The winners of the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes in Literature have now been announced, and they are: Olga Tokarczuk (2018) and Peter Handke (2019).
Tokarczuk receives the prize:
for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life
Handke receives the prize for
for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience
Handke had long been thought an unlikely choice because of his unpopular attitude during and after the Yugoslavian conflicts -- and this is going to come up a lot in the Nobel Prize-commentary --, but is certainly one of the grand old men of European literature and it's hard to disagree with this selection from a literary point of view.
Tokarczuk has been quickly gaining international (well, European and US) recognition for an impressive body of work -- including winning the 2018 Man International Booker Prize for Flights -- and is a choice that will no doubt be widely seen as a solid one.
Considering solely their work, these are certainly very strong choices, though with two Central Europeans this is very much in the old mold of the Academy, for better and worse, and it's a bit disappointing that they did not reach beyond that very narrow area.
Usually some major newspapers and literary magazines collect and open up for view articles about and reviews of Nobel Prize-winning authors, but they've been slow to do that this year.
So far it's only:
There is a great deal more about Peter Handke online -- he's been publishing for over fifty years.
His first notable appearance was at the (in)famous Princeton meeting of the Gruppe 47; a recording of his contribution is available at the Princeton German site, while The Goalie's Anxiety offers a translation of Peter Handkeís 1966 Speech at the Princeton Meeting of the Gruppe 47.
The Austrian National Library's Handke online site is a valuable (German) resource -- and includes Handke's much commented-on but little reproduced (in full) words at the funeral of Slobodan Milošević in 2006.
Handke's stance in the Yugoslavian conflicts have come to dominate commentary on the author in recent years -- beginning with the awarding of the Heinrich Heine Prize to him in 2006, which he then turned down; see the useful overview at signandsight.com of The Peter Handke affair.
Recent pieces that discuss Handke at some length do tend to bog down some in the Yugoslavian-question, but some in-depth pieces may be of interest; see, for example:
Meanwhile, Handke was more recently awarded the International Ibsen Award -- and see also Karl Ove Knausgaard's speech on Handke and Singularity.
Beyond that, it's certainly worth going back to his fiction (and drama) beyond the narrow political context in which so much of it is now considered.
And curious Nobel titbit: Handke has translated two works by another Nobel laureate, Patrick Modiano -- I'm not sure when the last time was this occurred (if ever).
(It's great to see an author who has also been such an active translator be Nobel-honored.)
No works by Tokarczuk are under review at the complete review, but several Handke works are:
I recently reviewed Alberts Bels' The Cage -- surprisingly, the first Latvian title under review at the complete review -- but what better source for recommendations for other Latvian fiction than local authors ?
So it's great to see 10 Latvian Writers Name Their Favorite Latvian Books at Latvian Literature -- even if far too many of these works are not (yet) available in translation (including the one Bels titles that gets a mention).
Here we go: the Nobel Prizes in Literature -- two this year, for both 2018 and 2019 -- will be announced tomorrow at 13:00 Stockholm time (CET).
You will be able to see the announcement live -- at the Nobel site or on YouTube, here.
(Updated): One new piece of actual news: dpa reports that 194 nominations were considered by the Swedish Academy for the 2018 prize, and 189 for the 2019 prize.
As we have heard, however, there was only one eight-person list of finalists considered, from which both wnners will be (and by now have been) selected; it's unclear how much overlap there was with the nominations for 2018 and 2019, and/or whether they did divide up the picks from both lists.
(Those deliberation reports, when they open them up to public view in 2070, are going to be fascinating reading .....)
There's been more pre-prize coverage, of course, though not too much of great interest or information value -- but at least some entertainment value:
This year's most annoying mistake: journalists referring to: the odds at "U.K. bookies Nicer Odds", or "British website Nicer Odds [...] taking bets on the 2019 winner".
Nicer Odds is not a betting site; as it says relatively prominently on the site, they're: "The free odds research tool", i.e. an odds aggregator, listing what actual betting sites are offering for odds.
On top of that, they're not doing a great job this year, currently only listing the Unibet odds .....
The actual sites taking bets, and the ones setting odds, are Unibet and Betsson.
I'll have extensive coverage of the winners tomorrow, starting shortly after the official announcement.
They've announced the finalists for this year's (American) National Book Awards in all five categories.
The only title under review at the complete review is in the Translated Literature category -- Stephen Snyder's translation of Ogawa Yoko's The Memory Police -- though I should be getting to the Krasznahorkai soon as well.
Interesting also to see that there were the fewest submissions in the Translated Literature category -- only 145, when even Poetry had 245 submissions.
Disappointingly, however, the names of the submitted titles are not revealed .....
The winners will be announced 20 November.
They've announced the thirteen-title longlist for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, selected from 92 eligible entries (which are, however, disappointingly left unrevealed ... which are admirably (if in pdf format ...) revealed here).
Several of the titles are under review at the complete review:
They've announced the five finalists for this year's Austrian Book Prize, with the winner to be announced 4 November.
I've actually read the Raphaela Edelbauer but wasn't completely won over by it; I also have the Karl-Markus Gauß and hope to get to that soon.
More French prize 'deuxièmes sélections' -- the shorter longlists (with shortlists and winners to follow --, for the prix Renaudot and the prix Femina; the latter also has a translation-category, with ten works left in the running.
The winners of the Renaudot will be announced 4 November, the winners of the Femina one day later.
They've announced the winners of this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prizes, awarded for books that: "address the theme of peace on a variety of levels, such as between individuals, among families and communities, or between nations, religions, or ethnic groups".
The fiction prize goes to What We Owe, by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, and the non-fiction prize to Rising Out of Hatred, by Eli Saslow.
They get to pick up the prize at the gala ceremony on 3 November.
The Hindustan Times has David Davidar's Q & A with Vikram Seth -- best-known for his A Suitable Boy, with a sequel, A Suitable Girl, long in the works and eagerly anticipated .....
The only Seth under review at the complete review is his lesser effort, An Equal Music -- but I am much looking forward to A Suitable Girl.
Slightly peripherally, at Sydsvenskan they note that booksellers are excited about the fact that there will be two winners, translating (possibly) into many more sales, especially after last year's prize-less disappointment ..., as reported in Bokbranschen hoppfull inför dubbla pris
In the Falter Klaus Nüchtern has a lengthy (German) Q & A with Oswald Wiener -- best-known for his classic 1969 novel, die verbesserung von mitteleuropa; it was reïssued a few years ago by Jung und Jung; see their publicity page.
At Traumawien they write aboutdie verbesserung von mitteleuropa:
The result of Wieners infamous examination is an anarchic text-fortress.
An anti-novel, a universal book.
Certainly a landmark text in modern German literature, it doesn't appear to have been translated into any foreign languages.
It would certainly be a challenge .....
See also an English-language Q & A with Wiener at Spike.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Gabriel Okara's 1964 novel, The Voice -- originally published by André Deutsch but then reïssued in the classic African Writers Series.
Okara died earlier this year; better known as a poet, The Voice was his only novel.
The University of Nebraska Press brought out his Collected Poems in their impressive African Poetry Book-series a few years ago; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Not much to add to my previous mention, as there hasn't been much news or discussion of note.
- The Nobel site has now posted a video in which Anders Olsson, 'chair of the Nobel Committee in the Swedish Academy', explains How is the Nobel Prize in Literature decided ?
Olsson notes that there are usually about 200 nominations to consider (although the Academy website says "There are usually about 350 proposals each year" ...); it's unclear why he won't even say exactly how many there were this year.
At least there is some clarification about this year's selection-process, as he reveals that there is an eight-author-strong list of finalists -- just one list, for both the 2018 and 2019 prizes -- from which the two laureates will be selected.
He suggests the Academy won't be as Europe- and male-focused as previously, but they've said that before; it'll be interesting to see how/if that manifests itself ....
- The official press invitation is out -- and describes what will happen on Thursday:
The announcement, made by Permanent Secretary Mats Malm, will begin the press briefing.
The chair of the Nobel Committee, Academy member Anders Olsson, and other members of the Committee will then present the Nobel Laureates and their works, as well as expounding on the Committee's work.
The announcement will be streamed live -- and I presume this post-announcement stuff will be as well, so we'll be able to follow this from home.
- The odds at Unibet do not appear to have shifted any (suggesting that basically no one is placing bets), but there are now also odds listed at Betsson -- mostly the same names, with a few more (J.K.Rowling ...), and similar odds.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's JCB Prize For Literature; for a more convenient overview, see, for example, the report at The Wire.
Two of the finalists -- three books, in fact, since Perumal Murugan's two works are treated as a single entry -- are works in translation, from Bengali and Tamil.
The winning title will be announced 2 November.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Laurent Gaudé's Our Europe: Banquet of Nations -- a verse epic about ... the European Union.
Just out in English from Europa Editions, appropriately enough.
They've announced the books that are in the running for the 2019 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation -- fifteen novels and one poetry collection.
Two of the titles are under review at the complete review: Paula Haydar's translation of Jabbour Douaihy's Printed in Beirut and William M. Hutchins' translation of Ibrahim al-Koni's The Fetishists.
They had the ceremony at which the EU Prizes For Literature were awarded -- 14 prizes this year, the winners determined by the national juries of each country.
Only one of the authors has (another) title reviewed at the complete review -- Beqa Adamashvili, whose Bestseller is forthcoming from Dedalus in English next October.
At the Harvard University Press Blog Editorial Director, Sharmila Sen devised a 'Proust questionnaire' for translators and here are the responses from an impressive number of them: Hamid Dabashi, Charles Hallisey, Johanna Hanink, Ranjit Hoskote, Anthony Kaldellis, Aviad Kleinberg, Daisy Rockwell, Carlos Rojas, David Shulman, Maria Tatar, Karel van der Toorn, and Vanamala Vishwanatha.
To the question: "What is the most overrated virtue of a translation ?" eight (!) of them answer: Fidelity (well, seven; Maria Tatar puts it: "Faithfulness -- I prefer a little infidelity though not so far as betrayal").
(Am I wrong to be just a little bit concerned by the near-consensus here ?
I do also like some of the other responses to that question: Anthony Kaldellis answered: "Winning awards for translation", and Aviad Kleinberg answered: "Professional pride".)
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Goldsmiths Prize -- honoring: "Fiction at its most novel".
The only one of these I've seen is Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, which I am slowly making my way through.
The winner will be announced 13 November.
The Untranslated -- the blog that hoped: "to bring to a wider attention significant literary works not yet translated into English" -- has decided it's Time to Say Good-Bye.
A shame, because it was certainly a helpful and interesting exercise -- but I look forward to the next literary venture he undertakes.
The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the finalists for this year's Governor General's Literary Awards -- seventy of them, in fourteen categories (seven each English and French).
The only title under review at the complete review is Rhonda Mullins' translation of Anne-Renée Caillé's The Embalmer.
The winners will be announced 29 October.
They've announced the longlists for the prix du Meilleur livre étranger -- a French prize for best translated works; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
The sixteen-title longlist in the fiction category is English-dominated (nine titles); the three-title non-fiction longlist, however, does not include any translations from the English.
The Autumn issue of World Literature Today is now available online, with the usual great range of material -- including, of course, the WLT Book Reviews (lots of titles -- and only one that is already under review at the complete review).
They've announced the deuxièmes sélection of the prix Goncourt -- though not yet at that official site, last I checked, so see the Livres Hebdo report.
The leading French literary prize, the Goncourt is now down to nine contenders, with Amélie Nothomb's Soif -- the bestselling book in France this week -- still in the running, along with titles by Nathacha Appanah, Jean-Paul Dubois, Léonora Miano, Hubert Mingarelli, and Olivier Rolin, among others.
The four finalists will be announced 27 October, and the winning title on 4 November.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alberts Bels' Soviet-era classic, The Cage.
Peter Owen brought this out in English in 1990, but it's been a while since any Bels has been translated and so it's great to see his Insomnia coming out shortly from Parthian Books; see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The American Literary Translators Association has announced the shortlists for this year's National Translation Awards.
Two of the prose finalists are under review at the complete review: In Black and White, by Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, and Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson.
One of the poetry finalists is also under review: Decals by Oliverio Girondo.
The prix Médicis has announced its 'deuxièmes sélections', its ... longer shortlists (with the final shortlists to come 29 October before the winners are announced on 8 November), in all three categories: French fiction, foreign fiction, and 'essais et documents' (a category that includes quite a few works by authors better known for their fiction, including Didier Daeninckx (author of, e.g. Murder in Memoriam) and Tanguy Viel (author of, e.g. Article 353), as well as Josef Winkler, for his Flowers for Jean Genet (see the Ariadne Press publicity page)).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Émile Zola's A Love Story, the eighth in his Rougon-Macquart series.
The review is of the relatively new (2017) translation by Helen Constantine, part of Oxford University Press series of new translations of the series.