25 November 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

The November Issue of the Frankfurt Book Fair Newsletter is now available online. There are a few interesting pieces in here, including one about China’s new program to fund translations:

Dr. Jing Bartz: The minister from the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) approved the first list of translation funding shortly before the Frankfurt Book Fair. The amounts range from 2,000 to 7,000 euros per title. Just to give a few examples: Berlin Verlag has bought a short novel by a young Chinese author, “Im Laufschritt durch Peking”, which it plans to make one of its key titles in 2009. This is about a migrant worker who comes to Beijing in search of wealth and love. S. Fischer Verlage are at the moment preparing Yu Hua’s lengthy family novel “Die Brüder”, a panoramic picture of Chinese society from the fifties through to the present day. At Suhrkamp, Mo Yan’s novel “Sandelholzfolter” is already being translated: a historical novel that takes readers back to the days of Germany’s colonial presence in China.

Ambitious literature that conveys life and what it feels like to live in China and does so interestingly and with understanding, goes down well with German-language publishing companies. As well as contemporary literature, some classical works will probably also receive funding.

The application process is simple, needing no more than completion of a one-page form and presentation of the licence agreement. Apart from a rejection, there’s nothing to lose. I would advise all German and English-language publishing companies to take advantage of this funding opportunity.

There’s also an interview with Uwe Tellkamp, author of Der Term (The Tower), a 1000-page novel that won the 2008 German Book Prize. Surprisingly, Tellkamp isn’t the most loquacious of interviewees:

Frankfurt Book Fair: In the industry, you were already the favourite once the shortlist was announced. Did you really not expect at all to win the prize?

Uwe Tellkamp: No.

The whirl of your novel – dense, eloquent and intense, and showing borrowings from your own life – sweeps the reader along with it. Were you also caught up in a whirlwind of past events as you wrote, or was there such a thing as “normal everyday life” for you?


In an interview at the Book Fair, you said that a book tells you when it’s finished and that as the author, you have to be able to listen to that. For “Der Turm”, it took almost 1,000 pages before saying “stop”. Did that surprise you?


Still no reference to the sale of the English-language rights . . . Hopefully someone will pick this up.

Dinner by César Aira
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .

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We're Not Here to Disappear
We're Not Here to Disappear by Olivia Rosenthal
Reviewed by Megan C. Ferguson

Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .

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The Queen's Caprice
The Queen's Caprice by Jean Echenoz
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .

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French Concession
French Concession by Xiao Bai
Reviewed by Emily Goedde

Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .

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Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .

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The Cold Song
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Reviewed by David Richardson

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .

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This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

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