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26 September 2023 - Tuesday

The White Review | Baihua Literature Awards

       The White Review

       Disappointing to hear that the wonderful The White Review, which has been publishing since 2011, has announced that they are: "going on a hiatus and ceasing its day-to-day publishing for an indefinite period".

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

       Baihua Literature Awards

       The biennial Baihua Literature Awards have been announced, with awards in seven literary categories -- including science fiction and online literature -- as well awards for editors and readers; see, for example, Yang Yang's report at China Daily.

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

25 September 2023 - Monday

Han Kang Q & A | Fiction in translation editorial
Dragon Palace review

       Han Kang Q & A

       At El País Berna González Harbour has a Q & A with the The Vegetarian-author, in Han Kang, the star author of South Korean literature, returns: ‘I stopped writing for a year and forgot how to do it’.

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       Fiction in translation editorial

       Good to see a newspaper offer an editorial on the subject, as we now find with: The Guardian view on European fiction in translation: still too little, too late.
       Sadly, as is so often the case with this subject, they make a bit of a mess of some of the facts, as when they note that:
Only in rare cases of “event” publishing -- such as the latest novel from Michel Houellebecq -- are novels published simultaneously in English and their language of origin.
       The cases are indeed rare; sadly, they're rarer than they suggest, as even the latest novel by Houellebecq, Anéantir, which came out in French in January, 2022, still isn't out in an English translation ..... (Books written in English, on the other hand, often appear in translation in many European languages simultaneously with or soon after US/UK publication.)

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       Dragon Palace review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kawakami Hiromi's Dragon Palace, a 2002 story collection now available in English, from Stone Bridge Press

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

24 September 2023 - Sunday

Korean literature abroad | Godzilla reviews

       Korean literature abroad

       In The Korea Herald Hwang Dong-hee has a look at Global publishers' take on Korean literature.

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

       Godzilla reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of Kayama Shigeru's 1955 novellas Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again -- available in English for the first time, from University of Minnesota Press.

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

23 September 2023 - Saturday

Prix Médicis longlists | New Latin American Literature Today
The books of my life: Jo Nesbø

       Prix Médicis longlists

       They've announced the longlists for this year's prix Médicis; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       There are two categories: French novel and foreign novel; always interesting to see what fiction in translation gets prize-attention abroad.
       This is also another example of how well-stocked French literary-prize juries tend to be: Sphinx-author Anne F. Garréta presides, while jurors include Pig Tales-author Marie Darrieussecq, Patrick Grainville, and The Life of an Unknown Man-author Andreï Makine.

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       New Latin American Literature Today

       The new issue of Latin American Literature Today is now out, with Carlos Germán Belli as the featured author -- and, of course, an always interesting selection of book reviews.

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       The books of my life: Jo Nesbø

       The Guardian's 'The books of my life'-series has Jo Nesbø: ‘Tom Sawyer was my first murder mystery’.
       (His The Night House is just about out in English.)

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

22 September 2023 - Friday

Shortlists: Booker Prize - FT Business Book of the Year
Dos Passos Prize finalists | The Night House review

       Shortlist: Booker Prize

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Booker Prize, the leading English-language novel prize, six titles left over from the 163 considered (but unfortunately not revealed ...).
       I haven't seen any of these.
       The winner will be announced 26 November, so you have quite a bit of time to read them all.

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       Shortlist: FT Business Book of the Year

       They've announced [paywalled ?] the shortlist for the FT and Schroders Business Book of the Year.
       The winner of this prize gets £30,000, but this is probably also the richest shortlisting-prize out there, with each of the six shortlisted titles getting £10,000.
       The winner will be announced 4 December.

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       Dos Passos Prize finalists

       They've announced the four finalists for this year's Dos Passos Prize, honoring: "America's most talented but underappreciated writers".
       I haven't read anything by any of these authors .....

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       The Night House review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the latest Jo Nesbø, his Harry Hole-less horror novel, The Night House, which has made it into English admirably quickly.

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

21 September 2023 - Thursday

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize finalists
Leipzig Book Fair Guest of Honour 2025 | Bournville review

       Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize finalists

       They've announced the finalists for this year's Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, a leading prize for a Canadian work of non-fiction, paying out an impressive C$75,000 to the winner.
       The winner will be announced 21 November.

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

       Leipzig Book Fair Guest of Honour 2025

       NORLA -- Norwegian Literature Abroad -- is one of the most impressive and active national book-promotion organizations, and, after the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019 they've landed another big German Guest of Honour-spot, as, as they've announced, Norway to be Guest of Honour at Leipzig Book Fair 2025; see also the Leipzig Book Fair press release.
       Great to see so much Norwegian literature in translation -- the next review going up at the site today is a translation from Norwegian ... -- but it would also be nice to see other languages get this kind of attention as well.

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       Bournville review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Novel in Seven Occasions by Jonathan Coe, Bournville, which is belatedly but finally also coming out in a US edition.

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

20 September 2023 - Wednesday

Deutscher Buchpreis shortlist | Karl Ove Knausgaard profile

       Deutscher Buchpreis shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's German Book Prize, the leading German novel prize, -- six titles left, from the 196 (unfortunately not revealed) titles they considered.
       I downloaded a few of the longlisted titles (from; it's impressive that they do this), but the only one of those that made shortlist is Echtzeitalter, by Tonio Schachinge -- see also the Rowohlt foreign rights page --; I've dipped into it and I guess I'll cover it; I don't think I'll get to any of the others.
       The winner will be announced on 16 October.

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

       Karl Ove Knausgaard profile

       Karl Ove Knausgaard has a new novel out in English -- The Wolves of Eternity, which I have unfortunately not yet seen ... --, the sequel to The Morning Star, and in Esquire Lynn Steger Strong profiles him, in Karl Ove Knausgaard: The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

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19 September 2023 - Tuesday

Grand prix de littérature américaine longlist

       Grand prix de littérature américaine longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's Grand prix de littérature américaine -- a prize for the best American novel translated into French; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Eight titles are in the running, including Hernan Diaz's Pulitzer Prize-winning Trust, and books by Emma Cline, Aleksandar Hemon, and Dennis Lehane.
       The winner will be announced on 6 November.

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

18 September 2023 - Monday

Gita Mehta (1943-2023) | "aspekte"-Literaturpreis finalists
In Praise of Shadows review

       Gita Mehta (1943-2023)

       Inidan author Gita Mehta has passed away; see, for example, the Times of India report by Ashok Pradhan, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's sister Gita Mehta passes away.
       Her books have also been published in the US and UK; see, for example, those available from Anchor.
       She was also the wife of publisher Sonny Mehta.

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       "aspekte"-Literaturpreis finalists

       They've announced the finalists for this year's "aspekte"-Literaturpreis, a German prize for the year's best debut.
       Previous winners include Nobel laureate Herta Müller, Ingo Schulze, and Eugen Ruge (for In Times of Fading Light).
       The winner will be announced 19 October.

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

       In Praise of Shadows review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tanizaki Jun'ichirō's slim 1933 essay In Praise of Shadows.

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

17 September 2023 - Sunday

Naveen Kishore and Seagull | Julian Barnes profile

       Naveen Kishore and Seagull

       At the latest in their 'The Publishing Life'-series has the Seagulls Books founder and publisher in Naveen Kishore: What the ‘idea of culture’ means to a publisher.
       Meanwhile, at The Wire Sohini C. reports on Pushan Kripalani's documentary film, 'Of the Book and Other Stories', in A Beloved Publishing House and a Business Model of Impulsive Ethics

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       Julian Barnes profile

       At The Guardian Lisa Allardice profiles the author, in ‘I didn’t think it was possible to be a novelist’: Julian Barnes on literature, loss – and his late friend Martin Amis.

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16 September 2023 - Saturday

(US) National Book Award for Fiction longlist | Writing in ... Algeria
US translation preview | A Long Way From Verona review

       (US) National Book Award for Fiction longlist

       The (American) National Book Foundation has now announced all the longlist for its 2023 prizes, including that for the National Book Award for Fiction -- ten titles selected from 496 (unfortunately not revealed) submissions.
       I haven't seen any of these.
       The finalists will be announced on 3 October.

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

       Writing in ... Algeria

       At Claudia Mende has a Q & A with Said Khatibi, in Big Brother is watching you.
       Sadly, he reports:
For Arabic literature, Algeria is simply a wasteland. Hardly any bookshops offer literature in Arabic. People still tend to read more in French -- we really have to fight for Arabic.
       Interesting also his comments:
Why are there no crime novels in the Arab world ? I must say I ask myself the same question; it's also something my friends keep asking me. The only answer I can think of is: the crime novel is synonymous with freedom.

For a crime novel, you need the greatest possible freedom as an author – something we don't have in the Arab world. Even where there is no state censorship, we are used to censoring ourselves.

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       US translation preview

       At Publishers Weekly David Varno takes a look at some New Literature in Translation coming out in the US.
       Some of it isn't that new -- Sylvia Clayton's translation of Sven Holm's Termush (which I am looking forward to seeing) first came out in the UK in 1969, from Faber, and they recently re-issued it; see their publicity page or that from FSG Originals.
       Only a few publishers are covered here, but at least there are some hard numbers:
A high-profile award can be huge for a work in translation, perhaps none more so than the Nobel Prize. In 2021, French author Annie Ernaux’s books sold about 2,200 print copies. She won the Nobel Prize the following year, and print unit sales shot up to 40,000 for 2022; she’s on track to best that this year.
       And there are also observations such as:
At Archipelago, a small publisher that began exclusively publishing translations in 2004, editor and director of publicity Sarah Gale has seen an increasing willingness on the part of the media to embrace books that originate overseas. But, she says, it remains difficult to get reviews and other coverage for “minor” books that aren’t grappling with “obviously relevant” themes.

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       A Long Way From Verona review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jane Gardam's 1971 debut, A Long Way From Verona.

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

15 September 2023 - Friday

Prix Jean Monnet | Elfriede Jelinek, honorary citizen of Vienna
ALTA shortlists

       Prix Jean Monnet

       They've announced (warning ... ! dreaded pdf format ? .... what fresh hell is this ?) the winner of this year's prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne, and it is Amélie Nothomb's Le Livre des sœurs; see also the Albin Michel publicity page.

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

       Elfriede Jelinek, honorary citizen of Vienna

       Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek was recently made an honorary citizen of the city of Vienna -- two years after the honor was decided on; the first honor she says she's accepted since the Nobel Prize.

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

       ALTA shortlists

       The American Literary Translators Association has announced the shortlists for three of its prizes, the Italian Prose in Translation Award, the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, and the Spain-USA Foundation Translation Award.
       Two of the shortlisted titles are under review at the complete review: Anne Milano Appel's translation of Antonio Scurati's M: Son of the Century (the IPTA) and Brendan Riley's translation of Luis Goytisolo's Antagony (SUFTA).
       The winners will be announced 11 November.

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

14 September 2023 - Thursday

(US) National Book Award for Translated Literature longlist
Schweizer Buchpreis finalists | Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalists

       (US) National Book Award for Translated Literature longlist

       The (American) National Book Foundation has announced the ten finalists for this year's National Book Award for Translated Literature, selected from 154 (unfortunately not revealed) submissions.
       The ten are:
  • Abyss by Pilar Quintana, translated by Lisa Dillman
  • Beyond the Door of No Return by David Diop, translated by Sam Taylor
  • Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur
  • Devil of the Provinces by Juan Cárdenas, translated by Lizzie Davis
  • Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Michael Hofmann
  • The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, translated by Lara Vergnaud
  • No One Prayed Over Their Graves by Khaled Khalifa, translated by Leri Price
  • On a Woman's Madness by Astrid Roemer, translated by Lucy Scott
  • This Is Not Miami by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes
  • The Words That Remain by Stênio Gardel, translated by Bruna Dantas Lobato
       I haven't seen quite a few of these .....
       The finalists will be announced 3 October, and the winners on 15 November.

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

       Schweizer Buchpreis finalists

       They've announced the five finalists for this year's (German-language) Swiss Book Prize.
       The winner will be announced on 19 November.

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

       Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalists

       They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the finalists for this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalists -- and that Sandra Cisneros will receive the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.
       The prizes honor: "writers whose work uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding"
       The winners will be announced 10 October.

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

13 September 2023 - Wednesday

Yoel Hoffmann (1937-2023) | Pulitzer Prize expands eligibilty in arts categories
Hotlist finalists | Beyond the Door of No Return review

       Yoel Hoffmann (1937-2023)

       No readily accessible obituary that I can find yet, but Israeli author Yoel Hoffmann has passed away.
       Two of his books are under review at the complete review -- Curriculum Vitae and Moods.

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

       Pulitzer Prize expands eligibilty in arts categories

       They've announced that the Pulitzer Prize Board Amending Citizenship Requirement in Books, Drama and Music. Previously, in the Fiction, Drama, Biography, Memoir or Autobiography, Poetry, General Nonfiction, and Music categories, only US citizens were considered, but now: "permanent residents of the United States and those who have made the United States their longtime primary home" are also eligible.
       Disappointingly, however:
One exception to that requirement was in the History category, which has allowed books on United States history by authors of any nationality. For the sake of consistency, however, History entries now also must conform to the new rules and must be written by U.S. authors.
       I liked that it only mattered that books were on US history, not where the author came from.

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       Hotlist finalists

       They've announced the ten finalists for this year's Hotlist, a German prize for independent publishers.
       Every German-language independent publisher can submit one title -- and 196 did this year.
       The winner will be announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

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

       Beyond the Door of No Return review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of David Diop's Beyond the Door of No Return, coming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US and Pushkin Press in the UK.

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

12 September 2023 - Tuesday

Museum of Repressed Writers
Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Amit Chaudhuri Q & A

       Museum of Repressed Writers

       In The Art Newspaper Maya Jaggi reports that: 'The Museum of Repressed Writers in Tbilisi was created to remember the creatives who were silenced by the Soviet Union. But, after months of political tension, the future of the museum hangs in the balance', in Fears grow for Georgian museum created to salute purged writers after director sacked.

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       Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Amit Chaudhuri Q&A

       At Nachiket Joshi has an interview with Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Amit Chaudhuri, ‘When we speak of the secular in India these days, poetry, literature, cinema do not come into play’.

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

11 September 2023 - Monday

Films: Poor Things - An Owl, a Garden & the Writer
Nipponia Nippon review

       Film: Poor Things

       My review of Alasdair Gray's Poor Things has been one of the most popular at the site over the past couple of weeks (and will most certainly be the most-viewed review for the month of September) -- and the reason for this is that a movie has been made of it, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, and Mark Ruffalo; see also the Element Pictures publicity page. While it is only coming out in the US in December, it's already garnered very good reviews -- and has now picked up the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

       Two weeks ago Jo Higgs wrote in The National on Poor Things: Why new Alasdair Gray adaptation is proving divisive -- including:
Controversy struck upon the reveal of a new cover, featuring not the original Gray illustration that has fronted the novel in every edition since 1992 but instead a shot of Emma Stone playing Bella in the film.

While on the surface this shouldn’t ruffle many feathers -- it is commonplace to reproduce novels set for film adaptation with a new cover fronted by a still from the cinematic feature -- yet, for an Alasdair Gray novel, this edges further from misdemeanour towards crime.
       Not ruffle feathers ?!??? My god !
       There are actually two movie tie-in covers, as the US (Mariner Books) and UK (Bloomsbury) editions have different ones:

the crap US movie tie-in cover of Poor Things     the crap UK movie tie-in cover of Poor Things

       Nothing like the real thing:

       This was actually also supposed to come out in the new Dalkey Archive Essentials series -- apparently also with a ... different cover -- but clearly the rights have gone elsewhere; I hope Dalkey Archive Press was able to cash in very nicely in giving up the rights .....

       For a fascinating discussion of the Poor Things-cover history, see Virginia Emily Cranwell's 2017 Master's thesis, Judging a Book By Its Cover: The Context Book Covers Provide (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) -- though of course it's now in need of some serious updating.

       I am ... intrigued by the movie, though I do have some doubts. (As you can see, I think very highly of the novel.) Still, I suppose I will have to seek it out, when it becomes available.
       (My review of the novel is an early one at the site, and I'm sorry it's not a more in-depth one -- but the book is certainly worth seeking out. Even, if there's no other way, with those new covers .....)

       For a selection of early reviews, see those at:
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       Film: An Owl, a Garden & the Writer

       There's a new movie about The Colonel-author Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, directed by his daughter Sara Dowlatabadi ! See, for example, the Unifrance information page, or the trailer.
       It's being shown at this year's Busan International Film Festival -- and see also the discussion in the Tehran Times report on Exploring life of Kiarostami, Dowlatabadi on silver screen.
       I look forward to being able to see this, too.

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       Nipponia Nippon review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Abe Kazushige's Nipponia Nippon -- another in the Pushkin Press Japanese Novella-series.

       This makes for another husband-and-wife pairing under review at the site, as Abe is married to All the Lovers in the Night-author Kawakami Mieko.

       Good to see that another of Abe's works is apparently also coming out next year -- Mysterious Setting is listed at already.

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

10 September 2023 - Sunday

Simon & Schuster deal analysis | Yu Hua profile | Alo Shome Q & A

       Simon & Schuster deal analysis

       As widely noted, American publisher Simon & Schuster was recently acquired by KKR, "a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management", and in The Atlantic Carter Dougherty and Andrew Park look at the deal -- and the $1 billion in debt that goes with it --, in Book Publishing Has a Toys ‘R’ Us Problem. (As readers may recall, a similar type deal did not work out so well for Toys ‘R’ Us.)
       A publishing house like Simon & Schuster sure looks like an unlikely candidate to benefit much from suddenly being so debt-laden, and I just can't see any way they can squeeze so much more money out of it to justify such a debt-burden. But what do I know ? (Hey, I hear someone paid $44 billion for Twitter -- a once nice little business with a decent revenue stream that could never, by any reasonable business-math, justify anywhere near that valuation.)
       It's hard to imagine a happy ending here -- for readers, authors, and the poor employees at Simon & Schuster --, though I can see the KKR folk laughing all the way to the bank .....

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       Yu Hua profile

       In The Korea Times Pyo Kyung-min profiles the author, in Chinese author Yu Hua marks 40th anniversary of literary debut.
       Interesting to hear that:
The author also hinted at his future endeavors, saying, "I am currently crafting a short comedy, which is a departure from the lengthy and somber novels I've previously penned."

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

       Alo Shome Q & A

       In the most recent instalment of their 'Meet the Translator'-series at Veeksha Vagmita has: 'An interview with translator Alo Shome about her newly published translation of Nirupama Devi's 1915 Bengali novel Didi', in ‘Translating women writers enables their cultural positions to be represented’: Alo Shome.
       A bit disappointing, however, to hear that:
My manuscript was too long for today’s readers. So, my publishers advised me to shorten it. I mainly deleted large portions from two chapters. The passages I removed would have been of little interest to contemporary readers.
       See also the Rupa publicity page for Didi.

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9 September 2023 - Saturday

More French longlists | Bangalore BizLitFest

       More French longlists

       'Tis the season, and so the French longlists keep coming -- now that of the prix Flore (see the Livres Hebdo report) -- with Neige Sinno's Triste tigre, which has already won the prix littéraire « Le Monde » and has been longlisted for the prix Goncourt, among the contenders -- as well as that of the prix Jean Giono (see the Livres Hebdo report), which includes books by Serge Joncour and Akira Mizubayashi.

       These prizes are also noteworthy because they have web-presences -- a rarity among French literary prizes -- and yet I still point you to the Livres Hebdo reports.
       Why ?
       The Prix de Flore site is still stuck in 2022.
       And the Centre Jean Giono site has a nice Prix Giono page, but there's nothing new there either, nor any press release elsewhere on the site.
       Seriously: how hard is this ? (And why are the French so spectacularly bad at this ? I assume part of it is that since no one else can be bothered, no prize feels any pressure to actually have a decent web presence. As is, the Académies -- française and Goncourt -- lead the way -- with the laziest-ass press releases/mentions of prize-announcements .....)
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       Bangalore BizLitFest

       If you're in Bangalore today you can go check out the Bangalore Business Literature Festival.
       In South First Fathima Ashraf previews it, reporting how This business lit fest fosters a culture of reading, writing, and publishing business literature.

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

8 September 2023 - Friday

Prix Renaudot longlist | Bayerischer Buchpreis finalists
Blurbs ! | My Arno Schmidt-book

       Prix Renaudot longlist

       They've announced the longlists for this year's prix Renaudot, the next-in-line prize after the Goncourt; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The fiction list includes three titles that are also Goncourt-longlisted; there is also a novel by Fred Vargas.
       There is also an 'essai' (non-fiction) category -- with books by Nathacha Appanah, Agnès Desarthe, and Négar Djavadi -- but people don't pay quite that much attention to that one.
       Like the Goncourt, this is a four-round prize, so we will have shorter-lists announcements on 5 and 26 October before the winner is announced on 7 November.

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

       Bayerischer Buchpreis finalists

       The Bavarian Book Prize has announced its finalists -- three each in the fiction and non categories.
       The most impressive showing is Teresa Präauer's Kochen im falschen Jahrhundert, which is going for the German-language-national/regional-prize triple, having also made the longlists of both the German and the Austrian Book Prizes; see also the Wallstein foreign rights page. But the book I'm most interested in is Jan Philipp Reemtsma's Christoph Martin Wieland-biography.
       This is a fun prize because the jurors will discuss the finalists in front of a live audience on 7 November, their final deliberations made publicly. (I suspect they probably talk this out a bit beforehand, but still.)

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

       Blurbs !

       In Esquire Sophie Vershbow digs, quite deep, into: 'A Plague on the Industry': Book Publishing's Broken Blurb System.
Blurbs expose this ecosystem for what it really is: a nepotism-filled system that everyone endures for a chance of “making it” in an impossible industry for most.
“Blurbs aren't about the blurb; they're about opening the value exchange,” explained Jonathan Jacobs, a marketing strategist who has worked with several bestselling authors. “You blurb my book, I blurb yours. We do a Live together. We hit our email lists. It opens up the opportunity to continuously tap into someone else's audience.”
       'Opening the value exchange' .... shoot me now.
       (For what it's worth: I read the blurbs -- critically, I like to think -- and, yes, they play some role in the larger package, of whether or not I'll take a closer look at a book. And, yes, I've been suckered more often than not -- predictively, I suspect they're about as reliable as if I let myself be influenced by the color of the cover of a book. But they're something, so what's one to do ?)

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

       My Arno Schmidt-book

       I (self-)published my Arno Schmidt: a centennial colloquy almost a decade ago, and when I did I hoped to sell fifty copies in the first year, and figured that when John E. Woods' translation of Bottom's Dream appeared (as it then did in 2016) interest in that would lead to a hundred or so additional sales.
       As it turned out, the book sold exactly fifty copies in the first year -- but, while the appearance of the Bottom's Dream-translation did make for renewed interest, it took quite a while for the book to reach 150 copies sold. Surprisingly, however, it's proved to have a decent long tail, with something of a surge (relatively speaking) in sales the past year or two, and this summer has now passed 200 copies sold in all.
       These aren't very impressive sales-totals, but more than I expected -- and I've even made some money off it (a profit of over US$500.00 to date), which is, after all, more than many books manage.
       What I'm particularly/most amused by is that the book has thirteen reader-ratings at (much appreciated), while my commercially (well, university-press) published The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction -- which has, of course, had an order of magnitude greater sales -- has only garnered ten.

       Anyway, it's nice to see the book has beat my expectations, and that it's found readers who seem to enjoy it. Go, Arno !

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

7 September 2023 - Thursday

Longlists: Baillie Gifford Prize - Scotiabank Giller Prize
Tractatus Prize | The Gasp review

       Longlist: Baillie Gifford Prize

       They've announced the longlist for this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, a leading non-fiction book prize paying out £50,000 to the winner.
       Thirteen titles have been longlisted; I haven't seen any of these.
       The shortlist will be announced 8 October, and the winner will be announced 16 November.

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

       Longlist: Scotiabank Giller Prize

       They've announced the longlist for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize, awarded to: "the best Canadian novel, graphic novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation".
       Twelve titles made the longlist, from 145 (unfortunately not revealed) submissions; although translations are eligible, all of the longlisted titles this year were written in English.
       The shortlist will be announced 11 October, and the winner on 13 November.

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

       Tractatus Prize

       The Philosophicum Lech has announced the winner of this year's Tractaus, a prize for best German-language philosophical text, and it is Die Qualen des Narzissmus, by Isolde Charim.
       See also the Zsolnay foreign rights page.

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

       The Gasp review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Romain Gary's 1973 novel, The Gasp -- one of the novels he wrote in English.

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

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