11 April 11 | Chad W. Post | Comments

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.)

Anyway, you can download the entry form here, and the Arabic text here.

Good luck!

19 July 07 | Chad W. Post |

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 . . . )

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 by Leo Tolstoy
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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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A Dilemma
A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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. . .

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