The first set of Art Works grants from the NEA were announced this morning, and I’m incredibly giddy about the fact that Open Letter was awarded $45,000 for the following:
To support the publication and promotion of books in translation and the continuation of the translation website Three Percent. Works from Germany, Denmark, Bulgaria, Italy, Iceland, and Greece will be translated. The website features 50-70 book reviews per year; the Best Translated Book Awards; and posts on international awards, new works, opportunities for translators, the future and business of publishing, and book culture in general.
To make that a bit more specific, this grant will primarily support the publication and promotion of these five titles:
Two or Three Years Later by Ror Wolf, translated from the German by Jennifer Marquart;
This Is the Garden by Guilio Mozzi, translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris;
The Last Days of My Mother by Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson, translated from the Icelandic by Helga Soffía Einarsdóttir;
When We Leave Each Other by Henrik Nordbrandt, translated from the Danish by Patrick Phillips; and,
Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amanda Michalopoulou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich.
We’ll be posting more information about all these titles as they become available (the Nordbrant poems will be coming out first, in April as part of National Poetry Month), and posting excerpts, etc.
So far, this has been a great week for Open Letter . . . And I recommend checking out the full list of literary organizations receiving NEA funding—it’s an absolutely stellar list of some of the best nonprofit lit orgs in the country.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .