Details about the Second Annual Young Translators’ Prize (brought to you by Harvill Secker and Foyles) are now available online:
The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize was launched in 2010 as part of Harvill Secker’s centenary celebrations. It is an annual prize, which focuses on a different language each year, with the aim of recognising the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers. For the 2011 prize Harvill Secker has teamed up with Foyles, and the prize is kindly supported by Banipal. This year’s chosen language is Arabic, and the prize will centre on the short story ‘Layl Qouti’ by Mansoura Ez Eldin.
Egyptian novelist and journalist Mansoura Ez Eldin was born in Delta Egypt in 1976. She studied journalism at the Faculty of Media, Cairo University and has since published short stories in various newspapers and magazines: she published her first collection of short stories, Shaken Light, in 2001. This was followed by two novels, Maryam’s Maze in 2004 and Beyond Paradise in 2009. Her work has been translated into a number of languages, including an English translation of Maryam’s Maze by the American University in Cairo (AUC) Press. In 2010, she was selected for the Beirut39, as one of the 39 best Arab authors below the age of 40. Her second novel Wara’a al-Fardoos (Beyond Paradise) was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the Arabic Booker) 2010. She was also a participant of the inaugural nadwa (writers’ workshop) held by the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in Abu Dhabi in 2009 and was a mentor at the second nadwa in October 2010.
The winning translator will receive £1,000, a selection of Harvill Secker titles and Foyles tokens.
To enter, you have to be between the ages of 18 and 34 on July 29, 2011. (God damn it, I hate not being eligible for “young” prizes.)
The most recent addition to Eurozine’s “Literary Perspectives” series (an intro to which can be found here) is an essay on contemporary Estonian literature.
Pieces in this series aren’t always that tight or well-structured—although the opening on libraries not loaning or stocking many contemporary Estonian books is pretty fascinating, and I wonder what the borrowing ratio is here between Harry Potter and David Foster Wallace—but they do cover a number of interesting international authors.
I was fortunate enough to visit Estonia a couple of years ago (thanks to the amazing Estonian Literature Information Centre) and meet with a number of publishers, writers, and critics, so a number of the authors featured in Mart Valjataga’s article are familiar to me. And sample translations from most are on the ELIC website.
Tonu Onnepalu is a very interesting Estonian writer, and one of his books—Border State—is available in English from Northwestern University Press.
Other than that, the Estonian books in translation that I’m aware of are Things in the Night by Mati Unt and Jaan Kross’s Czar’s Madman, The Conspiracy, Professor Marten’s Departure, and Treading Air. (Anselm Hollo and Eric Dickens are the translators responsible for all these titles, although Random House UK doesn’t seem to mention translators on their website . . . )
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. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .