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20 February 2018 - Tuesday

Republic of Consciousness Prize shortlist | Fariba Vafi Q & A
Cruel is the Night review

       Republic of Consciousness Prize shortlist

       The shortlist for the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small (UK and Irish) Presses has been announced.
       This looks like a pretty interesting list -- but I haven't seen any of these.
       The winner will be announced next month.

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



       Fariba Vafi Q & A

       At Qantara.de Sabine Oelze has a Q & A with Author Fariba Vafi: Writers struggle for influence in Iran.
       Her My Bird has been translated into English, and see information about two other titles at Gazelle International.

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



       Cruel is the Night review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Karo Hämäläinen's thriller, Cruel is the Night, which Soho Press brought out last year (and is due out in paperback soon).

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



19 February 2018 - Monday

Gender in English-Language Fiction | JQ Wingate Prize
The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter review

       Gender in English-Language Fiction

       An interesting study in the Journal of Cultural Analytics, where Ted Underwood, David Bamman, and Sabrina Lee data-crunch (a lot of books) in examining The Transformation of Gender in English-Language Fiction.
       Not only do they find a decrease of descriptions of women in English-language fiction "from the nineteenth century through the early 1960s", but also a stunning fall in the number of authors who were women that has also only recently been reversed.
       In Smithsonian Kat Eschner offers a summary of the findings, in Women Were Better Represented in Victorian Novels Than Modern Ones.

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



       JQ Wingate Prize

       They've announced that The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank has won the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, "awarded to the best book -- fiction or non-fiction -- to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader"; see, for example, Daniel Sugarman's report in The Jewish Chronicle, Michael Frank wins JQ Wingate literary prize.
       See also the Farrar, Straus and Giroux publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Matei Calinescu's The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter, a 1969 Romanian novel only now forthcoming in English, from New York Review Books.
       Despite the fact that Călinescu was a longtime US-resident -- and wrote and published several works in English after emigrating in 1973 -- this work only appears in English now. And it really is a nice little (re)discovery.

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18 February 2018 - Sunday

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants | 2023 review

       PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

       They've announced the recipients of the 2018 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants -- and the winner of the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature, for good measure.
       Thirteen project were selected for translation fund grants -- from 177 applications -- in thirteen different languages, no less, and they include Srinath Perur's translation of Ghachar Ghochar-author Vivek Shanbhag's All Will Be Revealed, Michael Gluck's translation of Alexander Ilichevsky's Russian Booker Prize-winning Matisse, and Jamie Lee Searle's translation of Valerie Fritsch's Winter's Garden (see also the Suhrkamp foreign rights page).
       "Publishers and editors who wish to express an interest in any of these projects are invited to contact PEN Literary Awards" -- and I certainly hope they do, there's some very promising stuff here.

       "The PEN/Heim Translation Fund was established in the summer of 2003 by an endowed gift of $730,000 from Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim" -- and you can read more about translator Heim in the Open Letter volume, The Man Between.

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



       2023 review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of 2023: A Trilogy, by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (i.e. its "current representatives [...] Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond").

       Several Drummond/KLF and related titles are under review at the complete review -- including the Annual Report, which would appear to be the review copy that has most appreciated in value of all those I have received over the many years of running this site (though given its limited availability -- a single ridiculous offer at Amazon.com, and only two at Amazon.co.uk -- the market is not exactly liquid ...). . Which reminds me of publisher ellipsis, several of whose titles I covered (kindly provided by them, back in the day) -- now long gone, but see for example, an Internet Archive snapshot. (Which in turn reminds me of other lost and much-missed UK publishers, like Codex (snapshot), publishers of Martin Millar, Steve Aylett, Jeff Noon's Cobralingus (and remember that site ? snapshot), Stewart Home .....)

       Meanwhile, 2023 was published by ... Faber & Faber. (But the novel has the distinction of making both of my favorite site-indexes: Real People in Works of Fiction and Titles beginning with/consisting of a number.)

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



17 February 2018 - Saturday

Ahmet Altan conviction | Global Humanities Translation Prize

       Ahmet Altan conviction

       Turkish author (Endgame) and journalist Ahmet Altan, his brother Mehmet, and Nazlı Ilıcak were among six people sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday in the continuing Turkish government crackdown on dissent in all its forms; see, for example, the PEN International report, as well as Kareem Shaheen's report in The Guardian.
       American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was actually in Turkey yesterday, and he and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke and took questions at a press conference; this subject was apparently not a high priority .....

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



       Global Humanities Translation Prize

       Northwestern University's Global Humanities Initiative recently launched a Global Humanities Translation Prize, awarded: "for an in-progress translation of a non-Western or otherwise marginal literary or scholarly text".
       The winners of the first prize were Jason Grunebaum and Ulrike Stark for Manzoor Ahtesham's The Tale of the Missing Man -- due out now in August; see the Northwestern University Press publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- and Carl Ernst for his translations of poetry by Mansur al-Halla, to be published as Hallaj (see the Northwestern University Press publicity page).
       Now they've announced the winner of the second prize, and it's Lawrence Venuti, for his in-progress translation of J.V.Foix's Daybook 1918: Early Fragments, translated from the Catalan ; no English-language publisher listing yet -- it's due April 2019 -- but see, for example the grup62 page for Diari 1918 -- and short preview-peeks from the translation, The Village and I'll come later tomorrow. Looks promising.

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



16 February 2018 - Friday

PEN World Voices Festival | Kleist-Preis
'Best of (Man) Booker' (again) | Nowherelands review

       PEN World Voices Festival

       The PEN World Voices Festival in New York City will run 16 through 22 April, and much of the schedule is already up -- and looks darn good !
       The theme this year is 'Resist and Reimagine'; the list of particpants looks promising.

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



       Kleist-Preis

       They've announced that Atlas of an Anxious Man-author Christoph Ransmayr will receive (on 18 November) the Kleist Prize 2018.
       The Kleist Prize is -- as most German literary prizes are -- an author (as opposed to specific-book) prize, but it's unusual in that a single judge -- different every year -- decides who gets it; this time around, Földényi László was the one picking, and he picked Ransmayr. (You may recall that Yale University Press recently brought out Földényi's Melancholy; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk; I still expect to get to it, sometime ......)
       The system seems to have worked reasonably well -- they've honored both the Müllers for example, Nobel laureate Hertha as well as the great Heiner; Yoko Tawada won two years ago .....
       The prize was revived in 1985, but actually first awarded in 1912, but it only lasted until 1932 in its first incarnation, because ... well, you know ..... But among the winners back then were: Hans Henny Jahnn, Bertolt Brecht, Robert Musil, Anna Seghers, Ödön von Horváth, and Else Lasker-Schüler .....

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



       'Best of (Man) Booker' (again)

       I thought they had already done this -- didn't they select Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children as the Booker of Bookers (in 1993) and the Best of the Booker (2008) ? -- but apparently they feel obligated to anoint it yet again, this time in the just-announced The Golden Man Booker Prize.
       A group of judges will select a "'Golden Five’ shortlist" (to be announced 26 May), and then the public will have a month to vote on the best of the lot and then, on 8 July, Midnight's Children will be announced as the winner (unless Russian bots decide otherwise).
       Seriously -- there have been some very good books that have won this award (and some real crap -- Vernon God Little, anyone ?), but Midnight's Children is the only epochal one. I'm no fan of the recent Rushdies, but he had a great run in the 1980s (with this, as well as Shame and The Satanic Verse), and Midnight's Children is up there with One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Tin Drum as a fundamental post-World War II text. Basically, surely, it's: no contest.
       Still, it'll be interesting what four titles the judges pit against it.
       (See also the (Man) Booker winners under review at the complete review.)

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



       Nowherelands review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of An Atlas of Vanished Countries 1840-1975 by Bjørn Berge, Nowherelands, recently out in English from Thames & Hudson.

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



15 February 2018 - Thursday

'Books at Berlinale' | The Rehearsals review

       'Books at Berlinale'

       The Berlin film festival, the Berlinale, starts today, and among their programs is Books at Berlinale, showcasing 'Twelve International Novels With Screen Potential' -- "Selected from close to 150 submissions from 30 countries".
       This year they include works by Isabel Allende and Véronique Olmi.

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



       The Rehearsals review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Vladimir Sharov's The Rehearsals, just out in English from Dedalus.

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



14 February 2018 - Wednesday

'Translating India'-series | Thomas-Mann-Preis | The Square review

       'Translating India'-series

       A neat series at the Hindustan Times has ten translators 'share their experiences of translating from their respective languages'. See, for example:        The nearly 1000-page The Mirror of Beauty sounds awesome, by the way; see the Penguin India publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk; I hope to get a copy eventually .....

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



       Thomas-Mann-Preis

       They've announced that this year's Thomas-Mann-Prize will go (on 17 November) to Nostalgia- (etc.) author Mircea Cărtărescu, with Uwe Tellkamp delivering the laudatio; see, for example, the Beorsenbaltt.net report.
       The prize has a solid list of previous winners.

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



       The Square review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Choi In-hun's 1960 novel, The Square, a volume in Dalkey Archive Press' Library of Korean Literature-series.
       The Kirkus Reviews review really won me over:
Awkward in several off-putting ways, this earnest work -- originally published in 1960 -- can be appreciated for offering a window onto Korean history during the crucial period of division. (...) (T)he result is a strange quasi-poetic treatise that could well make a withered vegetable sink.
       Which is (fortunately ?) not what I found .....

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



13 February 2018 - Tuesday

Israel Prize for Literature | Prix Anaïs Nin
The Dictator and the Hammock review

       Israel Prize for Literature

       David Grossman has been named the 2018 Israel Prize for Literature winner; see, for example, the JTA report.
       Three Grossman titles are under review at the complete review:        But I haven't seen the Man Booker International Prize-winning (and Best Translated Book Award frontrunner ?) A Horse Walks Into a Bar yet.

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



       Prix Anaïs Nin

       When I first heard about this prize -- "Orienté vers le monde anglo-saxon", sigh ... -- and this year's longlist I suggested -- sight unseen, mind you -- : "The ringer in the lot would appear to be Catherine Cusset's novel Vie de David Hockney" and, hey, would you look at that, guess what novel picked up this year's prize ? Yes, see the Livres Hebdo report -- and look forward to an English translation, no doubt coming sometime soon.

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



       The Dictator and the Hammock review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Daniel Pennac's doubles (and more) novel, The Dictator and the Hammock.

       (Incidentally, for all the coverage of French titles at the site -- a ridiculous 15 per cent of all reviewed titles -- it's been seven weeks and more than thirty reviews since I last reviewed a written-in-French title, the longest such drought in ages.)

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



12 February 2018 - Monday

(English) fiction in ... Pakistan | ST/EFG Short Story Award longlist
More on the Céline pamphlets | Knausgaard Q & A

       (English) fiction in ... Pakistan

       In the Herald English-writing authors Kamila Shamsie, H.M.Naqvi, Omar Shahid Hamid, and Osama Siddiquen "provide a quick glance into the burgeoning world of Pakistani English fiction", answering a variety of questions.

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



       ST/EFG Short Story Award longlist

       They've announced the 2018 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award longlist, fifteen stories -- selected from 810 eligible entries -- vying for the £30,000 prize, the richest English-language single short story prize going.
       The shortlist will be announced 25 March.

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



       More on the Céline pamphlets

       I've mentioned the controversy surrounding the planned (and now put on hold) publication of the notorious Louis-Ferdinand Céline pamphlets, and now Andrew Hussey offers a good overview in the New Statesman, The literature debate tearing apart Paris: should Céline's racist pamphlets be published ?
       Also worth a look again: Wyatt Mason's Uncovering Céline from The New York Review of Books from a couple of years ago.
       (And still, much of his fiction is compelling -- and see also, for example, his Conversations with Professor Y.)

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



       Knausgaard Q & A

       After his My Struggle sextet -- the final volume of which will be appearing in English this fall -- Karl Ove Knausgaard has a seasonal quartet that's been appearing in translation as well -- they're only up to Winter in the US (get your copy at Amazon.com) but already up to Spring in the UK (get your copy at Amazon.co.uk) --, and in The Guardian Andrew Anthony has a Q & A with him about it, and more, including a lot of what he's been reading.

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



11 February 2018 - Sunday

Publishing in ... isiZulu | Little Reunions review

       Publishing in ... isiZulu

       At Books Live they have Carla Lever's Q&A with Wade Smit, founder of the isiZulu publisher Kwasukela Books.
       Smit notes that:
Retailers have only just caught on to the huge possibilities in the local market -- I think publishers haven't quite caught up yet.
       There would seem to be a lot of potential here -- and South Africa is better equipped than many African countries in dealing with some of the basic difficulties publishers face (notably distribution).
       See also the official Kwasukela Books site.

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       Little Reunions review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Eileen Chang's posthumously published novel, Little Reunions, now also out in English, from New York Review Books.

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



10 February 2018 - Saturday

Keshiki profile | Translation in ... India | Murakami in China

       Keshiki profile

       In Metropolis Clara Kumagai profiles Strangers Press' beautiful little Keshiki-series, in two parts: The Translators and The Writers.

       I have this lovely set, and two of the titles are under review at the complete review: Mikumari by Kubo Misumi and The Transparent Labyrinth by Hirano Keiichirō -- with more to come soon, as several of these pair nicely with other releases by the authors this spring and summer -- notably Tawada Yoko and Ono Masatsugu.

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



       Translation in ... India

       In an IANS report finding Major focus on translations among publishing houses in India (here at the Business Standard) Saket Suman reports that:
Translations of major literary works from various Indian languages into English have come to the fore in recent years with leading Indian and multinational publishing houses dedicating separate teams and resources to focus on the area. The warmth with which the readers have accepted translations has only propelled this push further as the focus on translations in 2018 seems to be at an all time high.
       Sounds promising !
       The four-volume set of The Complete Short Stories by Premchand -- "a monumental project involving 70 translators, which brings together every short story Premchand ever wrote in a box set", from Penguin India, certainly sounds pretty neat; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       Meanwhile HarperCollins India's dedicated imprint for translations, Harper Perennial, celebrates its tenth anniversary -- including with special editions of ten works; see the Harper Broadcast Cover story: Here's the design thinking that went into Harper Perennial's ten special editions (which includes a list of the titles -- two of which are under review at the complete review: Bhima: Lone Warrior by M.T. Vasudevan Nair and Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag). I'm looking forward to seeing more of these !
       And, as long as they're working on it, good to hear that:
However, almost every leading publisher that IANS spoke to said that there's a vast ocean of stories in Indian languages that are yet to be translated into English and made available to a wider spectrum of readers, in India and abroad.

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       Murakami in China

       Murakami Haruki's Killing Commendatore is only coming out in English in the fall (pre-order the UK copy from Amazon.co.uk; no US listing so far), but it's already out in translation in quite a few countries -- including now China, as Xinhua reports in Murakami's book on Nanjing Massacre printed in China.
       It's unclear whether Chinese publishers are as ... creative in reporting initial print run numbers as American publishers are, but the 700,000 copies reported here is, even if somewhat embellished, impressive. I don't think the US first printing will be anywhere close.

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



9 February 2018 - Friday

Literary prize longlists: Leipzig Book Prize - Wellcome Prize - Stella Prize

       Literary prize longlists: Leipzig Book Prize

       The two big German book- (as opposed to the more widespread author-) prizes are the relatively new German Book Prize (awarded in the fall, at the Frankfurt Book Fair), and the Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse, awarded in the spring, at the Leipzig Book Fair. The German Book Prize is, like the Man Booker a one-category novel prize; the Leipzig prize has three categories -- fiction, non, and translation, and they've just announced the finalists for this years prize, five titles in each category.
       You might recognize the name of one of the authors with a novel in contention -- but not as a novelist: yes, US-born Isabel Fargo Cole, who has published numerous translations of works by authors such as Wolfgang Hilbig, Klaus Hoffer, and Franz Fühmann has written a prize-contending 500-page novel in German, Die grüne Grenze; see also the (German) publicity page at Edition Nautilus.
       Meanwhile, the translation category includes two translations-from-the English: Robin Detje's of Joshua Cohen's Book of Numbers and Michael Walter's 1952-page, three-volume collected works of Laurence Sterne -- more than is readily available in English ? see the Galiani publicity page. Other contenders are a Viktor Shklovsky-translation, and the latest by Voroshilovgrad-author Serhiy Zhadan.
       The winners will be announced 15 March.

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



       Literary prize longlist: Wellcome Prize

       The Wellcome Book Prize, awarded for a book -- fiction or non -- that has: "a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness", has announced its twelve-title strong longlist.
       I haven't seen any of these, though I expect to get to the Han Kang when it becomes US-available.
       The shortlist will be announced 20 March, and the winner on 30 April.

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



       Literary prize longlist: Stella Prize

       They've announced the twelve-title-strong longlist for the 2018 Stella Prize, for which both fiction and non by Australian women authors is eligible.
       I haven't seen any of these either, but certainly some interesting-sounding titles here.

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



8 February 2018 - Thursday

NEA grants | Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit review

       NEA grants

       The American National Endowment for the Arts is a favorite target of many US politicians, who would like to do away with it completely, but for the time being it is still going strong -- and yesterday announced $25 Million in Grants Support Art Projects Nationwide.
       Of this, 48 grants went to literary organizations, who received a total of $1,100,000; you can find the full list of who got how much here (warning ! dreaded pdf format !). Good to see quite a few specifically translation-focused institutions among them, including publishers like Archipelago Books, Open Letter Books, Ugly Duckling Presse, and White Pine Press (along with many other worthy, more generally-focused publishers), as well as publications/institutions such as the Center for the Art of Translation and Words without Borders.

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



       Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of An Anthology edited and translated by R. Parthasarathy, of Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit, recently out from Columbia University Press.

       Not all of the poetry is particularly erotic -- including one of the best little verses, by Māgha:
Did grammar ever feed the hungry ?
Did the nectar of poetry ever quench anyone's thirst ?
No one can raise a family on book learning.
Make your pile and screw the arts.
       There you go ! Even in the seventh century, Māgha knew ....

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



7 February 2018 - Wednesday

(Not) reading in ... South Korea
PEN America Lifetime and Career Achievement Honorees
Litprom German translation funding | Le prix Russophonie

       (Not) reading in ... South Korea

       In The Korea Times Jung Min-ho reports on the latest figures -- and they're not good: 40% of Korean adults didn't read a book last year.
       The trend isn't good either -- yes: "59.9 percent of adults said they had read at least one book in the past year", but that is down 5.4 percent from the previous year.
       Worse yet:
Also, a growing number of people think it is unnecessary to read books. Only 59 percent said they did not read as much as they should have, compared with 74.5 percent in 2011.
       But maybe the younger generation will eventually change the trend -- 91.7 percent of "underage students" read at least one book last year.

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



       PEN America Lifetime and Career Achievement Honorees

       They've announced the 2018 PEN America Lifetime and Career Achievement Honorees (to be awarded 20 February).
       Among the categories is the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, which goes to Edna O'Brien, and the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, which goes to Barbara Harshav.

       None of O'Brien's books are under review at the complete review at this time (though I have quite a few); the only Harshav translation under review is that of Pascal Mercier's Night Train to Lisbon (about which Liesl Schillinger wrote in The New York Times Book Review: "Mercier’s wording is so dense and overwrought, and Barbara Harshav’s translation so ham-handed, that unpacking each sentence is like decoding a cryptic crossword in hieroglyphs" ...).

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



       Litprom German translation funding

       Litprom is a German organization supporting literature from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and twice a year they award translation subsidies to German-language publishers for (German) translations of books from these areas.
       Always interesting to see who is getting translated (and subsidized) in other countries, and the latest batch includes works by several authors who also already been translated into English -- Khaled Khalifa and Mahi Binebine, for example. Nice to see also things like an anthology of six Cuban get support.

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



       Le prix Russophonie

       The Read Russia Prize is for the best translation of a Russian work into English, but there's also a Prix Russophonie, for the best translation of a Russian work into French, and they've just announced this year's winner -- Yvan Mignot, for his translation of 1,150 pages of Velimir Khlebnikov, Œuvres: 1919-1922 (from Verdier; see their publicity page). No word yet at the (apparently) official site, but see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.

       I know we're pretty well covered with the three-volume Paul Schmidt-translated collected works from Harvard University Press -- particularly volumes two (Prose, Plays and Supersagas; see the publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) and three (Selected Poems; see the publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), but I'm still kind of jealous.

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



6 February 2018 - Tuesday

EBRD Literature Prize shortlist | Libris Literatuurprijs longlist
French Voices Award | The Eye of the Beholder review

       EBRD Literature Prize shortlist

       The EBRD Literature Prize is a new literary prize funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and is for: "a translated work of literary fiction written originally in any language from an EBRD country of operations and published by a UK publisher" and paying out a nice €20,000 (divided equally between author and translator), and they've now announced their six-title shortlist.
       The 'country of operations'-scope is a somewhat odd one, given their countries of operation -- almost forty, apparently, heavy on the former Soviet and Soviet-sphere nations, but also some along Mediterranean (and Jordan, too). Certainly an under-served area, though disappointingly there were no shortlisted titles from Central Asia or the Caucasus (but at least the shortlist also wasn't Russian-dominated, as one might imagine could easily happen).
       Helpfully, they also now reveal the longlist (oddly only revealing it now, at the same time as they reveal the shortlist ....); disappointingly, they don't reveal the full list of submitted eligible titles.
       Only one of the shortlisted titles is under review at the complete review -- Celia Hawkesworth's translation of Daša Drndic's very impressive Belladonna.
       There's apparently another round to go -- three finalists will be announced "in early March", while the winning title will be revealed 10 April.

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



       Libris Literatuurprijs longlist

       They've announced the longlist for the Libris Literatuurprijs, a leading Dutch literary prize that pays out a tidy €50,000 to the winner.
       Familiar-to-English-speaking-reader authors who made the cut include La Superba-author Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (for the promising-sounding Peachez. een romance; see the Dutch Foundation for Literature information page) and Joe Speedboat-author Tommy Wieringa
       The shortlist will be announced 5 March.

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



       French Voices Award

       I seem to have completely missed all the announcements about this, but apparently they announced the fifteen French Voices Award 2017 grantees a while ago, and yesterday they announced the winning title -- Alexia Trigo's translation of Mohamed Mbougar Sarr's Terre Ceinte (still "seeking an American publisher"; see also the Présence Africaine publicity page).

       Quite a few non-fiction works among the other finalists, but the one that most stood out (just from the descriptions -- I haven't seen any of these) -- and not in a great way -- is Martin Page's L'Apiculture selon Samuel Beckett. Hmmmm. See the Starling Bureau information page .....
       The fact that this is the Martin Page who wrote The Discreet Pleasures of Rejection and How I Became Stupid does not reassure me. I wonder what the Beckett-estate had to say about this.

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



       The Eye of the Beholder review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Marc Behm's The Eye of the Beholder.

       This strange but intriguing thriller has been filmed twice -- quite successfully, by Claude Miller, in 1983, as Mortelle randonnée, starring Michel Serrault and Isabelle Adjani, and notoriously badly as Eye of the Beholder in 1999, by Stephan Elliott, starring Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd.
       Arcadia Books are the most recent publishers to re-issue it, so it's actually readily available again, but to get my hands on it I actually made a (for me) rare online purchase of a used copy, of the three-in-one Zomba Books volume, in their short-lived, much-missed 'Black Box Thrillers'-series:

3 Novels - Marc Behm


       Maxim Jakubowski was the general editor of this series (i.e.: enough said), and back in the day the Jim Thompson and Cornell Woolrich four-in-ones were my introductions to those two authors; I'm not usually a fan of multiple-novel collections, but I do retain a soft spot for this series, with its good small selection of not-quite-so-well-known authors.
       I'd never come across this particular volume, so I was glad to pick it up, fairly reasonably priced -- the equivalent of the original list price, as it happens -- and despite only a 'fair'-condition description, the volume is unmarked and in no worse shape than many of my much-read volumes; a worthwhile acquisition.

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



5 February 2018 - Monday

Prix des libraires du Québec finalists | Translation in ... Pakistan
Hotel Silence review

       Prix des libraires du Québec finalists

       They've announced the finalists for the 2018 Prix des libraires du Québec, in six categories: non-fiction, poetry, bande dessinée (comic books; two categories: local and 'hors Québec'), and novel (also two categories: local and 'hors Québec').
       Always interesting to see what some of the leading French-Canadian titles are. The 'beyond Quebec'-fiction category is also an interesting one, since it's not limited to locally published books, or translated works. (The one finalist under review at the complete review is in this category, Jan Kjærstad's impressive The Seducer.)

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



       Translation in ... Pakistan

       Syed Kashif Raza's Lost and Found in Translation in Newsline does offer some examples of what has been, and is, being translated into Urdu, but isn't really an in-depth look. Still, it includes the observation that copyright (and adherence to it) is an issue:
It is high time Pakistan’s publishing industry began to operate within the framework of copyright laws.
       And one has to like the inspiring challenge:
There is a new generation of readers in Pakistan, which is tech-savvy and gets information about any new book through social media. It is now their turn to step up to the plate and translate works of fiction.

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



       Hotel Silence review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir's Icelandic Literary Prize-winning novel, Hotel Silence, just out from Black Cat/Grove Press in the US and almost out from Pushkin Press in the UK.

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



4 February 2018 - Sunday

Icelandic Literary Prize | Transit Books profile | Publishing in ... Afghanistan

       Icelandic Literary Prize

       They've announced the winners of the 2017 Icelandic Literary Prize, with Elín, ýmislegt, by Kristín Eiríksdóttir, taking the fiction prize; see, for example, the Icelandic Literature Center report, The Icelandic Literary Prize 2017 presented by President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Icelandic Literary Prize awarded in the Iceland Monitor; see also the Forlagið information page about the novel.
       The prize money is an impressive-sounding ISK 1 million, but, yeah, that apparently only works out to US$ 9,900. Which still isn't too bad.

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



       Transit Books profile

       In the San Francisco Chronicle Brandon Yu profiles new publisher Transit Books and publishers Adam and Ashley Nelson Levy, in Bay Area and beyond: Oakland publisher Transit Books brings foreign voices to U.S..
       Their first books are indeed impressive -- though Andrés Barba's Such Small Hands is the only one under review at the complete review so far.

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



       Publishing in ... Afghanistan

       In The New York Times Rod Nordland and Fahim Abed report that Most Afghans Can't Read, but Their Book Trade Is Booming, as, uh,: "In a turbulent, troubled society, curling up with a book has become the best tonic around".
       Which is ... heartening ?
       Certainly, it's great to hear that:
In the past year, especially, many publishers have been expanding, opening up distribution centers across the country and underwriting either their own bookstores or providing consignments to independent bookstores. Kabul has 60 registered bookstores, according to the government.
       And, wow:
The Aazem company is publishing books as fast as it can, limited only by a shortage of qualified translators from English into local languages. Aazem’s 2017-18 goal is to print three new titles a day, 1,100 a year — a huge number for any publisher.

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



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