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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review

The Literary Saloon Archive

21 - 31 March 2023

21 March: James Daunt Q & A | Murakami in ... Maltese
22 March: Sami Rohr Prize finalists | Deep Vellum profile
23 March: Translation Prize finalists | Falling Angel review
24 March: (American) National Book Critics Circle Awards | Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse finalists | Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist
25 March: John E. Woods | 'France's feminist literary revolution' | Higashino Keigo's 'Galileo'-series | 凍りついた香り review
26 March: Júlia Bacardit | Day of European Authors
27 March: María Kodama (1937-2023) | Galaxy Awards | Our Game review
28 March: Dublin Literary Award shortlist | Rathbones Folio Prize | Arunava Sinha Q & A | NBG recommendations
30 March: D.M.Thomas (1935-2023) | Shortlists: Stella Prize - Prix Jean d'Ormesson
31 March: SALT Project | Die Bienen und das Unsichtbare review

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31 March 2023 - Friday

SALT Project | Die Bienen und das Unsichtbare review

       SALT Project

       At the University of Chicago they've announced the South Asian Literature in Translation Project, "a multi-year project designed to support and promote the English-language translation of literature written in the languages of South Asia".
       See also reports in The Bookseller and The Guardian.
       It sounds very promising.

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

       Die Bienen und das Unsichtbare review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Clemens J. Setz's book about invented languages, Die Bienen und das Unsichtbare.

       US/UK rights seem to still be available -- but the Suhrkamp foreign rights page notes the Esperanto rights have already been sold; I think that's the first time I've ever seen that. (Not that much gets translated into (or, for that matter, from) Esperanto.)
       A good chunk of the book focuses on Vasily Eroshenko -- whose work English-speaking readers finally have some decent access to with the recently published collection of stories he wrote in Esperanto and Japanese, The Narrow Cage.

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

30 March 2023 - Thursday

D.M.Thomas (1935-2023) | Shortlists: Stella Prize - Prix Jean d'Ormesson

       D.M.Thomas (1935-2023)

       D.M.Thomas -- best known for his novel, The White Hotel -- has passed away; see, for example, Nigel Jones' obituary in The Guardian.

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

       Shortlist: Stella Prize

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Stella Prize, a prize for a book, in any genre, by an Australian woman or non-binary writer.
       The winner will be announced 27 April.

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

       Shortlist: Prix Jean d'Ormesson

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's prix Jean d'Ormesson -- the French free-for-all prize, where jurors can nominate whatever the hell books they want (new, old, whatever); see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The winner will be announced on 6 June.

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

28 March 2023 - Tuesday

Dublin Literary Award shortlist | Rathbones Folio Prize
Arunava Sinha Q & A | NBG recommendations

       Dublin Literary Award shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's Dublin Literary Award, with four of the titles in translation.
       I haven't seen any of these, beyond an e-copy of Paradais by Fernanda Melchor.
       The winner will be announced on 25 May.

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

       Rathbones Folio Prize

       They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the three category (fiction, non, and poetry) winners of this year's Rathbones Folio Prize, as well as the overall Rathbones Folio Prize Book of the Year.
       Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser won the fiction category, while Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson won the non-fiction category, as well as Book of the Year.

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

       Arunava Sinha Q & A

       In their 'Creative Corner'-series at Live Mint Rushati Mukherjee has a Q & A with the translator -- of now 72 books ! --, For Arunava Sinha, time is the best workspace

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

       NBG recommendations

       The New Books in Germany jury has made its Spring 2023 recommendations -- a good overview of many of the leading recent titles to appear in German (and there's translation funding to be had for these, if publishers are interested ...).

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

27 March 2023 - Monday

María Kodama (1937-2023) | Galaxy Awards | Our Game review

       María Kodama (1937-2023)

       Jorge Luis Borges' widow -- and the long-time sole controller of his literary estate -- María Kodama has passed away; see, for example, the report in the Buenos Aires Herald.
       Kodama was (in)famously controlling re. Borges' works, and it will be interesting to see whether there will be any change in the future regarding rights and translations. (Question number one is, of course, whether the estate will stick with Wylie.)

       See also James Halford's 2016 profile from the Sydney Review of Books, Such Loneliness in that Gold: María Kodama on Life After Borges -- including the less than helpful bit:
Others have asked María Kodama what will happen to the estate when she dies. Her answer rarely changes -- ‘Why would you ask me that? I plan to live for 200 years’ -- so I didn’t ask.
       I guess we'll find out now. Borges' writing certainly deserves better; maybe there's some hope now.

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

       Galaxy Awards

       As Li Yuche reports in the Global Times, the leading Chinese science fiction awards have been announced, and Galaxy Awards encourage young sci-fi writers.
       Most striking to me is that no award was given for Best Full-Length Novel -- "due to a lack of nominees". That seems rather odd for a thriving scene -- or maybe everyone is just focused on churning out shorter stuff. And, yes, two new awards were added this time, including an: "Award for Greatest Adaptation Potential" -- suggesting where priorities are ?

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

       Our Game review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of John le Carré's 1995 novel, Our Game.

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

26 March 2023 - Sunday

Júlia Bacardit | Day of European Authors

       Júlia Bacardit

       An interesting debate is going on in Spain, where Catalan-writing author Júlia Bacardit has created something of a stir by mentioning in an interview that she is not permitting her latest work, Un dietari senitmental -- see the Editorial Medusa publicity page -- ro be published in Spanish translation.
       Specifically, she said:
He prohibido la traducción al castellano del libro. Por contrato. No quiero contribuir a la bilingüización de la literatura catalana.
       Her prohibition has specifically to do with this work -- she is not generally opposed to translation into Spanish -- ; still, the concern about the 'bilingualization of Catalan' and the complex relationship between the two languages (and their speakers/readers) makes for a lot to discuss/argue about.

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

       Day of European Authors

       So the European Commission has now launched the Day of European Authors, to be celebrated for the first time tomorrow.
       European authors will be appearing at European schools -- they seem to have gotten quite a few (authors and schools) to participate -- and there's also going to be a conference in Sofia.

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

25 March 2023 - Saturday

John E. Woods | 'France's feminist literary revolution'
Higashino Keigo's 'Galileo'-series | 凍りついた香り review

       John E. Woods

       Translator -- most famously of Thomas Mann and Arno Schmidt -- John E. Woods passed away in mid-February; it took a while, but at The New York Times they finally got around to publishing a proper obituary [presumably paywalled], by Richard Sandomir.
       I wasn't familiar with some of his background and path, but it's hardly surprising.
       As Breon Mitchell is quoted, there's no question that: "Mr. Woods was “one of the most important German translators of his generation.”"

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

       'France's feminist literary revolution'

       A lot of turbulence in France at that moment, and at Politico Alice Kantor now also reports on France's feminist literary revolution.
       Nevertheless (and disappointingly):
For all the progress, however, one issue remains: Feminist books about minorities and race are still considered marginal or sectarian by many publishers in France.
       Still, at least things seem to be moving in the generally right direction.

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

       Higashino Keigo's 'Galileo'-series

       At Sainowaki Keiko profiles The Galileo Series: Higashino Keigo's Mystery Hit.
       Not all of these mysteries featuring Yukawa Manabu have been translated into English (sigh ...), but several are available -- see the Macmillan information page -- and three of the four are under review at the complete review; see, for example, The Devotion of Suspect X.
       Interesting to hear that the author is influenced by the film-portrayals of the character by Fukuyama Masaharu:
Higashino admits that he has come to write with the actor in mind. “Yukawa is slowly changing as he gets older,” he says. “This has led me to portray the character in a similar way that I feel Fukuyama performs him.”

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

       凍りついた香り review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ogawa Yoko's 1998 novel, 凍りついた香り.

       This one has been translated into French (in 2002 !), Spanish and Italian (both 2009), and now also German (2022). English ? Not so much .....
       I've now reviewed thirteen works by Ogawa -- and all of five are available in English. Compare that to more than two dozen available in French .....
       I really don't know what the hold-up is -- her work has gotten a very good critical reception and seems to have sold well in the US/UK. So what gives ?

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

24 March 2023 - Friday

(American) National Book Critics Circle Awards
Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse finalists | Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist

       (American) National Book Critics Circle Awards

       The (American) National Book Critics Circle has announced the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards for books published in 2022.
       The newly-added Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize was awarded for the first time, going to Boris Dralyuk's translation of Andrey Kurkov's Grey Bees.
       Ling Ma's story collection Bliss Montage won the Fiction category.

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

       Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse finalists

       The Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair is the big German spring book prize (with the German Book Prize then the big one in the fall) -- and it's actually three prizes, awarded in the categories of fiction, non, and translation. They've now announced the five finalists in each of the categories.
       Noteworthy that none of the translation-finalists are from the English. (And, less surprisingly, that a prominent author is nominated for translation-work -- this year: Antje Rávik Strubel for her translation of Monika Fagerholm's Nordic Council Literature Prize-winning Vem dödade bambi ? (which, bafflingly does not appear to have a US/UK publisher yet; see also the Salomonsson Agency information page).)
       Fiction finalists include works by Ulrike Draesner and Clemens J. Setz.
       The winners will be announced on 27 April.

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

       Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, "awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under".
       The winner will be announced on 11 May.

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

23 March 2023 - Thursday

Translation Prize finalists | Falling Angel review

       Translation Prize finalists

       The French-American Foundation has announced the finalists for this year's Translation Prize, five each in the two categories, fiction and non.
       The only title under review at the complete review is Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux's Getting Lost -- though that was reviewed many, many years before Alison Strayer's now shortlisted translation was published.

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

       Falling Angel review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of William Hjortsberg's 1978 novel, Falling Angel.

       Yes, this is the basis for the 1987 Alan Parker film, Angel Heart .....
       My paperback copy of the novel comes with blurbs from Stephen King and ... Richard Brautigan. The latter is not as surprising as I had originally thought: they were close friends, and Hjortsberg wrote a (massive) biography of Brautigan, Jubilee Hitchhiker; see the Counterpoint publicity page.

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

22 March 2023 - Wednesday

Sami Rohr Prize finalists | Deep Vellum profile

       Sami Rohr Prize finalists

       They've announced the four finalists for this year's Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The prize alternates from year to year, recognizing a work of fiction or of non; this is a fiction year. Awarding US$100,000 to the winner, this is also one of the richest book prizes in the United States.
       Since last year works that have been translated into English are also eligible for the prize -- it used to be limited to English-written works --, and two of this year's four finalists are works in translation, one from Hebrew, one from Polish.
       The only one of these I've seen is Mikołaj Grynberg's wonderfully titled story-collection I'd Like to Say Sorry, But There's No One to Say Sorry To (see The New Press publicity page).
       The winner will be announced 9 August.

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

       Deep Vellum profile

       In D Magazine Will Maddox profiles the man behind Deep Vellum -- the publishing house and the store -- in How Will Evans Became an Accidental (and Wildly Successful) Entrepreneur.
       Among the titbits of interest:
In March of 2022, Deep Vellum published a book set in occupied Eastern Ukraine by the country’s most famous author. The publishing deal with Deep Vellum was signed in 2020, and the book was written in 2018, but several weeks after being published in English, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, making Grey Bees more poignant than ever. It has been the fastest-selling book in the history of Deep Vellum -- 20,000 copies in paperback, ebook, and audiobook in its first nine months. Deep Vellum has reprinted the work five times. A sixth print is at the printer as of this writing for an additional 10,000 paperback copies.
       Evans has certainly built a remarkable powerhouse -- not least with the acquisition of Dalkey Archive Press -- and it's good to hear there are even greater ambitions for the future.

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

21 March 2023 - Tuesday

James Daunt Q & A | Murakami in ... Maltese

       James Daunt Q & A

       At The Verge Nilay Patel has an extensive Q & A with Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt, in ‘The Goliath is Amazon’: after 100 years, Barnes & Noble wants to go back to its indie roots.
       Quite a bit here that's of interest.

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

       Murakami in ... Maltese

       At Lovin Malta Sam Vassallo reports that Murakami Bil-Malti: Famous Japanese Author Gets Local Translation For First Time Ever, as Murakami's Norwegian Wood has been translated into Maltese.
       Yes, as translator Charles Flores acknowledges on the publisher's publicity page: "It-traduzzjoni għall-Malti saret mill-verżjoni bl-Ingliż" -- the translation is second-hand, via the English version -- so that's ... unfortunate (I sit here weeping at the thought ...), but, still, good to see the work available in a smaller language.

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

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