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The Literary Saloon Archive

21 - 30 November 2018

21 November: Best Arabic novels ? | Prix Littéraire de la SCC
22 November: Jan Michalski Prize | TLS Books of the Year 2018 | The Desert and the Drum review
23 November: Whitbread Costa Book Award shortlists | Filling Fauteuil 8 at the Académie française
24 November: Diagram Prize | Prix André Malraux | A Shameful Life review
25 November: Teaching translation | Adonis on translation | Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018)
26 November: FIL de Guadalajara | Arnon Grunberg reviews
27 November: Icelandic literature in translation | New Literature from Europe Festival | Little Culinary Triumphs review
28 November: Mathias Énard Q & A | Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey | Red Circle Minis reviews
29 November: Q & As: Sam Tanenhaus - Feminist Press' Lauren Rosemary Hook | Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants review
30 November: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants | Book of the year lists | The Listening Walls review

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30 November 2018 - Friday

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants | Book of the year lists
The Listening Walls review

       PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

       They've announced the 2019 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants -- ten projects covering works in eight different languages, selected from 237 applications.
       The usual interesting variety -- many of which are still seeking a publisher.

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



       Book of the year lists

       The flood of best of the year lists continues, with The New York Times Book Review now announcing its 10 Best Books of 2018, while The Economist lists their books of the year.

       Only one of the NYTBR's top ten is under review at the complete review, the one title in translation -- Leila Slimani's The Perfect Nanny (published in the UK as Lullaby); not a title I would have rated that highly .....
       The only title under review from The Economist's list is Adam Tooze's Crashed.

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



       The Listening Walls review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Margaret Millar's 1959 thriller, The Listening Walls.

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



29 November 2018 - Thursday

Q & As: Sam Tanenhaus - Feminist Press' Lauren Rosemary Hook
Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants review

       Q & A: Sam Tanenhaus

       Former The New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus has (temporarily) fled the country and is: "teaching two courses at the University of Toronto this term as a visiting professor for book and media studies", and at U of T News Mary Gooderham has a Q & A with him, Former New York Times books editor on what makes a great review and why U.S. political coverage needs to change, ahead of a discussion he will moderate tomorrow on The Art of Book Reviewing.
       Among his observations:
Do not believe any author who tells you that he or she doesn't read reviews. It's just not true.

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



       Q & A: Feminist Press' Lauren Rosemary Hook

       At the Asymptote blog Sarah Moses has a 'Meet the Publisher'-Q & A with Feminist Press' Lauren Rosemary Hook on Feminist Writing in Translation.
       Among much else, Feminist Press publishes an interesting selection of translations -- several of which are under review at the complete review: most recently Virginie Despentes' Pretty Things, but also Shahrnush Parsipur's Women without Men.

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



       Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mathias Énard's Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants, just out in English -- from Fitzcarraldo Editions in the UK and New Directions in the US.
       A clever little bit of alternative-history, featuring Michelangelo .....

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



28 November 2018 - Wednesday

Mathias Énard Q & A | Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey
Red Circle Minis reviews

       Mathias Énard Q & A

       Granta has Mathias Enard and Ian Maleney in Conversation, as the Compass-author's Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants is just out in English; my review should be up ... later today is up now.

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



       Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey

       At Oregon ArtsWatch David Bates has a Q & A with Sonia Ticas, one of the translators of The strangest epic poem you've never heard of, Costa Rican poet Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey, which Tavern Books is publishing -- three volumes so far, with the fourth and final one scheduled for next spring.
       It sounds like an intriguing, challenging work; see also the publicity page for the first volume, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Red Circle Minis reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of two of the first three 'Red Circle Minis':        This is a nice looking-series that should serve as a good introduction to a variety of Japanese authors -- sort of like, for example, the Portable Library of Korean Literature.

       Two other Shiraishi works, both brought out by Dalkey Archive Press, are already under review at the complete review -- The Part of Me That Isnít Broken Inside and Me Against the World -- but Hanawa is new to me. Fun fact about him: he has also translated quite a few works, including the complete works of Rimbaud -- and the complete Encyclopedia Brown series.

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



27 November 2018 - Tuesday

Icelandic literature in translation | New Literature from Europe Festival
Little Culinary Triumphs review

       Icelandic literature in translation

       The Icelandic Literature Center enthusiastically reports that Translation of Icelandic Literature into Foreign Languages has Tripled in a Decade ! as:
This year we saw a record number of allocated grants when the Center awarded 106 grants for the translation of Icelandic works of literature into 31 different languages. In comparison, allocated grants in 2008 were 31 for translations into 14 languages.
       Almost two months ago, at Three Percent Chad Post looked at the growth in Icelandic translations-into-English over the past decade, in A Frozen Imagination, and it's good to see that they've similarly expanded their reach elsewhere as well.
       The flipside of this success is how dependent it is on institutional-financial support -- mainly government support -- in the form of translation subsidies (hence the way they count: by the number of grants they've made). Great for a country willing and able to invest in its literature -- but many, especially economies that are not as strong, don't, one reason why we get so little from them in translation ......

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



       New Literature from Europe Festival

       The New Literature from Europe Festival runs today through the 29th in New York, with an interesting line-up of authors -- certainly worth a look, if you're in the neighborhood.

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



       Little Culinary Triumphs review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pascale Pujol's Little Culinary Triumphs, just out from Europa Editions.

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



26 November 2018 - Monday

FIL de Guadalajara | Arnon Grunberg reviews

       FIL de Guadalajara

       The Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara -- the Guadalajara International Book Fair -- runs through 2 December.
       Portugal is the guest of honor, while Ida Vitale picked up the Premio FIL de Literatura en Lenguas Romances; the program looks pretty impressive.

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



       Arnon Grunberg reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of Arnon Grunberg's Het bestand and the short follow-up, Het tweede bestand.

       Het bestand was also made into a TV-movie -- and you can watch it at NPO.

       The last Grunberg work to appear in English was Tirza, which Open Letter brought out in 2013; they were hoping to publish more by the prolific author, but ... that didn't work out; see Chad Post's Reason #387 Why Publishing Is a Thankless, Frustrating Business.
       A shame -- he's always worth reading, and there's a ton of his stuff not yet available in English .....

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



25 November 2018 - Sunday

Teaching translation | Adonis on translation | Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018)

       Teaching translation

       At his weblog Tim Gutteridge has a Q & A with Tim Parks, “Teaching style”: talking to Tim Parks about teaching translation.
       Among Parks' comments:
A translator has the task of reading a foreign text for the home audience and delivering to them what he or she has read. Not creating something ex nihilo. So the creativity of the translator's writing is not in finding anything new, but in finding a way of getting that original text to happen in the target language.
       And:
My impression is that many translators write poorly because they haven't really grasped what the original is saying, or how it is saying it.

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



       Adonis on translation

       In The Arab Weekly Susannah Tarbush reports on The merits and challenges of translation according to Adonis, as the poet gave the third Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize Lecture recently.

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



       Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018)

       Film director Nicolas Roeg has passed away; see, for example, Neil Genzlinger's obituary in The New York Times.
       I'm not a huge cinephile, but was always a great admirer of his work -- not just the literary adaptations (Don't Look Now, based on the Daphne du Maurier story; The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the Walter Tevis novel), but also then the Theresa Russell-movies.
       And there's one Roeg-related title under review at the complete review: Colin MacCabe's study of Performance.

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



24 November 2018 - Saturday

Diagram Prize | Prix André Malraux | A Shameful Life review

       Diagram Prize

       They've announced that the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year goes to Joy of Waterboiling, with: "an astonishing 56% of votes cast".
       See also the Achse Verlag publicity page.

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



       Prix André Malraux

       The new prix André Malraux has announced its winners, and the winning "œuvre de fiction au service de «la condition humaine»" is Javier Cercas' The Monarch of the Shadows, due out next year in English; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Cercas gets to pick up his €1933 prize, and round-the-world ticket, on 20 December.

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



       A Shameful Life review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dazai Osamu's A Shameful Life.
       This is a new translation, by Mark Gibeau, of 人間失格, just out from Stone Bridge Press; the previous one is Donald Keene's No Longer Human -- from 1958 ! -- which is also still in print.

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



23 November 2018 - Friday

Whitbread Costa Book Award shortlists | Filling Fauteuil 8 at the Académie française

       Whitbread Costa Book Award shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for the Whitbread Costa Book Award -- for now apparently only in the dreaded pdf format (but see, for example, The Guardian report, at the end of which they are conveniently listed).
       This award has five categories, with winners in each to be announced 7 January; those category-winners will then compete for the final 'Book of The Year'-award, to be announced 29 January.
       None of the finalists are under review at the complete review.

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



       Filling Fauteuil 8 at the Académie française

       They held the vote yesterday to fill Fauteuil 8 at the Académie française -- one of four current vacancies --, last held by The Great and the Good-author Michel Déon, with The Paradox of Love-author Pascal Bruckner going head to head against The Little Girl and the Cigarette-author Benoît Duteurtre, and ... both fell short.
       With thirty-one members voting, the votes were pretty evenly split between them (and what amounts to votes for neither) across three rounds, and neither ever managed more than eleven. This is the second time they've tried to fill the seat -- the more hotly contested (four candidates) 21 June vote also fell short.
       The seat remains empty, and they'll try again in a couple of months, presumably with a whole new slate of contenders.

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



22 November 2018 - Thursday

Jan Michalski Prize | TLS Books of the Year 2018
The Desert and the Drum review

       Jan Michalski Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Jan Michalski Prize -- Księgi Jakubowe, by Olga Tokarczuk.
       It's forthcoming in 2020 from Fitzcarraldo Editions -- you can even already pre-order it at Amazon.co.uk.
       Tokarczuk's Flights won the Man Booker International Prize, while this one won the 2015 Nike Award -- the leading Polish literary prize (which Flights also won).

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



       TLS Books of the Year 2018

       The Times Literary Supplement has its annual Books of the Year-list, with contributors naming their favorites of the year, an always interesting list. (But no Anniversaries ? No Dag Solstad ?)

       Other magazines have come out with similar lists already: see, for example, The Spectator's 'Books of the year', where; "Regular reviewers choose the best -- and most overrated -- books of 2018", parts one and two (with disappointingly few naming anything overrated ...), and the New Statesman's The best books of 2018.

       (Updated - 23 November): See now also The best books of 2018 at the Evening Standard, where their: "writers and reviewers pick their favourite titles of 2018".

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



       The Desert and the Drum review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mbarek Ould Beyrouk's The Desert and the Drum, recently out from Dedalus.

       This won the prix Ahmadou-Kourouma in 2016 -- and is a rare novel from (and set in) Mauritania.
       (The complete review gets traffic from all over the world but over the past three months there's only been a single visitor from Mauritania.)

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



21 November 2018 - Wednesday

Best Arabic novels ? | Prix Littéraire de la SCC

       Best Arabic novels ?

       The new issue of Banipal, Banipal 63, features 'The 100 Best Arabic Novels' -- not freely accessible online (buy the issue !), but ArabLit has the run-down, including the top ten:
  1. Season of Migration to the North, by Tayeb Salih
  2. The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz
  3. For Bread Alone, by Mohamed Choukri
  4. The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist, by Emile Habiby
  5. Children of the Alley, by Naguib Mahfouz
  6. Zayni Barakat, by Gamal al-Ghitani
  7. Cities of Salt, by Abdelrahman Munif
  8. In Search of Walid Masoud, by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra
  9. Rama and the Dragon, by Edwar al-Kharrat
  10. Gate of the Sun, by Elias Khoury
       (The list is not restricted to novels available in English, but apparently most of the titles -- and all the top ten -- are.)

       ArabLit also compares it to an earlier top-100 (well, top-105) list, from the Arab Writers Union -- and lists all of those.

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



       Prix Littéraire de la SCC

       French literary-prize-season apparently won't end: the most recent to announce its winner is ... the Prix Littéraire de la Société Centrale Canine.
       This is a prize that honors ... "les meilleures œuvres francophones mettant en exergue les relations entre l’Homme et le Chien". Yes, not the best French-language dog books, but the best that 'highlight the relationship between Man and Dog' -- with a payout of €1,000.
       This year's winner in the literary category -- a unanimous selection -- is the self-published Secret d'Irlande, by Geneviève Gaeng; see also the Le Livre en Papier information page.

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



previous entries (11 - 20 November 2018)

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