The Jan Michalski Prize is a remunerative -- CHF50,000 -- international literary prize, "awarded for works of fiction or non fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written" (though being translated into French, English, or German sure seems to help the chances of a book's success ...), and they have a solid track record; last year the prize went to Georgi Gospodinov's The Physics of Sorrow.
As quietly as possible, they've now announced the 'first selection' of the jury for this year's prize.
In previous years there's been a second selection, and then a shortlist of three finalists, but with only nine titles in this year's selection maybe they'll cut a round ?
Several fiction titles -- including a Liao Yiwu novel (see, for example, Exiled Chinese Writer's New Novel Penned in Secret While in Prison) -- are among the select nine, but the ... stand-out has got to be Thierry Wolton's three-volume Une histoire mondiale du communisme, which weighs in at well over three thousand pages (yeah, the other jurors are going to love that ...) and whose third volume hasn't even officially been published yet (it's due out in September); see, for example, the Grasset publicity page for the first volume.
This sounds promising: the Global Timesreports that:
The Chinese authorities plan to evaluate online literary websites, requiring that the online novels they host must reflect core socialist values and abide by "moral norms."
One has to admire that they came up with a points-system:
The regulation requires that the literary works possess a "correct understanding" of the Party and military history.
"Distortion" or "desecration" of related history will cost the websites up to 5 points per work.
Those with scores below 60 will be publicly criticized and be banned from applying for any literary awards for a year.
The executives of such websites will also be invited for a talk with regulators.
As I've often noted, online writing/publishing is big in China, so this is pretty significant.
As to how sensible (and realistic) it is .....
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hoshino Tomoyuki's ME, just out in English from Akashic.
(It was also made into a movie, It's Me, It's Me, directed by Miki Satoshi.)
The publicity claim for this -- "This novel centers on the "It's me" telephone scam -- often targeting the elderly -- that has escalated in Japan in recent years" -- strikes me as quite misleading: while this (sort of) sets the story in motion, it's really about, and plays out as, something very, very different.
The International Publishers Association has announced their shortlist for the 2017 IPA Prix Voltaire, awarded for: "exemplary courage in upholding the freedom to publish and in enabling others to exercise their right to freedom of expression"
Michael Bond, author of the Paddington Bear-series, has passed away, see, for example, The Guardian's report.
While none of the Paddington titles are under review at the complete review they were certainly childhood favorites; get your copy of the Paddington Classic Adventures Box Set at Amazon.com, or A Bear Called Paddington at Amazon.co.uk
Two years ago they awarded the Grand prix de littérature américaine for the first time, but the French apparently still don't think that's enough, so this year there's yet another American-book-prize -- the 'Prix America', awarded by the fairly new America-magazine, with the first winner now selected from ten titles chosen by the publishers that are considered to provide insight into the United States.
The winning title is William Finnegan's Pulitzer Prize-winning Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (well, the French translation, Jours barbares: une vie de surf); see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
Not a title I'm likely to get to, but see the Penguin Books publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sibylle Lewitscharoff's Blumenberg, just out in English from Seagull Books.
Yes, the Blumenberg of the title is German philosopher Hans Blumenberg -- and, yes, Seagull, is cleverly following German publisher Suhrkamp's lead and publishing a translation of his smaller pieces as Lions shortly; see their publicity page, the Suhrkamp foreign rights page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The (American) National Translation Awards, administered by the American Literary Translators Association, are: "the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work" (which is very cool !), and they've announced this year's poetry and prose longlists.
None of the poetry titles are under review at the complete review, but two of the prose titles are: The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke, translated by Carlos Rojas, and Zama by Antonio de Benedetto, translated by Esther Allen.
The strong prose longlist also includes this year's Best Translated Book Award winner, Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, and the recent Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize-winning A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler; non-fiction titles also made the longlist.
Of course, one title -- yet again -- is very obviously missing: John E. Woods' translation of Arno Schmidt's Bottom's Dream.
The shortlists will be announced in August, and the winners in October.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., co-authored by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.
It's a fine, big, lazy summer read, if you're looking for that (I don't get to too many books that would qualify as such, I'm afraid).
'Can no reviewer spare more than a minute for the year that a translator spends ?' Mini Krishnan wonders, in Of rupees and annas in The Hindu, arguing that the (un?)usual: "30-word pat for the translator" doesn't really cut it.
They've announced the winners of the (South African) Sunday Times Literary Awards, with the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize going to Little Suns, by Zakes Mda.
No newspaper or online reports as I write this, but see for example the tweet.
Little Suns has not been published in the US or UK yet, but see, for example, the Umuzi publicity page.
Quite a few Mda titles are US/UK-available, with Seagull Books having published several; three Mda titles are under review at the complete review, including The Sculptors of Mapungubwe.
At the Los Angeles Review of Books Rosemary McClure has a short Q & A with Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: The Language Warrior -- mainly about his multiply translated story, 'The Upright Revolution', which was featured in Jalada Translation Issue 01; you can read many of the translations (including the one into English) here.
Several of Ngũgĩ's works are under review at the complete review.
The Académie française saves up announcement of their Grand prix du roman for the fall book-prize-season, but they announce most of the rest of their awards in one big go: yes, 63 prizes and honors (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), in all sorts of categories.
(Livres Hebdo covers the major ones, too.)
The Grand prix de la Francophonie, the most prestigious of these, went to Tierno Monénembo -- two of whose novels are under review at the complete review: The King of Kahel and The Oldest Orphan.
Translation via a third language -- those Hungarian novels translated into English via the German translation, say (e.g. Embers) are less common -- in(to) English -- than they used to be (though surprisingly still not entirely rare exceptions), but especially with books from smaller languages it remains fairly common to find these translated into other languages via the dominant translation languages (English, French, and German).
So it's nice to see more direct activity -- as now, as Maydaa Abo El Nadar reports at Egyptian Streets, In a Historic First, Zorba the Greek is Translated from Greek to Arabic.
It's not that there hadn't been translation of Kazantzakis' classic in Arabic previously -- but:
Zorba the Greek was translated from Greek to Arabic through other languages.
Thanks to Khaled Raouf this treasure book was directly translated from Greek to Arabic.
"I read several Arabic translation for Zorba, where translations happened from a third bridge language.
Unfortunately in these Arabic translations many things were lost," said Raouf.
"Translation is transmitting a culture to another one, without a third one being involved.
This is why I am very happy to offer a direct translation of Zorba to the Arabic reader," added Raouf.
The (old) translations -- in a number of languages -- of Zorba the Greek are notorious for having been mishandled/edited/censored, and so a new, direct translation is especially welcome; the relatively new (2014) English re-translation -- the one under review here -- by Peter Bien regrettably didn't get the attention it should have.
They've announced that this year's International DUBLIN Literary Award -- for which both books originally written in English, as well as those translated into English are eligible -- goes to A General Theory of Oblivion -- with author José Eduardo Agualusa getting €75,000 and translator Daniel Hahn getting €25,000
The International DUBLIN Literary Award is unusual for a literary award in that the books considered for the prize -- 147 this year -- are nominated by libraries across (some of) the world.
Unfortunately, the nominating libraries are geographically and linguistically not nearly as diverse as one would wish -- and there's (way) too much hometown-favoritism in the nominating process.
So also, while the winning title is from Africa, not a single African library was involved in the nominating process -- while three of the four libraries that did nominate the winning title were in Portuguese-speaking countries.
Meanwhile, not a single title originally written in Chinese, Korean, or Japanese was nominated -- not entirely surprising when only a single library from the entire region was involved (the Osaka Municipal Library -- which picked a title by ... Kazuo Ishiguro).
While there is always quite a mixed bag as far as the nominated titles goes, there's enough quality for the shortlist -- and generally the winning title -- to be quite solid; so also this year.
They've announced that the German translation of Tram 83, by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, has won this year's HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis -- pretty much the German Man Booker International Prize, for the best translation into German; see also Sabine Peschel's Deutsche Welle report, International Literature Award goes to Fiston Mwanza Mujila's 'Tram 83'.
The author will get €20,000; translators Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller will share €15,000.