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the Literary Saloon at the Complete Review
opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


16 April 2021 - Friday

Oxford-Weidenfeld shortlist | Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize shortlist
EUPL shortlist | CWA Dagger longlists

       Oxford-Weidenfeld shortlist

       They've announced the eight-title shortlist for this year's Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize, which is: "for book-length literary translations into English from any living European language".
       Always an interesting list -- though only one of the titles is under review at the complete review so far: Anna Moschovakis' translation of David Diop's At Night All Blood is Black.
       The winner will be announced 12 June.

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



       Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize shortlist

       They've announced the four finalists for this year's Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, honoring: " an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA [or Canada] the previous year".
       The only one of the four under review at the complete review is Tess Lewis' translation of Jonas Lüscher's Kraft.

       Admirably, this literary prize reveals all the titles that were considered for the prize (as far too few literary prizes do ...) -- 31 this year.
       Impressively, Michael Hofmann was responsible for four of those translations -- though none of them was shortlisted.

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



       EUPL shortlist

       The European Union Prize for Literature has announced its shortlists for this year's prize.
       They rotate through all the 41 countries which are part of the Creative Europe programme in batches of 13 and 14 annually -- 14 this year (Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Tunisia) -- with national juries (sigh) nominating a total of 55 titles.
       The winners -- yes, each country gets to name a winner -- will be announced on 18 May.

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



       CWA Dagger longlists

       The (British) Crime Writers' Association has announced the longlists for this year's Dagger Awards.
       The only longlisted titles under review at the complete review are from the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger category: The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun, in Lizzie Buehler's translation, and To Cook a Bear by Mikael Niemi, in Deborah Bragan-Turner's translation.

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



15 April 2021 - Thursday

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Preis | Whiting Award winners
Literary prize ripped off | Under the Wave at Waimea review

       Theodor-W.-Adorno-Preis

       They've announced that this year's Theodor W. Adorno Prize -- a triennial, €50,000 prize serving: "to further and acknowledge outstanding performances in the fields of philosophy, music, theatre and film" -- goes to Klaus Theweleit.
       He's still best known for his Male Fantasies -- see the University of Minnesota Press publicity page -- but what I'd really love to delve into is his Pocahontas-series (not just because one of the volumes is »You give me fever«. Arno Schmidt. Seelandschaft mit Pocahontas; see the Matthes & Seitz Berlin publicity page).
       The prize has quite an impressive list of previous winners.

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



       Whiting Award winners

       They've announced this year's Whiting Award winners -- US$50,000 awarded to each of ten emerging writers (of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama), "based on early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come".

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



       Literary prize ripped off

       An amazing story from the Rathbones Folio Prize, as, as reported at Books + Publishing, Rathbones Folio loses £30k prize money to cyber scam, as they sent the prize money to: "a scammer posing as last year's winning author Valeria Luiselli, after the scammer requested payment via online payment system PayPal" (The Bookseller piece that originally reported the story is paywalled.)
       Not the kind of thing that happens when you're able to award the prize in person and hand over a simple paper check -- but, still, surely there should be more safeguards before they transfer these kinds of sums.
       I can't wait to hear more about this (and wonder whether someone already has a book deal to write about this ...).

       (Updated): See now also Sian Cain on how Rathbones Folio prize paid £30,000 to scammers posing as the winner in The Guardian.

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



       Under the Wave at Waimea review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Paul Theroux's latest novel, Under the Wave at Waimea.

       As I've often noted, I think Theroux is under-rated as a novelist (as is his brother Alexander, but that's a whole different story ...). Some things don't really work with this one, but it's still a solid (and substantial) piece of work; good to see that even at age eighty he's producing work like this.

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



14 April 2021 - Wednesday

Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse shortlists | Hugo Award finalists
Jhalak Prize shortlist | Bernard Noël (1930-2021)

       Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse shortlist

       The Leipzig Book Fair isn't taking place this year, but they are still awarding their literary prizes, and they've now announced the shortlists.
       The German Book Prize is the big fall book prize in Germany -- and only considers fiction. The Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair on the other hand has three categories: fiction, non, and translation
       The fiction shortlist has titles by (ninety-six-year-old !) Friederike Mayröcker, last year's Bachmannpreis-winner Helga Schubert (only eighty-one herself ...), Christian Kracht, Judith Hermann, and Iris Hanika.
       Two of the non-fiction titles are also finalists for the (inaugural) German Non-Fiction Prize; I'm particularly intrigued by Christoph Möllers' Freiheitsgrade; see also the Suhrkamp foreign rights information page.
       Always interesting to see what gets translated into other languages and so the translation shortlist is of particular interest. The combination of Ann Cotten translating Rosmarie Waldrop sounds great -- but the competition is tough and includes translations of Dos Passos' USA Trilogy, Tarjei Vesaas' The Birds, and Szentkuthy Miklós' Marginalia on Casanova.
       The winners will be announced 28 May.

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



       Hugo Award finalists

       They've announced the finalists for this year's Hugo Awards, "science fiction's most prestigious award".
       Quite a few categories here; the only title under review at the complete review is Best Novel-finalist Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.
       The winners will be announced in December.

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



       Jhalak Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Jhalak Prize, for a book in pretty much any genre "published in the UK by writers of colour.".
       The winner will be announced 25 May.

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



       Bernard Noël (1930-2021)

       French author Bernard Noël, best-known for his poetry, has passed away; see, for example, the report in Libération.
       Not much of his work is available in English, but see, for example, The Rest of the Voyage; see the Graywolf publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

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



13 April 2021 - Tuesday

Premio Formentor | NYPL World Literature Festival

       Premio Formentor

       Originally awarded 1961 to 1967 -- the international prize going to Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, Uwe Johnson, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Nathalie Sarraute, Saul Bellow, and Witold Gombrowicz --, the premio Formentor was revived in 2011 and has had a very good run of winners since then as well, including Carlos Fuentes, Juan Goytisolo, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Annie Ernaux, among others, and they've now announced this year's winner of the €50,000 award: César Aira; see, for example, the report at El País.
       Quite a few Aira titles are under review at the complete review -- with more coming --; see, for example, How I became a Nun.

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



       NYPL World Literature Festival

       The New York Public Library is holding a World Literature Festival through the end of the month, with quite a few online events of interest.
       Also on offer: features such as 25 essential translated titles as well as the Top Checkouts in World Languages at the NYPL -- twenty-one of them.
       See also the official press release about the festival.

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



12 April 2021 - Monday

Mita Kapur Q & A | McWhorter on Pevear and Volokhonsky
First Person Singular review

       Mita Kapur Q & A

       At the Deccan Herald Sheila Kumar has a Q & A with the Literary Director of the JCB Prize for Literature, Mita Kapur -- 'Literature is not just for leisure'.

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



       McWhorter on Pevear and Volokhonsky

       Via I'm pointed to John McWhorter's lengthy piece arguing that translators-from-the-Russian Pevear and Volokhonsky are Indeed Overrated: My Two Roubles.
       Few translators' work is as-discussed as the Pevear-Volokhonsky team's, and it's certainly good to see people debating such translation issues.
       (I've never really taken to the Pevear-Volokhonsky translations either -- but have not really read enough of them to make a full-fledged judgement. But one of the reasons I haven't read enough is that, well, I never really took to those I looked at .....)

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



       First Person Singular review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the latest story-collection by Murakami Haruki, First Person Singular.

       That's the eighteenth Murakami-title under review at the complete review.

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



11 April 2021 - Sunday

Translation from ... Arabic | Wang Xiaobo | Peter Carey profile

       Translation from ... Arabic

       At Newlines M. Lynx Qualey explains how, disturbingly: 'When Arab women are translated into English, the characters often reflect the prejudices of Westerners', in Who You're Reading When You're Reading Arab Women.
       Among her examples:
When Al-Mohaimeed's Where Pigeons Don't Fly appeared in English, descriptions of sexual pleasure, oral sex, and references to sex between women had been carefully excised.
       (Even if: "The excisions were made with the eventual agreement of the author" -- not good.)
       And:
Khaled Khalifa, by contrast, felt surprised by changes made to his main character. Speaking at Duke University in February 2016, Khalifa suggested he had not known of his publisher's decision to remove the final chapter from the English translation of In Praise of Hatred. The book's translator Leri Price said she also didn't understand the extent of the changes the editor wanted to make until just before the book went into print.
       As long-time readers know, my (strong) preference in translation is fidelity to the original; leaving aside the usual arguments and counter-arguments and line-drawing, surely changes on this scale are ... more than problematic.

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



       Wang Xiaobo

       At SupChina Hongling Zhang -- Wang Xiaobo's translator --: 'writes about the enduring cult status of this important Chinese writer, who still remains obscure outside his home country', at considerable length, in The yin and yang worlds of a Chinese literary outlier.
       That one collection of Wang's novellas that is available in English -- Wang in Love and Bondage -- is under review at the complete review.

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



       Peter Carey profile

       In the Sydney Morning Herald Melanie Kembrey profiles Peter Carey: ‘I don’t think we’re going to lose great literature because Philip Roth acted like an arsehole’.
       Among other things:
While acknowledging his status as an “old white guy”, Carey said teaching at New York University’s Hunter College kept him “connected to a complex society” and he didn’t feel alienated from the concerns of his students.
       And while he doesn't reveal much about his work in progress: "Carey hinted that it is set “south of Indonesia”" .....

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



10 April 2021 - Saturday

Premio Carlos Fuentes | Orwell Prize longlists | Winter in Sokcho review

       Premio Carlos Fuentes

       They've announced that Diamela Eltit has won this year's Premio Internacional Carlos Fuentes a la creación literaria, a biennial prize paying out US$125,000; previous winners include Mario Vargas Llosa, A Thousand Deaths Plus One-author Sergio Ramírez, and Luis Goytisolo; see, for example, the report in Letralia.
       Several of her works have been translated into English, though most aren't easy to find; see, however, The Fourth World; see the University of Nebraska Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Orwell Prize longlists

       They've announced the longlists for this year's Orwell Prizes.
       There are four categories, and while I'm obviously most interested in the Political Fiction prize I do like it that they have an award called: The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils.

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



       Winter in Sokcho review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Elisa Shua Dusapin's Winter in Sokcho, published in the UK last year by Daunt Books, and now just out in the US from Open Letter.

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



9 April 2021 - Friday

PEN America Literary Awards | 2021 Guggenheim Fellowships
Académie Goncourt prize finalists | Denis Donoghue (1928-2021)

       PEN America Literary Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's PEN America Literary Awards.
       Emma Ramadan's translation of Abdellah Taïa's A Country for Dying won the PEN Translation Prize, while Steve Bradbury's translation of Amang's Raised by Wolves won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.
       The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award -- paying out US$75,000, and for: "a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence" -- went to Ross Gay's Be Holding.

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



       2021 Guggenheim Fellowships

       The Guggenheim Foundation has announced their 2021 fellows -- 184 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists, selected from almost 3,000 applicants.
       Only a list of the names so far, but they should be providing information about the projects the fellows received their fellowships for soon.
       Two fellowships are for translation, going to Jessica Cohen and Edward Gauvin.

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



       Académie Goncourt prize finalists

       The Académie Goncourt has announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the finalists for three of its prizes: the Goncourt du premier roman, the Goncourt de la nouvelle, and the Goncourt de la biographie Edmonde Charles-Roux.
       The winners of the first two will be announced 4 May, while the winner of the biography prize will be announced in June.

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



       Denis Donoghue (1928-2021)

       Literary critic Denis Donoghue has passed away; see, for example, the obituary in the Irish Times.

       The only one of his books under review at the complete review is Words Alone.

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



8 April 2021 - Thursday

Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists (II) | J R review

       Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists (II)

       Granta has announced their second batch of 'The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists' -- twenty-five authors under the age of 35 --, eleven years after the first batch.
       Books by two of these authors are under review at the complete review: Bodies of Summer by Martín Felipe Castagnet and Colonel Lágrimas by Carlos Fonseca.

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



       J R review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of William Gaddis' J R, recently re-issued by New York Review Books.

       This won the (American) National Book Award in 1976; previous re-issues came out from Dalkey Archive Press and as part of the Penguin Twentieth Century Classics series, which should tell you something about the book as well.
       J R was also recently the subject of a Two Month Review over at Three Percent, so if you want to listen to some really extensive discussion of the novel, check that out.

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



7 April 2021 - Wednesday

Deutscher Sachbuchpreis shortlist | Most challenged books (in the US)
Marian Engel's Bear

       Deutscher Sachbuchpreis shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for the new German Non-Fiction Prize, eight titles selected from 240 they considered.
       I'm disappointed that they don't tell us what the 232 other titles were -- but impressed that they have an English-language press release.
       I haven't seen any of these, but some of these certainly look of interest -- notably the Michael Maar; see also the Rowohlt foreign rights page.
       The winner will be announced 16 June.

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



       Most challenged books (in the US)

       The American Library Association has released its annual list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in the US.
       Two Nobel laureates make the list -- John Steinbeck, with Of Mice and Men, and Toni Morrison, with The Bluest Eye -- but Alex Gino's George tops the 2020 list (as it also did the two previous years).

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



       Marian Engel's Bear

       At The New Yorker Claire Cameron explains that “Bear” Is About Much More Than Having Sex with a Bear.
       Great to see Marian Engel's wonderful Bear continue to get attention -- including with a new UK edition coming out later this month from Daunt; see their publicity page.
       See also the CBC report by Jonathan Ore from earlier this year explaining Why the classic Canadian novel Bear remains controversial -- and relevant.

       (Updated - 10 April): See now also Katherine Angel on Animal attraction: Bear, the controversial story of one woman's sexual awakening in The Guardian

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



6 April 2021 - Tuesday

Europese Literatuurprijs longlist | Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards
Cullman Center fellows

       Europese Literatuurprijs longlist

       The Europese Literatuurprijs is a Dutch literary prize for the best European novel translated into Dutch, and they've just announced this year's longlist.
       Twenty titles, six of them translated from the English, with several of the other titles also already available in English translation.

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



       Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

       They've announced the winners of the 86th Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, which honors: "books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures"
       Deacon King Kong by James McBride took the fiction prize, and Samuel R. Delany won the lifetime achievement award.

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



       Cullman Center fellows

       The New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers has announced their 2021-2022 Fellows.
       Among the fiction writers who will be fellows: Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Maaza Mengiste, and Madeleine Thien.
       The press release also has brief descriptions of all the fellows' projects.

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



5 April 2021 - Monday

Nawal El Saadawi Q & A | Lolita in the Afterlife review
The Complete Review ... at 22

       Nawal El Saadawi Q & A

       At Prospect Sameer Rahim has a previously unpublished Q & A from three years ago with Nawal El Saadawi (1931-2021): the pen can also be a weapon.

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



       Lolita in the Afterlife review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Lolita in the Afterlife: On Beauty, Risk, and Reckoning with the Most Indelible and Shocking Novel of the Twentieth Century, a collection of thirty pieces edited by Jenny Minton Quigley and recently out from Vintage.
       Among those contributing: Alexander Chee, Mary Gaitskill, Roxane Gay, Aleksandar Hemon, Jim Shepard, and Cheryl Strayed.

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



       The Complete Review ... at 22

       The first reviews were posted at the complete review on 5 April 1999; now, 4745 reviews later, the site has reached the (internet-)venerable age of twenty-two. Old, slightly creaky, but still plodding ahead.

       The new year -- 2021 -- has seen a few small changes -- most notably with a switch to "https" for the site. Implementation seems to have gone (relatively) smoothly (beyond pages now featuring considerably worse on the Bing and DuckDuckGo search engines than they used to); I hope it hasn't caused any issues for users (i.e. that you didn't really even notice) -- and, hey, if you feel more secure browsing now, great.
       I've also take advantage of the switch to https to (begin to) do a very light spring cleaning of much of site, including the review pages -- a bit of updating and tidying up that is, unfortunately, very labor-intensive and time consuming (and has little to show for it); I'm closing in on having about half the review pages done .....
       Also: new reviews of books by many smaller independent publishers -- those from which you can purchase books directly -- now also include the link to the publisher's site not just in the bottom-of-each-page links list but also under 'Availability', as an alternative to the Amazon-links, and I certainly encourage readers to buy direct if and when they can, especially during these times when it continues to be difficult or impossible to frequent your local bookstore. Given the audience of the complete review -- very much from all over the place --, there really are no practical commercial retail alternatives to Amazon (sorry, Bookshop.org etc.) -- but buying direct avoids any and all cut-taking middlemen. (Yes, there's usually a sales and handling charge -- but books are often discounted if bought directly; small independents also tend to be pretty attentive to customer service.)
       (Of course, if you do buy from Amazon -- books or (especially) anything else -- a click-through via the links at the complete review is always appreciated -- the site gets a commission, regardless of what it is you then go on to purchase.)
       Meanwhile, review-wise everything continues pretty much as always, which is hopefully the way you like it.

       Thanks for your continued interest in the site, and I hope you continue to enjoy the reviews and the coverage at this Literary Saloon !


       And, of course, any and all support for the complete review is always appreciated -- for example, on/via Patreon:

Become a patron via Patreon


       Or also PayPal:


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



4 April 2021 - Sunday

Midnight's Children at forty | Literature from ... Cameroon

       Midnight's Children at forty

       In The Guardian they have Salman Rushdie on Midnight's Children at 40: 'India is no longer the country of this novel'.
       Some interesting background information about what remains a landmark novel.
       See also the publicity pages from Random House and Vintage Classics, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Literature from ... Cameroon

       At Fodor's Travel Tony Vinyoh finds: 'Dzekashu MacViban is introducing some of Cameroon's most exciting writers to readers around the world', in This Man Is Taking Cameroonian Literature to the World.
       Much of this is via Bakwa Magazine, which MacViban founded, and Bakwa Books.

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



3 April 2021 - Saturday

Premio Nacional de Literatura (Cuba) | Laligaba finalists | Thirst review

       Premio Nacional de Literatura (Cuba)

       In Cuba they've announced the 2020 winners of the national prizes in literature, publishing ('Edición'), and social sciences and humanities, with playwright Eugenio Hernández Espinosa taking the literature prize.
       None of his work appears to be readily available in English, but see, for example, the profile at Afroatenas.

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       Laligaba finalists

       As Latvian Literature reports, The Annual Latvian Literature Award Nominees, Recipients of the Lifetime Award and the Special Prize Announced; see also the official site.
       There are five literature categories. It's interesting to see how different publishers dominate the different categories: all four poetry finalists are published by Neputns, while three of the four finalists in three of the other categories are by the same publisher -- amazingly, a different one in each category (fiction: Dienas Grāmata; children's literature: Liels un maz; and debuts: Orbīta).
       Among the fiction finalists is a collection of stories by Inga Ābele.
       Only one of the translation finalists is a translation from the English -- poetry by Charles Bukowski.
       The winners will be announced 30 April.

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



       Thirst review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Amélie Nothomb's Thirst -- just in time for Easter, appropriately enough since it is a story of the original Easter weekend, narrated by no one less than Jesus himself.

       Thirst was a finalist -- one of the final four titles considered -- for the 2019 prix Goncourt, a prize that continues to elude the author. (She's been in the running twice before, in 1999, for Fear and Trembling, and in 2007, for Tokyo Fiancée.)
       This is the twenty-sixth work by Nothomb under review at the complete review.

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



2 April 2021 - Friday

'21 Books for the 21st Century' | Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

       '21 Books for the 21st Century'

       World Literature Today: "invited twenty-one writers to nominate one book, published since the year 2000, that has had a major influence on their own work, along with a brief statement explaining their choice", and they've now announced these: 21 Books for the 21st Century: The Longlist.
       This is sort of like the Neustadt International Prize for Literature where a jury of notable authors each select one candidate for the prize -- except that here the public gets to vote for the top books.
       It's certainly an eclectic (long)list -- very much personal choices rather than necessarily the best/most important titles.
       Several of the nominated books are under review at the complete review:
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

       They've announced the winner of this year's Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, and it is 'The Disappearance of Mr. Nobody' by Ahmed Taibaoui.
       The book will be translated into English and published by AUC Press imprint Hoopoe.

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



1 April 2021 - Thursday

Contra Mundum Press Q & A | Online fiction
If You Kept a Record of Sins review

       Contra Mundum Press Q & A

       At the Asymptote blog Rachel Allen has The Indeterminacy of the Human: An Interview of Rainer Hanshe of Contra Mundum Press.
       The focus here is on Contra Mundum's impressive variety of Modernist work -- not least their dedication to the great Szentkuthy Miklós -- but among their recent publications is also the landmark three-volume translation of de Sade's Aline and Valcour.
       And there's also the fantastic journal they put out, Hyperion .....

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       Online fiction

       China Literature is a huge (in China) Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed online publishing site. They have an English-language website as well -- Webnovel --, and in the South China Morning Post Iris Deng reports on how Tencent's China Literature wants to woo 100,000 American and Canadian writers.
       I'm curious whether this type of platform will ever achieve the kind of popularity it has in China elsewhere.

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



       If You Kept a Record of Sins review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Andrea Bajani's If You Kept a Record of Sins, just out in English from Archipelago Books.

       This originally came out in Italian in 2007; his most recent novel, Il libro delle case, was just named a finalist for this year's Premio Strega, the leading Italian novel prize.

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



31 March 2021 - Wednesday

International Booker Prize longlist | OCM Bocas Prize category winners

       International Booker Prize longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's International Booker Prize, thirteen titles selected from 125 (unfortunately not revealed ...) submissions:
  • At Night All Blood is Black, by David Diop, tr. Anna Mocschovakis

  • The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, by Mariana Enríquez, tr. Megan McDowell

  • The Employees, by Olga Ravn, tr. Martin Aitken

  • I Live in the Slums, by Can Xue, tr. Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping

  • In Memory of Memory, by Maria Stepanova, tr. Sasha Dugdale

  • An Inventory of Losses, by Judith Schalansky, tr. Jackie Smith

  • Minor Detail, by Adania Shibli, tr. Elisabeth Jaquette

  • The Pear Field, by Nana Ekvtimishvili, tr. Elizabeth Heighway

  • The Perfect Nine, by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, translated by the author

  • Summer Brother, by Jaap Robben, tr. David Doherty

  • The War of the Poor, by Éric Vuillard, tr. Mark Polizzotti

  • When We Cease to Understand the World, by Benjamín Labatut, tr. Adrian Nathan West

  • Wretchedness, by Andrzej Tichý, tr. Nichola Smalley
       No obvious favorite(s) for me at this point, but I haven't seen quite a few of these; I do hope to get to some more before the shortlist (22 April) and winner (2 June) are announced.

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



       OCM Bocas Prize category winners

       They've announced the three category winners for this year's OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and they are:
  • Fiction: These Ghosts Are Family, by Maisy Card
  • Non-fiction: The Undiscovered Country, by Andre Bagoo
  • Poetry: The Dyzgraphxst, by Canisia Lubrin
       The overall winner will now be chosen from these three, and announced 24 April

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



30 March 2021 - Tuesday

Spring World Literature Today | IPAF shortlist
American Academy of Arts and Letters awards | Lady Joker (I) review

       Spring World Literature Today

       The Spring/2021 issue of World Literature Today is now available, featuring: 'Redreaming Dreamland: 21 Writers & Artists Reflect on the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial' and a section on: 'Chinese Migrant Workers' Literature', as well as the usual features -- most notably and importantly, of course, the extensive book review section.
       As always, an enormous amount of material here, well worth your while.

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



       IPAF shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
       The winner will be announced 25 May, with funding to be provided for the translation of the winning title into English.

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



       American Academy of Arts and Letters awards

       The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the names of the eighteen writers who will receive its 2021 awards in literature, worth a total of US$600,000.
       The awards will be presented (virtually) on 19 May.

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



       Lady Joker (I) review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Takamura Kaoru's Lady Joker (I), just about out from Soho Press.

       This is actually only the first half of Takamura's epic 400,000-word 1997 Japanese crime novel, with Soho bringing out the second half next year. It is, in every sense, a lot -- so also my review, the longest I've posted so far this year -- and while some readers may want to wait until the whole thing is available, there's more than enough to it (except resolution ...) to satisfy. (Nevertheless: no grade at this point; I'll wait to judge it as a whole.)
       Great to see Soho publish translations of ambitious big books like this and Nakamura Fuminori's Cult X.

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



29 March 2021 - Monday

New Swedish Book Review | PEN dispute ? | Paul Theroux profile

       New Swedish Book Review

       The 2021:1 issue of the Swedish Book Review is out.
       Among the features: a roundtable on So How Was Your Year ? Selling Nordic Literature in 2020.
       Lots of translation-samples -- and, of particular interest, the usual batch of reviews of not-yet-translated titles.

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



       PEN dispute ?

       In The Observer Edward Helmore reports that: 'New manifesto of writers' association PEN accused by its US arm of backing 'cultural appropriation'', in Writers in culture war over rules of the imagination.
       The manifesto is The Democracy of the Imagination Manifesto -- "passed with unanimity" at the PEN International 85th World Congress in October 2019. But:
A spokesperson for PEN America told the Observer that the manifesto had not been explicitly rejected -- two members of PEN America helped draft it -- but "that does not necessarily indicate that we as PEN America formally endorse that action on behalf of our staff or board".

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



       Paul Theroux profile

       Among the April titles I'm most looking forward to is Paul Theroux's Under the Wave at Waimea -- my review should be up fairly soon -- and leading up to that Gal Beckerman profiles the author in The New York Times, in Would the Pandemic Stop Paul Theroux From Traveling ?

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



28 March 2021 - Sunday

Books in ... Latvia | Ambai on translation
Tsitsi Dangarembga on Nervous Conditions

       Books in ... Latvia

       Latvian Public Broadcasting reports on a recent Latvian National Library report, finding Book circulation in Latvia lowest in 30 years, as:
1805 books were published last year, with a total volume of 1,957,369 million copies, respectively 16.34% and 35.23% less than in 2019, the LNB said.
       (I assume by: "1,957,369 million" they simply mean "1,957,369", otherwise that would be ... a lot.)
       It'll be interesting to see how much of this decline can be attributed to the circumstances, and whether there will be a rebound in the coming years.

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



       Ambai on translation

       At Scroll.in they have: To pierce a mustard seed and let in seven oceans: Ambai on the art of translation.

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



       Tsitsi Dangarembga on Nervous Conditions

       As part of The Guardian's 'How I wrote'-series they have: 'I wrote it as a fugitive from what my life had become': Tsitsi Dangarembga on Nervous Conditions.
       See also my review of Nervous Conditions.

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



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