Even after becoming a bestselling author (Konbini Ningen, or Convenience Store Woman, sold 1.4m copies and has been translated into 30 languages), she continued to work behind the counter until the attentions of an obsessive fan forced her to stop.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of David Diop's At Night All Blood Is Black, coming out in English from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (in the US) and Pushkin Press (in the UK).
Günter de Bruyn, one of the last of the major East German authors, has passed away; see, for example, Tilman Spreckelsen on Vom Beharren auf dem Freiraum in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Though he remained in the GDR until its dissolution, his work was widely published and popular in the West as well.
Not much is available in English, however -- but New Glory was published by Northwestern University Press; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Ah, writers' estates .....
Nobel laureate Kertész Imre has long been published in his native Hungary by leading publisher Magvető -- see their Kertész-page -- but apparently they didn't have the rights tied up long-term.
As hlo reports, Magvető’s Royalties for Kertész Legacy Expire -- whereby by royalties they mean the rights to publish the books.
Yes, Kertész's widow left the rights to the Kertész Imre Intézet and, while her son sued to get them, he failed, and the institute has different plans:
2020. szeptember 15. után az Intézethez kerül valamennyi Kertész-mű magyarországi megjelentetésének joga. Szintén a Közalapítványt illeti meg valamennyi, az író életében meg nem jelent mű nemzetközi publikálásra vonatkozó joga, és a fordítások engedélyezése.
Yes, after September 15th they will control the rights -- including the foreign ones.
So maybe we'll see more in English ?
(Or less ?)
At hlo they note: "Magvető Press hopes the rights will soon be retrieved to continue publishing Kertész’s works".
Good luck with that .....
They've announced that the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature goes to American poet Louise Glück, "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal".
Nice to see a poet take the prize (if a bit disappointing that it is, yet again, an English-writing author, and an American at that), and Glück doesn't seem to have been on too many radars this year -- though apparently there was a late run on her at the betting-shops as the announcement neared.
(In previous years she's often made a token appearance on the Ladbrokes betting lists when those were very long -- always at 100/1 odds.)
Amusingly, she was awarded the Tranströmerpriset -- named after and in honor of the 2011 Nobel laureate, the last poet to win the prize -- earlier this year; see, for example, the report at Expressen.
She's also been widely honored otherwise: she has a Pulitzer, a National Book Award, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and a Bollingen, among many others.
For basic biographical information, check out:
The handiest collections of her work would appear to be: in the US, her Poems 1962-2012, covering five decades worth of work (get your copy at Amazon.com), and in the UK the collection of The First Five Books of Poems (get your copy at Amazon.co.uk).
Presumably, however, most of her work will be hard to obtain in the near future: poetry collections tend to get printed in relatively small runs, and it'll probably be a bit before the publishers catch up with the new-found demand.
None of her work is under review at the complete review at this time.
The Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced tomorrow; you can watch the announcement live at the official site or on YouTube.
The doors open at 13:00 CEST (7:00 EST), and they do get to the point quickly; we should know a few minutes later.
Not much last-minute action or news: Betsson has now joined Ladbrokes offering (very similar names and) odds.
Not much movement here -- but I still say betting-favorite Maryse Condé won't get it because the Swedish Academy wouldn't want to be seen as validating the substitute-Nobel she got in 2018; I can't see them doing that.
The Academie Goncourt has announced the (first) shortlist for this year's prix Goncourt (with a shorter shortlist to follow 27 October).
The big surprise is that Emmanuel Carrère's Yoga -- widely tipped as one of the favorites -- didn't make the cut.
(There's been some controversy about the book -- see e.g. -- but I find it hard to believe the jurors would have been too bothered or influence by that.)
They've announced the most recent batch of MacArthur Fellows -- who will now receive US$625,000, paid out in quarterly installments over five years.
They include the writers N.K.Jemisin, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Jacqueline Woodson.
They've recently announced some foreign translation prizes:
- in France they've announced the prix de la traduction Inalco, Chloé Billon winning for her translation of the Robert Perišić novel that was published in English as No-Signal Area (see also the Seven Stories Press publicity page).
Two more days until the Nobel Prize in Literature is announced, but there's not much additional information or speculation to report
The Ladbrokes odds list has added a few names -- endearingly continuing their why-bother-to-look-up-the-proper-spelling policy ("Both Strauss") -- and some of them are certainly contenders, but overall it doesn't look like there's too much enthusiasm behind it this time around.
At the Västerbottens-Kuriren they suggest it will be a 'lex Wästberg'-year -- i.e. Per Wästberg will put his foot down and get his candidate through, foreign and female, they suggest, with Jamaica Kincaid and Anne Carson the hot tickets; some others also mention Dubravka Ugrešić (though I think another Central/East European author might be a stretch this year).
As I wonder about what surprise the Nobel-deciding Swedish Academy can unleash this year -- to prove it's their show, and that they'll do whatever they feel like doing (Dylan, Handke, etc.) -- I have come across one Nobel-oddity: it seems that there's nothing in the statutes that says the award can't be awarded twice to the same author.
We think of the Nobel as a lifetime-achievement award, so it seems unlikely that they'd want to give the award to the same author twice but, unlike, say, the prix Goncourt (which has, of course, been awarded twice to the same author, as Romain Gary found his way around their one-and-done rule), it's apparently not unthinkable.
The Swedish Academy limits who can nominate an author for the prize -- and one of their rules is that you can't nominate yourself -- but, oddly, they don't seem to prohibit an author who has previously been awarded the prize being nominated again.
In fact, the one time we know it happened -- and we only know who has been nominated through 1969, since the archives are sealed for fifty years after the prize deliberations -- it was two members of the Swedish Academy, i.e. the ultimate insiders, that were the nominators: in 1948 Hjalmar Gullberg and Einar Löfstedt suggested that Thomas Mann -- the 1929 laureate -- deserved the prize -- again.
(Interestingly, the year Mann won the prize -- and the two previous times he was nominated -- only a single person nominated him each time.)
Mann is an interesting case, because he's one of the rare laureates where the Academy went out of their way to highlight a single one of his works when he got the Nobel, noting he was getting the prize: "principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature" -- so arguably if there was an author who also deserved to get the prize for his other work, it was Mann.
Indeed, an argument could be made that his body of work after he received the prize alone -- which includes the Joseph-tetralogy, Doktor Faustus, and some solid shorter and non-fiction work -- is, by itself, strong enough to be Nobel-worthy.
It seems the Nobel committee didn't take the suggestion very seriously -- an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the only one I could find reporting on the archive-findings, suggests the Academy was: 'opposed in principle' to re-rewarding a laureate and dismissed the idea pretty much out of hand.
(In another odd coïncidence, the man giving the official thumbs-down was Anders Österling, who headed the Nobel committee that year; he had been the (lone) person to nominate Mann in 1929, when Mann got the prize; he had also nominated him in 1928.)
Still, if the Academy really wants to shake things up, this would be an amusing way of doing so.
So who would be the possible contenders ?
There aren't that many to choose from (authors do have to be living to be eligible for the prize) -- and obviously the more recent ones haven't written enough work after they got the prize.
Still, a few have published a reasonable number of new works -- and a few have published Nobel-worthy work; J.M.Coetzee would seem the obvious contender here.
Okay, so a re-awarding is an unlikely scenario, but I like throwing the idea out there, to further muddy the Nobel waters .....
They've announced the five-title shortlist for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize, a leading Canadian prize for a work of fiction, paying out C$100,000.
Three novels and two story-collections remain in the running; the winner will be announced 9 November.
They've announced the finalists for this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prize; see also the official press release (warning ! dreaded pdf format !).
The fiction finalists include award-winning titles such as Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli, and The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead.
One has to think Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer is on the inside track to the non-fiction award: this is a prize that also awards a Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, so .....
(Margaret Atwood is picking that up this year.)
The winners will be announced 28 October.
They've announced the winner of this year's Nike Award, the leading Polish book prize, and it is Baśń o wężowym sercu ('The Legend of the Serpent's Heart'), by Radek Rak; see also the Powergraph publicity page.
Previous winning titles by Olga Tokarczuk, Jerzy Pilch, Wiesław Myśliwski, and Andrzej Stasiuk, among others, have been translated into English, so we may well eventually see this one as well.
At Kyodo News Sahara Suzuki finds Haruki Murakami sees bright strength in "sad" translated U.S. classic.
Murakami recently translated Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter -- see the Shinchosha publicity page --, as, despite his success writing his own work, he continues to translate as well.
Indeed, Suzuki reports that: "He emphasized that translating others' works has played a large role in developing his writing skills".
Meanwhile US/UK novelists barely even try their hand at it .....
Interesting also to hear:
Describing himself as a person who "prefers achieving a result through persistent and incremental efforts," Murakami said: "At first I couldn't write what I wanted to write well, so I took detours, bringing in different elements and styles into my writing."
"It led everyone to describe me as 'pop,'" or a phenomenon of pop culture, said the writer of numerous popular works such as A Wild Sheep Chase and Norwegian Wood.
"But maybe around the time I wrote 1Q84 I realized that I can write what I want to write about.
I had pushed through for 40 years to forge my own path but I think that maybe I can start relaxing," he said.
The latest publication is up from the European Literature Network, and it's The Romanian Riveter, with a Timișoara-focus -- yes, only in the dreaded pdf format, but, still, 170 pages of impressive material.
Worth your time !
They've announced this year's SA Book Awards, as voted on by South African booksellers; see, for example, the overview at arts24.
Bare: The Cradle of the Hockey Club by Jackie Phamotse won in the Adult Fiction category -- beating out, among others, Zakes Mda's The Zulus of New York.
Trevor Noah's Born a Crime won for best Children's book -- and was also named the overall winner.
The Nobel Prize in Literature has always been announced on a Thursday in October, with the Swedish Academy (who make the selection) only revealing whether or not they're ready to announce on the Monday before that Thursday.
Since the scandal that tore apart the Academy a couple of years ago -- see, for example, Andrew Brown's report in The Guardian, The ugly scandal that cancelled the Nobel prize; it's even been written up as a Harvard Business School case study -- the Nobel Foundation has kept (or tried to ...) the Academy on a short leash, including foisting external members on the Nobel committee to help with the decision-making process.
(That didn't work out great; it was also only an interim solution and starting next year the Swedish Academy gets to decide on the winner all on its own again.)
They've also forced the Swedish Academy to fit into the Nobel-announcement schedule like everyone else: they don't get to decide which Thursday to announce on, but rather have to during 'Nobel week' -- which is, this year, next week.
They've no doubt already selected this year's laureate, and will announce who it is on Thursday, 8 October, at 13:00 local time.
You'll be able to watch live; the YouTube link is already up.
The scandal certainly hurt the standing of the prize, as did the resultant postponement of the 2018 prize, for a year.
The selection of Peter Handke as the 2019 laureate did not go over well among the general public either, but of course the point they lost me at was before all that, with the ridiculous awarding of the prize to Bob Dylan in 2016.
But, with less than a week left until this year's winner is announced, I guess it can't be completely ignored .....
Betting opportunities have been far more limited than in recent years -- Ladbrokes took their time posting odds, and this list is about as half-hearted as it gets.
Maryse Condé is the 4/1 favorite here, but I can't see her getting it -- that would be a validation of that substitute-Nobel awarded to her when the Nobel sat out 2018, and there's no way the Swedish Academy would deign to do that.
Some of the others on this very short list are also no-hopers: Amos Oz isn't even eligible (you have to be alive to get the prize ...), and Ko Un is probably one scandal too many even for the Swedish Academy (though, yes, that didn't stop them last year ...).
Online debate has been pretty limited, with the exception of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2020 Speculation-thread at the World Literature Forum, which certainly goes on at great length (I haven't had the patience to follow it this year).
Meanwhile, The Fictional Woods couldn't even be bothered to start a separate thread this year, and The Mookse and the Gripes' thread hasn't gotten very far either.
But there's still time .....
Pia Ohlin's AFP report -- here at Phys.org --, Nobel prizes in year marked by pandemic, has a little about the literature prize -- ""If the Academy knows what's good for them, they'll choose Jamaica Kincaid," Bjorn Wiman, cultural editor at Sweden's biggest daily Dagens Nyheter, told AFP", etc., with a couple more of the more or less expected names.
I have no sense of who might be in the running this year.
It would be great to see someone from beyond Europe/North America, preferably opening up new linguistic/cultural territory -- say, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o or Mahmoud Dowlatabadi -- but given the external members who still get to weigh in this year, and the Academy still trying to reëstablish its bona-fides, some sort of 'consensus' candidate seems more likely.
We'll see soon enough .....
They've announced the winner of this year's Read Russia Prize, a $10,000 prize: "for the best new English translations of Russian literature", and it is Antony Wood for his translation of Pushkin's Selected Poetry; see also the Penguin Classics publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Álvaro Santana-Acuña's Ascent to Glory: How One Hundred Years of Solitude Was Written and Became a Global Classic is a fascinating study -- and now there's a Q & A with the author at The Neglected Books Page.
Both are well worth your time.
They've announced the (longer) shortlists -- the shorter ones will follow 5 November -- for this year's prix Renaudot, with nine titles left in the running in the novel category and five in the essai category; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
The American Literary Translators Association has announced the shortlists for this year's National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose.
Only one of the shortlisted titles is under review at the complete review -- A Couple of Soles, by Li Yu, translated by Jing Shen and Robert E. Hegel; nice to see it get some more attention this way.
The winners will be announced on 15 October.
The Booker Prize -- the best-known English-language novel prize -- originally scheduled the announcement of this year's winner for 17 November, but they've now announced that they've postponed it two days, until 19 November.
The reason ?
This decision has been taken to avoid a clash with the publication of Barack Obama's memoirs, A Promised Land.
A Promised Land is coming out in 17 November -- pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and apparently the Booker folks decided it was better to: "to give readers a couple of days' breathing space".
I don't really get this.
Surely a book release is a very different kind of event than a prize announcement, and I'm not really sure how one would distract from the other.
Besides, the announcement now comes on the same day as that for the winner of this year's Bavarian Book Prize -- talk about competition .....
I'm a big fan of novels in verse, so of course I was intrigued by The Guardian's most recent top-ten list, Sarah Crossan's Top 10 verse novels, but I have to admit my jaw dropped at the top selection -- not only had I not previously considered it to be a novel in verse, it's terrible.
The inclusion of one (but then also only one ...) epic -- The Iliad -- is ... odd, while the others are ... not exactly the titles that would have come to mind to me.
Just to suggest some others, even ignoring the classics: The Long Take by Robin Robertson, The Folding Cliffs by W.S.Merwin, Fredy Neptune by Les Murray, some Dorothy Porter and Derek Walcott .....
And there's so much more .....