Less than one week from today—at 2pm East Coast time on Monday, April 28th to be exact—we’ll be announcing the winners of this year’s Best Translated Book Award.
Over the next few days, I’ll be posting write-ups on the Poetry Finalists, along with uninformed speculation and other fun and games.
The most important thing though is to talk about the award celebrations . . .
On Monday, the announcement will go up on Three Percent right at 1pm, and at basically that exact same moment, the winners will be announced at a special BTBA event taking place at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, France.
The Shakespeare & Co. event kicks off at 7pm and will feature readings by a number of writers and translators from most of the shortlisted titles. Then, Amélie Nothomb will announce the winner of the Fiction prize, and Siaân Melangell Dafydd will announce the Poetry winner. So, if you happen to within train distance of Paris, you should come on out.
Stateside, we won’t be announcing the winners at a live event this year, so instead we’ve organized a post-announcement celebration to take place later that week during PEN World Voices. Here are all the details:
BTBA Celebration Party
Friday, May 2nd, 6-9pm
220 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10014
The party is open to everyone so if you’re a fan of the BTBA, international literature, Three Percent, alcohol, appetizers, or all of the above, you should come on by.
I think I’ve mentioned this once or twice in recent posts, but although Mikhail Shishkin won’t be attending BookExpo America this year he WILL be touring throughout the U.S. this April, starting in San Francisco and hitting up Austin, Boston, and New York City.
Below is a list of all the dates and general information along with links to the event listings themselves. Since he won’t be back in May for BEA, you should catch him—along with Russian translator Marian Schwartz—at one of these events.
AND you should buy his novel. It’s absolutely spectacular.
Thursday, April 4th, 7pm
562 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA
Tickets $10 advance, $15 at the door
Friday, April 5th, 7pm
Green Apple Books
506 Clement St
San Francisco, CA
Monday, April 8th, 7pm
603 N Lamar Blvd
Tuesday, April 9th, 4pm
University of Texas
Texas Governors’ Room 3.116
The Texas Union
Friday, April 12th, 6:30pm
Hamilton Hall 702
New York, NY
Monday, April 15th, 7pm
Reading with Mikhail Shishkin
Hobart and William Smith
Tuesday, April 16th, 5:30pm
University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library, Welles-Brown Room
Wednesday, April 17th, 7pm
341 Delaware Ave.
Tuesday, April 23rd, 4pm
Burns Library, Thompson Room
Wednesday, April 24th, TBD
Reading by Mikhail Shishkin
College of the Holy Cross
1 College Street
Wednesday, May 1st, 6:30pm
The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
New York, NY10003
If you have any questions, or would like to get in touch with Shishkin to write about his works or one of these events, just contact me at chad.post [at] rochester.edu.
And once again, you really should buy Maidenhair.
The Second Annual Festival of New French Writing kicks off this Thursday in NYC and will take place through Saturday afternoon. I’m actually moderating the first event and planning on attending most (if not all) of these, so I should be able to write this up in full all next week.
In the meantime, here’s the schedule with links to the bios of all the participants:
Thursday, February 24
Friday, February 25
4:00pm – Graphic Novelists David B. (Epileptic) + Ben Katchor (Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, The Jew of New York and Shoehorn Technique), moderated by New Yorker Art Director Françoise Mouly
7:30pm – French/Afghan writer and filmmaker and Prix Goncourt winner, Atiq Rahimi (The Patience Stone) + Russell Banks (The Sweet Hereafter, _Cloudsplitter), moderated by journalist Lila Azam Zanganeh
Saturday, February 26
4:00pm – Writer and film director, Philipe Claudel (I’ve Loved You So Long, Brodeck, By a Slow River) + A.M. Homes (The Mistress’s Daughter, This Book Will Save Your Life), moderated by Harper’s Magazine Publisher John R. (Rick) MacArthur
Free and open to the public, The Festival of New French Writing will take place at:
Ground Floor, Silver Center
100 Washington Square East (Entrance on Waverly Place)
Simultaneous interpretation from both languages will be available. Booksignings will follow each event and the authors’ books in English and French will be available for sale by Fieldstone Book Company.
Speaking of the first Festival of New French Writing, Tom Bishop, NYU’s Director of French Civilization and Culture, said that the French-American conversations brought out the singular qualities of each author and the national similarities and differences. In looking forward to the second edition in 2011, Bishop emphasized that “the 2011 Festival will showcase some of the best of this generation of French authors who are producing exciting, powerful, often humorous writing. They represent world literature at its best. In conversation with American counterparts with whom they share original takes on life in the 21st century, they will discuss their own works as well as the future of literature itself.”
This is pretty last minute, but at 7pm tomorrow night (Tuesday) there’s an interesting PEN event going on at Cooper Union exploring violence in Mexico. AND because PEN loves YOU, they’re giving a special discount on tickets to Three Percent readers . . . (See details below.)
The State of Emergency: Censorship by Bullet in Mexico event will feature readings by Paul Auster, Calvin Baker, Don DeLillo, Laura Esquivel, Francine Prose, Jose Zamora, and poets Víctor Manuel Mendiola and Luis Miguel Aguilar. This will be followed by a conversation with Carmen Aristegui (CNN en Español), Rocio Gallegos (El Diario de Juárez), and José Luis Martínez (Milenio Diario); moderated by Julia Preston (The New York Times)
Because I’m actually in business class (Pricing Theory!) right now, I’m going to just copy PEN’s entire description:
At least eight journalists have been murdered in Mexico in 2010 alone, and many more have been kidnapped, threatened, or disappeared. Still, in towns and cities throughout the country, journalists are daily defying Mexico’s “censorship by bullet” to expose critical truths. Renowned Mexican and American journalists and authors come together for an evening of readings and conversation to call attention to the silencing of Mexican journalists trying to investigate drug-related violence in their country, especially on the U.S./Mexico border.
What is the impact of soaring drug-related violence on freedom of expression and civil society in Mexico? Is the United States helping to promote or to counter the violence? What can human rights organizations and the international community do to confront criminal syndicates and other “non-state actors” that are operating with impunity in Mexico and around the world? Above all, what is it like to be a journalist in Mexico today, and what must be done to ensure that journalists can safely carry out their work?
Now for the Special Discount . . . General Admission tickets are $15, BUT if you buy these through the PEN site and use the special code “study,” your ticket will only be $7 . . . (I guess this post does sort of relate to business class . . . It would moreso if it involved “mixed bundling” or “market segmentation” or “margin contributions,” but whatever.)
Tomorrow kicks off a killer 11-day trip for me: first to NYC to pick up a rental car and three authors/transltors (Bragi Olafsson, Margaret Carson, and Sergio Chejfec) and drive them to Scranton, PA, then from there to Frankfurt, and then back in Rochester on October 11th . . . I’ll still be posting on occasion (mostly about TOC Frankfurt, and other Frankfurt goings on), but while I’m
loopy drunk exhausted, so we’ll have to see how coherent these posts are . . .
But the main point of this post is to tell you about the Pages & Places Festival taken place in Scranton, PA this Saturday. I don’t know too much about the festival itself, except to say that novelist Joanna Scott participated a few years ago and loved it, and the line-up of events looks really solid.
I’ll be there with the above named authors/translators and translator Steve Dolph to kick off the festival with a 9am panel entitled “The World on our Bookshelves: The Import of Literature in Translation.” We’ll be talking about a few books—_The Ambassador_, Sixty-Five Years of Washington, and My Two Worlds—and also about the process of translating, publishing a translation, and promoting international literature as a whole. So if anyone’s in Scranton, I hope you come by and say hi. Should be a fun panel . . .
The full list of panels can be found here. I’m particularly excited about “The Brain & Culture: How Advances in Neuroscience are Changing the Way We Imagine Ourselves,” but they all look really interesting.
As you may already know, Bragi Olafsson’s new novel, The Ambassador, is releasing next month. It’s an awesome, hilarious, fun novel about an Icelandic poet who attends a poetry festival in Lithuania, where his coat is stolen, where he gets pretty wasted, and where he meets a bunch of eccentric poets (surprise?). (Read an except by clicking here.)
Anyway, we have a really cool promotion for this in the works (some of you already know about this, but I’ll officially announce and explain it later), and in addition, Bragi’s going to be giving a few readings over the next few weeks. Specifically:
Book Talk with Bragi Olafsson
Thursday, September 30th at 6:30pm
Scandinavian House, 58 Park Ave. (at 38th St.), NYC
The World on Our Bookshelves: The Import of Literature in Translation
Saturday, October 2nd at 9am
Pages & Places Festival
ArtWorks, 503 Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton, PA
Reading and Discussion at 192 Books
Tuesday, October 5th at 7pm
192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave. (at 21st St.), NYC
(please RSVP by calling 212.255.4022)
I’ll post more about the Pages & Places Festival separately, but for now, here’s the basic info. And I hope you can come out to at least one of these.
To celebrate the release of this book (Bragi’s second with Open Letter, you should also check out The Pets), we’re giving away 10 copies. Simply go to our Open Letter Books Facebook Fan Page and click “like” or leave a comment on the “giveaway post.” We’ll select the winners on Friday . . .
This is for all the CNY folks: Paul Auster will be on campus on September 30th to give a George H. Ford Lecture on “Fiction and Translation.” This event is being co-sponsored by the George H. Ford Lecture Fund, the Department of English, and the Reading the World Conversation Series.
Very cool opportunity to see Auster in an intimate setting (if you consider a room that seats 150 people to be intimate), and I’m sure he’ll have a lot of interesting things to say about translation. He’s always been a big advocate of French—and world—literature, and has published a number of translations, including pieces by Edmond Jabes, Pierre Clastres, Jacques Dupin, and others. (The complete list is available here.)
The event will take place from 5-6 on Thursday, September 30th in the Hawkins-Carlson Room in the Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester’s campus. Should be cool, should be crowded. I recommend getting there early, since there’s no ticketing process . . .
This isn’t an official Open Letter event (or Three Percent event, or Writers & Books event), but any and everyone in Rochester reading this should come to Tapas 177 tomorrow night at 8pm for the second “Rochester Literary Salon.” This was an idea that Alexa Scott-Flaherty (of Writers & Books) and I came up with to bring together all the random literary people in Rochester to socialize and drink.
There is a Facebook event listing where I tried to make this sound all exclusive and literary and whatnot . . . Not sure how erudite this will really be, but the last one—which took place during RIT’s “Future of the Book” conference—was really fun and a great opportunity for interesting Rochesterians to get together . . . and drink.
Hope to see you there!
So now that the Best Translated Book Awards are over, I can fully concentrate on the next event—one for Macedonio Fernandez’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) that is taking place tonight at the Americas Society tonight at 7pm.
Our cheeky title for this event comes from Macedonio himself, who, within one of the fifty-some odd prologues to Museum, refers to the book as “The Best Novel since both It and the World Began.” Which is plan brilliant. Because it is one of the best novels ever written. It’s amazingly playful, innovative, and thought-provoking, but it’s also one of the most heartfelt love letters ever.
I’ll be moderating tonight’s event, which will feature superstar translator Edith Grossman (who is also the author Why Translation Matters), Margaret Schwartz (who translated Museum), and Todd Garth (author of The Self of the City: Macedonio Fernandez, the Argentine Avant-Garde, and Modernity in Buenos Aires). With such great panelists, and such an amazing subject (Macedonio may well be the quirkiest of all quirky writers), this is sure to be a spectacular event.
If you’re in the area and want to come out, the Americas Society is at 680 Park Avenue (68th St.). Here’s info on how to RSVP for the event:
Americas Society Members: firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 277-8359, ext. 4
Non-Members: Visit www.americas-society.org
Hope to see you there!
This is still a few weeks away, but seeing that I’ll be off in Abu Dhabi for a while (see tomorrow’s post), I thought I should mention this now.
On Thursday, March 11th at 7:00pm at the Americas Society (680 Park Ave, NYC) there will be a special event in honor of the first English publication of Macedonio Fernandez’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel), which the author referred to as “The best novel since both it and the world began.” Hence our witty event title . . .
But seriously, this is going to be an amazing event. Todd Garth (author of The Self of the City) will read a bit from Spanish and English and will talk about Macedonio and his influence on Latin American literature. Margaret Schwartz will talk about the intense process of translating this novel. And Edith Grossman—whose first translation was of a short story by Macedonio—will be there as well.
I’ll post another reminder in a few weeks, but for now, posted below is a description of Museum from the Open Letter website. And this has actually gotten a few stunning reviews: Bookforum‘s was probably the most enthusiastic (but isn’t available online), Complete Review gave it a B+ (solid!), and Luis Alberto Ambroggio wrote a nice piece for First Person Plural. And here’s the jacket copy:
The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) is the very definition of a novel written ahead of its time. Macedonio (known to everyone by his unusual first name) worked on this novel in the 1930s and early ’40s, during the heyday of Argentine literary culture, and around the same time that At Swim-Two-Birds was published, a novel that has quite a bit in common with Macedonio’s masterpiece.
In many ways, Museum is an “anti-novel.” It opens with more than fifty prologues—including ones addressed “To My Authorial Persona,” “To the Critics,” and “To Readers Who Will Perish If They Don’t Know What the Novel Is About”—that are by turns philosophical, outrageous, ponderous, and cryptic. These pieces cover a range of topics from how the upcoming novel will be received to how to thwart “skip-around readers” (by writing a book that’s defies linearity!).
The second half of the book is the novel itself, a novel about a group of characters (some borrowed from other texts) who live on an estancia called “la novella” . . .
A hilarious and often quite moving book, The Museum of Eterna’s Novel redefined the limits of the genre, and has had a lasting impact on Latin American literature. Authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, and Ricardo Piglia have all fallen under its charm and high-concepts, and, at long last, English-speaking readers can experience the book that helped build the reputation of Borges’s mentor.
A couple weeks ago, the National Book Critics Circle hosted a panel at Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City entitled “Why Translation Matters?” and featuring Sarah Fay, Christopher Merrill, Cole Swenson, Russell Valentino, (incorrectly identified as Rudolph Valentino on the NBCC info page, which isn’t necessarily the worst person to be mistaken for) and Robin Hemley. (More on all of them below.)
I remember hearing about this panel and hoping that it would be recorded and made available at some point, and thankfully, it now is.
Here’s a bit from the NBCC on all the participants:
Sarah Fay is an advisory editor at The Paris Review. Her work appears regularly in the New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, Bookforum, and The American Scholar, among others. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature at the University of Iowa.
Christopher Merrill has published four collections of poetry, including Brilliant Water and Watch Fire, for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages, his journalism appears in many publications, and he is the book critic for the daily radio news program, The World. He now directs the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa.
Cole Swensen is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently Ours (University of California Press, 2008). Her work has been short-listed for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award and won the Iowa Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, and the National Poetry Series. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, she is the co-editor of the Norton Anthology American Hybrid and a professor at the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Russell Scott Valentino is a translator and scholar based in Iowa City, Iowa. He has published eight books and numerous essays and short translations of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from Italian, Croatian, and Russian. He is the publisher of Autumn Hill Books and Editor of The Iowa Review.He teaches in Iowa’s Translation Workshop.
Robin Hemley is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently Do-Over (Little, Brown). His work has been anthologized widely and he is the recipient of numerous awards including a 2008 Guggenheim, The Nelson Algren Award for Fiction, an Editor’s Choice Book Award for Nonfiction from The American Library Association, and two Pushcart Prizes. He currently directs UI’s Nonfiction Writing Program.
I know we just announced the new RTWCS events, but we’re already on the heels of the first one next week(!), featuring the incredible French translator Charlotte Mandell. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend. Here’s all the info:
OCT. 6, 2009
Sloan Auditorium (in Goergen Hall)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)
Charlotte Mandell—the French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others—reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation.
Zone has already been called “The novel of the decade, if not of the century” (Christophe Claro). In short, it is a 517-page, one-sentence novel about a spy, a train ride, a briefcase, and the pervasive violence of the twentieth century.
Charlotte Mandell is one of the great French-to-English translators, and has translated such prominent works as:
(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)
For all those in the Rochester area, here are the events we’ve scheduled for this fall’s Reading the World Conversation Series. More information on each individual event will be posted soon, but here is the rundown, so you can mark your calendars now.
These events are hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. All events are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.
OCT. 6, 2009
Sloan Auditorium (in Goergen Hall)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)
Featuring: Charlotte Mandell
The French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation.
OCT. 20, 2009
Plutzik Library (in Rush Rhees Library)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)
Featuring: Jorge Volpi and Alfred Mac Adam
The author of international bestseller In Search of Klingsor, and a founder of the “Crack” group, reads from his latest novel, Season of Ash, and discusses the new generation of Mexican writers with the acclaimed Spanish translator of Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, among others.
(Co-sponsored by Rare Books & Special Collections.)
Nov. 5, 2009
Gowen Room (in Wilson Commons)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)
Featuring: International Writers in Residence at Ledig House
Ledig House is one of the only international writer residences in the U.S. This event features readings and discussion from Tom Dreyer (South Africa), Pravda Miteva (Bulgaria), Kathrin Aehnlich (Germany), and Linda Gaboriau (Canada).
(For additional info, contact nathan.furl at rochester.edu)
Next month, the German Book Office in New Delhi is putting on two interesting events:
The first is a Translators Meeting on Tuesday the 6th at the German Book Office featuring a discussion on literary translations:
Literary translation is an art that takes time, talent and determination to develop, but it is also a profession which places translators in the multifaceted publishing and media industry and is governed by international copyright laws. The discussion will focus on the status and working conditions of literary translators in Europe and will give examples of best practice in the relationship between translators and publishers, and of the infrastructures providing support for professional translators.
If you are a translator & want to attend, please write to info [at] gbo-newdelhi [dot] org
The second is a “Lost in Translation” session at the Kovalam Literary Festival (Taj Green Cove, Kovalam, Trivandrum) on Thursday, October 8th from 4-6pm.
Literary translation is an art that takes time, talent and determination to develop, but it is also a profession which places translators in the multifaceted publishing and media industry and is governed by international copyright laws.
The seminar focuses on the various practical aspects of translation with inputs from the German Book Office, Literature Across Frontiers and Kannan Sundaram, a publisher engaging primarily in translations.
With information status and working conditions of literary translators in Europe and examples of best practice in the relationship between translators and publishers, and of the infrastructures providing support for professional translators, the seminar will also elaborate on the condition of the same in India. Involving primarily translators, the seminar would also be beneficial for
editors/publishers/authors all of whom are an integral part of the translation process.
Our events calendar is a bit empty right now (if you’re hosting—or attending—any interesting events related to international literature, please e-mail us so that we can include it on that calendar to the right . . ), but there are a number of interesting events coming up that might be of interest.
Following up on the last post about Natasha Wimmer, she’s actually doing two events next month in San Francisco for the Center for the Art of Translation. On October 6, she’d doing a Lit&Lunch event called “Translating a Latin American Superstar” and revolving around Roberto Bolano, and on October 7th, she’lll discuss Bolano with novelist Daniel Alarcón.
On the same two days but on the opposite coast, the Polish Cultural Institute (and a slew of partners, including Words Without Borders) are putting on series of events under the title “After Kapuscinski: The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century.” Participants include Anna Bikont, Ted Conover, Philip Gourevitch, Eliza Griswold, Wojciech Jagielski, Alistair Reid, Pawel Smolenski, Lawrence Weschler, and many others. Full event listings can be found here but all three panels will take place in the evening at NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall.
Finally, this is a bit further off, but on November 6th, the Ramon Llull Institut is putting on a colloquium entitled “Standing in the Shadows: Catalan Literature and English Translation.” Admission is by invite only, but if you’re lucky enough to be invited (or interested enough to beg for an invite), it looks to be pretty interesting. Mary Ann Caws, Lyn Hejinian, Francesc Parcerisas, Carlin Romano, Jill Schoolman, will all be participating.
I usually don’t post things like this, but there are two great events happening tonight that I wish I could be at.
First off, Archipelago Books is having their “third biennial fundraising auction” tonight at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy at 972 Fifth Ave. from 6:30 to 8:30. Lots of great stuff up for auction (you can see it all by clicking here) and the proceeds will go to a very worth cause.
Also happening tonight is the next event in the Words Without Borders reading and conversation series at Idlewild Books this time featuring Natasha Wimmer and Francisco Goldman talking about Bolano’s 2666. I can’t imagine a better event . . . especially since I’ve heard that FSG will be selling special 2666 t-shirts. (I hope this rumor isn’t unfounded, and if anyone will buy me one, I swear I’ll pay you back.) Bud Parr has a column at WWB previewing this event.
This week is probably going to be another slow one for Three Percent, but for good reason. Bragi Olafsson is in town and we’ve stacked up a number of events and readings, beginning tonight. Here’s his official schedule:
Reading and Discussion on
Monday, October 6th, 8pm
Karpeles Manuscript Library
220 North St.
Reading the World Conversation Series
with Bragi and Lytton Smith
Tuesday, October 7th, 6pm
Rush Rhees Library
University of Rochester
(Tuesday morning we’ll also be on WHAM 13 again, which we’ll post as soon as possible. I’m convinced that this is the only TV in America that has had literary authors from Croatia and Iceland on their morning program in one month.)
Bragi Olafsson and Dubravka Ugresic
Wednesday, October 8th, 7pm
52 Prince St.
New York, NY
Idlewild Lunchtime Series: Bragi Olafsson
Thursday, October 9th, 12:30 PM
12 W 19th St. (near 5th Ave.)
New York, NY
Bragi Olafsson in conversation with Mark Binelli
Thursday, October 9th, 7 pm
536 West 112th St.
New York, NY
Bragi Olafsson and Bill Holm
Saturday, October 11th
Twin Cities Book Festival
Minneapolis Community & Technical College
Reading and Discussion with Bragi
Tuesday, October 14th, 7:30 pm
Elliot Bay Book Co.
101 South Main St.
Probably should’ve posted this earlier in the week, but for anyone in Rochester, tomorrow afternoon, we’re hosting a special event from 3-5pm in the Rare Books and Special Collections Room of the Rush Rhees Library. This event is a roundtable discussion on “The Ecosystem of Translation,” featuring Professors John Michael and Claudia Schafer, along with Rhea Lyons and Melissa Schoenberger, two UR students enrolled in the translation certificate program and current Open Letter interns.
This really will be an open discussion with two primary goals: to provide general info about the literary translation programs (current and developing) and the Press, and to start to talk about some of the different issues, experiences, and joys of studying, or working with, international literature.
Should be fun and interesting, and post-discussion we’ll have some appetizers and wine—along with the first printed copies of our inaugural catalog. So if you’re in the area, please come on over . . .
Here’s a pdf version of the flyer for the event.
For anyone at the University of Rochester who reads this blog, the subject of this post is the subject of a speech I’ll be giving tomorrow night for the Undergraduate English Council. The event starts at 8pm at the Friel Lounge in Susan B. Anthony.
Hopefully my stories about Lost, The Third Policeman. John Calder, how returns work, etc., will be entertaining and informative . . .
E.J. already posted about this yesterday, but on Monday there were a series of events at the Deutsches Haus in New York about French and German literature and related to the Editors Trip that took place earlier this year.
Anyway, I was on the Promoting International Literature Online panel, which was pretty interesting, and which Michael Orthofer did a great job recapping at the Literary Saloon.
What caught my attention was this:
While I appreciate that the complete review and its Literary Saloon are held in some regard, I found it somewhat disconcerting to be considered near the forefront of what’s being done on the Internet re. international literary coverage. Lazy, with no resources and far too little time (otherwise I could attend all those other panels …) I cobble together what I find of interest, when and as I can. The complete review should be a second- or third-tier information site; it’s a sad sign of the times and the field that you can get your information here first.
He’s being overly-modest, but he’s also got a point. I’m a huge fan of what Orthofer’s done, and when I say that Three Percent was inspired by Literary Saloon and Complete Review, I’m being completely honest.
What I most admire about his sites is the integrity and intellectual curiosity that drives his posts. Literary Saloon is in no way a “Dear Diary” sort of site, which is why it’s so respected and valuable to the culture at large.
That said, there does need to be more sources of information about international literature—especially works that are untranslated. But like we talked about on the panel, five years ago, there wasn’t enough going on to even put together a panel. Words Without Borders was in its infancy, InTranslation didn’t exist, PEN America’s site was miles away from the incredible source it is today, so things are changing and growing. And hopefully that will continue. This panel proved that there is a hunger for information about these books, and that there’s still a lot of people out there who aren’t familiar with what’s going on online.
So hold tight Michael. Hopefully you’ll be fighting for top-tier status sometime soon . . . in a good way.
The Brooklyn Book Festival is on Sunday, and has a host of interesting events scheduled. (I’d include the link, but the website doesn’t allow it.)
One that I’m definitely going to attend is “Brooklyn Bridges to Europe,” 3pm on Sunday at St. Francis College (180 Remsen St.):
Brooklyn authors Jonathan Lethem and Jonathan Safran Foer, in conversation with their French and German publishers, explore the appeal of their work to European audiences. Presented with The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the French-American Foundation and the German Book Office in New York. Moderated by literary critic Liesl Schillinger.
This is part of the “Editors Exchange Program in New York” that the German Book Office, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and French-American Foundation are putting on.
In addition to the BBF event, there’s a panel on “Promoting Literature in Translation Online” Monday at 11am and an “Editors’ ‘Buzz’ Panel” on Monday at 5. Both of these events will take place at the Deutsches Haus NYU (42 Washington Mews, off University Place).
Both events should be pretty interesting. I’ll be on the Translations Online panel with people from Words Without Borders, In Translation, PEN America, and elsewhere, and the Buzz panel will give editors from L’Olivier, Editions Allia, Harcourt, DuMont, Wylie Agency (?!), P.O.L., Houghton-Mifflin, and Tropen Verlag a chance to discuss their latest publications or books in progress.
The event is Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 6 pm, at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at NYU and will feature editor CM Mayo, writers Pedro Angel Palou and Monica Lavin, and translators Harry Morales and Daniel Shapiro.
For anyone in the New York area, the National Book Critics Circle will be hosting a week-long symposium on the Future of Book Reviewing.
Officially entitled “The Age of Infinite Margins: Book Critics Face the 21st Century,” panel discussions will take place at Housing Works on Thursday, September 13th and Friday the 14th, with a Sunday event taking place at the Brooklyn Book Fair.
(I’m not sure Thursday through Sunday constitutes a week . . . possible there are more events that aren’t listed here.)
Some of the participants include Barbara Hoffert (Library Journal), Brigid Hughes (A Public Space), Jeffrey Lependorf (Council of Literary Magazines and Presses), Scott McLemee (Insiderhighered.com), John Freeman (NBCC president), Erica Wagner (Times (UK)), Jennifer Szalai (Harper’s), Steve Wasserman (Truthdig.com), and Dwight Garner (New York Times Book Review), Eric Banks (Bookforum), David Kipen (NEA), among others.
For anyone interested in book reviewing, this should be a great set of events.
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .