They've announced the winner of this year's Etisalat Prize for Literature (though not yet at that official site, last I checked ...) -- "the first ever pan-African prize celebrating first time writers of published fiction books" -- , and it's Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila; see, for example, the BooksLive report.
He gets £15,000 and a book tour to three African cities -- a nice promotional tour.
I'm pleased to note that I was pushing Tram 83 when the French edition first appeared -- "Who will take a stab at Fiston Mwanza Mujila's Tram 83 ? Because seriously -- someone has to" I asked back in November, 2013.
(I'm pleased to note Deep Vellum, Jacaranda (and in Australia, Scribe) were up to the challenge.)
In The Hindu publisher Kannan Sundaram considers The travel of Indian writing, and proposes 'I.Lit: Indian Literatures in Translation', an organization dedicated to promoting translation from Indian regional languages.
As he notes:
Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, Canada, Wales and Scotland, they all have agencies to promote their literature.
India is probably the only economically powerful nation of the world not to have a dedicated agency or an aggressive translation programme.
So much for India being a soft power !
'On 4 March 2016, Kitap Zamanı, the popular monthly literary supplement of Turkey's largest newspaper Zaman, was shut down by the Turkish government', and at PEN Atlas its longtime editor Can Bahadır Yüce now reports on The seizure of a book review.
This troubling story deserves more attention.
(South) Korea is the guest of honor at the current big Paris book fair, Salon du livre de Paris, and in The Korea Herald they report: Universality and marketability matter for Korean books to work in foreign market.
They highlight French publisher Philippe Picquier [without managing to spell the company's name correctly in two tries] -- "Over the three decades, the company has published some 80 Koreans books -- the biggest number by any French publisher" (and beating even Dalkey Archive Press ...), whose Korean list is, indeed, impressive.
Agent Im Young-hee adds: "the role of an agent like herself was also crucial" (sigh, arghh, FFS ...) -- "adding that a small talent pool of book agents was partly to be blamed for the lack of interest by foreign publishers in Korean books".
(I know, I know ... of course middle(wo/)men help.
Of course, they do .....)
They've announced the Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse -- which is actually three prizes, for best works of fiction, non, and translation -- and Schoeffling & Co. cleaned up, winning with Guntram Vesper's Frohburg (see their foreign rights page -- and yes, it comes in at 320,000 words) as well as Brigitte Döbert's translation of Bora Ćosić's Tutori
(see their foreign rights page -- and, yes, it's a mere 246,700 words ... and please tell me some enterprising US/UK publisher is having a go at this ...).
(I have this prize-winning translation, and will be posting a review.)
See also the Deutsche Welle report, Leipzig Book Fair Prize rewards three epic works.
They've announced the winner of The Bookseller's Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, with Too Naked for the Nazis narrowly (24.8% to 24.3%) edging out Reading from Behind: A Cultural History of the Anus
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sony Labou Tansi's 1981 novel, The Shameful State, finally out in English, from Indiana University Press (as Sony appears to be enjoying a bit of a global revival).
Well-hidden at their website, the Spring, 2016 issue of _list: Books from Korea is now up, with Hwang Sok-yong the 'featured writer'.
Not many book reviews this time, unfortunately, but a special section on (short) poetry, and a good helping of excerpts.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Abdelilah Hamdouchi's Whitefly -- a Moroccan police procedural that's also one of the first titles from the American University in Cairo Press' new Hoopoe imprint.
Hoopoe will apparently also be re-issuing Hamdouchi's The Final Bet later this year.
(Of course, what I'd really love to see is also some Wolof literature in English translation .....
But getting significant work published in Wolof, and fostering a local translation culture surely will also help the local literary culture more generally, with dividends to follow eventually.)
They've announced the shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize -- an award that celebrates: "the best new books that engage with any aspect of medicine, health or illness".
(Gotta love that floating/flying-books picture to go with the press release .....)
Worth a tidy £30,000, the winner will be announced 25 April.
English author Anita Brookner has passed away; see, for example, The Guardian's obituary.
See also her The Art of Fiction Q & A with Shusha Guppy in The Paris Review.
I read and enjoyed quite a few of her novels, but read them ages ago (long before starting the complete review).
She won the (then still Man-less) Booker Prize for the fine Hotel du Lac; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
They've announced that KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps (by Nikolaus Wachsmann) has won the 2016 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize, "awarded to the best book -- fiction or non fiction -- of Jewish interest for the general reader" (and worth £4,000).
See, for example, the Farrar, Straus and Giroux publicity page, and get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
American philosopher Hilary Putnam -- surely one of the American greats of the past half century -- has passed away -- to surprisingly little notice so far (but see, for example, the mention at Daily Nous).
[(Updated - 15 March): Good to see some solid coverage popping up: loath though I am ever to link to The Huffington Post, well, when it's Martha C. Nussbaum writing on Putnam ....
And see also Jane O'Grady's obituary in The Guardian.]
None of his books are under review at the complete review yet, but he's certainly a writer/thinker whose work has long accompanied me; I've also been working through his collection Philosophy in an Age of Science for a while now, and maybe this will push me to get a review up .....
(Meanwhile, see the Harvard University Press publicity page, and get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)
In the Express Tribune Naveed Ahmad has a Q & A with French-born, Turkish- and English-writing author Elif Shafak.
Among her observations:
If you are a writer from Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Nigeria -- places with wobbly democracies -- you do not have the luxury of being apolitical.
She also explains:
Three languages accompany me to this day: Turkish, English and Spanish.
I write fiction in English, then my books are translated into Turkish and I rewrite the Turkish translation.
So I write each book twice.
It is insane.
In the Bangkok Post Supoj Wancharoen suggests Bookworms in the capital rejoice, as there are big plans to: 'turn a building in the old town into a modern library -- Bangkok City Library'.
It does sound both ambitious and promising -- though some of the explanations seem to lose something in translation:
The library's theme is "Wisdom of Light", Ms Pranee said, explaining that "light" refers to knowledge.
Lots of literature-related ambitions -- but apparently politics has a way of creeping into these things too, and so there will be a:
Bangkok governors Hall of Fame, one of the most striking features of the library.
It will feature governors' biographies, career highlights and achievements.
One can certainly see the need for that ... (sigh).
(On the other hand, focusing on 'career highlights and achievements' -- maybe that won't take up very much (any ?) room ?)
Also somewhat troubling:
The governor wants to urge people, particularly the younger generation, to read more, Ms Pranee said, adding that 1.6% of young Thais regularly read books.
If only 1.6 per cent of young Thais regularly read books then a whole lot of urging is called for.
In any case, it sounds like it will be a very welcome addition to the city.
The 'Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt'-competition -- perhaps a bit too ... carefully translated as the Best Book Design from all over the World -- is a nice little competition they've been holding for ages.
The awards are a bit confusing: yes, there's a 'Gold Medal' -- but that goes to the runner-up; the top award is the 'Goldene Letter'.
Then there are two silver medals, and five bronze medals .....
But, anyway: it's a nice idea, and they do showcase some neat books, and they've announced this year's prizes.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer's 2014 Libris Literatuurprijs-winning La Superba, coming out next week in Michele Hutchison's English translation from Deep Vellum.
They've announced the finalists for the 2015 French-American Foundation Translation Prizes.
None of the non-fiction finalists are under review at the complete review, but three of the five fiction finalists are:
The Foundling's War by Michel Déon, by Julian Evans
(Of the recently announced Man Booker International Prize finalists (see my previous mention) Maylis de Kerangal's Mend the Living (US title: The Heart) -- in either translation -- wasn't eligible (it will be next year) -- but Fiston Mwanza Mujila's Tram 83 was, and I am kind of surprised not to see it here.
As far as the (American) Best Translated Book Award (longlist to be announced 29 March) goes, Les Miserables isn't eligible (it's a re-translation -- it also wasn't Man Booker eligible, on account of its dead author), and I think the Daoud is the only likely bet, with outside chances for the Lemaitre.)
They've announced that Stephen Greenblatt will get the 2016 Holberg Prize, a NOK 4.5 million (ca. US$735,000) prize, awarded to: "a scholar who [has] made outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities, social science, law or theology, either within one of these fields or through interdisciplinary work".
At The New Republic Alex Shephard reports that The Mass-Market Edition of To Kill a Mockingbird Is Dead, as the Harper Lee literary estate has wasted little time in showing their lowly money-grubbing intentions -- cash in, readers be damned.
As longtime readers know, my loathing for the 'trade paperback'-format (book size) knows no bounds; so too my love for the pocket book (ah, the true pocket book !) and, failing that, the mass-market paperback.
But publishers (and greedy literary estates), more concerned with revenue today than fostering an actual readership, are apparently phasing them out: "many publishers are moving away from the format", Shephard notes.
Should it ever make it into English meanwhile, it will be more than worth the wait: Ms Tokarczuk is one among a very few signal European novelists of the past quarter-century.
'Should it ...', sigh ......
[(Updated - 12 March): Ah, good news: Jennifer Croft tweets: "I'm translating it into English ! Patience, patience ...".]
Meanwhile, consider, for example, her Primeval and Other Times; see the Twisted Spoon publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the six-title strong shortlist for the Stella Prize -- a prize: "celebrating Australian women's writing, and championing diversity and cultural change" (for which only works by Australian women are eligible -- but they can be either fiction or non).
Most of these have not appeared in the US yet; I haven't seen any.
The winning title will be announced 19 April.