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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


The Literary Saloon Archive

21 - 31 March 2020

21 March: Bookselling in ... Iraq | Prix Cazes-Brasserie Lipp | 'Tintin and the Arab world'
22 March: The Feminist Press Q & A | Publishing in ... India | Fiona Rintoul on translation
23 March: Magnesia Litera finalists | The Eighth Life (For Brilka) review
24 March: Rathbones Folio Prize | Covid-19 and the EU book sector
25 March: De Sade Q & A | Nicky Harman profile | Our Riches review
26 March: Austrian State Prize for European Literature | The Hindu Prize | International Dublin Literary Award hiatus | Gather in the Hall of the Planets review
27 March: Ogawa Yōko profile | RSL Ondaatje Prize longlist | The Magnificent Conman of Cairo review
28 March: Bestselling in ... Iran | Slavic fantasy in translation | German Science Fiction Prize finalists
29 March: Walter Satterthwait (1946-2020) | Translations from ... Dutch
30 March: A.N.D.Haksar Q & A | Spacefarers review
31 March: New 91st Meridian | Republic of Consciousness Prize | EBRD Literature Prize shortlist | Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards | Yuri Bondarev (1924-2020)

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31 March 2020 - Tuesday

New 91st Meridian | Republic of Consciousness Prize
EBRD Literature Prize shortlist | Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards
Yuri Bondarev (1924-2020)

       New 91st Meridian

       The Spring 2020 issue of 91st Meridian, the electronic publication of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, is now up, with a variety of material -- notably Nataša Ďurovičová on: From 'a lonely passion' to 'an exciting educational experience': how translation found foothold inside the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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



       Republic of Consciousness Prize

       They've announced the winners of this year's Republic of Consciousness Prize -- rewarding: "the best fiction published by publishers with fewer than 5 full-time employees" -- and they are Fitzcarraldo Editions for Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, in Frank Wynne's translation.
       I haven't seen this one, but it has been widely praised; see also the publicity pages from Fitzcarraldo Editions and Grove Press, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       EBRD Literature Prize shortlist

       They've announced the three-title shortlist for this year's EBRD Literature Prize, awarded to the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language from one of the nearly 40 countries the Bank invests in.
       The three titles are:
  • Devilspel by Grigory Kanovich, translated by Yisrael Elliot Cohen
  • Pixel by Tóth Krisztina, translated by Owen Good
  • Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina, translated by Lisa C. Hayden
       I've only seen Zuleikha.
       The winner will be announced on 22 April.

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



       Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

       They've announced this year's Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, with the Lifetime Achievement award going to Eric Foner, and The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpell, taking the fiction prize.

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



       Yuri Bondarev (1924-2020)

       Soviet author Yuri Bondarev has passed away; see, for example, the Pravda report.
       Definitely very much of his time (and place), and probably doomed to be of nothing more than historic interest, at least outside Russia, but quite a bit of his work was translated back in the day -- when the Soviet Union was still of interest. Okay, most of it by Soviet foreign press houses (Progress Publishers and the like), but Silence was published in the mid-1960s by Houghton Mifflin.

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



30 March 2020 - Monday

A.N.D.Haksar Q & A | Spacefarers review

       A.N.D.Haksar Q & A

       Several of A.N.D.Haksar's translations from the Sanskrit are under review at the complete review -- the Kama Sutra, for example, or Simhāsana Dvātriṃśikā: Thirty-Two Tales of the Throne of Vikramaditya -- and now Saimi Sattar has a Q & A with him in The Pioneer, Interpreter of classics.
       Next up for him: "I am translating Kalidasa's Vikram Urvashiyam".

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



       Spacefarers review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Christopher Wanjek on How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, Spacefarers, just out from Harvard University Press.

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



29 March 2020 - Sunday

Walter Satterthwait (1946-2020) | Translations from ... Dutch

       Walter Satterthwait (1946-2020)

       A shipment of used books I ordered online recently came in yesterday, a dozen titles ranging from the somewhat heavy-duty -- the first in Julian Green's "Dixie'-trilogy, The Distant Lands, and the second in 'Abd Al-Rahman Munif's 'Cities of Salt'-trilogy, The Trench -- as well as some lighter pass-time fare from old reliables -- a Ruth Rendell, a Leif GW Persson, for example. {As always, all incoming books -- purchases as well as review copies, and everything else -- are tracked and can be found here.] Among the titles also: yet another Walter Satterthwait, the stand-alone Perfection.
       I first came upon Satterthwait's work via the German translations in the 1990s -- several were published by Haffmans, which was good enough for me. (I've found reliable foreign publishers are a good way of figuring out who is worth reading, especially as far as English-language mysteries go -- so much comes out in English that's it's hard (for me) to decide what to try.) Now I'm shocked to hear that Satterthwait recently passed away, just over a month ago; see, for example, his official site.
       Disappointing to see that his death has gone largely unnoticed -- to the extent that it's even so far been Wikipedia-overlooked (they're usually pretty quick to pick up of deaths). Of course, there doesn't even seem to be an English-language Satterthwait-Wikipedia page, astonishingly enough -- just the (incomplete) German one.
       Anyway, (some of) his books are fairly easy to find and they're consistently good entertainment value -- the Beaumont/Turner trio featuring some fun 1920s cameos, the Miss Lizzie novels featuring ... Lizzie Borden .....

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



       Translations from ... Dutch

       Atr the Dutch Foundation for Literature they've announced the most recent batch of Translation Grants for Foreign Publishers.
       They awarded 48 grants, and it's great to see some of these going to smaller languages -- but it's still kind of disappointing that only a single fiction title being translated into English is getting support. At least non-fiction and poetry do better in that regard .....

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



28 March 2020 - Saturday

Bestselling in ... Iran | Slavic fantasy in translation
German Science Fiction Prize finalists

       Bestselling in ... Iran

       In the Tehran Times Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet reports Five Iranian publishers announce top 10 bestsellers of the year.
       It's only the titles published by five publishers, not Iran as a whole, but still fairly interesting to see what does well.
       The five publishers are: Nimaj, Ruzbehan, Qoqnus, Cheshmeh, and Afraz if you want to check out what else they bring out.

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



       Slavic fantasy in translation

       At Tor.com Teo Bileta offers A Beginner's Guide to Slavic Fantasy in Translation.
       A decent little selection -- though she does note:
I am still, unfortunately, unable to share all the interesting fantasy novels that address Slavic cultures because most of them are not translated.
       And no Zoran Živković ?

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



       German Science Fiction Prize finalists

       They've announced the finalists for this year's Deutscher Science-Fiction-Preis; previous winners of the novel category that have appeared in translation include Marc-Uwe Kling's QualityLand (2018), Wolfgang Jeschke's The Cusanus Game (2006), and Frank Schätzing's The Swarm (2005).
       Fun to see Sibylle Berg's GRM -- see the Kiepenheuer & Witsch foreign rights page ("USA: under negotiation" -- hurrah !) -- is among this year's finalists.
       The winners will be announced at the beginning of July.

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



27 March 2020 - Friday

Ogawa Yōko profile | RSL Ondaatje Prize longlist
The Magnificent Conman of Cairo review

       Ogawa Yōko profile

       At nippon.com they profile Writer Ogawa Yōko's Stories of Memory and Loss -- mainly about the recently translated (but twenty-five-year-old ...) The Memory Police and the new (but not yet translated ...) 小箱 ('Little Boxes').
       And while there's an enormous backlog of works not yet translated into English we can (hopefully) look forward to, it's also good to hear about her next plans:
“Next I’d like to write a novel set in a theater.” As well as her enjoyment of plays, Ogawa notes that in the industry a theater is known as a hako, or “box,” and is isolated from the outside world with no movement between the stage and audience. “In the end, I always imagine the same kind of place,” she laughs. “I can write with a sense of reassurance about a space with a clear outline. I can’t write an adventure where characters break out beyond that.”

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



       RSL Ondaatje Prize longlist

       They've announced the eighteen-title strong longlist for this year's Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize -- a prize: "for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place".
       None of the titles are under review at the complete review, but it's good to see Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport on the list (and I do hope to finish that .... eventually).
       The shortlist will be announced on 20 April and the winner on 4 May.

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



       The Magnificent Conman of Cairo review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Adel Kamel's 1942 novel, The Magnificent Conman of Cairo, now out in English from American University in Cairo Press' hoopoe imprint.

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



26 March 2020 - Thursday

Austrian State Prize for European Literature
The Hindu Prize | International Dublin Literary Award hiatus
Gather in the Hall of the Planets review

       Austrian State Prize for European Literature

       The Österreichischer Staatspreis für Europäische Literatur is one of the biggest (European) author prizes, with a great list of previous winners, and they've now announced the 2020 winner -- and it is Slovenian author Drago Jančar.
       Only two of his works are under review at the complete review, two from Northwestern University Press' great Writings from an Unbound Europe-series, Mocking Desire and Northern Lights, but Dalkey Archive Press has also brought out several more translations since then.

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



       The Hindu Prize

       They've announced the winners of the 2019 The Hindu Prize, with Tell Her Everything by Mirza Waheed winning the fiction prize -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and India, Empire, and First World War Culture by Santanu Das winning the non-fiction prize.

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



       International Dublin Literary Award hiatus

       The Women's Prize for Fiction has just announced that while they are still announcing their shortlist as planned, on 22 April, they're delaying the announcement of who wins until 9 September.
       The International Dublin Literary Award -- which was set to announce its shortlist next week, on 2 April -- is going even further, announcing that: "we have decided to pause the 2020 and 2021 processes for the International Dublin Literary award". A shame.

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



       Gather in the Hall of the Planets review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Barry N. Malzberg's -- writing as K. M. O'Donnell -- Gather in the Hall of the Planets: Being a novelized version of the remarkable interplanetary events that took place at the World Science Fiction Convention of 1974.

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



25 March 2020 - Wednesday

De Sade Q & A | Nicky Harman profile | Our Riches review

       De Sade Q & A

       The first complete translation of the Marquis de Sade's Aline and Valcour was certainly one of the notable translations of 2019, and at The Book Binder's Daughter weblog there is now a Q & A with John Galbraith Simmons and Jocelyne Geneviève Barque: An Interview with Translators of Sade.

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



       Nicky Harman profile

       In the South China Morning Post Thomas Bird profiles The translator championing Chinese women writers for English-language readers around the world -- Nicky Harman, here in her own words.

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



       Our Riches review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kaouther Adimi's Our Riches -- which is coming out in the UK as A Bookshop in Algiers.

       I continue to be baffled that in this internet day and age English-language publishers choose to publish books in translation with different titles in different markets .....

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



24 March 2020 - Tuesday

Rathbones Folio Prize | Covid-19 and the EU book sector

       Rathbones Folio Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Rathbones Folio Prize, and it is Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli; see also the publicity pages from Vintage and 4th Estate, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Covid-19 and the EU book sector

       The European Writers' Council has a good overiew of what some nations are doing in response to the current crisis, Covid-19: Impact on the EU Book Sector.
       Among the impressive supports: Austria's Literar-Mechana -- an ASCAP-like royalty clearing house -- is setting up a one million euro fund to compensate writers for fees for cancelled readings and events and Norway has put up NOK 500,000 for non-fiction freelancers. France has a general aid package for culture of twenty-two-million euros, of which five million is for writers, while Sweden has a package of forty-five million for the cultural sector; Switzerland, however leads the way with a package worth over two-hundred-and-fifty million euros -- and that's just a first tranche, for the next two months.
       Obviously, a lot of plans are still in the works, but it's good to see support -- especially from governments -- on this scale in place so quickly. In the US, of course, things *work* differently .....

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



23 March 2020 - Monday

Magnesia Litera finalists | The Eighth Life (For Brilka) review

       Magnesia Litera finalists

       The Czech Magnesia Litera awards recently announced their shortlists, twenty-seven titles in eight categories, selected from 488 entries -- but they've delayed the winners announcement -- originally scheduled for 7 April -- until the fall.
       Among the fiction finalists are books by Jiří Kratochvil and Jan Němec -- the intriguing-sounding Možnosti milostného románu; see also the Host publicity page --, as well as Štěpán Kučera's debut, Projekt Gilgameš; see the Druhé město publicty page.

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



       The Eighth Life (For Brilka) review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nino Haratischvili's The Eighth Life (For Brilka), out in the UK a couple of months already and coming to the US next month; it was recently longlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize.

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



22 March 2020 - Sunday

The Feminist Press Q & A | Publishing in ... India
Fiona Rintoul on translation

       The Feminist Press Q & A

       At Forbes Rachel Kramer Bussel offers: "the first in a new monthly series in which I will profile independent publishers about their origins, how they operate, partnerships with bookstores, their most popular books and what they look for from editorial submissions" -- her: Publisher Profile: How Nonprofit The Feminist Press Operates, a wide-ranging Q & A with executive director and publisher Jamia Wilson.

       The Feminist Press titles under review at the complete review include Shahrnush Parsipur's Women without Men and Virginie Despentes' Pretty Things.

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



       Publishing in ... India

       The current pandemic is naturally affecting almost all businesses, almost everywhere, and at Scroll.in Kanishka Gupta now considers Could the coronavirus pandemic lock down Indian publishing for some time ?
       It offers a good, far-reaching overview of the current impact -- though I fear the longterm effects might be considerably worse.

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



       Fiona Rintoul on translation

       In The Herald they offer Found in translation: Fiona Rintoul on the art and craft of the literary translator.
       Noting one still all-too-common example:
This erasure of the translator is symptomatic of a troglodyte mindset that pertains primarily in the English-speaking world.

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



21 March 2020 - Saturday

Bookselling in ... Iraq | Prix Cazes-Brasserie Lipp
'Tintin and the Arab world'

       Bookselling in ... Iraq

       Yet another Al Mutanabbi Street-article -- plus (or mainly ...) video-report --, here at Euronews, where they consider How are local bookshops helping to revive Iraq's literary community ?

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



       Prix Cazes-Brasserie Lipp

       The prix Cazes-Brasserie Lipp might not be one of the better-known French literary prizes, but it has been around for a while -- since 1935 - and has an interesting list of winners -- such as 1936-winner, The First Book of Grabinoulor, by Pierre Albert-Birot.
       They've now announced the 2020 winner, and it is Un automne de Flaubert by Alexandre Postel; see the Livres Hebdo report, and the Gallimard publicity page.

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



       'Tintin and the Arab world'

       In Al-Ahram Weekly David Tresilian considers Tintin and the Arab world.

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



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