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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


The Literary Saloon Archive

21 - 30 September 2022

21 September: Deutscher Buchpreis shortlist | Yagi Emi Q & A | Fitzcarraldo classics list
22 September: Nobel Prize in Literature betting | PEN Presents shortlist | WIT Festival | Prix Sade finalists
23 September: Europese Literatuurprijs | FT Business Book Award shortlist | Cundill History Prize shortlist | Baillie Gifford Prize longlist | Sarah Maguire Prize shortlist
24 September: Hilary Mantel (1952-2022) | Q & As: Yiyun Li | Boubacar Boris Diop
25 September: Book World is back | William Boyd: Q & A | Cypriot translation
26 September: Writing and motherhood | Translation in ... India | Island of Bewilderment review
27 September: Prix Jean-Monnet | Publishing in ... Canada
28 September: Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis | Shortlists: Royal Society Science Book Prize - Scotiabank Giller Prize | The Famous Magician review
29 September: Johannes Vermeer Prijs | Kjell Espmark (1930-2022) | HWA Crown Awards longlists | Freeway review
30 September: Dayton Literary Peace Prizes | Dangarembga and Barnes verdict | Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist | Berkeley Japan Prize | Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française longlist | Grand prix de littérature américaine longlist

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30 September 2022 - Friday

Dayton Literary Peace Prizes | Dangarembga and Barnes verdict
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist | Berkeley Japan Prize
Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française longlist
Grand prix de littérature américaine longlist

       Dayton Literary Peace Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prizes, and they are The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (fiction) and How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith (non-fiction); see also the official press release (warning ! dreaded pdf format !).
       The prizes will be handed out 13 November.

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



       Dangarembga and Barnes verdict

       The Zimbabwe trial of Nervous Conditions-author Tsitsi Dangarembga and Julie Barnes has ended with a guilty verdict -- though fortunately only a suspended prison sentence; see, for example, Nyasha Chingono's report in The Guardian , Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga found guilty of inciting violence.
       It is, of course, ridiculous that they were ever charged -- and disappointing that they were found guilty.

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



       Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction -- twelve titles; see also Ruth Comerford's report at The Bookseller, Keyes and Osman shortlisted for Bollinger Everyman as Florence chairs judges.
       The winner will be announced on 22 November.

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



       Berkeley Japan Prize

       Gold Rush-author Yu Miri will be awarded this year's Berkeley Japan Prize at an event today.
       The first recipient of this prize was Murakami Haruki; Yu is the fifth winner.

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



       Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française; among the eleven titles are ones by Yasmina Khadra and Alain Mabanckou.
       The shortlist will be announced 13 October and the winner 27 October.

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



       Grand prix de littérature américaine longlist

       Always fun to see what foreigners think the best American novels are -- so check out the longlist for this year's Grand prix de littérature américaine; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Obviously some familiar titles here -- though in fact I haven't seen any of these .....
       The winner will be announced 8 November.

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



29 September 2022 - Thursday

Johannes Vermeer Prijs | Kjell Espmark (1930-2022)
HWA Crown Awards longlists | Freeway review

       Johannes Vermeer Prijs

       They've announced the winner of this year's Johannes Vermeer Prijs a Dutch prize awarded to an artist in any discipline, paying out €100,000 "mainly to be used for the realisation of a special project", and it is Arnon Grunberg.
       Quite a few Grunberg titles are under review at the complete review:        Previous winners of this prize include Rem Koolhaas (2013) and Steve McQueen (2016).

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



       Kjell Espmark (1930-2022)

       I missed this, more than a week ago, but Swedish Academician -- Chair no. 16 -- has passed away; see also the Swedish Academy announcement.
       Several of his works have been translated into English -- including ... Béla Bartók Against the Third Reich; see also the Shearsman Books publicity page..

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



       HWA Crown Awards longlists

       The Historical Writers' Association has announced the longlists for this year's HWA Crown Awards 2022: -- twelve titles in each of the three categories.
       The only longlisted title under review is Gold Crown Award longlisted Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet.
       The shortlists will be announced 25 October, and the winners on 23 November.

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



       Freeway review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jorge Enrique Lage's Freeway: La Movie, just (about) out from Deep Vellum.

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



28 September 2022 - Wednesday

Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis
Shortlists: Royal Society Science Book Prize - Scotiabank Giller Prize
The Famous Magician review

       Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis

       They've announced the winner of this year's Wilhelm Raabe Literary Prize -- though not yet at the official site, last I checked ... -- and it is Trottel by Jan Faktor; see, for example, the Börsenblatt report.
       Paying out €30,000, this prize actually pays out more than the German Book Prize -- for which this novel has also been shortlisted. Will it do the double ?
       See also the Kiepenheuer & Witsch foreign rights page for Trottel.

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



       Shortlist: Royal Society Science Book Prize

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Royal Society Science Book Prize, with six titles left in the running
       The winner will be announced 29 November.

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



       Shortlist: Scotiabank Giller Prize

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize, with five titles left in the running -- two story collections and three novels.
       The winner will be announced 7 November.

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



       The Famous Magician review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of César Aira's The Famous Magician, another volume in New Directions' new Storybook ND-series (and the eleventh Aira under review at the site).

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



27 September 2022 - Tuesday

Prix Jean-Monnet | Publishing in ... Canada

       Prix Jean-Monnet

       They've announced the winner of this year's prix Jean-Monnet de littérature européenne, and it is the French translation of Jón Kalman Stefánsson's Fjarvera þín er myrkur; see, for example, the report at ActuaLitté; see also the Forlagið publicity page for the book.
       This prize, awarded since 1995 (Antonio Tabucchi's Pereira Declares !). has a pretty good record of winners.

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



       Publishing in ... Canada

       At Publishers Weekly Ed Nawotka looks at Publishing in Canada 2022: Canadian Publishing Adapts to New Challenges.
       Among the interesting numbers: "starting in 2020, online book sales eclipsed sales in physical bookstores. Online now accounts for 55% of overall book sales, while sales in physical stores represent 45%", and:
“Prepandemic, there were 8,000 new ISBNs issued each month,” says Noah Genner, CEO of BookNet. “Now that number is down to 6,000 to 7,000.”

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



26 September 2022 - Monday

Writing and motherhood | Translation in ... India | Island of Bewilderment review

       Writing and motherhood

       An interesting piece -- with lots of data ! -- at Slate by Karen Bourrier and John Brosz finding that Women Writers Have Had Plenty of Babies. Here’s the Data.

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



       Translation in ... India

       In the Financial Express Shubhangi Shah looks at How the rise in translations have helped in bridging language barrier in India.

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



       Island of Bewilderment review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Novel of Modern Iran by Simin Daneshvar, Island of Bewilderment -- a 1993 work now out in English, from Syracuse University Press.

       Best-known for her novel Savushun (also translated as A Persian Requiem -- which I really should get to ... --, it's great to see another novel by Daneshvar available in translation.

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



25 September 2022 - Sunday

Book World is back | William Boyd: Q & A | Cypriot translation

       Book World is back

       The Washington Post's standalone Book World-section is back, with new books editor John Williams now Reintroducing Book World.
       A stress on politics is understandable; as to the plan to: "delve more often into the lives and minds of writers" ... well, my book-coverage preference is always a focus on the books rather than on writers, but I understand why it's popular .....
       Meanwhile, one of the section's old editors also weighs in, as Michael Dirda offers: Book World began on Watergate's heels: A look back at the early days.

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



       William Boyd: Q & A

       Any Human Heart-author William Boyd has a new book coming out -- The Romantic -- and at The Guardian Anthony Cummins has a Q & A with the author, William Boyd: ‘The books world is much tougher now’.
       Interesting (and troubling) to hear how times have changed:
How has the writing life changed since you began publishing ?

The 1980s was a kind of boom period but the challenge for a literary novelist now is to just keep the show on the road. It used to be you could write a novel every couple of years or so and have a perfectly nice bourgeois life. Now the mid-list has gone. The brutal fact is you either sell or you don’t. Friends of mine who’ve written 12 novels can’t get published or their advances have dropped by 80%. It’s a much tougher world.
       As to Stendhal, I' m not so sure that he: "isn’t read so much in English nowadays", as Cummins has it -- recall also, that there's a new translation of Red and Black, by Raymond N. MacKenzie, just out from the University of Minnesota Press; see their publicity page.

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



       Cypriot translation

       In the Cyprus Mail Sarah Ktisti reports that Scheme launched to translate literary works to boost understanding between Cypriot communities.
       Grants will be provided for: "the translation of works by renowned Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot writers from Greek into Turkish and from Turkish into Greek", which sounds like a great idea. Of course, it would be nice to see translations of some of these works into English as well ......

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



24 September 2022 - Saturday

Hilary Mantel (1952-2022)
Q & As: Yiyun Li | Boubacar Boris Diop

       Hilary Mantel (1952-2022)

       As widely noted, two-time Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel has passed away; see, for example, the obituary by Lisa Allardice in The Guardian, or tributes by a variety of "leading contemporaries", also in The Guardian.
       Half a dozen of her works are under review at the complete review, but I haven't reviewed anything of hers (or updated the existing reviews, sigh) in well over a decade -- i.e. once she hit it so big.

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



       Q & A: Yiyun Li

       At Bomb Sarah Rose Etter has a Q & A with Yiyun Li, who has a new novel out, The Book of Goose.

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



       Q & A: Boubacar Boris Diop

       At Public Books Sarah Quesada and Aarthi Vadde speak with The Knight and His Shadow-uathor Boubacar Boris Diop, in a Q & A which you can either listen to or read (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) .
       Especially interesting: his turning from writing in French to writing in Wolof:
When you write in French, you write -- that's what I discovered when I started writing in Wolof, you write your language you never hear in your daily life. To put it the way I can say, when I start writing in French, I shut the door, I shut the window, and I tell the words of my people, you are not welcome. Don't enter, I don't need you. So that's why, and now, now, wherever you go in Senegal, people, they speak Wolof. So the difference is that when I arrive in France, I don't hear the words I’m writing. When I write in Wolof, I hear everything, every word.
       He also notes that: "It's very, very difficult to translate from Wolof to French, and the other way round from French to Wolof". English, too, I bet.

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



23 September 2022 - Friday

Europese Literatuurprijs
FT Business Book Award shortlist | Cundill History Prize shortlist
Baillie Gifford Prize longlist | Sarah Maguire Prize shortlist

       Europese Literatuurprijs

       They've announced the winner of this year's Europese Literatuurprijs, a prize for the best European novel translated into Dutch, and it is Agustín Fernández Mallo's Nocilla-trilogy.
       The first two titles in the trilogy are under review at the complete review: Nocilla Dream and Nocilla Experience (I haven't seen the third volume ...).

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



       FT Business Book Award shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award, with six books left in the running.
       The winner will be announced on 5 December.

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



       Cundill History Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Cundill History Prize, "the world's leading history prize", with eight titles left in the running.
       The finalists will be announced 20 October, and the winner 1 December.

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



       Baillie Gifford Prize longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, "the most prestigious non-fiction prize in the UK".
       I've only seen one of these twelve titles (and haven't reviewed it yet); the selection was made from 362 books.
       The shortlist will be announced 10 October, and the winner on 17 November.

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



       Sarah Maguire Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation, a biennial prize for: "the best book of poetry by a living poet from Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Middle East published in English translation", with the £3,000 prize money to be shared between the author and the translator(s).
       I haven't seen any of these six -- though I very much hope to see The River in the Belly by Fiston Mwanza Mujila -- but it looks like a very interesting list.
       The winner will be announced 1 November.

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



22 September 2022 - Thursday

Nobel Prize in Literature betting | PEN Presents shortlist
WIT Festival | Prix Sade finalists

       Nobel Prize in Literature betting

       The 2022 Nobel Prize in Litrature will be announced on 6 October -- and betting odds are now up at Ladbrokes.
       They posted odds, but this is surely not how even only semi-literate bettors would rate the contenders (beyond sentimental favorite (but unlikely choice) Salman Rushdie (8/1)). Stephen King is tied for third, at 10/1 (sorry, it ain't going to happen), and eight authors have odds of 12/1 or better -- tilting this exercise ridiculously way in the house's favor. (Given that we don't even know whether some of these authors have been nominated -- and only five or so remain in the final running -- odds in general should be much higher.) Oh, and Michel Houellebecq is the favorite, at 7/1.
       Uneven diacritical marking -- well done with Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong'o, Hélène Cixous, and Dubravka Ugrešić; couldn't be bothered with 'Mircea Cartarescu', 'Maryse Conde', or 'Ivan Vladislavic' --, ineligible authors (Javier Marías: he dead), and simple carelessness ('Both Strauss') suggest just how (un)serious(ly) they take the whole thing, but, hey, it attracts attention and the eyeballs/clicks (and presumably more than just occasional betting-dollars).

       (As to more serious discussion, the World Literature Forum is valiantly doing its part -- 1418 posts in their Nobel Prize in Literature 2022 Speculation-thread as I write this --, and there's a bit of action at The Mookse and the Gripes discussion board on their 2022 Nobel Prize-thread (101 posts, at this time), but I have to admit I haven't been paying much attention.
       Most of my personal favorites are much the same as in previous years, with no new(er) authors breaking through for a while now, so I don't have much to add. But maybe I will as the announcement approaches ?)

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



       PEN Presents shortlist

       English PEN has announced the shortlist for its new PEN Presents award, a dozen translations from seven Indian languages
       Now:
Six samples will be chosen from the shortlist by the PEN Presents Selection Panel -- seven experts from across the UK and Indian literary sectors -- to be showcased in an issue on the PEN Presents platform, an online catalogue of the most outstanding, original, and bibliodiverse literature not yet published in English translation. They will be given editorial support from English PEN and promoted to UK publishers.
       So no guarantees yet, but there's a good chance we'll be seeing some of these published in full in translation.

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



       WIT Festival

       The inaugural WIT: Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival, hosted by the Authors Guild, runs today through Sunday in Lenox, Massachusetts; the theme is: 'Reimagining America', and there are quite a few promising-sounding sessions.

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



       Prix Sade finalists

       They've apparently announced the finalists for the prix Sade -- with the winner to be announced 1 October -- and ... there seem to be a lot more books in the running now (18) than on the first longlist (11); compare the reports at Livres Hebdo for the longlist and the finalists.
       Either way/list, certainly some titles of interest.

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



21 September 2022 - Wednesday

Deutscher Buchpreis shortlist | Yagi Emi Q & A | Fitzcarraldo classics list

       Deutscher Buchpreis shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's German Book Prize, the leading German novel prize; see also Christine Lehnen's report at Deutsche Welle.
       I might try to have a look at some of these before the winner is announced -- maybe Spitzweg.
       The winner will be announced 17 October.

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



       Yagi Emi Q & A

       At Electric Lit J.R.Ramakrishnan has a Q & A with the Diary of a Void-author, in My Work-Life Balance Improved Dramatically With My Fake Pregnancy.
       Yagi also describes the novel she is currently working on:
I’m writing about a woman who has a part-time job talking to a statue of Venus. I have no idea what’s going to happen at this point, but I’m looking forward to finding out !
       Which seems like an ... interesting way of going about it.

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



       Fitzcarraldo classics list

       In The Bookseller Ruth Comerford previews a new classics list from publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions that certainly sounds promising, in Fitzcarraldo kicks off new classics list with de Andrade 'modernist masterpiece'.
       Neat to hear that:
Other acquisitions include two novels by Witold Gombrowicz, including Possessed, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones directly into English for the first time, and with a foreword by Olga Tokarczuk; The Book Against Death by Elias Canetti, translated by Peter Filkins; and Lili is Crying and Twenty Minutes of Silence by Hélène Bessette, translated by Kate Briggs.
       Sounds good.

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



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