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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


24 September 2021 - Friday

FT McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award shortlist
Cundill History Prize shortlist | Joshua Cohen Q & A

       FT McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist of this year's Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.
       There are six finalists; I haven't seen any of these.
       The winner will be announced 1 December.

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



       Cundill History Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Cundill History Prize, "the world's leading history prize".
       There are eight titles on the shortlist; a shorter list of finalists will be announced 20 October, and the winner of the US$75,000 prize on 2 December.

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



       Joshua Cohen Q & A

       In Frieze Lincoln Michel has a Q & A with Joshua Cohen on Truth and Half-Truths in Fiction, speaking mainly about his recent novel, The Netanyahus.
       Among other things, Cohen notes:
That’s how books have changed, since I started writing them: they became tedious redoubts for the pious certainties of a besieged, over-educated and underemployed intellectual class dissatisfied with -- and powerless to change -- the mindless, capital-driven popular.

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



23 September 2021 - Thursday

Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners | In the Shadow of the Yali review

       Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners

       They've announced the winners of this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prizes, awarded to books: "that have led readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view", with the fiction prize going to We Germans, by Alexander Starritt.
       No word yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, the report at the Literary Hub.

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



       In the Shadow of the Yali review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Suat Derviş' In the Shadow of the Yali, a 1945 Turkish novel now available in English, in Maureen Freely's translation, from Other Press.

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



22 September 2021 - Wednesday

German Book Prize shortlist | The Buru Quartet | Journey to the West

       German Book Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's German Book Prize -- six titles, three of which were published by Carl Hanser.
       The winner will be announced 18 October.

       Among the finalists is Christian Kracht's Eurotrash -- which was also named a finalist for the Swiss Book Prize. Now, however -- rather late in the day -- Kracht has asked for his book to be withdrawn from consideration for the latter, noting that he had already won the prize previously (in 2016) and saying he wanted to give the other authors a better chance. (He's still all in on the bigger-payday, more prestigious German Book Prize -- which, admittedly, he hasn't previously won.)
       As the Swiss Book Prize's official press announcement (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) notes, publishers are (ridiculously) limited to two entries for the prize; they don't say it outright, but obviously they're pointing to the fact that he took up one of those limited spots ..... It's also too late for them to add a new fifth finalist, so the prize will be decided among the four remaining titles.
       There also seems to be more to it than just Kracht having suddenly realized he'd won this thing before and maybe somebody else should get a chance: apparently the Swiss press has ... mentioned that Kracht, despite being a wealthy, bestselling author published by a major publisher received, a generous work grant from the Swiss government arts council, Pro Helvetia (a grant he had to apply for in order to get) -- i.e. public funds that maybe might have better gone to a less-well-situated author. Kracht seems to allude to this media-fuss in his letter withdrawing his book (and they specifically quote his comments mentioning this in the official press release).

       As longtime readers know, I don't think writers should have any say as to whether or not their book is under consideration for a prize (publishers neither, but that's a different story); if they really disapprove, they can always turn it down (if they win); if they don't think they deserve the money, they can surely find a worthy cause or author(s) to pass it on to.
       In this instance, Kracht actually could (and surely should) have decided much earlier: the Swiss Book Prize apparently requires publishers to get an author's approval in order to submit a title (unlike, say, the Booker Prize, where every effort is made to keep authors in the dark as to whether or not their book has been entered), so apparently Kracht signed off on Eurotrash being entered for the prize and only now has changed his mind.
       I would also note that Kracht didn't win the 2016 Swiss Book Prize, his book, The Dead, did; book prizes should be about the books in question; who the author is is irrelevant (that's what author prizes -- which are much more common in the German-speaking area -- are for). (This is also my major objection to the prix Goncourt, a book prize which can only be won by an author once (in theory, anyway; Romain Gary has proved otherwise).)

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



       The Buru Quartet

       In The Jakarta Post Reno Surya profiles Oei Hiem Hwie: The guardian of Pramoedya Ananta Toer's banned literary tetralogy (with the second part to follow).

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



       Journey to the West

       At Big Think Tim Brinkhof looks at How China's Monkey King changed Western literature.
       Penguin Classics recently published an abridged translation, by Julia Lovell, Monkey King (see their publicity page), but if/when I tackle this, it'll be in the Anthony C. Yu translation (see the University of Chicago Press publicity page) -- not least because I actually have the latter (and not the former).

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



21 September 2021 - Tuesday

End of The Guardian Review | A Single Rose review

       End of The Guardian Review

       As Heloise Wood reported at The Bookseller, Guardian Review bids farewell after nearly 20 years.
       They present it more as a restructuring -- "From next week you can find even more agenda-setting literary journalism in the exciting new Saturday magazine where there will be new columns as well as long-standing favourites in the new Books section" -- but too often these things lead to less coverage. Recall the grandly-announced New York Media to Triple Books Coverage Across Sites Including Vulture and the Cut from a couple of years ago, which lasted ... about a week.
       We hope for the best .....

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



       A Single Rose review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Muriel Barbery's A Single Rose, just out from Europa Editions in the US and Gallic Books in the UK.

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



20 September 2021 - Monday

Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth review

       Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's new novel, Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth.

       This is only Soyinka's third novel -- and the first he's published since 1973. Not that he hasn't kept busy writing a whole lot else -- see also the useful overview by Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí at Open Country, 52 Books in 64 Years: Your Guide to Wole Soyinka's Body of Work.

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



19 September 2021 - Sunday

Draupadi Verlag profile | Neal Stephenson profile

       Draupadi Verlag profile

       At Scroll.in Rima Datta Holland profiles Christian Weiss, German publishing's champion of the literatures of India.
       Weiss is the founder of Draupadi Verlag. Germany still lags greatly in the publication of translations from Indian languages (other than English), so it's great that there is a publisher specializing in the area.

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



       Neal Stephenson profile

       Neal Stephenson has a new novel coming out in November -- Termination Shock -- and in Publishers Weekly Alyssa Ages profiles him, in Neal Stephenson's 'Shock' Doctrine.

       I haven't seen Termination Shock yet but am looking forward to it and will probably cover it -- most of Stephenson's work is under review at the complete review; see, for example, Cryptonomicon --; meanwhile, see the William Morrow publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



18 September 2021 - Saturday

National Book Award for Fiction longlist | Biodiversity in literature

       National Book Award for Fiction longlist

       The (American) National Book Foundation has now announced the longlists for all the National Book Awards, including the one for Fiction.
       The ten longlisted titles were selected from 415 submitted (but unfortunately not revealed to the public ...) titles; I haven't seen any of these.
       The shortlists in all the categories will be announced on 5 October.

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



       Biodiversity in literature

       In People and Nature they've published a paper on The rise and fall of biodiversity in literature: A comprehensive quantification of historical changes in the use of vernacular labels for biological taxa in Western creative literature.
       Yes, apparently there is not just a decline in actual biodiversity, but also biodiversity in literature:
We show that richness, abundance and Shannon diversity peak in the 1830s, followed by a consistent decline over more than 100 years until the middle of the 20th century.
       Among the possible explanations, in part:
We point out though that as we lack information on important driver variables quantifying, for example, the change in the percentage of authors being raised and living in cities or historical changes in the social function of creative literature, we cannot claim a causal relationship, but nevertheless we can observe a historic co-occurrence between decreasing BiL and increasing industrialisation/urbanisation.
       And interesting to know:
The author with the highest biodiversity vocabulary within our corpus is the 19th-century English novelist Charlotte Mary Yonge with 903 taxon labels.
       Lots of caveats to this study but still quite interesting.

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



17 September 2021 - Friday

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Prize longlist | Last Words on Earth review

       Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Prize longlist

       The New India Foundation has announced the longlist for this year's Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize, a prize for: "the best non-fiction book on modern / contemporary India".
       There are twelve titles on the longlist; several are even readily US/UK available, with two titles each published by Harvard University Press and Stanford University Press.
       A shortlist will be announced in the last week of October.

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



       Last Words on Earth review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Javier Serena's Roberto Bolaño-novel, Last Words on Earth, coming out from Open Letter.

       This is the first in a three-book project, to be followed by Serena's Atila, about Aliocha Coll, and then Coll's novel, also called Atila (see also the Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells information page).

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



16 September 2021 - Thursday

National Book Awards Translated Literature shortlist
Sunday Times CNA Literary Awards | PEN America literary grant winners
Swiss Book Prize finalists

       National Book Awards Translated Literature shortlist

       The (American) National Book Foundation has announced the ten finalists for the Translated Literature category of this year's National Book Awards.
       Three of the titles are under review at the complete review:        The finalists will be announced 5 October.

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



       Sunday Times CNA Literary Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's (South African) Sunday Times CNA Literary Awards in the two categories, fiction and non.
       The fiction prize went to A Sin of Omission, by Marguerite Poland; see also the Penguin Random House South Africa publicity page.

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



       PEN America literary grant winners

       They've announced the 2022 PEN America literary grant winners, including the PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants.
       Some fascinating-sounding titles here, including translations from the Filipino, Kazakh, Swahili, and Castrapo.
       The "deeply literate experimental science fiction novel with poetic verve", A Brief Investigation to a Long Melancholia by Edel Garcellano, translated by Bernard Capinpin, looks particularly promising; see also an excerpt.

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



       Swiss Book Prize finalists

       They've announced the five finalists for this year's Swiss Book Prize, a German-language national best book award for which works of both fiction and non are eligible; see also the official press release (warning ! dreaded pdf format !)
       The five titles were selected from 92 eligible titles; only one of them is also on the German Book Prize longlist, Eurotrash, by Christian Kracht.
       The winner will be announced 7 November.

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



15 September 2021 - Wednesday

Booker Prize shortlist | Windham-Campbell Prizes Virtual Festival
Chi Ta-wei Q & A | The N'Gustro Affair review

       Booker Prize shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's Booker Prize for Fiction:
  • A Passage North, by Anuk Arudpragasam
  • Bewilderment, by Richard Powers
  • The Fortune Men, by Nadifa Mohamed
  • Great Circle, by Maggie Shipstead
  • No One is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood
  • The Promise, by Damon Galgut
       I haven't seen any of these.
       The winner will be announced 3 November.

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



       Windham-Campbell Prizes Virtual Festival

       The Windham-Campbell Prizes Festival, which begins today, is virtual this year, and you can watch -- though you have to sign up to do so
       Apparently every Wednesday, through 10 November, at 12:00 EST, one of the nine prize winners will be featured; unfortunately, the programme-listing at the official site is relatively limited. Still, it should be interesting.

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



       Chi Ta-wei Q & A

       At the Columbia University Press blog translator Ari Larissa Heinrich has a Q & A with The Membranes-author Chi Ta-wei, in Q&A: Ari Larissa Heinrich and Chi Ta-wei on The Membranes.
       It is a very good novel, well worth a look.

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



       The N'Gustro Affair review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jean-Patrick Manchette's first novel, The N'Gustro Affair, now out in English from New York Review Books.

       Great to see yet more Manchette in English -- only a few more titles to go !

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



14 September 2021 - Tuesday

Grand Prix de Littérature américaine longlist | Hot Maroc review

       Grand Prix de Littérature américaine longlist

       Yes, the French have a literary prize honoring the best American novel (that's been translated into French) -- the Grand Prix de Littérature américaine -- and they've now announced the longlist for this year's prize; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The winner will be announced 5 November.

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



       Hot Maroc review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Yassin Adnan's Hot Maroc, just out in English from Syracuse University Press.

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



13 September 2021 - Monday

Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis shortlist | Seven Brothers

       Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis shortlist

       They've announced the five-title shortlist for this year's Wilhelm Raabe Literary Przie -- with only one title overlapping with the longlist for this year's German Book Prize, Gert Loschütz's Besichtigung eines Unglücks.
       Paying out €30,000, the Wilhelm Raabe prize is actually richer than the German Book Prize -- and it's had a solid list of winners that includes Wolf Haas' The Weather Fifteen Years Ago (2006), Sibylle Lewitscharoff's Blumenberg (2011), and Christian Kracht's Imperium (2012) -- but remains much lower-profile. The limited website-information and general (lack of) publicity efforts no doubt are part of the reason .....
       Apparently they're deciding on the winner later this month -- though I could not find any date specified .....

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



       Seven Brothers

       At the BBC Lizzie Enfield writes at some length about Aleksis Kivi's Seven Brothers: The book that shaped a Nordic identity -- noting, for example:
Like many novels that would later become classics, at the time of its publication Seven Brothers was not so well received. It was ahead of its time. Literary critics described the book as disgraceful and ridiculous. August Ahlqvist, a Finnish poet and professor of language and literature, wrote the first review of the book and highlighted its vulgarities and rudeness -- cursing, lewd language, the parodying of priests and violence. Two years later, the Finnish Literature Society started to sell the original novel with a preface containing an apology for the uncultivated content of the novel.
       See also my review.

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



12 September 2021 - Sunday

Stanisław Lem at 100 | Happening - the movie
When We Cease to Understand the World review

       Stanisław Lem at 100

       The great Polish writer Stanisław Lem was born a hundred years ago today (more or less: as Culture.pl report: "According to his own account, he was born on 13 September, but the date was changed to the 12th on his birth certificate because of superstition regarding the 'unlucky' number 13").
       They're making an appropriately big deal about it in Poland -- see, for example, the Lem 2021 site -- but there's also been some attention even in English -- see, for example, Roisin Kiberd on A Century in Stanislaw Lem's Cosmos in The New York Times -- and MIT Press admirably continues to bring out many of his titles, including some not previously available in English.

       As I've mentioned before, I read basically all of his work -- mostly in German -- before I started the site, which is why essentially none is under review at the complete review beyond A Stanislaw Lem Reader, but I am certainly a great, great admirer; if I get my hands on some of these MIT editions I might revisit the work (as I probably should).

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



       Happening - the movie

       They've made a movie out of Annie Ernaux's Happening, directed by Audrey Diwan and starring Anamaria Vartolomei, and the film has now been shown at the Venice Film Festival -- and been awarded the Golden Lion.

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



       When We Cease to Understand the World review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Benjamín Labatut's When We Cease to Understand the World.

       This came out from Pushkin Press in the UK last year, and was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, and it is now (almost) available in the US, from New York Review Books.

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



11 September 2021 - Saturday

Translation credit | New Hungarian works | Thomas-Mann-Preis

       Translation credit

       In The Guardian Jennifer Croft explains Why translators should be named on book covers.
       As she notes, they often aren't -- offering also this striking example:
Since the 2016 launch of the redesigned [International Booker Prize], not one of the six winning works of fiction has displayed the translator’s name on the front. Granta didn’t name Deborah Smith there; Jonathan Cape didn’t name Jessica Cohen; Fitzcarraldo didn’t name me; Sandstone Press didn’t name Marilyn Booth; Faber & Faber didn’t name Michele Hutchison. At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, 2021’s winner from Pushkin Press, doesn’t name Anna Moschovakis on its cover, although its cover does display quotes from three named sources.
       There are publishers that do name the translator on the cover -- though only a few do so as a matter of course. Meanwhile, many still bury the name in small print on the copyright page .....

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



       New Hungarian works

       At hlo they offer an overview of some of the New Releases in Hungarian -- Fall 2021.
       Always interesting to see what the current scene is locally in foreign markets -- and maybe we will eventually see some of these in English too.

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



       Thomas-Mann-Preis

       They've announced the winner of this year's Thomas Mann Prize, and it is Norbert Gstrein; see, for example, the Börsenblatt report.
       This (and its predecessor-prizes) has an impressive list of previous winners, including future Nobel laureates Elias Canetti (1969), Günter Grass (1994), and Peter Handke (2008).
       Several of Gstrein's works have been translated into English, including two, not so long ago, by Quercus.
       He gets to pick the prize up on 14 December.

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



10 September 2021 - Friday

Longlists: Prix Renaudot - Prix Mémorable - Baillie Gifford Prize
Lucien Stryk Prize shortlist | Eight Dogs, or "Hakkenden" review

       Longlist: Prix Renaudot

       The French prize-longlist announcements keep coming, including now that for the prix Renaudot; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       There are sixteen titles on the list, including the Goncourt-overlooked latest by Amélie Nothomb and the Goncourt-longlisted titles by Anne Berest, Maria Pourchet, Abel Quentin, and Mohamed Mbougar Sarr. But no David Diop !
       They also announced the longlist for the non-fiction Renaudot -- ten titles.

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



       Longlist: Prix Mémorable

       The prix Mémorable is basically for a work by a previously unknown-in-French foreign author, or by a French author who has: "tombé dans l'oubli ou méconnu" and whose work is being re-issued again; examples of previous winners include John William's Stoner (an example of the former), in 2011, and Emmanuel Bove's My Friends (an example of the latter), in 2016. As such, it is meant to be a prize that, in particular, rewards editorial choices -- finding worthy foreign titles, or bringing back worthy French ones.
       They've now announced this year's ten-title strong longlist, which includes books by Brendan Behan, Wright Morris, Claude McKay, and Gabrielle Wittkop.

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



       Longlist: Baillie Gifford Prize

       They've announced the longlist for this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, a UK-based £50,000 prize for non-fiction, open to authors of all nationalities.

       The longlist has thirteen titles, including two in translation -- including Maria Stepanova's In Memory of Memory, which you may recall was shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize -- a prize for a work of fiction .....

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



       Lucien Stryk Prize shortlist

       The American Literary Translators Association has announced the four finalists for the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize.
       (Note that the prize is only for some Asian translation: books must be: "a) poetry or b) source texts from Zen Buddhism (which must not consist solely of commentaries)", and on top of that only translations from Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, or Vietnamese are considered.)

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



       Eight Dogs, or "Hakkenden" review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Part One: An Ill-Considered Jest of Kyokutei Bakin's early nineteenth-century Japanese classic, Eight Dogs, or "Hakkenden".

       Translator Glynne Walley is planning on translating the entire work -- originally published serially over twenty-eight (!) years, and some ten times the length of this volume -- and I hope he and his publisher are able to see it through; as is, it's great to have this first volume, recently out in the Cornell East Asia Series.
       As Walley notes in his Introduction, this is: "one of the monuments of Japanese literature" -- and a fascinating example of nineteenth-century (i.e. modern but pre-(strongly-)Western influenced) Japanese literature, of which far too little is available in English translation; a complete translation of this work is long, long overdue.

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



9 September 2021 - Thursday

Women's Prize for Fiction | Ottaway Award
Prix de la littérature arabe finalists | Giller Prize shortlist
Karl Ove Knausgaard Q & A

       Women's Prize for Fiction

       They've announced the winner of this year's Women's Prize for Fiction, and it is Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke.

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



       Ottaway Award

       They've announced the winner of this year's Words without Borders Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature, and it is Naveen Kishore, the publisher of the great Seagull Books -- certainly one of the leading publishers of works in English translation anywhere.
       He will receive the award in a "private hybrid ceremony in New York City on September 30".

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



       Prix de la littérature arabe finalists

       The Fondation Jean-Luc Lagardère and the l’Institut du monde arabe have announced the finalists for this year's prix de la littérature arabe.
       There are eight finalists; five of the works were originally written in Arabic, and three in French.
       The only one of these titles under review at the complete review is Aziz Mohammed's The Critical Case of a Man Called K .

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



       Giller Prize shortlist

       They've announced the finalists for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize, a leading Canadian fiction prize, twelve titles selected from 132 submitted titles.
       Three of the titles are story collections, the rest novels.
       The shortlist will be announced 5 October, and the winner on 8 November.

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



       Karl Ove Knausgaard Q & A

       With Karl Ove Knausgaard's new novel, The Morning Star, coming out shortly the interviews keep coming, too -- see now Adam Dalva's at The Millions, Karl Ove Knausgaard Will Not Read This Interview.

       I haven't seen The Morning Star yet but hope to get to it; meanwhile, see the publicity pages from the Penguin Press and Harvill Secker, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



8 September 2021 - Wednesday

Prix Goncourt longlist | Awake review

       Prix Goncourt longlist

       French prize-watch season begins in serious now, with the announcement (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) of the sixteen-title-strong longlist for the biggest of them all, the prix Goncourt.
       Authors with books which made the cut who have had works translated into English include Christine Angot, Agnès Desarthe, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Tanguy Viel, and, of course, the winner of this year's International Booker Prize, David Diop.
       This is a four-round prize, with the shorter longlist to be announced 5 October, the shortlist then on 26 October, and then the winner on 3 November.

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



       Awake review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Harald Voetmann's Pliny the Elder-novel, Awake -- just (about) out in English from New Directions.

       This is apparently the first in a loose trilogy of historical-figure-based fictions, the following two centering on Tycho Brahe and Othlo of St. Emmeram, respectively; it'll be interesting to see how the trio works as a whole.

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



7 September 2021 - Tuesday

JCB Prize for Literature longlist | Reykjavík International Literary Festival
The American review

       JCB Prize for Literature longlist

       They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the ten-title-strong longlist for this year's JCB Prize for Literature, one of the leading Indian fiction prizes.
       Three of the titles are works in translation; amazingly, they're all translations from the Malayalam.
       I haven't seen any of these, but I do hope some are eventually more readily US/UK available.
       The shortlist will be anounced 4 October, and the winner on 13 November.

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



       Reykjavík International Literary Festival

       The Reykjavík International Literary Festival starts tomorrow and runs through the 11th.

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



       The American review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Henry James' The American.

       I keep meaning to make my way through more James (and there is a lot ...); maybe I finally will.

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



6 September 2021 - Monday

W.F.Hermans at 100 | Genese Grill Q & A

       W.F.Hermans at 100

       They celebrated the hundredth anniversary of Dutch author Willem Frederik Hermans' birth on 1 September -- including the unveiling of a memorial stone in De Nieuwe Kerk,
       Not any English-language coverage, but lots in the Dutch press, including Michel Krielaars suggesting that if 'he wasn't such a difficult character and hadn't been so opposed to translations of his work he could have been as big an author as Graham Greene, Günter Grass, or Louis-Ferdinand Céline', while Guy Verhofstadt explains (in Dutch) 'Why Hermans is completely of this surreal time'.. At Boeken over Boeken they usefully have a running list of centenary events

       Several Hermans works are under review at the complete review:        And Archipelago is bringing out A Guardian Angel Recalls in November; I'll be getting to that in the next couple of weeks; meanwhile, see their publicity page. But if you want to see how much more there is to translate, check out the (still in progress) collected works site; they're up to twenty-one volumes.

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       Genese Grill Q & A

       At Fifteen Questions they have ... Fifteen Questions Literature Interview with Genese Grill

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



5 September 2021 - Sunday

Fall previews | Words without Borders Q & A

       Fall previews

       The upcoming fall season apparently includes a lot of 'big' books; for some previews see, for example, Legends of the fall: the 50 biggest books of autumn 2021, collected by Justine Jordan and Katy Guest in The Guardian, and 40 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Fall at Vulture.
       I have seen all of ... one of these -- the Soyinka; it's on both, and my review should be up soon -- but I do hope to see a few more; regardless, these lists don't seem to come close to covering anything close to everything of interest that's coming out, so I hope you don't rely on just this sort of stuff but rather look (considerably) beyond.

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       Words without Borders Q & A

       The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses has a Member Spotlight: Words Without Borders, as they: "spoke with Karen Phillips, the executive director of Words Without Borders, in this installment of the CLMP Member Spotlight series".
       I imagine that everyone who reads this weblog is familiar with Words without Borders; if, for some reason, you aren't yet a regular visitor to the site, please do check it out.

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



4 September 2021 - Saturday

Age Book of the Year | Bayerischer Buchpreis shortlists
Biblioasis Q & A | I Never Had a Best-Seller review

       Age Book of the Year

       After a nine year hiatus the Age Book of the Year is back again, and they've now announced this year's winner -- The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott.
       See also the publicity pages from FSG Originals and Atlantic Books, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Bayerischer Buchpreis shortlists

       After the announcement of the German Book Prize longlist last week, and the Austrian Book Prize longlist the day before yesterday, we now get even more regional, with the announcement of the shortlists for the Bavarian Book Prize - three titles each in the fiction and non categories.
       The deliberations and prize announcement ceremony -- on 11 November -- proceed a bit differently than usual for a literary prize: the jurors will discuss the six titles in the running live in front of an audience (and the nominated authors) -- and will decide then and there, on stage, who gets the prizes. I assume they'll have talked this through some backstage beforehand, but still, this has some potential; I particularly like the idea of live and in-front-of-an-audience deliberations -- manageable, with only three books to choose from in each category. Maybe more literary prizes should try this !

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



       Biblioasis Q & A

       At the Literary Hub Corinne Segal has an Interview with an Indie Press: Biblioasis.
       Canada-based Biblioasis certainly has an interesting list -- well worth checking out.

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



       I Never Had a Best-Seller review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jacob Steinberg's I Never Had a Best-Seller: The Story of a Small Publisher.
       Steinberg was the founder of Twayne -- best-known for their enormous and invaluable Authors-series, but also publishers of quite an interesting variety beyond that.

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



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