They've announced the winners of this year's Bavarian Book Prize.
The fiction prize went to Ulrike Draesner's Schwitters -- which, yes, is about Kurt Schwitters; see also the Penguin foreign rights page.
The non-fiction prize went to Jens Malte Fischer's biography of Kark Kraus which I've been hoping to see (but haven't yet); see also the Zsolnay foreign rights page.
As a major project for her forties, Kawakami set out the goal of authoring a novel on religion. “I’d like to write about what kami [native gods] mean here in Japan or about society after Aum Shinrikyō,” she said, referring to the cult that launched gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995.
This time, she imagines a story centering on the youngest character from Breasts and Eggs, and she remarked that Midoriko’s voice is in the back of her head, talking to her.
As Chad Post reports at Three Percent, the Best Translated Book Award is shaking things -- well, itself -- up, going on a hiatus of sorts for 2021: no translation-of-the-year prize, but rather a sort of retrospective celebration of the twenty-five previous winners, culminating in a public vote for a "BTBA Champion of Champions".
Meanwhile, a 2022 prize is planned -- and: "ALL books from 2020 and 2021 will be eligible".
Which should be interesting too .....
As the Tehran Times reports, in Iran the Winners of Sacred Defense Book of the Year awards honored -- the eighteenth edition of these prizes presented by the Foundation for the Preservation and Publication of Sacred Defense Works and Values.
Yes, they continue to take memorializing the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s very seriously.
We don't see much Iranian literature in translation in any case -- see what little is under review at the complete review -- but I suspect this will always remain a very local genre.
At The New York Times Insider Sarah Bahr has a Q & A with books-editors Pamela Paul and Andrew LaVallee, as this is apparently An Epic Week for the Books Desk, with coverage of the National Book Awards (which are being announced tonight), Booker Prize (tomorrow), as well as the announcement of the NYTBR's '100 Notable Books of 2020' on Friday (with the top ten to be announced on 23 November).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the third of the four volumes of Jin Yong's Legends of the Condor Heroes, A Snake Lies Waiting.
Apparently we still have to wait a couple of months until the concluding volume -- A Heart Divided; see the publicity pages from St. Martin's Griffin and Quercus -- is out in English; I'll certainly get to it as soon I get my hands on a copy.
The Dutch Foundation for Literature has published its latest batch of Translation Grants for Foreign Publishers -- 51 grants for the translation of Dutch fiction, children's books, non-fiction, and poetry.
Always interesting to see what it is being translated into what languages -- though disappointing to see, yet again, that almost none of the subsidized translations are into English .....
(That doesn't mean some of these titles won't be (or haven't been) published in the US/UK, but still .....)
They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Internacional de Novela Rómulo Gallegos, a leading Latin American book prize awarded every couple of years that has previously been awarded to Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Carlos Fuentes' Terra Nostra, and Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives (and, more recently, Eduardo Lalo's Simone), among others, and this year's winner is El país del diablo, by Perla Suez, selected from 214 entries; see, for example the report at Página|12.
Impressively, this is already available in English, as The Devil's Country; see the White Pine Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Nacional de las Letras Españolas, a leading Spanish (government) author award; previous winners include Rosa Chacel (1987), Miguel Delibes (1991), Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (1995), Juan and Luis Goytisolo (2008 and 2013), and, last year, Bernardo Atxaga; this year's winner is the prolific Luis Mateo Díez.
None of his work appears to be available in English.
People used the last day we were open, which was October 21, to the full.
Many of them borrowed up to 60 books, the maximum that can be borrowed at once, to make sure they have enough for the during of the closure.
Traditionally the biggest demand was for fiction.
Hardest word to translate: “It’s difficult to pinpoint one word.
It’s almost more important to talk about how to translate the space between words.
One thing I’ve wanted to do is to find a way to translate the tategaki [横書き] (vertical writing) aspect of Japanese.
I’d love to someday have a translation in English that’s done in tategaki.”
The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of the two dialogues by Giovanni Gioviano Pontano in the Harvard University Press I Tatti Renaissance Library edition of his Dialogues I, Charon and Antonius.
I finally got around to this (it came out in 2012) because volumes II and III have just been published -- see the Harvard University Press publicity pages here and here -- and my copies arrived just as I was preparing these reviews.
'Asinus', in the third volume, sounds particularly promising, described as: "less a dialogue than a fantastical autobiographical comedy in which Pontano himself is represented as having gone mad and fallen in love with an ass".
In The Bookseller Mark Chandler reports that in the UK Total book sales fell 11% in first-half, PA stats show.
The PA press release puts a different spin on it: Fiction makes a comeback in 2020, but the numbers add up the same: yes, fiction sales are up -- 13 per cent, "driven largely by digital formats" -- and audiobooks boomed, but the academic and export markets tanked; even children's book sales were down.
Not really encouraging news .....
They've announced the winner of this year's Boekenbon Literatuurprijs, one of the leading Dutch book prizes, and it is Zwarte schuur, by Oek de Jong -- which had already been shortlisted for this year's Libris Literatuur Prijs, the other leading Dutch novel prize.
See also the Atlas Contact publicity page, or the (English) information page at the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
The Swedish Book Review has a new URL, new look -- and a new issue is up (even if in the new design doesn't look as obviously issue-y (and, yes, obviously I preferred the old look)).
Fortunately, the content seems to be the usual -- translations, articles, and, above all else, reviews of new (not yet translated) Swedish titles -- all well worth your time.
The Swedish Book Review was recently profiled in the Times Literary Supplement by Paul Binding, in Evergreen darkness, where he describes it:
It features interviews with writers, publishers and translators (these last an important point of focus) as well as appraisals of literary achievements; generous extracts from significant recent works (usually novels); and, forming each issue’s end section, reviews of new Swedish books, both fiction and non-fiction.
These reviews are exemplary, never resembling publishers’ blurbs but objectively analytic of content, style and context.
Taken together they constitute paradigms of what’s going on in the Swedish book world.
The Académie française has announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) its 2020 palmarès -- 62 (!) literary distinctions.
Among the bigger prizes: the Grande Médaille de la Francophonie goes to Lise Gauvin, the Grand Prix de la poésie to Michel Orcel, and the Grand prix de la philosophie to Claude Romano, all for their life-work.
They've announced the winners of this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prizes, awarded for works showing: "the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding".
The World That We Knew, by Alice Hoffman, took the fiction prize, and Know My Name, by Chanel Miller, took the non-fiction prize.
The awards ceremony -- at which Margaret Atwood will also pick up her previously announced Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, will take place 27 June 2021.
- "Sixty-five writers make their selections from around the world" in the Times Literary Supplement's Books of the Year 2020.
(I'm fully on board with Michael Hofmann's selection: Roberto Bazlen's Notes Without a Text.)
Profile Books has announced the launch of Cheerio: "an eclectic new imprint and media company", in partnership with The Estate of Francis Bacon:
CHEERIO's name is a nod to Bacon’s favourite drinking toast.
It will commission unexpected and provocative essay collections, books and films from contributors across a broad range of artistic disciplines.
Much of its content is inspired by or linked to Francis Bacon’s life and work, although that is not a prerequisite.
Its eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction, drama and factual, will appeal to enquiring minds with an artistic bent.
Their first books include an account of a 1988 exhibit, Bacon in Moscow, as well as a title by ... oh, dear ... DBC Pierre.
Not the worst idea for an imprint; I'm curious as to how it develops.
Murakami Haruki's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was published in German as Mister Aufziehvogel in 1998 -- outrageously in a translation not from the original Japanese but rather Jay Rubin's English translation.
And, as Murakami fans know and lament, on top of that, Rubin's translation is an edited version, with big chunks of the Japanese original missing.
But now Ursula Gräfe has translated the whole thing directly from the Japanese -- as Die Chroniken des Aufziehvogels; see also the DuMont publicity page.
(Page comparison: Mister Aufziehvogel is listed at 684 (hardcover) or 768 paperback, while Die Chroniken des Aufziehvogels clocks in at 1005 (hardcover).)
At Deutsche Welle they take the occasion for Melissa Sou-Jie Van Brunnersum to write about Haruki Murakami and the popularity of Japanese literature.
Via I'm pointed Michelle Sinclair Colman's piece in Galerie reporting that Toni Morrison's Personal Library Is Now Available to Purchase.
Yes, her fancy Tribeca condo is up for sale -- asking price: $4,750,000 -- but her: "entire 1,200-plus collection of books is available for purchase in a separate deal, and the family is willing to negotiate on price".
The piece includes quite a few odds and ends about the collection, such as that: "She owned multiple Stephen King novels but not the most popular ones", and that: "She had a few never-returned library books".
I hope they make and publish a catalogue .....