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The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 February 2018

11 February: Publishing in ... isiZulu | Little Reunions review
12 February: (English) fiction in ... Pakistan | ST/EFG Short Story Award longlist | More on the Céline pamphlets | Knausgaard Q & A
13 February: Israel Prize for Literature | Prix Anaïs Nin | The Dictator and the Hammock review
14 February: 'Translating India'-series | Thomas-Mann-Preis | The Square review
15 February: 'Books at Berlinale' | The Rehearsals review
16 February: PEN World Voices Festival | Kleist-Preis | 'Best of (Man) Booker' (again) | Nowherelands review
17 February: Ahmet Altan conviction | Global Humanities Translation Prize
18 February: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants | 2023 review
19 February: Gender in English-Language Fiction | JQ Wingate Prize | The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter review
20 February: Republic of Consciousness Prize shortlist | Fariba Vafi Q & A | Cruel is the Night review

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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.

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



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.

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



       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 -



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