The (American) National Book Foundation will announce the winners of this year's National Book Awards tomorrow -- but the French have their own ideas, and they've now announced that The Overstory, by Richard Powers, has won this year's Grand prix de littérature américaine; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
Kirkus has announced its Best Fiction of 2018 lists in quite a few categories -- including: Best Up-To-The-Minute Fiction, as well as Best Fiction in Translation.
Several of these 'Best Translations' are already under review at the complete review:
And I should be getting to more -- certainly the Barba, and the Higashino (later today, as a matter of fact ...).
A somewhat odd choice is the re-issue of Kono Taeko's Toddler Hunting, since ... well, it's a re-issue; Kirkus even reviewed it back in 1996 (and then again this year).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jean Améry's Portrait of a Simple Man, Charles Bovary, Country Doctor -- an alternate-Bovary, combining both fiction and essay, recently out in English from New York Review Books.
Améry isn't the first to focus on his side of the story -- recall the Monsieur Bovarys by Laura Grimaldi (1991) and Antoine Billot (2006) -- but the variation I really want to see now is Claro's Madman Bovary; see, for examples, the publicity pages at Gallimard and Actes Sud.
(Claro's Electric Flesh has been translated into English, but I'm surprised more hasn't been.)
They've announced that Die sanfte Gleichgültigkeit der Welt, by Peter Stamm, has won this year's (German-language) Swiss Book Prize.
This isn't available in English yet (see the S.Fischer publicity page for now), but most of Stamm's work has been/gets translated (Agnes, etc.), so this probably will be soon too.
This year the (American) National Book Foundation added (back) a translation category to their National Book Awards (which will be announced this week), and at The Atlantic Liesl Schillinger takes the occasion to suggest The Hottest Trend in American Literature Isn't From the U.S..
There certainly has been a resurgence of interest in literature in translation, but Schillinger doesn't note the previous waning (until ca. 2000) before the current waxing -- which included the National Book Awards previously having a translation category, discontinued in 1984.
And for all the Knausgaard-Ferrante excitement, aren't there books like this -- more or less 'serious' literature that sells well and/or gets a lot of coverage -- every decade or so ?
Ten-twelve years ago the craze was all Bolaño, in the late-1990s Sebald, in the mid-80's it was The Name of the Rose.
The Novel of Ferrara, collecting Jamie McKendrick's translations of Giorgio Bassani that have been appearing over the past few years, has just come out, and at Tablet Adam Kirsch offers an overview, in Giorgio Bassani's Memorial Tapestry -- noting that: "[The Garden of the Finzi-Continis] gains in meaning and resonance as part of The Novel of Ferrara, where it forms one panel in a tapestry representing the lost world of Ferrara’s Jewry".
I have a copy and should be getting to it -- though probably piecemeal; meanwhile, see the publicity pages from W.W.Norton and Penguin Classics, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
(Updated - 10 November): See now also Fernanda Eberstadt's review in The New York Times Book Review.
French prize season putters on even after the announcement of the Goncourt and the Renaudot-winners -- with, for example, the prix Interallié only announcing its finalists yesterday (the winner to be revealed next week); see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
Among the other prizes that named winners after the Goncourt-Renaudot: the first-novel prize the prix du Premier roman -- with awards for both a domestic work (Concours pour le Paradis, by Clélia Renucci) and a foreign one (The Sum of Our Follies, by Shih-Li Kow); see the Livres Hebdo report.
They announced the winners of the two leading French book prizes yesterday.
The prix Goncourt went to Leurs enfants après eux, by Nicolas Mathieu.
The 2 Seas foreign rights page notes that US rights have gone to Other Press; see also the Actes Sud publicity page.
The prix Renaudot went to Le Sillon, by Valérie Manteau; see the Le Tripode publicity page.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Two Novellas by Gerard Reve, Childhood, just out from Pushkin Press.
These have actually both been translated before, but were previously only available in anthologies; it's good to see them in dedicated-book form -- but there's still a lot of Reve to get into English .....
They've announced the shortlist for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.
The only title under review at the complete review is Daša Drndić's Belladonna, but I should be getting to some more of these.
The winner will be announced next Tuesday, 13 November.
Next up among the French literary prizes: the three-category prix Médicis; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
The fiction prize went to Idiotie by Pierre Guyotat (see the Grasset publicity page); several of his previous works have been translated into English; see, for example, the author page at MIT Press.
The foreign novel prize went to Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room, and the non-fiction-prize to Stefano Massini's The Lehman Trilogy.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pablo Martín Sánchez's The Anarchist Who Shared My Name, recently out from Deep Vellum.
Martín Sánchez is a member of the Oulipo, but this isn't too constrained or tricksy a novel.
French literary prize week began yesterday with the announcement of the prix Femina winners; see also the Livres Hebdo report.
Le lambeau by Philippe Lançon won the fiction prize; see the Gallimard publicity page.
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott won for best foreign fiction, and Gaspard de la nuit by Elisabeth de Fontenay won the essay-prize.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Delacorta's Nana.
This is the first in a six-book series -- all of which were translated into English -- but it's the second which is the best-known: Diva, the basis for the famous movie.
Though they all seem long out of print currently .....
(Delacorta is, of course, a pseudonym -- of Swiss author Daniel Odier; the only other of his titles under review at the complete review is ... his interview with William Burroughs, The Job.
Right now the selection of books for translation is guided by good intentions on the part of all concerned -- publishers, editors and translators -- but it is also haphazard to the extent that there is no invisible hand behind this process to ensure that the best works in a particular language are translated on priority.
Even among contemporary writers, some are pushed forward through contacts with publishers and others, equally meritorious, are ignored.
There is another flaw in the current process which needs conscious correction.
Selection of texts for translation is highly skewed in favour of well-known books by famous authors, in other words, modern classics published at least a few decades earlier.
The materials include copies of his books translated and published in other countries as well as his extensive collection of music records.
(And that's a lot: "his collection of vinyl records [...] total more than 10,000 copies".)
He could have sold his archive for a tidy sum -- and: "he considered some other places, including foreign universities he has worked at".
In the Chronicle of Higher Education they asked "scholars from across the academy": 'What's the most influential book of the past 20 years ?', and their responses can be found in The New Canon.
Close to all the titles are non-fiction -- and none are under review at the complete review.
Mishima was a prolific author and far too much of his work hasn't been translated into English yet (really, a lot), so it's always great to see something new -- and great that there's a bit more coming next spring, with Star; see the publicity pages from New Directions and Penguin Classics or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The American Literary Translators Association has announced the winners of the 2018 National Translation Awards.
Charlotte Mandell's translation of Mathias Énard's Compass won the prose category.
Katrine Øgaard Jensen's translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen's Third-Millennium Heart won the poetry category.
(I have this, and will get to it eventually .....)
They've announced the winners of the (Canadian) Governor General's Literary Awards -- seven winners each in English and French, with The Red Word by Sarah Henstra and De synthèse by Karoline Georges the fiction winners, and translations of Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler and Explication de la nuit by Edem Awumey the translation winners.
At Qantara.de they have a Q & A with literary translator Nabil Al Haffar, who translates from the German to Arabic -- and an impressive range of authors and titles, from Peter Weiss to Christoph Ransmayr's Cox; currently he's working on Kafka.
They've announced that the 2018 Nordic Council Literature Prize goes to Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir.
That's the ninth Nordic Council Literature Prize-winner under review at the complete review -- more than I have fiction-winners of the National Book Critics Circle Award, (American) National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize combined .....
With so many new presses out there doing translations, and so many more options and ways of reaching different readerships, I think the audience is expanding at a steady clip.
It also helps that there are so many new translators, new programs in translation, new journals and sites -- it's an exciting time to be involved in this part of publishing.
I hope he's right about the audience expanding -- though certainly, as he notes, the offerings are, which is at least something.
Great to see the Berber languages getting some greater attention: Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has announced that an Académie algérienne de la langue amazighe will be founded by the end of the year, while in Morocco (where apparently a mere two per cent of published books are in Berber) the annual Moroccan Book Prize was awarded in an Amazigh category for the first time (the prize shared by Sa iggura dar illis n tafukt (by Ayad Alahyane) and Askwti n tlkkawt (by Firas Fadmh)); see, for example, La création littéraire amazighe récompensée pour la première fois au Prix du Maroc du Livre.
Now let's hope some appears in English translation as well .....
Meanwhile, in the region, the Salon International du Livre d'Alger opened yesterday and runs through 10 November; it features several 'Grandes plumes de Chine' -- including Nobel laureate Mo Yan.
They've announced the shortlists for another of the big Indian literary awards, the Crossword Book Awards.
The official site oddly only lists the 'Popular Shortlist' -- where you can vote for the winners in a variety of categories -- but, for example, see the report on the shortlist of the Crossword Book Jury Awards at Scroll.in for the finalists in the four juried categories.
The translation category includes two translations apiece from Malayalam and Tamil, and one from Assamese.
They've announced the winner of the Tzum-prijs 2018, a Dutch prize for the best sentence from a book published in 2017; see, for example, the Dutch Foundation for Literature report, Pieter Waterdrinker wins prize for best sentence.
The sentence is from his Tsjaikovskistraat 40, which is apparently being published in English by Scribe in 2020; it's one of quite a few from the novel that was nominated (the official site has all the nominated sentences) and is:
Zou deze stad op een andere breedtegraad liggen, in een ander landschap, met een andere stand van de zon, zonder de ellenlange grijze maanden van regen, mist en grauwheid, niet op deze schrale moerasgrond staan, in de bodem waarvan de botten liggen van de ontelbare stakkers die hun leven bij de bouw ervan hebben gelaten, maar op een rots, te midden van fraaie glooiende heuvels, met de zwartinkten silhouetten van olijfbomen en cipressen, dan zou Sint-Petersburg met zijn grande armée van mintgroene, zachtroze, bosbesrode en geel gesausde pleisterwerkgevels Florence met gemak naar de kroon steken.
The payout isn't great, but it helps that it's a pretty long sentence: beside a trophy, the winner gets a euro for every word in the winning sentence -- 95, in this case.
See also the previous winning sentences.
What do you think about the current state of translation in Kashmir ? I am not very happy.
And then there's:
Have you read Ranjit Hoskote's translation of Lal Ded's verses ? Oh, I have.
It is a very beautifully brought out book but I am not happy with the translations.
In fact, I met him once at some literary festival and I asked him how is it that he translated without knowing the language.
So, yes, overall it sounds like there's definitely some work to be done regarding translation-from-Kashmiri.
They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the winners of the (UK-based) Crime Writers' Association 2018 CWA Daggers.
Steve Cavanagh's The Liar -- the third in his Eddie Flynn-series -- took the 'Gold Dagger', while Henning Mankell's After the Fire won the International Dagger (for a translated work).
They've announced the shortlist for the Diagram Prize, awarded for "the book world's strangest and most perplexing titles".
The usual entertaining selection -- though disappointing to see that none are from any of the leading traditional publishers (who are sticking to more boring and unimaginative titles ?).
Sure, it's only October and there are more than two months left in the year but, hey, if there are TV channels that have started their Countdown to Christmas why shouldn't publications start listing their books-of-the-year.
First up: Publishers WeeklyBest Books of 2018.
Many, many more of these will be appearing in the coming weeks.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Boris Zhitkov's Виктор Вавич.
Zhitkov was best known as an author of children's books -- many of which were translated -- but this epic didn't appear until more than sixty years after his death, in 1999 -- after a failed effort to publish it in 1941 (they printed it and everything, but things didn't work out).
Translated into French and German in the early 2000s, it has been widely hailed as one of the most significant early Soviet works.
It's heft, however, seems to have scared US/UK publishers off -- no English translation yet.