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


The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 17 May 2022

11 May: Goncourt de printemps | TIBF | 'BookTok' | The US publishing/literary world
12 May: Ockham NZ Book Awards | Republic of Consciousness Prize | Anarchy in the UKR review
13 May: Dylan Thomas Prize | Romain Rolland Book Prize
14 May: CWA Dagger shortlists | Pilgrims Way review
15 May: Jeroen Brouwers (1940-2022) | Translating an Omani novel
16 May: Q & As: Daniel Mendelsohn - Tess Lewis | The Long Corner review
17 May: Emergency World Voices Congress of Writers | Prix mondial Cino Del Duca | NSW Premier's Literary Awards | Expanded book coverage at The Atlantic

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17 May 2022 - Tuesday

Emergency World Voices Congress of Writers | Prix mondial Cino Del Duca
NSW Premier's Literary Awards | Expanded book coverage at The Atlantic

       Emergency World Voices Congress of Writers

       PEN America convened an Emergency World Voices Congress of Writers on 13 May, and you can now watch the entire proceedings at UN Web TV.
       You can also read an overview of the event in Jennifer Schuessler's report in The New York Times, We, the Writers ? A Global Literary Congress Meets in New York.

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



       Prix mondial Cino Del Duca

       It's no Nobel Prize, but the prix mondial Cino Del Duca has been around for a while -- since 1969 -- does pay out €200,000 and it has a solid list of winners, including several Nobel laureates -- not all literary (Konrad Lorenz, Andrei Sakharov), but at least some (Mario Vargas Llosa and Patrick Modiano) -- and quite a few other worthies, from Borges to Kundera.
       They've now announced this year's winner, and it is ... Murakami Haruki; see also, for example, the report at Livres Hebdo.

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



       NSW Premier's Literary Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's NSW Premier's Literary Awards; for a more convenient list of all the winners, see the Books + Publishing report.
       The Christina Stead Prize for Fiction went to Dark as Last Night by Tony Birch -- see also the University of Queensland Press publicity page -- while Book of the Year (and the Multicultural NSW Award) went to Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed -- see also the Twelve Panels Press publicity page.

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



       Expanded book coverage at The Atlantic

       At The Atlantic Jane Yong Kim goes about Introducing an Expanded Books Section, promising:
Expect more book reviews and essays -- plus provocative arguments, reported stories, profiles, original fiction and poetry, and, of course, recommendations for your every reading need.
       That sounds ... good. But I recall New York magazine (well, New York Media) announcing New York Media to Triple Books Coverage Across Sites Including Vulture and the Cut less than three years ago and that fizzled spectacularly and pretty much immediately, lasting about a week.

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



16 May 2022 - Monday

Q & As: Daniel Mendelsohn - Tess Lewis | The Long Corner review

       Q & A: Daniel Mendelsohn

       At The Oxonian Review Foteini Dimirouli has An Interview with Daniel Mendelsohn, the fifth in their: "series of interviews with contemporary critics about criticism".
       Among his admissions:
I tend to write exactly the way I talk, which is why my punctuation is extremely idiosyncratic.
       And not surprising to hear that:
There was an absolute rule at The New York Review of Books that you could never use the word ‘compelling’ to describe a work. I thought this was really great advice because the language that's available to describe the effect of literature or art needs to be purged as much as possible of words that are placeholders, which stop us, as we write, from actually working out the problem. ‘Compelling’ really says nothing.

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



       Q & A: Tess Lewis

       At Exberliner Alexander Wells has a Q & A with Tess Lewis on Lutz Seiler -- and why translators are destined to fail.
       I haven't seen Seiler's Stern 111, but I did enjoy her translation of Kruso.

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



       The Long Corner review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alexander Maksik's new novel, The Long Corner, just out from Europa Editions.

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



15 May 2022 - Sunday

Jeroen Brouwers (1940-2022) | Translating an Omani novel

       Jeroen Brouwers (1940-2022)

       Dutch author Jeroen Brouwers has passed away; see, for example, the report at Radboud University; see also the Dutch Foundation for Literature author information page

       Sunken Red is the only one of his books translated into English, but it appears to currently be out of print.

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



       Translating an Omani novel

       At Electric Lit Anna Learn has a Q & A with author Jokha Alharthi and translator Marilyn Booth on How an Omani Novel Gets Translated from Arabic into English -- the novel being Bitter Orange Tree.
       See also the publicity pages from Catapult and Scribner UK, or get your copy at Amazon.com, Bookshop.org or Amazon.co.uk.

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



14 May 2022 - Saturday

CWA Dagger shortlists | Pilgrims Way review

       CWA Dagger shortlists

       The Crime Writers' Association has announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the shortlists for its CWA Daggers.
       The only title under review at the complete review is in the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger category -- Sam Malissa's translation of Isaka Kōtarō's Bullet Train.
       The winners will be announced 29 June.

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



       Pilgrims Way review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Abdulrazak Gurnah's 1988 novel, Pilgrims Way.

       Gurnah is the fiftieth Nobel laureate under review at the complete review, and it's good to see his works being reïssued and once again more readily available.
       See also this recent Q & A with Gurnah at Democracy Now !

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



13 May 2022 - Friday

Dylan Thomas Prize | Romain Rolland Book Prize

       Dylan Thomas Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, awarded: "for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under", and it is No One Is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood.
       This was also shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Women's Prize for Fiction last year.
       See also the publicity pages at Riverhead Books and Bloomsbury, or get your copy at Amazon.com, Bookshop.org or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Romain Rolland Book Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Romain Rolland Book Prize, awarded to: "the best translation of a French title (francophone area) into any Indian language".
       Impressively, while translations into English are also eligible, the prize so far has only gone to translations into Hindi, Tamil, and now Bengali, as this year's winner is the Bengali translation, by Trinanjan Chakraborty, of Kamel Daoud's The Meursault Investigation; see, for example, the report in the Financial Express.

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



12 May 2022 - Thursday

Ockham NZ Book Awards | Republic of Consciousness Prize
Anarchy in the UKR review

       Ockham NZ Book Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, with Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka taking the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction; see also the Huia publicity page

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



       Republic of Consciousness Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Republic of Consciousness Prize, awarded for the best fiction published by a UK or Ireland-based publisher with fewer than five full-time employees, and it is Happy Stories, Mostly, by Norman Erikson Pasaribu; see, for example, the Books + Publishing report.
       See also the publicity pages from Tilted Axis Press and Giramondo..

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



       Anarchy in the UKR review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Serhiy Zhadan's 2005 novel, Anarchy in the UKR -- not yet translated into English.

       See also Yuri Andrukhovych's Q & A with Zhadan at Craft from last year.

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



11 May 2022 - Wednesday

Goncourt de printemps | TIBF | 'BookTok'
The US publishing/literary world

       Goncourt de printemps

       The Académie Goncourt has announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the winners of their spring prizes, which include the Goncourt for a first novel -- which went to Les envolés by Étienne Kern; see also the Gallimard publicity page -- as well as those for biography and poetry.

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



       TIBF

       The Tehran International Book Fair opened today and runs through 21 May; the Guest of Honour is Qatar.
       As the Tehran Times report notes, the book fair also functions as an enormous book-selling opportunity, with publishers selling their books there at a discount. But:
Due to this policy, a number of Iranian platforms for selling books online and publishers have banned the Tehran book fair this year. They argue that this policy would cause too much damage to book sales at other times and may lead to the shutdown of bookstores and platforms.
       An interesting situation .....

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



       'BookTok'

       I remain, online and off, very text-focused, both consumption- and production-wise; I don't have the patience to listen to podcasts and, although TikTok-videos at least have the advantage of great concision, haven't been able to work up much interest in them either. Apparently, however, they're big -- even, or especially, in spreading the book-word.
       At Oprah Daily Yashwina Canter offers the latest look at the phenomenon, in Why Are Authors Like Colleen Hoover and Taylor Jenkins Reid Seeing Their Book Sales Spike ? Credit BookTok.
       I have to admit, I'm still scratching my head -- in no small part because of observations such as:
Bookstagrammer Rod Kelly (@read_by_rodkelly) proudly declares, “We don’t read the same books,” convincing reluctant readers to give writers like Philip Roth a chance.
       (Okay, that's about 'Bookstagram' -- book talk/pictures on Instagram -- ... but it's all one big blur to me. And ... Philip Roth ? )

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



       The US publishing/literary world

       Even though I have been following -- very much on the periphery -- the American publishing and literary world for over two decades now with this site, how it functions remains fundamentally baffling to me.
       This week -- and we're not even halfway through it -- has brought with its some pretty impressive examples of its dysfunction already. There's The Believer-saga -- the magazine, which had been bought by UNLV, apparently flogged off to a group calling itself the 'Sex Toy Collective'; see the report at Gawker, as well as Heidi Julavits' Note to Believer Writers and Readers. (Meanwhile: gotta love that UNLV still has a Give Online to the The Believer page up .....)
       And then there's this case, which Daniel Victor summarizes in the opening paragraph of his article in The New York Times as:
A writer’s personal essay explaining why she plagiarized portions of what was to have been her debut novel was removed from a literary website on Monday after the essay itself was also found to have included plagiarized material.
       Sigh.
       (Victor notes that the essay dealt with, among other things: "the pressures of producing a debut book". There should be no pressure to 'produce' a debut book. There is no obligation to write a book. If you have something to say, then, sure, try to say it -- but it's okay if you don't have anything to say; most people don't (at least not a book's worth ...). It seems self-evident that if you are plagiarizing you do not have something to say -- you just like what someone else said. (Which is fine, too -- just don't claim it for yourself.))

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



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