The A$50,000 Stella Prize, awarded for a work -- fiction or non -- written by a woman, has announced that the 2017 prize goes to The Museum of Modern Love, Heather Rose's novel inspired by Marina Abramović's The Artist Is Present exhibit/performance piece.
Showing yet again that it's not just fiction in translation that doesn't have it easy getting a foothold in the US/UK, but rather anything foreign, The Museum of Modern Love has apparently not yet been published in either the US or the UK; the Kindle edition seems the best Amazon.com can offer .....
But see, for example, the Allen & Unwin publicity page.
Nice also to see the official prize site post Heather Rose's Stella Prize acceptance speech.
With the fancy new Bangkok City Library already accessible (though officially only opening 28 April), Melalin Mahavongtrakul takes a look around there and compares it to some of the 36 other public libraries in Bangkok, in Shelf improvement, in the Bangkok Post.
Plans to keep it open 24 hours a day have apparently been shelved -- cut back to less than half that, in fact.
And apparently they could use some more books ("What they seem to have more of right now are spots for people to lounge around", one visitor observes) -- and they're hoping for (a lot of ...): "donated books from private companies and the public".
(Rather shockingly, the library also does not appear to have its own website -- though it does have a 'Facebook'-page (and yet again I find myself baffled how anyone can possibly use that atrocity of a site).)
They've now announced the fiction finalists for the (American) Best Translated Book Award -- ten titles still in the running.
(They announced the five poetry finalists too.)
The most notable missing title is, of course, John E. Woods' translation of Arno Schmidt's Bottom's Dream, though since that wasn't on the longlist ... kind of saw that coming.
Still: no excuse. It's the translation of the year, anyway you cut it, look at it, whatever.
The ten also-rans remaining are:
Among Strange Victims by Daniel Saldaña Paris, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Mexico, Coffee House Press)
Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson (Brazil, Open Letter Books)
Doomi Golo by Boubacar Boris Diop, translated from the Wolof and French by Vera Wülfing-Leckie and El Hadji Moustapha Diop (Senegal, Michigan State University Press)
Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman (Mauritius, Deep Vellum)
Ladivine by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (France, Knopf)
Oblivion by Sergi Lebedev, translated from the Russian by Antonina W. Bouis (Russia, New Vessel Press)
Umami by Laia Jufresa, translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes (Mexico, Oneworld)
War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, translated from the Dutch by David McKay (Belgium, Pantheon)
Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya, translated from the Spanish by Jessica Powell (Dominican Republic, Mandel Vilar Press)
Zama by Antonio di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen (Argentina, New York Review Books)
Lots of fairly new voices -- we haven't seen most of these authors in English before -- and a good mix of publishers (though big translation guns AmazonCrossing, Dalkey Archive Press, Seagull, and New Directions all aren't represented by any titles).
The winners will be announced 4 May.
The April issue of Asymptote is now available online, themed: 'People from the In-Between' and with a 'Special Feature on Literature from Banned Countries' (as in: those countries whose citizens American president Trump has repeatedly tried to ban from traveling to the US).
Lots of great content -- including Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (The Colonel, etc.) on his own aborted recent (non-)trips to the US, The Trip That Did Not Happen.
The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of two short César Aira novels -- forthcoming in a single volume in the US (from New Directions) and just out in the UK in separate volumes (from And Other Stories):
The big(ger) translation prize shortlists are coming up later this week -- the American Best Translated Book Prize today, the Man Booker International Prize on Thursday -- but we have a few single-language ones to tide us over:
- They've announced the three-title shortlist for the US$10,000 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, for translations from the German, published in the US.
Shockingly, however, it appears that John E. Woods' otherwise eligible translation of Arno Schmidt's Bottom's Dream, was not submitted, and hence not considered, even though ... well, this should sweep all the translation prizes, from here to kingdom come, but certainly a translated-from-the German prize like this one.
- They've announced the three-title shortlist for the also US$10,000 Albertine Prize, for translations from the French, published in the US.
Less shockingly, Bottom's Dream was also not a finalist for this prize -- though since it wasn't technically eligible they at least have a(n almost) reasonable excuse.
One of the shortlisted titles -- Sam Taylor's translation of Maylis de Kerangal's The Heart (published in the UK as Mend the Living) is under review at the complete review.
This is also a prize where you can vote for the winner -- you have until 30 April to cast your vote.
Several of Croatian author Miroslav Krleža's (1893-1981) works have been translated into English; The Banquet in Blitva is the only one under review at the complete review, but there's also, for example, On the Edge of Reason (see the New Directions publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
His one great post-World War II work -- the multi-volume epic of the early twentieth century, Zastave --, however, hasn't.
There is, however, now a five-volume German translation -- as Die Fahnen -- from Wieser Verlag; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.de.
In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung Jörg Plath just reviewed it -- and suggests yet again that it is a European classic.
If tiny Wieser Verlag can translate it, surely some US/UK publisher could have a go at it too, no ?
(I know, I know: no.)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Amélie Nothomb's (not yet translated into English) novel, Attentat.
With this 1997 novel I have now reviewed all of Nothomb's annual offerings from 1992 through 2007, and I have now gathered the few missing pieces through 2015, so maybe I'll be (almost) up-to-date with her output by the end of the year.
For now, the 21 Nothomb-reviews at the site still lag behind the 24 Naguib Mahfouz titles under review -- but not by much.
AmazonCrossing is the Amazon imprint, launched in 2010, that publishes fiction in translation -- and it has quickly become the leading US publisher of fiction in translation (numbers-wise), usually of the popular-fiction kind disdained by the independents that otherwise dominate the (very strange) field.
In The Seattle Times Ángel González now offers a nice overview/profile, in Amazon expands its literary horizons, making big imprint in translation niche.
The AmazonCrossing titles are a very mixed (and heavily-skewed-towards-the schlock) bag, but there is some very good stuff here too; quite a few titles are under review at the complete review, and some of the upcoming ones certainly look of interest -- including the soon-to-be released one Gabriella Page-Fort is show-casing in the article photograph, The Gray House (pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
The Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize -- a $10,000 prize for: "an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA" -- will announce its shortlist next week (against tough competition: both the (US) Best Translated Book Award and the (UK) Man Booker International Prize are announcing their shortlists as well, on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively).
Among the admirable aspects of this prize is that they publish a list of all the titles that have been submitted -- i.e. what's being considered (which the Man Booker International Prize (and the Man Booker, and the Pulitzer, and the (US) National Book Awards, and so on) does not, and they've now apparently listed this year's thirty contenders.
Yes, some big names are missing due to the rule they've slipped in this time -- "Translators awarded the prize in the last seven years are disqualified from consideration this year" -- but that doesn't explain the biggest omission.
Yes, you know what's coming: it's yet another translation-prize that apparently isn't considering the biggest translation of the year (decade, etc.): John E. Woods' of Arno Schmidt's Bottom's Dream.
Unlike the Best Translated Book Award -- where they apparently considered it, but didn't think it belonged in the top 25 -- the sure-fire winner apparently wasn't submitted by Dalkey Archive Press for this one.
(Indeed, there are no Dalkey books listed among the submissions, even though Dalkey titles have won this prize as recently as 2011 and 2012, and they published several other eligible titles in 2016.)
We're slowly running out of translation prizes this thing can win -- absurd, given its significance (it should be winning them all !).
Steven Moore's massive The Novel: An Alternative History - Beginnings to 1600 (see the Bloomsbury publicity page) and The Novel: An Alternative History, 1600-1800 (see the Bloomsbury publicity page) is an impressive and enjoyable undertaking (which I hope to eventually cover ...) -- but regrettably now comes word from Moore that: "I didn't have the energy to write the huge concluding volume on modern fiction that I intended".
As a stand-in he has now published My Back Pages (see the Zerogram publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
While I'm not sure about that cover, it does sound intriguing -- but still: not quite a substitute for the longed-for modern-novel overview !
Sohn believes that Korean literature is the next hallyu.
"Korean literature will become popular worldwide just like K-pop someday.
As Korean culture gains popularity across the globe, more and more people are interested in learning the Korean language to understand the lyrics of K-pop and the words of Korean television dramas," Sohn said.
"Korean literature should reach a wider audience, but the lack of quality translation has prevented Korean literature from resonating with readers in other languages."
Interesting, too, that:
He also plans to establish a translation institute under the Korean Center to translate more Korean literature into English.
First off: note that there's already that Literature Translation Institute of Korea -- so presumably he thinks they're not ... doing all they could be.
Second: 'into English' ?
Yes, yes, English is the most important connecting-language, but let's face it, translation-enthusiasm among readers remains ... tepid.
Readers in other languages are often more receptive, and even if English is the priority, forgetting about those would be a big mistake.
Osama Alomar's story collection, The Teeth of the Comb, is due out shortly from New Directions -- see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and at Sampsonia Way Caitlyn Christensen has a Q & A with the Syrian (but now living in the US) author.
I should be getting to his collection soon.
At her weblog, The Book Binder's Daughter, Melissa Beck has a Q & A, A Soviet Titanomachy: My Interview with Russian Author Sergei Lebedev.
New Vessel has brought out two of his books, and he is certainly a significant contemporary Russian author -- but I still haven't really come to terms with the autobiographical spin in his work.
(Don't 'write-what-you-know', authors ! Don't ! Anything but, if it were up to me .....)
They've announced the shortlist for this year's International DUBLIN Literary Award -- ten novels, of which six are translations (including, impressively, two African titles translated from the Portuguese):
These were selected from the 147-title-strong longlist -- and, as you can see, quite a few big-name/prominent titles/authors were left in the dust.
See also Eileen Battersby's commentary (ignore the stupid and embarrassing nationalistic headline) in the Irish Times, as she never has trouble playing favorites -- and criticizing the (to her) unworthy, including the novel she calls: "a masterclass in clunky bathos".
They've announced this year's Pulitzer Prizes -- which are now worth $15,000 a shot, up from the longtime $10,000 -- with Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad an anything-but-surprise winner in the fiction category (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), beating out the two other finalists, Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett and The Sport of Kings by C.E.Morgan
I was a bit surprised that The Return, by Hisham Matar could win the Biography/Autobiography-category -- I didn't think he was eligible (the Pulitzer letters awards -- save History -- are passport awards: gotta be American), but, hey, jus soli applies: Matar is (somewhat surprisingly) US-born, and apparently has kept up his citizenship.
The Criticism prize went to Hilton Als -- and no literary critic was among the finalists.
Indeed, as best I can tell, the last time a literary critic of any sort won the Pulitzer was way back in 2001, when Gail Caldwell won it.