They've announced this year's thirteen European Union Prizes for Literature.
Rotating through practically all the European nations in a three-year cycle, these are national prizes, selected by national juries -- but this prize certainly helps get attention for books from countries and languages that aren't that often seen in translation, and we can look forward to seeing some of these in English at some point; indeed, Catalan-writing Spanish winner Irene Solà's Canto jo i la muntanya balla is forthcoming from Graywolf; see also the Anagrama foreign rights page.
They've announced the winners of this year's Griffin Poetry Prizes
The international winner was Time, by Etel Adnan, in Sarah Riggs' translation; see also the Nightboat publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the five-title shortlist for this year's AKO Caine Prize for African Writing -- a £10,000 short story prize also open to works in translation (though none made the cut this year).
All the stories can be found via the links on the announcement page.
Over two hundred stories were submitted, with 27 countries of origin for the eligible entries.
There is no set date yet for when the winner will be announced; they hope to announce the winner in the fall.
I have no intention of reading or reviewing any of these in the nearer future; maybe something will catch my eye eventually, but I suspect it will be a long, long, long time before I cover any book related to these times.
(Nothing against this specific time, but treatment -- fictional and non -- of these kinds of things tends to benefit from distance; besides, given what I've been reviewing recently, I clearly haven't been very successful in being au courant in any respect anyway.)
At Deutsche Welle Sertan Sanderson finds: 'Yiddish enthusiasts around the world are kvelling and plotzing at the revival of their favorite language in recent popular culture. But what makes Yiddish so unique and exciting ?' in Yiddish: Celebration of life, language of remembrance.
At Bloomberg The Emperor of Ocean Park-author Stephen L. Carter makes the (easy, but certainly still worth making) case that Bookstore Browsing Can't Become a Victim of Coronavirus.
I'm very curious how retail generally will rebound from this -- but if grocery stores are managing then surely bookstores will be able to as well.
I must admit that I miss shelf-browsing -- in bookstores and libraries -- a great deal, especially given that far fewer review-copies are coming my way these days (publishers understandably having logistics issues).
Online bookstore browsing just isn't the same thing .....
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sofya Kovalevskaya's only completed novel, Nihilist Girl.
This is published in the MLA Texts and Translations-series; among the neat things about the series is that beside publishing the translations, they also publish the original versions in separate volumes -- see, for example, their publicity page for Нигилистка
I pretty much never want novels to be more autobiographical, but this is one where I kind of actually was hoping for that, as Kovalevskaya was a truly fascinating and impressive figure.
So I guess I really have to try and find a copy of Michèle Audin's Remembering Sofya Kovalevskaya -- see the Springer publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
(And, yes, that is the Michèle Audin who is a member of Oulipo, the author of One Hundred Twenty-One Days.)
They've announced the winner of this year's Sophie Kerr Prize, the US$63,537.65 (this year -- the amount varies slightly, year to year) Washington College prize that is: "the nation's largest literary award for college undergraduates", and it is Mary Sprague.
Her prize-winning portfolio consisted of: "a collection of short prose pieces most often about interpersonal relationships, sexuality, sexual assault, and isolation".
Gotta love this:
Sprague is interested in working in the field of editing and publishing, or as a park ranger.
In The Guardian Olivia Snaije reports that 'It's a real battle': African authors fight for publishing independence, as: 'Francophone African books are still very often published by French imprints, which can make them hard to get at home'.
One certainly hopes the publishing industry in Africa continues to grow -- and this is a good opportunity to remind you of the indispensable African Books Collective; most of the publishers are English-language, but there are also a few Francophone ones among them.
Nielsen Book recently surveyed "a nationally-representative sample of 1,000 UK adults" and now report that Reading Increases in Lockdown (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), as:
Two in five UK adults said they were reading more books since the lockdown began, with just 10% of adults reading less, while the nation as a whole has almost doubled the amount of time it spends reading books
Sounds good ! -- but:
However, the increase in time spent reading has not necessarily led to an increase in book sales.
Of the consumers surveyed, 25% said they had bought more books since the lockdown began, compared to their normal buying habits, but 18% had bought fewer books.
Crime/thrillers and popular fiction are the kinds of books respondents expressed the most interest in; surprisingly: "There is currently little appetite for dystopian fiction" (as apparently, at least in this case, people are finding: if you're living it you don't need to read it ...).
They've announced the winner of this year's Dylan Thomas Prize -- a £30,000 prize "for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under" -- and it is the story-collection Lot, by Bryan Washington; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The British Society of Authors has announced their awards-shortlists, including for the: "inaugural Queen's Knickers Award".
The Society of Authors' Awards includes prizes for authors under 35 (the Betty Trask Prize and Awards), over 40 (the McKitterick Prize), and over 60 (the Paul Torday Memorial Prize).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Subandhu's Vāsavadattā, a ca. sixth century novel.
This appeared in the short-lived Columbia University Indo-Iranian Series, in 1913; a new translation (and better-annotated edition) is long overdue -- though even in this form the work is certainly of interest.
(In his The Novel: An Alternative History - Beginnings to 1600 Steven Moore described it as: "almost a Sanskrit Finnegans Wake in the density of its language".)
At the Literary Hub Esther Kim has a Q & A with Immanuel Kim about his translation of The First State-Approved North Korean Novel in English -- that would be Paek Nam-nyong's Friend, just out from Columbia University Press.
Immanuel Kim gives some idea why we've seen so little North Korean literature in translation:
I went to the North Korean collection at the National Library in Seoul and started reading their number one literary journal.
I started from the very beginning and read through the 1960s to the '90s.
They were difficult.
All my preconceived notions of North Korean lit were coming true, and I was bored out of my mind.
I thought, I can't say anything significant about North Korean literature !
It's all propaganda and terrible.
As to Paek, I'm not quite convinced that: "He's like their Tom Clancy or Stephen King" .....
They've announced the six finalists for this year's Sophie Kerr Prize, the US$63,537.65 Washington College prize that is: "the nation's largest literary award for college undergraduates" (indeed, paying out more than most American prizes for full-fledged authors do ...).
The winner will be announced tomorrow, at 19:30 EST; you can apparently watch it live here.
The Dutch Foundation for Literature is offering Support measures for translators -- they have freed up €100,000 -- and foreign publishers.
Good to see this sort of thing -- though I suppose not too many other national organizations in other countries will be able to do the same.
They've announced the winners of this year's Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards' Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction went to Auē, by Becky Manawatu; it also won the Hubert Church Prize for a best first book of Fiction; see also the Mākaro Press publicity page; it does not appear to be readily available in the US/UK (yet).
They've announced the ten-title longlist for this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award -- a prize for best novel that they call: "Australia's most prestigious and valued literary award".
Among the titles: a Gerald Murnane, A Season on Earth.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the first in Julien Green's 'Dixie'-trilogy, The Distant Lands.
(For some reason the Amazon listing also describes this as: "The second volume of Julian Green's autobiography"; please note that it is not.)
A long review of a long book -- and quite an odd one.
Green apparently began this in the 1930s -- he was born in 1900 -- but then pulled back after learning of Gone with the Wind; he returned to it in the 1980s --yes, as an octogenarian -- and this was published in 1987, with The Stars of the South following in 1989 and (the confusingly titled) Dixie in 1994.
It was incredibly popular in France -- the jacket copy of the US/UK edition notes 650,000 copies were sold in France alone, something also noted by many of the reviewers, who wondered how on earth that was possible ... -- but doesn't seem to have really found an audience in the US (or UK); the sequel was also published in translation, but the final volume still hasn't been .....
Not the worst book for readers looking for long leisurely read in lockdown times -- and I definitely will be taking on the next volume in the trilogy.
Just not right away .....
They've announced the sixteen-title longlist for this year's Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, a CHF 50,000 prize for: "a work of world literature [...] fiction or non fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written" (though certainly favoring titles available in English, French, or German ... with nothing in an Asian language making the list, for example).
Titles remaining in contention include Fran Ross' Oreo, Philippe Sands' East West Street, and Sergei Lebedev's Oblivion; good also to see a recent Yurii Andrukhovych on the list (Коханці Юстиції; see also the Suhrkamp foreign rights page).
Via Schwob, the Dutch Foundation for Literature supports translations into Dutch of foreign classics, and they've announced the latest batch of grants, for eight projects (out of a mere eleven submissions ...); always interesting to see what gets translated into other languages.
The projects include translations of two Tove Ditlevsen titles, D.H.Lawrence's Kangaroo, and Jean de la Ville de Mirmont's The Sundays of Jean Dézert.