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


The Literary Saloon Archive

1 - 10 June 2021

1 June: Cankarjeva nagrada | International Booker Prize translators Q & A
2 June: EBRD Literature Prize | Governor General's Literary Awards | Desmond Elliott Prize shortlist | The Woman in the Purple Skirt review
3 June: International Booker Prize | Caine Prize shortlist | Sevastopol review
4 June: Премия "Национальный бестселлер" | James Brockway Prize
5 June: Friederike Mayröcker (1924-2021) | Solomon's Vineyard review
6 June: Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library | Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards shortlists
7 June: Global Publishing conference | Top Graduate Zhang Xie review
8 June: Prix Jean d'Ormesson finalists | Heaven review
9 June: PEN Pinter Prize | Premio Gregor von Rezzori
10 June: Princess of Asturias Award for Literature | Wolfson History Prize | Society of Authors' Awards | The Serpent and the Rope review

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10 June 2021 - Thursday

Princess of Asturias Award for Literature | Wolfson History Prize
Society of Authors' Awards | The Serpent and the Rope review

       Princess of Asturias Award for Literature

       They've announced the winner of this year's Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, and it is Emmanuel Carrère; other Princess of Asturias Award-winners this year -- there are several categories -- include Gloria Steinem and Amartya Sen, with several categories still to be announced.
       Quite a few Carrère titles are under review at the complete review:        The awards ceremony usually takes place in October.
       And, yes, Leonor -- the Princess of Asturias of the awards -- is still just all of fifteen years old.

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



       Wolfson History Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Wolfson History Prize -- "the most valuable non-fiction prize in the UK" -- and it is Black Spartacus, by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
       See the publicity pages from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Allen Lane, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Society of Authors' Awards

       The Society of Authors has announced this year's winners of their ten awards -- as well as a new award, the Volcano Prize: "for a novel which focuses on the experience of travel away from home".

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



       The Serpent and the Rope review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Raja Rao's 1960 novel, The Serpent and the Rope.

       I've actually been eager to review The Chessmaster and His Moves -- I have a copy -- but figured I should cover this one first. (The Chessmaster and His Moves is twice the length -- and hasn't received nearly as much attention.) I hope to get to it later this summer.
       (The Chessmaster and His Moves is long out of print -- and its current Amazon.com Best Sellers Rank -- 19,737,185 -- is also the lowest I think I've ever come across. But Susan Sontag's signed first edition is available at AbeBooks.com, for a reasonable US$300.00.)

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



9 June 2021 - Wednesday

PEN Pinter Prize | Premio Gregor von Rezzori

       PEN Pinter Prize

       English PEN has announced the winner of this year's PEN Pinter Prize, and it is Nervous Conditions-author Tsitsi Dangarembga.
       "The PEN Pinter Prize is awarded annually to a writer resident in Britain, the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth or former Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world, and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination ... to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’."
       The awards ceremony will be 11 October.

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



       Premio Gregor von Rezzori

       They recently announced the winner of this year's Premio Gregor von Rezzori, honoring: "the best work of foreign fiction published in Italy" -- and it is The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste. It was one of the four finalists originally written in English, with only one other language represented (the other finalist was a translation from the French).

       There is also a separate award for the best translation into Italian, and that went to Nicola Crocetti's translation of Nikos Kazantzakis' The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. (There's an English translation of this, by Kimon Friar, which I keep meaning to get to.)

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



8 June 2021 - Tuesday

Prix Jean d'Ormesson finalists | Heaven review

       Prix Jean d'Ormesson finalists

       They've announced the five finalists for this year's prix Jean d'Ormesson -- a prize for bascially any book, new or old, the jury fancies; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The longlist included A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole and a P.G.Wodehouse; neither of those made the more contemporary shortlist -- but that does feature a Paul-Jean Toulet-novel (which Wikipedia describes as: "a sort of fin-de-siècle equivalent to Pride and Prejudice, or even Bridget Jones' Diary"). [I generally wouldn't quote a Wikipedia entry but this was impossible to resist.]
       The winner will be announced on the 17th.

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



       Heaven review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kawakami Mieko's Heaven, just out in English -- from Europa Editions in the US and Picador in the UK.

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



7 June 2021 - Monday

Global Publishing conference | Top Graduate Zhang Xie review

       Global Publishing conference

       Over the weekend they held a fascinating-sounding 'online early career conference' on Global Publishing and the Making of Literary Worlds: Translation, Media, and Mobility.
       Quite a few events of interest on the programme -- and fortunately you can catch up with several of them on YouTube. Over seven hours' worth of material -- including Jhumpa Lahiri's keynote address, Three Faces of Translation.

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



       Top Graduate Zhang Xie review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of The Earliest Extant Chinese Southern Play, Top Graduate Zhang Xie, just out from Columbia University Press.

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



6 June 2021 - Sunday

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library
Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards shortlists

       Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library

       The Mid-Manhattan Library, by far the largest open stacks/circulating branch in the New York Public Library system, was a favorite haunt when I lived in New York City -- though over the past decade or so it had been in some decline as they began reärranging things. Finally, they went for the complete overhaul -- right down to the name: it's now the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, and after three years it's apparently more or less finished and they are well into their "phased reopening".
       It looks well worth a visit -- and at Curbed Justin Davidson has a good overview, in Look ! Books ! The Tired Old Mid-Manhattan Library Gets a Crisp New Identity.
       I look forward to having a look.

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



       Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards shortlists

       The South African Sunday Times Literary Awards are now the Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards -- and they've now announced the shortlists for this year's awards in the two categories, fiction and non.
       (I missed the longlist announcement, but check it out here.)

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



5 June 2021 - Saturday

Friederike Mayröcker (1924-2021) | Solomon's Vineyard review

       Friederike Mayröcker (1924-2021)

       Austrian author Friederike Mayröcker has passed away; see, for example, A.J. Goldmann's obituary in The New York Times, Friederike Mayröcker, Grande Dame in German Literature, Dies at 96.
       As Goldmann notes, her output was impressive:
A 2003 edition of her collected poems, published by Suhrkamp, holds more than 1,000 pieces. Her prose works run to more than 20 volumes
       She didn't slow down with age, either: her da ich morgens und moosgrün. Ans Fenster trete was a finalist for this year's Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse.
       Several of her books have been published in English by Seagull -- with more to come --, while A Public Space Books just recently brought out her The Communicating Vessels; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       See also the Suhrkamp foreign rights information page.

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



       Solomon's Vineyard review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jonathan Latimer's notorious 1941 novel, Solomon's Vineyard -- "Banned in the United States until the 1980s", as the back cover copy of my edition has it. (A bowdlerized version was published in the US before then; meanwhile, the Brits didn't seem to have much of an issue with it.)

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



4 June 2021 - Friday

Премия "Национальный бестселлер" | James Brockway Prize

       Премия "Национальный бестселлер"

       They've announced the winner of this year's 'NatsBest' -- 'National Bestseller' -- prize, a leading Russian literary prize, and it is Покров-17, by Alexander Pelevin; see also, for example, Galina Stolyarova's report in The Moscow Times, The 2021 Russian National Bestseller Award Goes to Alexander Pelevin.

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



       James Brockway Prize

       The Dutch Foundation for Literature has announced the winner of this year's James Brockway Prize, an: "œuvre prize for translators of Dutch-language poetry" (into any language), and it is David Colmer.
       Several of his translations of prose-works are under review at the complete review, but only one volume of poetry: Hugo Claus' Even Now.

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



3 June 2021 - Thursday

International Booker Prize | Caine Prize shortlist | Sevastopol review

       International Booker Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's International Booker Prize, and it is At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated by Anna Moschovakis.

       (Updated - 4 June): See now also Sian Bayley's report at The Bookseller that Pushkin orders five-figure reprint of Diop's International Booker winner.

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



       Caine Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, "awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words)". (Works originally written in other languages are eligible but, sigh, rarely make the cut; none did this year.)
       There are five shortlisted stories; you can find links to each of them -- in the dreaded pdf format -- on the press release page.
       The winner will be announced next month.

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



       Sevastopol review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Emilio Fraia's story-collection, Sevastopol; New Directions is bringing this out in the US, and lolli editions is in the UK.

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



2 June 2021 - Wednesday

EBRD Literature Prize | Governor General's Literary Awards
Desmond Elliott Prize shortlist | The Woman in the Purple Skirt review

       EBRD Literature Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's EBRD Literature Prize, a: '€20,000 prize awarded to the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language from one of these countries [where the Bank invests], which has been translated into English and published by a UK or a Europe-based publisher', and it is The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch, translated by Sean Gasper Bye.
       It was published by Amazon Crossing -- another notch for them, the publisher that brings out more works translated into English than any other .....
       Get your copy from ... well, of course, Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Governor General's Literary Awards

       The Canada Council for the Arts has announced last year's Governor General's Literary Awards, in all 14 categories, seven each in English and in French.
       Yes, these are last year's awards -- those for 2020 --; this year's awards wil be announced later this year .....
       The fiction winners were: Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good (English), and Chasse à l'homme, by Sophie Létourneau (French).
       And one of the winners is actually under review at the complete review: Norma Jeane Baker of Troy by Anne Carson, the winner in the (English) poetry category.

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



       Desmond Elliott Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Desmond Elliott Prize, awarded to the most outstanding first novel written in English and published in the UK.
       The winner will be announced 1 July.

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



       The Woman in the Purple Skirt review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Imamura Natsuko's Akutagawa Prize-winning The Woman in the Purple Skirt, just out in English.

       I'm amazed by the number of Akutagawa-winners that US/UK publishers have published in recent years (and how many of those I've reviewed ...) -- and wonder whether publishers aren't relying a bit too much on this particular stamp of approval.

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



1 June 2021 - Tuesday

Cankarjeva nagrada | International Booker Prize translators Q & A

       Cankarjeva nagrada

       They've announced the winner of this year's Cankar Prize, a relatively new Slovenian prize for the best original literature published over the past year, and it is Škrbine, by Gašper Kralj; see also the STA report at Total Slovenia News.
       See also the Založba /*cf. publicity page for Škrbine.

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



       International Booker Prize translators Q & A

       The winner of this year's International Booker Prize will be announced tomorrow, and at PEN Transmissions Maureen Freely leads A Roundtable with the International Booker Prize Shortlisted Translators -- Martin Aitken, Sasha Dugdale, Megan McDowell, Anna Moschovakis, Mark Polizzotti, and Adrian Nathan West.
       A great way to prepare yourself for the prize-announcement !

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



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