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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 November 2019

11 November: Swiss Book Prize | The Mutations review
12 November: International DUBLIN Literary Award longlist | How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired review
13 November: Iranian textbook changes | Prix des cinq continents | Grand prix de littérature américaine
14 November: Goldsmiths Prize | Paul Theroux Q & A | 'Books of the year' from the New Statesman | Think, Write, Speak review
15 November: Prix du livre européen | AmazonCrossing profile | Jack Glass review
16 November: BookSpot Literatuurprijs | Cundill History Prize | Come to Me review
17 November: Premio Cervantes | Burmese National Literature Awards
18 November: Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award finalists | The Sheltering Rain review
19 November: Scotiabank Giller Prize | '50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years' ? | Bookselling in ... Kolkata
20 November: Baillie Gifford Prize | 'Best (English-language) Novels of the Decade' | 'The World's Most Prestigious Prize' review

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20 November 2019 - Wednesday

Baillie Gifford Prize | 'Best (English-language) Novels of the Decade'
'The World's Most Prestigious Prize' review

       Baillie Gifford Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction (formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize), and it is The Five: The Untold Lives of Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold.
       See also the publicity pages from Black Swan and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       'Best (English-language) Novels of the Decade'

       At the Literary Hub they've selected "the very best novels written and published in English between 2010 and 2019", in The 20 Best Novels of the Decade. (Good to also see the 'Dissenting Opinions' (books: "just barely nudged out of the top twenty").)
       They previously also listed The 10 Best Translated Novels of the Decade -- so at least fiction in translation did get covered, albeit separately .....

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



       'The World's Most Prestigious Prize' review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of The Inside Story of the Nobel Peace Prize by Geir Lundestad, 'The World's Most Prestigious Prize' -- just in time for the prize ceremonies in a couple of weeks.

       Of course, I'd rather see a Nobel Prize in Literature tell-all/insider account, but we haven't had one of those for a while .....

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



19 November 2019 - Tuesday

Scotiabank Giller Prize | '50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years' ?
Bookselling in ... Kolkata

       Scotiabank Giller Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize, a leading Canadian fiction prize, and it is Reproduction, by Ian Williams; no news yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, the CBC report.

       See also the Vintage Canada publicity page, or the bukowski agency link-laden information page; Europa Editions will be bringing out the US edition next spring.

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



       '50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years' ?

       At Slate their 'book team' -- Dan Kois and Laura Miller -- "selects the definitive works of reporting, memoir, and argument of the past quarter-century", in The 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years. One caveat, less prominently noted: this is a: "list of the definitive nonfiction books written in English in the past quarter-century". I.e. nothing in translation.
       Nevertheless -- and somewhat surprisingly -- two of the titles are under review at the complete review: Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer, and The Information by James Gleick.

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



       Bookselling in ... Kolkata

       At Atlas Obscura Peter Yeung reports on The Uncertain Future of the World's Largest Secondhand Book Market -- the College Street market in Kolkata, which: "spans more than a mile and covers a million square feet".
       The plan is to build a dedicated book mall -- the Barnaparichay Mall -- there, complete with: "sleek, modern boutiques, a library, an auction center, translation services, and cafés". But, as Yeung notes: "Many booksellers remain unconvinced".

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



18 November 2019 - Monday

Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award finalists | The Sheltering Rain review

       Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award finalists

       They've announced the six finalists for this year's Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award, one of the leading Iranian literary prizes; see also the Tehran Times report, Six novels nominated for Jalal Literary Awards, which includes brief descriptions of the finalists.
       I hope we get to see some of these in translation at some point .....

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



       The Sheltering Rain review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hanmura Ryō's 1975 Naoki Prize-winning Shinjuku-scene novel, The Sheltering Rain, just out in English from Kurodahan Press.

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



17 November 2019 - Sunday

Premio Cervantes | Burmese National Literature Awards

       Premio Cervantes

       They've announced that this year's Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana Miguel de Cervantes -- the leading Spanish-language author prize -- goes to poet Joan Margarit i Consarnau -- most of whose writing is in Catalan; see also, for example, the AP report.
       Several volumes of his poetry have appeared in English translation -- most recently, it seems, Love is a Place; see the Bloodaxe publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       He gets to pick up the €125,000 prize on Cervantes' birthday -- 23 April -- next year.

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



       Burmese National Literature Awards

       They've announced the winners of the 2018 Burmese National Literature Awards; see, for example, the report in The Irrawaddy, Irrawaddy Editor Wins Myanmar's Top Literary Prize.
       Kyaw Zwa Moe's The Cell, Exile and the New Burma won the English-language category, while a translation Lord of the Flies won the translation category; the novel award apparently went to Ju, for 'Loverís Shawl Woven With Rainbows'.

       Meanwhile, in the Myanmar Times Saan Lin Tun reports on a Workshop to improve Myanmar to English translation. The focus wasn't so much on literary translation -- but that's certainly something I'd like to see more of.

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



16 November 2019 - Saturday

BookSpot Literatuurprijs | Cundill History Prize | Come to Me review

       BookSpot Literatuurprijs

       They've announced the winners of this year's BookSpot Literatuurprijs -- previously also known as the AKO and then the ECI Literatuurprijs -- one of the leading Dutch-language literary prizes, which now also has a non-fiction category.
       The fiction prize went to De hoogstapelaar, by Wessel te Gussinklo; see also the Koppernik publicity page.
       The non-fiction prize went to De avant-gardisten, by Sjeng Scheijen; see also the Dutch Foundation for Literature information page.

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



       Cundill History Prize

       They've announced that Maoism: A Global History, by Julia Lovell, has won this year's Cundill History Prize, a Canadian-but-US-$-denominated 75,000 prize.
       See also the publicity pages from Alfred A. Knopf and Bodley Head, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

       I haven't seen this one yet -- but her The Politics of Cultural Capital: China's Quest for a Nobel Prize in Literature is under review at the complete review.

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



       Come to Me review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Bulgarian author Bogdan Rusev's Come to Me, just about out from Dalkey Archive Press.

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



15 November 2019 - Friday

Prix du livre européen | AmazonCrossing profile | Jack Glass review

       Prix du livre européen

       They've announced the winners of this year's prix du livre européen -- and both titles are under review at the complete review: Middle England by Jonathan Coe, which won the novel category, and Our Europe by Laurent Gaudé, which won the essai category.

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



       AmazonCrossing profile

       At Publishers Weekly Ed Nawotka finds Translations Pay Off for Amazon with their imprint AmazonCrossing.
       They've published: "more than 400 books, from 42 countries and in 26 languages" -- with some notable (sales-)successes; they're also bringing out more non-fiction titles.
       Several AmazonCrossing titles are under review at the complete review.

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



       Jack Glass review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Golden Age Story by Adam Roberts, Jack Glass -- a mix of science fiction and golden-age-mystery homage.

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



14 November 2019 - Thursday

Goldsmiths Prize | Paul Theroux Q & A
'Books of the year' from the New Statesman | Think, Write, Speak review

       Goldsmiths Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Goldsmiths Prize -- rewarding: "fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form" --, and it is Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellman; see also, for example, judge Anna Leszkiewicz explaining why it won in the New Statesman.
       See also the publicity pages from Galley Beggar and Biblioasis, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       I really should finish and review this .....

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



       Paul Theroux Q & A

       In The Los Angeles Times Christopher Reynolds finds Paul Theroux has lots to say about Mexico, Frida Kahlo and where he's never been.
       His new book, On the Plain of Snakes -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk --, is about his travels in Mexico -- and it's interesting to hear Theroux has basically never been to Scandinavia.

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



       'Books of the year' from the New Statesman

       At the New Statesman they have their: "friends and contributors choose their favourite reading of 2019", in their extensive Books of the year-list.

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



       Think, Write, Speak review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the Uncollected Essays, Reviews, Interviews, and Letters to the Editor by Vladimir Nabokov, Think, Write, Speak, just out from Alfred A. Knopf (US) and Penguin Classics (UK).
       Always great to see any more Nabokov .....

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



13 November 2019 - Wednesday

Iranian textbook changes | Prix des cinq continents
Grand prix de littérature américaine

       Iranian textbook changes

       At Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Golnaz Esfandiari reports on Textbook Changes: Iranian Fighter Slain In Syria May Replace Literary Giant Omar Khayyam.
       Yes, apparently they're planning on not including the famous poet's rubaiyat in new textbooks -- and:
In addition, the reports say the name of prominent writer [The Colonel-author] Mahmud Dowlatabadi, and Morteza Moshfegh Kazemi, the author of Iran’s first social novel, have also been removed from textbooks, while the name of [The Blind Owl-author] Sadegh Hedayat, one of Iran’s greatest writers of the 20th century, has been removed from a story by another great 20th-century author, Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh Esfahani.
       Apparently, the reasoning is:
“Officials believe that in order to attract the younger generation they must increase the intensity of their religious and ideological propaganda in schools,” Paivandi told RFE/RL.

“They think that a large proportion of young people are turning away from religion and government ideology because of the weakness of propaganda in the education system and the mass media,” he added.
       Talk about misguided .....

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



       Prix des cinq continents

       The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie has announced the winner of this years prix des cinq continents, an international (five continents ...) but French-language literary prize, and it is Le Tranquille affligé, by Gilles Jobidon; see also the Leméac Editeur publicity page.

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



       Grand prix de littérature américaine

       They've announced the winner of this year's Grand prix de littérature américaine -- a French prize for the best American novel -- and it is A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.

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



12 November 2019 - Tuesday

International DUBLIN Literary Award longlist
How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired review

       International DUBLIN Literary Award longlist

       They've announced the longlist for next year's International DUBLIN Literary Award -- 156 books nominated by libraries from across (much of) the world. Just under a third of the novels -- 50 -- are works in translation, originally written in 21 different languages
       Only fourteen of the nominated titles are under review at the complete review:        The shortlist will be announced 2 April, and the winner on 10 June.

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



       How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dany Laferrière's 1985 debut, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired.

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



11 November 2019 - Monday

Swiss Book Prize | The Mutations review

       Swiss Book Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Schweizer Buchpreis, the leading Swiss (German-language) book prize, and it is GRM, by Sibylle Berg; see also the Kiepenheuer & Witsch foreign rights page (US/UK rights apparently still available ...) or Romy Fursland on Sibylle Berg: A Vehement Voice.
       As I've mentioned before, I am intrigued by this title -- I really should try to have a look at it.

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



       The Mutations review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jorge Comensal's The Mutations, just out in English.

       This came out from a Mexican publisher in 2016 and has now taken off, with a new Spanish edition and translations in all the major European languages; I have to admit that I don't entirely understand the bandwagon/fuss .....

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



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