The popular sport of 'ranking' public intellectuals hits Germany, where Cicero lists (not freely accessible online) their top 500.
Their methodology apparently involved tallying up mentions/presence in the 83 most important German-language newspapers and magazines, as well as taking into some account Internet and TV mentions.
What's striking is how author-heavy the list is: check out the top ten:
(Striking also: most of these names would fit just as well on a similar list a quarter of a century ago -- i.e. there's no young blood here.)
More commentary sure to follow in the German press; for now, see brief introductory pieces such as Carsten Heidböhmer's Intellektuellen-Ranking at Stern.
The various British Book Awards have been announced.
For those who can't get enough: "You can see the awards on Television on Saturday 1 April at 6.00pm on Channel 4.The programme will be repeated on More4 on Sunday 2 April at 5.00pm."
As widely reported, the 10th annual Kiriyama Prizes have also been announced.
The non-fiction winner -- The Reindeer People -- certainly doesn't sound typically Pacific Rim, but hey .....
The schedule for this year's PEN World Voices festival is now available online, and there's a lot of good stuff on offer.
It begins 25 April with Orhan Pamuk giving the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture.
He'll be introduced by Salman Rushdie, and the lecture will be followed by a conversation with Margaret Atwood.
Stanislaw Lem passed away yesterday.
There's sure to be tons of coverage; for now, see The Times' obituary
One great way of honouring the guy would be for his English-language publishers to finally put out a new Solaris-translation -- straight from the Polish this time, please, not via the French as is the case with the existing version.
(Of course translating all the stuff that's never been made available in English would be nice too.)
Hardly even worth bothering noting any more, since it almost always seems to be the same old depressing story: the 26 March issue of The New York Times Book Review has 4 full-length reviews of individual fiction titles and 15 (!) full-length reviews of individual non-fiction titles (as well as one full-length review covering two non-fiction titles).
(Also: one poetry collection gets the full-length treatment, and there's a four-title 'Crime'-round-up.).
As for books in translation ... well, one of the 26 titles was originally written in a foreign language.
Not surprisingly, it's by a dead guy -- and is 'A New Translation' (i.e. stuff that was previously available, albeit in a different version).
(The book is the Cavafy poetry-collection.)
In Pamuk in the vanguard in The Observer Jonathan Heawood looks at the situation for writers in Turkey.
Among other quotes:
Pamuk has told friends that he is caught between two poles.
On the one hand, it his duty to write. On the other, he believes that authors must engage with the society around them.
A sign of how far Pamuk has come can be found in the fact that in a country that barely manages to translate any literature at all (yes, that would be the US), his novel The Black Book is being re-translated.
Yes, Guneli Gun's 1995 translation is being replaced by a new one by Maureen Freely ("an original translation by Maureen Freely " the galley announces on both front and back covers), due out in July (pre-order your copy at Amazon.com).
In her Translator's Afterword Freely briefly addresses Gun's version:
the translation, though ebullient and faithful to the original, was also somewhat opaque.
We expect to cover the new translation in the coming months.
Called the Man Asian Literary Prize, the award will seek entries from Asian writers for works that are yet to be published in English.
Entries will be submitted in English, and the prize is intended to provide a broader platform for the cream of new Asian literature to be brought to the attention of English-reading audiences around the world.
Yeah, that sounds like a plan -- non-English works submitted in translation .....
Peter Gordon, Director of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, explains:
"Asia is becoming an important source for new writing for major international publishers and this award will help facilitate publishing and translating of Asian literature into English", Mr Gordon said.
They don't seem to have thought this quite through (but: "Further details including application procedures, eligibility and prize money will be finalised over the coming months and will be announced in Autumn 2006").
But they hope to award the first MALP in the fall of 2007.
The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Arto Paasilinna's Maailman paras kylä.
(Yeah, we know: no reviews for two weeks and then this ?
But wait !
There's more Finnish fun to come next week !)
In his Salon-column in The Moscow Times this week Victor Sonkin writes about the recently completed 'Books of Russia' fair.
Among the amusing traditions there:
For the sixth time, the Abzatz anti-prize was distributed to honor the worst books published in Russia.
(...) (P)rizes were handed out for the worst translation, to Igor Boikov for his messy rendition of French surrealist poet Guillaume Apollinaire; for the worst editing, to the Eksmo publishing house for its work on the novels of detective writer (and Moscow Times columnist) Yulia Latynina; and, for the worst book overall, to the creators of a pirated edition of the latest Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, who rewrote chunks of its text at the expense of the great Colombian author.
The upside of the prize was that, for the second year in a row, no suitable candidate was found for the "worst proofreading" nomination, perhaps indicating a growing awareness of standards and good practices within the Russian publishing community.
At the Globe and Mail John Allemang has apparently been "reading a new book each day and then writing a review" since last November -- and while he hasn't been able to stick to a strict book-a-day habit, he has managed to read and review 66 books since 29 November.
(Somewhat surprisingly, that's exactly the number of books we've reviewed at the complete review since 29 November -- though our current almost two-week hiatus has slowed our pace dramatically (not to worry: the next review should be up later today).)
In the Globe and Mail Allemang answers readers' questions about his undertaking.