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Please note: posting will be more sporadic in
March; apologies for the inconvenience

- the Management

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.

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       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.

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       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.

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       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 ?

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       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.

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       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.

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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.”"

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       '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.”

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       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 ?

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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.

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       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.

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       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.

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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.

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       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.

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20 March 2023 - Monday

Publishing in ... Ukraine | New issue of Latin American Literature Today
Die Denunziantin review

       Publishing in ... Ukraine

       At Publishers Weekly Ed Nawotka reports the unsurprising news that War Has Taken Its Toll on Ukrainian Publishing, with the number of titles dropping from 17,000 in 2021 to under 9000 last year -- while: "the total number of books printed in Ukraine fell from 25.7 million in 2021 to 9.2 million in 2022".
       Still, it's quite amazing -- and admirable -- that they're getting as much done as they are.

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       New issue of Latin American Literature Today

       The March, 2023 issue of Latin American Literature Today is now available, with a load of material, including on featured author Mónica Ojeda, Children's Literature, as well as translation previews and the always interesting book review section.

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

       Die Denunziantin review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Brigitte Reimann's first novel, Die Denunziantin, -- finally published, some five decades after the author's death.

       With her Siblings just out in English -- and getting some good attention -- and some new German editions of several of her works, it's good to see her getting her due -- and fascinating to be able to see this very early work. It seems unlikely that this will be translated into English -- certainly, there are several other works to get to first (not least, Franziska Linkerhand !), but what an interesting literary-historical piece of work this is (in an excellent edition, providing a lot of supporting material).

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19 March 2023 - Sunday

Bookselling | Schrijvers ! review


       Via I'm pointed to Masaaki Morioka's report in Nikkei Asia on how in Japan Shared bookstores let bibliophiles meet owners with a passion, as:
Shared bookstores, where each shelf is operated by a different owner, are cropping up in Japan's big cities
       And one also has to admire the business plan where:
We only offer books that we really want to sell, not the ones that sell well.
       Meanwhile, in The Age, Christopher Bantick writes on how Melbourne bookshops like Readings and Paperback Bookshop are part of the city's culture.
       Apparently: "Melbourne was once a city where bookshops were common. It is a city now reduced to a handful".
       One former bookseller suggests:
“The new book trade generally has deteriorated and I think publishers are largely to blame,” he said. “In any shop now you will find stacks of books left by publishers on sale or return. We spend half our time clearing up publishers’ mistakes.”

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       Schrijvers ! review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jessica Durlacher's novel, Schrijvers !.

       I'm always up for fiction about writers and writing, but I have to admit a major reason for reviewing this -- or at least a -- book by Jessica Durlacher is because there are already books by her husband, Leon De Winter (e.g. Hoffman's Hunger), and their daughter Solomonica (Over the Rainbow) under review, and I believe this is now the first related-trio under review. (There are several duos under review, such as husband and wife Ross Macdonald and Margaret Millar.)
       Now to do the Mann family .....

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18 March 2023 - Saturday

Dubravka Ugrešić (1949-2023) | Jorge Edwards (1931-2023)
Hernán Díaz profile

       Dubravka Ugrešić (1949-2023)

       Very sad to hear that Dubravka Ugrešić has passed away; not many English-language reports yet, but see, for example, Vuk Tesija on Well-Known Croatia-Born Writer Dubravka Ugresic Passes at BalkanInsight.

       With a dozen of her titles under review at the complete review -- see that author page -- I've been a long-time fan, and also had the pleasure of meeting her several times. She was a wonderful writer whose work really deserves more attention than it's gotten.

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       Jorge Edwards (1931-2023)

       Chilean author Jorge Edwards -- winner of, among other prizes, the Cervantes Prize, the leading Spanish-language author prize -- has passed away; see, for example, Chile's Jorge Edwards, 1999 Cervantes Prize winner, dead at 91.
       Not much of his work appears to be available in English -- except, unsurprisingly, his best-known work, Persona Non Grata ('A Memoir of Disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution'); get your copy at or

       The Acantilado Foreign Rights site only touts one of his novels -- but they describe Oh, maligna as following: "the trail of the young poet Pablo Neruda in Burma (now Myanmar) where he arrived in 1927 to take up the post of Honorary Consul of Chile" and how: "he embarked on a relationship that was so fiery, so stormy, that he ended up being forced to flee to Ceylon", so, yes, please, let's see this in translation.

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       Hernán Díaz profile

       In El País Eduardo Lago profiles Hernán Díaz, in The inventor of capitalist realism is an Argentine who writes in English.
       Díaz explains why he writes in English:
To use an analogy from the plastic arts, why does one sculptor choose to work in bronze while others choose marble or wood ? Something about the material -- its give, malleability, texture, strength and temperature -- works differently for each sculptor. I feel the same way about languages.
       He also thinks: "David Markson is the best American writer of the last 30 years, although nobody pays much attention to him anymore". (With seven of his titles under review at the complete review -- e.g. Reader's Block -- there's certainly some love for Markson hereabouts.)

       I only recently got my hands on a copy of Trust, but I do expect to get to it soon.

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17 March 2023 - Friday

EBRD Literature Prize shortlist | Isabel Colegate (1931-2023) | Arno Schmidt review

       EBRD Literature Prize shortlist

       The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced the (not-so-)shortlist of ten titles left in the running for this year's EBRD Literature Prize, awarded to a book by an author from a country where the EBRD operates available in English translation.
       Three of the titles are under review at the complete review:        The winner will be announced on 15 June.

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       Isabel Colegate (1931-2023)

       Author Isabel Colegate -- apparently best-known for The Shooting Party -- has passed away; see, for example, Polly Pattullo's obituary in The Guardian.
       The only works by her under review at the complete review are the three novels of The Orlando Trilogy:
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       Arno Schmidt review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sven Hanuschek's biography of the master, Arno Schmidt.

       As long-time readers can guess, I've been very eager to get my hands on this and read/review it.
       This probably won't make it into English -- not any time soon, anyway. So I guess English-speaking readers will continue to have to make do with my Arno Schmidt: a centennial colloquy .....

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16 March 2023 - Thursday

Griffin Poetry Prize longlist | Prix Orange shortlist | Dralyuk and Croft Q & A

       Griffin Poetry Prize longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's now-consolidated Griffin Poetry Prize -- it used to be a two-category prize, Canadian and international, but now it's just one big free-for-all, with the winner to get CS$130,000 ("making it the world's largest international prize for a single book of poetry written in, or translated into English").
       The ten titles were selected from: "602 books of poetry, including 54 translations from 20 languages". I haven't seen any of these.
       The shortlist will be announced on 19 April, and the winner on 7 June.

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

       Prix Orange shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's prix Orange du livre en Afrique -- a prize noteworthy because, while (limited to being) Francophone, it is for books published by a publisher based in Africa; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The finalists were selected from 38 titles, from 29 publishers from 12 countries.

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       Dralyuk and Croft Q & A

       In The Los Angeles Times David L. Ulin has a Q & A with the translating couple (but not team) of Jennifer Croft and Boris Dralyuk, in Two of the country's best translators are married -- and competing for the same big prize.
       The prize is the National Book Critics Circle Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, which Croft is nominated for for Olga Tokarczuk's The Books of Jacob and Dralyuk for Andrey Kurkov's Grey Bees.
       Among their observations:
American culture is notoriously resistant to works in translation.

Croft: There’s still some resistance from editors of a certain generation -- to translation itself, to properly crediting and remunerating the translator -- but I think people are less phobic than they once might have been.

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15 March 2023 - Wednesday

Wortmeldungen Prize | Richard Wagner (1952-2023)
Arabic literature abroad | Literary magazines in ... Ireland

       Wortmeldungen Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Wortmeldungen Ulrike Crespo Literaturpreis für kritische Kurztexte, a German prize for short, critical texts, and it is Schwankende Kanarien, by The Giraffe's Neck-author Judith Schalansky. [Bless them for making it available in not-just-pdf format !]
       The prize is noteworthy also for its pay-out -- €35,000. At 6400 words (including footnotes), Schalansky's is already a *longer* text for this competition, but that still works out to nearly €5.50 per word, a rate no fiction prize comes close to and, at best, the occasional poetry prize does.

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       Richard Wagner (1952-2023)

       German-writing Romanian-born author Richard Wagner is perhaps best known as the former husband of Nobel laureate Herta Müller but was a significant author in his own right; he has now passed away; see, for example, Herbert Wiesner's obituary in Die Welt.
       Not much of his work was translated into English, but Verso did bring out his Exit: A Romanian Story in 1990; get your copy at or

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

       Arabic literature abroad

       In The National Saeed Saeed reports on Why more international partnerships are key for Arabic literature to thrive abroad.
       I always wish it were just about the words and books, but unfortunately connections, of various sorts, remain a significant part of this very peculiar industry.

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       Literary magazines in ... Ireland

       In the Irish Examiner Mary Morrissy offers Words of wonder: A look behind the scenes of Ireland's thriving literary magazines.
       Somewhat oddly, the first one profiled -- The Moth -- is, as Morrissy notes, actually closing shop ..... But, yes, there are quite a few others, going strong and on .....

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14 March 2023 - Tuesday

International Booker Prize longlist | Pope Francis' 'reading path'
Wingate Prize | Carol Shields Prize longlist

       International Booker Prize longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's International Booker Prize. The longlist was selected from 134 (not revealed ...) titles
       Four of the titles are under review at the complete review:        I have several more of these and should be getting to them.
       The shortlist will be announced on 18 April, and the winner on 23 May.

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       Pope Francis' 'reading path'

       In La Civiltà Cattolica Antonio Spadaro considers (at length) Bergoglio's Map: Literature in the formation of Pope Francis, reconstructing: "the path of his reading along with the literary references scattered throughout his texts and interviews" -- always a fun exercise.
       Jorge Mario Bergoglio (as the pope used to be known as) certainly did show a quite impressive range of reading -- showing, for example: "great interest in Leopoldo Marechal", the author of the great Adam Buenosayres.

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       Wingate Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Wingate Literary Prize, "given to the best book, fiction or non-fiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader", and it is The Island of Extraordinary Captives, by Simon Parkin.
       See also the publicity pages from Sceptre and Scribner, or get your copy at, or

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       Carol Shields Prize longlist

       I'm a bit late to this, but they've announced the first longlist for the new Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, celebrating: "creativity and excellence in fiction by women and non-binary writers in the United States and Canada" -- noteworthy also for the prize money, the winner taking home US$150,000.
       Fifteen titles have been longlisted (none of which I have seen ...); "selected from more than 250 eligible entries" (none of which, except the longlisted titles, are revealed ...).
       The shortlist will be announced on 6 April, and the winner on 4 May.

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13 March 2023 - Monday

Ōe Kenzaburō (1935-2023) | 'Classics in Translation' | Translating Zakaria Tamer

       Ōe Kenzaburō (1935-2023)

       Sad to hear that Nobel laureate Ōe Kenzaburō has passed away; see the official announcement (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) from his publisher Kodansha, and reports from The Japan Times and Reuters. (Sidenote: kind of amazing that in this day and age it is still possible to keep the death of such a prominent person basically under wraps for ten days (he passed away on 3 March).)
       Several of Ōe's works are under review at the complete review -- though I have more to get to:        (Yes, amazingly and shockingly, quite a few of his works have not been translated into English yet .....)

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       'Classics in Translation'

       An interesting two-part piece at Antigone, where Wolfgang de Melo considers Classics in Translation ? A Personal Angle, looking first at Translation in Antiquity and the Present and then Translation in Anglophone Universities.
       A lot here of interest, both about ancient Greek and Latin and about translation.

       See also the Latin and ancient Greek works under review at the complete review.

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       Translating Zakaria Tamer

       Two titles by Syrian author Zakaria Tamer are under review at the complete review -- Breaking Knees and The Hedgehog -- and I am very much looking forward to seeing the new volume of his stories that is coming out from Syracuse University Press, Sour Grapes -- see their publicity page, or get your copy at, or At ArabLit Tugrul Mende now has a Q & A with one of the translators of this volume, Finding the Music and Rhythm of Zakaria Tamer in English: A Conversation with Alessandro Columbu.
       Since I do have my issues with story collections, I am particularly pleased to hear: "The beauty of Sour Grapes is that you could read it as a novel".

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12 March 2023 - Sunday

Nuruddin Farah profile | Margaret Atwood Q & A
Literature and politics in ... Nepal | '100 best books by women authors' list

       Nuruddin Farah profile

       In the Financial Times David Pilling profiles Nuruddin Farah: ‘I can live without my books. They make their own friends’.

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       Margaret Atwood Q & A

       In The Guardian Lisa O'Kelly has a Q & A with Margaret Atwood: ‘It would be fun to talk to Simone de Beauvoir’.
       Among her responses:
At 83, you are still publishing a book every year. Can you see yourself ever slowing down ?

What is this word “ever” ? Yes, there’s a ticking clock. You may have noticed. But you keep on until you’re finished, you know ? Until you don’t have anything more to say or do. Lying on the beach has never been my idea of a good time.

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       Literature and politics in ... Nepal

       In The Kathmandu Post Abhi Subedi reflects on Literary responses to politics in Nepal -- finding that:
One characteristic of Nepali literary writing today is that despite a plethora of publications of literary works of various genres, very few of them directly address the fluid political situation. There is a sense of dichotomy between literary writings and politics in Nepal

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       '100 best books by women authors' list

       Of lists there can never be enough, and at Good Housekeeping the 'team' there and their books editor now offer 100 best books to read by women authors. (One has to appreciate that specificity -- differentiating this from all those other best books lists which are apparently not limited to books 'to read'.)

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11 March 2023 - Saturday

Eurovision Book Contest | David Atherton Q & A

       Eurovision Book Contest

       They've announced: "a special project to explore and celebrate European literature: the Eurovision Book Contest" -- as part of the Hay Festival, no less.
       Anyone can submit titles for consideration -- whereby: "All genres and languages are welcome, but we're looking for suggestions published anytime since the song contest began in 1956". And:
A final selection of one book from each country will be made by an expert panel on the eve of Hay Festival in Wales this spring (25 May-4 June), with a special event planned on site to debate the list and crown an overall winner...
       I am very much hoping that the submissions will be in the spirit of the songs (and performances) of the song contest -- ABBA-lit, as it were -- and am very curious as to what kind of mess this turns into.

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       David Atherton Q & A

       In the Harvard Crimson Benjy Wall-Feng has Fifteen Questions: David Atherton on Japanese Literature, Creativity, and Remembering to Breathe.
       Some interesting responses, mainly about Japan and Japanese literature -- including an Ogawa Yōko-endorsement: "She’s fantastic, not as well known in the U.S." (though a dozen of her titles are under review at the complete review, e.g. The Memory Police) --, but also:
FM: You also have an MA in Thai literature, right ?

DA: I do. That’s where the big money is.
       Sadly, he follows that up by noting: "I would have continued with it if there was the possibility of a job further down the line, but there’s no real field for Thai literary studies in the U.S." .....

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10 March 2023 - Friday

Joyce Carol Oates Prize finalists | Bertolt-Brecht-Preis
Baillie Gifford Prize 'Winner of Winners' Award shortlist
The Netanyahus | Vito von Eichborn (1943-2023)

       Joyce Carol Oates Prize finalists

       New Literary Project has announced the five finalists for this year's Joyce Carol Oates Prize, a US$50,000 prize awarded to : "a mid-career author of fiction who has earned an extraordinarily distinguished reputation and garnered the widespread appreciation of readers"
       No work by any of the five is under review at the complete review, I'm afraid.
       The winner will be announced next month.

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       They've announced the winner of this year's Bertolt Brecht Prize, a (more or less) biennial, €15,000 author prize, and it is Kruso-author Lutz Seiler.
       Previous winners include Atlas of an Anxious Man-author Christoph Ransmayr (2004), Ingo Schulze (2013), The Eighth Life (For Brilka)-author Nino Haratischwili (2018), and Grime-author Sibylle Berg (2020).
       Seiler gets to pick up his award on the perhaps less than ideally chosen 20 April.

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       Baillie Gifford Prize 'Winner of Winners' Award shortlist

       The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction has announced the shortlist for its 'Winner of Winners Award' -- crowning: "the best work of non-fiction from the last 25 years, recognising the outstanding work of all previous 24 prizewinners" (all the more confusing as for most of its existence the prize was known as the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction).
       The winning title will be announced on 27 April.

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       The Netanyahus

       In The Harvard Gazette Danna Lorch reports on a recent event where Joshua Cohen spoke with James Wood about his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Netanyahus.
       Among the titbits of interest:
He told Wood that 24 publishers rejected the manuscript before it was accepted by New York Review Books.
       (Ah, yes, the American publishing world .....)
While some other people were iterating sourdough recipes during the COVID-19 lockdown, he was pounding out this book. “Everything was just very depressing, so I wrote what I thought was just a completely pointless book,” he said.
       (Of course, if that was the sales pitch -- it's: "a completely pointless book" -- you can sort of understand the 24 publishers who passed on it .....)

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       Vito von Eichborn (1943-2023)

       German publisher Vito von Eichborn has passed away; see, for example, Jan Wiele's obituary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
       As founder of Eichborn (now part of Bastei Lübbe, which I still can't wrap my head around) and savior of Hans Magnus Enzensberger's (et al.) Die Andere Bibliothek he was an important figure in German literary publishing; his most recent undertaking appears to have been Vitolibro.

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