untold Story, as they've withdrawn the book.
The problem appears to be considerable doubts about just how objective an account this is/could be, with many Bloomsbury authors objecting to its planned publication.
Lots of coverage in the Indian press -- see, for example:
I recently mentioned that they had put together The Lounge guide to India in 50 books, and while the obvious criticism of it is that it's limited to books written in English there are other shortcomings -- notably, as Sneha Khaund now explains at Scroll.in, Systemic erasure: Why writing from North-East India doesn’t make it to lists of ‘Indian’ books.
I have been frustrated by the little that is available from this region -- especially in translation, but also written in English -- but I don't know if Khaund's call to: "read the books because they are an archive of pain and suffering at the hands of the state machinery that cannot be articulated otherwise" is the right way to sell what there is that is available.
Rubin credits [Alfred] Birnbaum for launching Murakami’s international success: “Definitely it was Birnbaum’s lively style that allowed Murakami to take off at all.”
Which is nice of him to say -- but consider also that Rubin:
is currently working on a new translation of Hard-Boiled Wonderland [and the End of the World] to mark the opening of Waseda University’s Haruki Murakami Library in 2021.
The original translation was, of course, by Birnbaum .....
In his forthcoming Who We're Reading When We're Reading Murakami -- see the Soft Skull publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk; my review should be up soon -- David Karashima discusses the translating of the novel -- and the extensive cuts and changes that, sigh, were made to it ("When the book was published, the copyright page included the credit, “translated and adapted by Alfred Birnbaum with the participation of the author.”").
So a new translation is certainly welcome -- indeed, I'd love to see complete translations of all the Murakami novels ......
But it's fun to ... compare some of the comments in the Karashima-book, such as:
Rubin has said that Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is a book that he has “daydreamed about re-translating for myself simply as a way to get into it more deeply,” but that there is no such plan and that he would be “hard pressed not to steal Alfred’s brilliant use of past and present narratives for the two halves of the book.”
(That's from a 2013 e-mail exchange with Karashima.)
When I ask Birnbaum the same question [about the possibility of another translator creating an unabridged translation], he responds that “the only reason to re-do HBW is to bolster their careers,” referring, presumably, to Murakami’s other translators and editors.
(That's from a 2019 e-mail exchange with Karashima.)
In any case, hopefully, Rubin's new translation will be one that does entirely without cuts .....
They've announced the winners of this year's James Tait Black Prizes, "Britain's longest running literary awards", awarded since 1919.
The fiction prize went to Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann; the biography prize to The Photographer at Sixteen, by George Szirtes.
I still haven't fully gotten around to (the mammoth) Ducks, Newburyport, but do hope to eventually; meanwhile, get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Martin Amis has a new book coming out -- Inside Story; pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and so the big publicity flood will soon be upon us; a lengthy profile at Publishers Weekly, Sinéad O'Shea finding Martin Amis Gets Matter of Fact starts things off .....
I have an e-galley of this but will probably only really get to it once I get a print copy; I do expect/hope to review it.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz's Arabian Nights and Days.
This is the 27th Mahfouz title under review at the complete review, the most by any author.
(Amélie Nothomb (25) and Geoff Nicholson (20) are the only other authors with twenty or more titles under review.)
The only author who might challenge him for the most-reviewed books in the short- to mid-term (say, the next decade), is probably Georges Simenon (currently: 16); in the long-term, if Nothomb keeps up her book-a-year rate, she might take over the top spot in two or three decades .....
Seeing as how many of his books I've reviewed, I was briefly concerned that Mahfouz might be too-dominant as far as what little translated-from-the-Arabic literature is under review at the complete review -- after all, if he wrote in his own language, that would rate as the 22nd most popular under review (out of 81 total languages; see the full list).
Amazingly, however Arabic -- which is the eighth most popular language books under review were originally written in, with 119 titles -- would actually maintain its eighth-place ranking even if none of the Mahfouz titles counted; it's that far ahead of the ninth-place language (Russian).
(Which language is most-dominated by a single author ?
Albanian would seem to be the obvious choice, and with six of the ten written-in-Albanian titles under review ones by Ismail Kadare it's right up there, but of languages with ten or more titles under review the winner (loser ?) is Afrikaans, with ten of the fifteen titles under review by Deon Meyer.)
To help translators find new assignments in these uncertain times, the Dutch Foundation for Literature has subsidized a number of 3,000-word translations of Dutch literary titles.
'A number' is a pretty big number: they approved 179 proposals, for sample-translation into 32 languages.
Ten of the 84 fiction sample-translations are into English (as are 13 non-fiction titles (out of 45), and six poetry titles (out of 20)); let's hope some of these get picked up by US/UK publishers.