Last year the Erasmus Prize went to ... Wikipedia, but this year they've announced that A.S.Byatt takes the honor -- though she'll only get the prize (and cash winnings of €150,000) at the awards ceremony on ... 8 December.
The prize -- "emphasizing the importance of tolerance, cultural pluriformity and non-dogmatic critical thinking" -- has an unusual (though generally impressive) list of previous winners, from quite a variety of fields.
The Winter 2015 issue of list - Books from Korea has apparently been up for a couple of weeks, but it took me until now to figure that out (it's found neither under 'current' nor 'back issues' ...).
Oh Junghee is the featured author (and there's a Q & A with her by Lee Hye-kyung), but there's the usual wide variety of other material as well -- always worth a look.
The only one of his books under review at the complete review is The Mirror of Ideas.
A better starting point is the Goncourt-winning book called The Ogre in the US (see the Johns Hopkins University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com) and The Erl-King in the UK (see the Atlantic Books publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.co.uk).
At Grapevine Paul Fontaine reports that Literature Comprises 1.5% Of Iceland's GDP.
It's not quite clear how that number is reached -- it seems an awful lot is being bunched together here -- but that would be a ridiculously huge percentage of the economy.
So I hope it's right.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Bolesław Prus' 1890 novel, The Doll.
This translation came out from Twayne in 1972, when they briefly put out a variety of classics in translation (a decent little list); Central European University Press re-issued it in 1996, when it attracted a nice bit of UK media attention; and finally New York Review Books recently (2011) re-issued it.
A major Polish classic, it's held up better than pretty much all the work by the Nobel laureates -- Prus' near-exact contemporary Sienkiewicz, and Reymont.
As Nick Triggs reports at the Digital Cultures Research Centre at the University of the West of England, Reimagining Reading – AHRC green light for £800k Ambient Literature project, as they got a nice pile of money to research: "situated literary experiences, delivered by pervasive computing platforms, that respond to the presence of a reader to deliver story".
Apparently there will be an online presence, launching in May, and I'm sort of curious what all this will amount to.
In any case, impressive that anyone can get this much funding for a storytelling exercise .....
Yesterday I mentioned that it seems the John E. Woods-translation of Arno Schmidt's Bottom's Dream, forthcoming from Dalkey Archive Press really is forthcoming ... on 23 September, so the Amazon.com listing.
Good timing -- as today is would have been Schmidt's 102nd birthday.
If you can't make the get-together in Hammer in Hamburg today (Rumpffsweg 27, 11:00 local time) you can still begin to prepare for Bottom's Dream -- check out Schmidt's The School for Atheists, a great practice-volume for the (in every way) bigger Bottom's Dream, or learn more about Schmidt and his writing in my very own introductory Arno Schmidt: a centennial colloquy.
A reader points me to the Amazon.com listing for John E. Woods' long-awaited translation of Arno Schmidt's (or 'Scmidt', as Amazon have it ...) Bottom's Dream from Dalkey Archive Press.
Publication date: 23 September -- but you can pre-order now (though it's not yet listed at Amazon.co.uk, last I checked).
That should leap right to the near the top of your most-anticipated books/translations of the year list.
The US$70.00 price tag sounds about right; the 300 page length definitely wrong (no way you can fit that text onto 300 pages -- the 1200+ page German edition is already an oversize format) -- but hopefully, as with the author-name, that's just a minor slip.
(There's no publicity page at the Dalkey site yet that I can find; I'll keep you posted on additional news/reports as they become available.)
They've announced that Sleeping on Jupiter (by Anuradha Roy) has won this year's DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
(Well, what they announced, in keeping with this ridiculously personality-focused age, is that: "Anuradha Roy has been announced as the winner of the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016", but it's a book prize, not an author prize: Sleeping on Jupiter is what won (though Roy gets the US $50,000).)
This novel -- which was also Man Booker Prize-longlisted last year -- is actually only coming out in the US (from Graywolf) in September -- pre-order your copy at Amazon.com -- but the UK edition has been out for a while; get your copy at Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced that The Hindu Prize goes to When the River Sleeps, by Easterine Kire -- beating out, among other shortlisted titles, the DSC Prize-winner, Sleeping on Jupiter, as well as the latest by Amitav Ghosh and Amit Chaudhuri.
See also the Zubaan publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
As Park Hyong-ki puts it in The Korea Herald, they're putting an awful lot of pressure on Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle:
Confronting growing problems in the Korean literary landscape, such as a continuing decline in book reading, plagiarism and the unpopularity of novels, Hangilsa Publishing, a Korean publisher based in Paju, Gyeonngi Province, seeks to turn the tide with a new book from Norway.
The January issue of Asymptote is now up -- and American readers can be grateful there's a three-day-weekend, which maybe gives them sufficient time to make their way through this impressive amount of impressive material.
I won't even begin to highlight what's on offer -- just work your way through .....
The 49% jump in the house & home category was due almost entirely to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which sold about 1.2 million copies.
Similarly, coloring books boosted 'art/architecture/photography' .....
In Adult Fiction there was a big rise in 'Graphic Novels' and big and bigger falls in 'Romance' amd 'Mystery/Detective'.
Somewhat worryingly, 'Religion/Bibles' was the top-selling adult category -- beating out even 'General Fiction' and 'Reference', the next two most successful adult categories.
But the kids are countering that: the biggest categories of them all are the juvenile fiction ones -- 'General' and then 'Science Fiction/Fantasy/Magic'.
They've announced the five finalists for this year's RBC Taylor Prize -- a prize whose mandate is: "to enhance public appreciation for the genre known as literary non-fiction".
It's a Canadian prize -- and, while books have to be published in English to be eligible, translations are welcome -- and, in the event of a translated text winning, the translator and the author share the prize money equally.
(None of this year's finalists is a translation.)
The winner will be announced 7 March.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Paul Fournel's Dear Reader, in David Bellos' translation, recently published by Pushkin Press.
Fournel is the 'provisionally definitive secretary' and president of the Oulipo -- and, yes, Dear Reader is also a 'constrained' text (not that you'd guess it at first sight -- or that you'd put it to the test, I suspect).
Bellos' version has the same constraints -- a technically impressive (and slightly bizarre) feat.
They've announced the longlist for the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, 16 novels selected from 159 entries from 18 countries.
The shortlist will be announced 9 February, and the winner will be announced on 26 April.
At French Culture they have an overview of Translated Titles 2015 (with the full Estimated List of Titles Translated from French to English in 2015 (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) available separately).
They report that there were 473 translated titles -- a significant (well, they call it "slight") decline from the 547 in 2014 -- with 162 fiction titles, 130 non, 116 'graphic novels', and 46 children's/YA titles.
You'll note that this tally differs from the Three Percent database numbers -- which, at last count, found only 111 titles translated from the French last year.
But that's because they count differently -- Three Percent includes only fiction and poetry, and doesn't count any new editions/translations of previously published/translated work.
(Also: some of the French Culture titles aren't distributed int the US, which also keeps them off the Three Percent list.)
In any case, the French Culture list is a useful reference, and gives a good sense of what is being published in translation.
(Though I really wish they'd separate out the comic books from the rest .....)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of An Ottoman Novel by Ahmet Midhat Efendi, Felâtun Bey and Râkım Efendi, forthcoming from Syracuse University Press.
Nice to see this slim 1875 novel -- a Turkish classic, if not exactly high 'literature' -- available in English -- and it really is quite good fun, too.
Astonishingly this is the thirteenth different language the thirteen most recently reviewed titles was originally written in -- a remarkably unlikely streak.
It would take considerable effort to consciously accomplish that, but it happened more or less by chance.
(I could, of course, extend it, now that I'm aware of it, but it comes to an end with the next review -- the title selected pretty much as randomly as most of the books I cover are.)
At the Daily Beast Malcolm Jones has a promisingly-titled Q & A with Tom Stoppard: I Want To Be Like Verdi (which really isn't an ambition you hear that often nowadays).
The occasion is apparently the 'Blu-Ray' release of the DVD of the Stoppard-directed film version of his play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
(Looking for the DVD version I stumbled across the inevitable Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead -- though apparently Stoppard was not involved in the making of this, to my great regret ...; get your copy at Amazon.com (and, hey, this, too, is available in 'Blu-ray'; get your copy at Amazon.com).)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Paul Morand's 1941 novel, The Man in a Hurry, now available in English from Pushkin Press.
There's a film version of this too -- starring Alain Delon, no less.
You can even see it (in three separate chunks) on YouTube, starting here..