As I mentioned some time ago, I was invited to participate in this year’s Non-Fiction Conference sponsored and organized by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. This year’s focus was on “Quality Non-Fiction in the Digital Era,” so there were a number of presentations about new developments, the future of publishing and reading, etc.
Unlike some of the other digitally-focused conferences I’ve attended (such as TOC Frankfurt), this was less about “what’s possible” and more about “what this means.” Which was refreshing and very interesting.
The foundation did record all of the talks, and has made most (soon to be all?) available on YouTube. (I personally love all the stills . . . We all look a bit over-enthused with our hand gestures and what not.)
All of the speeches were great, and to make this even easier, here are links and quick summaries to the speeches that are available:
Sara Lloyd of Pan Macmillan gave a great overview of where we are in terms of ebooks and the digital market.
Richard Nash’s speech isn’t online (yet), but he talked about the coming Age of Abundance and how economic theory provides a basis for arguing that this abundance will force prices to zero.
Jos de Mul talked about the impact of technology on human imagination from a philosophical perspective.
Harry Blom’s speech isn’t up yet either, but he talked about Springer and publishing edatabase versions of journals.
Henry Volans from Faber and Faber talked about this as well, but from a publisher’s perspective.
Nicky Harman discussed the role of translators in this digital age.
Finally, I talked about reading and discovery in the Age of Screens. But I’ll talk more about that in a separate post . . . For now, I just want to encourage you to check out some of these videos. I think you’ll find them very interesting and enjoyable. (And we were all limited to 10 minutes, so they’re short.)
Thanks—in a somewhat roundabout way—to Arts Council England funding, I had the chance to meet with Eric Abrahamsen and Nikki Harman from Paper Republic at the London Book Fair. Paper Republic is one of the best online sources for information about Chinese literature, especially thanks to resources such as their lists of books to (re)translated.
A relatively new feature, the site now offers three short lists: Five Books in Need of Retranslation,, Five Best Untranslated Books of the Past Five Years, and Five Best Untranslated Books of the Past Fifty Years.
They’re still in the process of adding information about each of these fifteen books and authors, and, in some cases, even making sample translations available. You can visit the links above to see the complete lists, but here are a couple titles that caught my eye:
“I should say at the outset that there is a lot of absurdity in the whole thing.”
As the shaman Mallén prepares to explain to Clarke the legend of the Legibrerian hare, I can’t help but read “the whole thing”. . .
“The more bored you are, the more attached you get.
I’m so bored, I no longer want to die.”
So reads an entire poem by Patrizia Cavalli (translated by Gini Alhadeff) confirming for many critics of poetry what they’ve always believed:. . .
“A man’s country may be cramped or vast according to the size of his heart. I’ve never found my country too small, though that isn’t to say my heart is great. And if I could choose it’s here in Guadeloupe. . .
The recent reissuing of several of Stig Dagerman’s novels by University of Minnesota Press has rekindled interest in his works, which have until now been little-known outside Sweden. Just twenty-four when he wrote A Burnt Child (here newly translated by. . .
Paul Klee’s Boat, Anzhelina Polonskaya’s newest bilingual collection of poems available in English, is an emotional journey through the bleakest seasons of the human soul, translated with great nuance by Andrew Wachtel. A former professional ice dancer(!), Polonskaya left the. . .
In Seiobo There Below, Lázló Krasznahorkai is able to succeed at a task at which many writers fail: to dedicate an entire novel to a single message, to express an idea over and over again without falling into repetition or. . .
There are curious similarities in three Italian mystery series, written by Maurizio de Giovanni, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon.1
They’re all police procedurals, and all set in Italy: Naples, Sicily, Venice.
The three protagonists are Commissarios: Luigi Ricciardi, Salvo. . .