This week’s podcast is a mixed bag of stuff. Our main focus is on book events—why from a publisher’s perspective they can be frustrating, what makes them interesting (or not), etc. But we also talk a bit about Occupy Wall Street and books that we hope are in the OWS library.Read More...
Not surprisingly, we at Open Letter/Three Percent are pretty big supporters of Occupy Wall Street and the whole Occupy Movement in general. So, although it’s not exactly translation related, I thought it would be worth mentioning the Occupy Writers site that writer Jeff Sharlet started and which now boasts a pretty huge, and star studded, list of writers.
Here’s a bit from the announcement I received from PEN America:
Founded on October 9, 2011, by writer Jeff Sharlet after a tweet with Salman Rushdie, and organized by Sharlet and journalists Kiera Feldman and Nathan Schneider, Occupy Writers seeks to celebrate and chronicle the progress of the unfolding movement. “Within a day of sending out our invitation, we were almost overwhelmed by writers. The usual suspects, who I was glad to see, but also many, many writers you wouldn’t think of as political. And they’re not – this is bigger than politics.”
Utilizing their web site, Occupy Writers intends to publish narratives of those writers who have visited Occupy sites throughout the globe. By gathering stories and personal accounts, Occupy Writers aims to harness the power of literary America to create a counter media where people can find documentation about the movement.
Writers’ work necessarily involves imagination, whether in the service of fictional worlds or of making stories about actual events. Occupy Writers acknowledges that the protesters of the growing Occupy movement are exercising a similar imagination in the pursuit of a more democratic culture. As writers whose livelihoods are enabled by the freedom of speech, they support the protesters who through peaceful means are raising their voices with creativity, wit, and passion, on Wall Street and beyond.
From “Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance”:
9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.
10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.
11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.
12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.
13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
As you hopefully know, the Occupy Wall Street protests are now into their third week, with people of all ages and from all over the country descending on Liberty Square to speak up about a number of injustices, especially related to banks, Wall Street, and the growing disparity between the top 1% and everyone else.
Aside from being totally behind this in every way (I’m sending a few Open Letter books down to the OWS Library where I saw a copy of Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Tyrant Memory when I went down there over the weekend), I’m posting about it here because of their need for translators.
From Susan Bernofsky’s blog, Translationista:
At the end of last week, the General Assembly issued its first official communiqué, the Declaration of the Occupation (which, as Brian Lehrer said by way of praise, reminded him of the Declaration of Independence). And now the first edition of the Occupation’s newspaper has been published, The Occupied Wall Street Journal. Not surprisingly, the paper copies went like hotcakes. They’re expecting a new shipment in today, so if you want one, better get down there fast. Or, if you’re content to read it online, I’ve uploaded a copy for your reading pleasure.
And over the past several days I and the other members of the Translation Working Group of the General Assembly have assembled a stalwart crew of translators who are busy translating the Declaration into many different languages. But we still need more translators. We still have no one for Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Hindi. We could use more Russian translators. We could use more translators in all sorts of languages. (Note: we need translators who can translate out of English into other languages at this point, not the other way around.) If you’d like to join us, please e-mail me. (You can find her email on her website.)
Now go to it.
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .