As Haiti Libre reports, there's a 1st edition of National Book Fair in Haïti which runs through tomorrow; they're also inaugurating a Grand Prix National des lettres "with a budget of one million gourdes" (with which they'll be rewarding: "an author, chosen according to objective criteria").
92 percent of our traffic comes from outside the United States
Among the less interesting statistics:
In a given day we translate roughly as much text as you’d find in 1 million books.
(I don't find "books" a useful unit of measurement of ... almost anything.
Books can contain a lot of text, or almost no text.
Why not just say how many words they translate -- surely that's the appropriate and useful way to put it .....)
Of the 53 books that have been awarded the Miles Franklin since its inception in 1957, 20 are no longer in print in this country, feeding into a growing debate about how Australia values its literary history and the cultural contribution of its finest writers.
The Taeback Mountains, Jo Jung-rae's 1995 masterpiece and one of the classics of contemporary Korean literature is going to be published in English and Russian.
That's 태백산맥 (太白山脈), the ten-volume work by 조정래 -- which reportedly went into its 200th (!) printing in 2009, and has sold over seven million copies.
I'm not quite sure about the 'publishing' company that's planning on undertaking this -- Knowledge Pen -- but, hey, if traditional publishers weren't willing to tackle it, then good for them.
[Updated - 29 April: The publisher points us to this newer version of their website -- as well as their weblog, where there's more information about this particular project; see, for example, this post.]
Compare, however, the situation in France, where L'Harmattan brought out all ten volumes of La chaîne des monts Taebaek years ago (see, for example, their publicity page for volume one, with links to all the other), as well as another, even more-multi-volume epic by Jo (whose name is, of course, transliterated differently here: they know him not as Jo Jung-rae, but rather as Jo Jong-nae ...).
See also French translator Georges Ziegelmeyer on Jo Jung-rae's Taebaek Mountain Range: The Saga of the Korean People, as well as the (Korean) Hainaim publicity page for the book.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hosaka Kazushi's Plainsong.
Good to see this 1990 title available in English (Dalkey Archive Press brought it out last year), but like so many of the books brought out under the auspices of the Japanese Literature Publishing Project (see those under review at the complete review) it isn't exactly the most current of titles, or even of the author's books .....
The University of Southern California has received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce a video game based on the work of Henry David Thoreau.
(See also the full list of Arts in Media grants.)
The USC Cinematic Arts department actually has an information page on 'Walden, A Game' -- complete with trailer.
I'm not really sure about this -- I suppose it has potential, but it sounds pretty exceptionally boring to me -- but then I'm not really much of a video game player (and, quite honestly, I never really got Walden, either), so obviously not the target audience; maybe this is what the kids are into .....
Still, I think they might make things more interesting -- and have considerably greater chances of commercial (and even educational) success -- if they joined forces (and projects) with, say, the MobZombies group ......
(Given recent mash-up trends, I'm surprised they didn't go with that in the first place.)
(Of course, they could also combine it with The Cat and the Coup, where you role-play ... Mohammed Mossadegh's cat, coaxing: "Mossadegh back through significant events of his life by knocking objects off of shelves, scattering his papers, jumping on his lap and scratching him" (though here, too, I think the odds of success would be greatly improved by adding MobZombies to the mix ...).)
In Die Zeit they have a (German) Q & A with New Books in German editor in chief Charlotte Ryland about German fiction in (English) translation (specifically in the UK market) -- why there's so (relatively) little of it, what (apparently) appeals to English-reading audiences, etc.
(Even if you can't read the German, there's lots of name-dropping, offering a decent overview.)
They've announced the shortlists for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize -- reduced, now, to a mere first-book prize -- and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The only shortlisted title under review at the complete review is Chinaman (now published as The Legend of Pradeep Mathew in the US) by Shehan Karunatilaka.
"The publication of Chetan Bhagat's novel was a watershed moment for the Indian publishing industry," Mr. Gupta said.
"He spawned a new breed of writers who wanted to write books that connected to the average Indian reader and didn't care about literary merit and acclaim.
Publishing houses committed to publishing such books sprang up all over the country and big multinationals had to shed their elitism and enter this space."
Our American Classics series returns with Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan, curating her top ten list of literary works which will be placed inside each room of The Standard Hotel.
They don't seem to have the list of titles on the site, but at The Daily Beast they now have Pulitzer Winner Jennifer Egan's PEN Festival Book Bag, with a brief explanation for each selection.
Instead of just a top ten they count a dozen -- though only about half of them qualify as 'American Classics' (but then for a world voices festival a more international selection does seem appropriate).
(Of her selections, only Middlemarch by George Elliot is under review at the complete review).
In the area of translation with particular reference to Tamil, I think we are always conditioned to think of translating works of other languages into native Tamil.
Sparingly we think of translating Tamil works of literature in languages other than English because of our colonial legacy.
We never think of translating works in Tamil to French, German, Danish and Spanish languages. This trend should be reversed.
There is no innocent literary prize just as no writing is innocent and free of value.
Every piece of writing is a political act, and every prize made to a writer is an act of validation and an expression of a given value -- the specific and subjective value of the awarding institution.
And just to make clear to readers where he's coming from (despite where he's landed -- UCF) -- i.e. that he isn't exactly on board with America's Oprah-take on African lit --, he argues
Such prizes out of London and New York continue to validate and sustain a view of Africa defiantly constructed by such highly acclaimed but trashy novels like Uzo Iweala's Beast of No Nation or Uwem Akpan's unreadable and utterly reprobate stories
(That would presumably be the much-hailed collection Say You're One of Them, by the way.)
To celebrate the African novel and its adaptability and resilience, Kwani Trust announces a one-off new literary prize for African writing.
The Kwani? Manuscript Project calls for the submission of unpublished fiction manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the Diaspora.
Maybe the winning manuscript will be something even Obi Nwakanma can approve of .....
(I certainly encourage you to submit your manuscript !)
See also Christine Mungai's report on Kwani? one-off literary prize for Africa writing in The East African.
Last autumn, the Bodleian Library's Special Collections Department faced an intriguing dilemma when it acquired a rare copy of Agrippa, a Book of the Dead, a hybrid print-digital work featuring a digitally encrypted poem by William Gibson that can only be read once before the data destroys itself. With artwork from noted American artist Dennis Ashbaugh, and referencing everything from genetic code to the Gutenberg Bible and Kodak scrapbook nostalgia, the book's digital element was designed to self-efface after a single "transmission". Chris Fletcher, head curator at the Special Collections, asked, "Do we conserve the book and vandalise the poem, or read the poem and lose the book ?"
For more about Agrippa, a Book of the Dead, see also the official site.
In the Hindustan Times V.S.Naipaul-biographer Patrick French writes at some length on Writings on India [via].
He finds, for example:
A rough hierarchy of respectability has formed among Indian critics.
At the top of the heap come writers in vernacular languages, who are deemed to be authentic: they are the aam aadmi of Indian literature, to whom lip service is paid.
Next come Indian writers in English who live in India, followed by those who live abroad, followed by foreigners who have the temerity to write about India.
At the bottom of the pile are the high-selling purveyors of the new economy, with their embarrassing locutions.
There is also a subsection -- a sort of hell realm -- inhabited by second or third-generation authors of Indian origin who return to the land of their ancestors with a view to writing about it.
V S Naipaul was the founding father of this genre with An Area of Darkness in 1964.
Suketu Mehta pulled it off with Maximum City, but since then most of the carpet-bagging NRIs have been eviscerated by didactic Indian reviewers.
Also on offer: some fascinating incidental titbits:
While there are millions of Indians in Canada, Europe and the USA, comparatively few foreigners live in India.
Immigration is nearly impossible.
Under post-26/11 visa regulations, many old-school "Indophiles" have been chased out of the country.
The home ministry gives citizenship to about 1,000 people a year, whereas Britain, for example, gives it to around 250,000.
In the Saudi Gazette Laura Bashraheel reports that Youth shun 'ineffective' literary club, go online -- surely just a variation on an essentially global phenomenon, though it's probably no surprise that a Saudi institution -- in this case the Jeddah Literary and Cultural Club -- proves particularly sclerotic and off-putting:
He said there was too much "centralized" decision-making.
This has resulted in young people remaining uninformed and struggling to discover themselves.
Would any of them survive without government funding ?
Perhaps not, yet their role remains critical to the health of the Australian literary culture, for no other reason than that small magazines sometimes offer an alternative view, let alone opportunities for new writers.
The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced yesterday -- though not before I posted this, so I don't even know if they awarded the fiction prize this year .....
(Results should be up by the time most of you read this. [Updated: Indeed, they are -- and a fiction prize was handed out.])