Our second (and final!) Reading the World Conversation Series event of the fall is happening in just a few days. As always, it’s taking place in Rochester, NY. So, if you’re in the area, you’d better check it out—lest all your friends go without you and bond intimately over the great time they all had (true story).
Here are the rousing details:
Reading the World Conversation Series:
Sergio Chejfec & Margaret B. Carson
DECEMBER 1, 2011
Thursday, 6:00 p.m
Plutzik Library in Rare Books & Special Collections
Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester
(Free and open to the public.)
Sergio Chejfec is the author of a dozen books, three of which are coming out from Open Letter Books: My Two Worlds (available now), The Planets (2012), and The Dark (2013). Spanish author Enrique Vila-Matas singled out My Two Worlds as one of the “best books of the year.” The English edition has been universally praised, with Publishers Weekly saying Margaret B. Carson’s “magnificent translation” should be “treated as a significant event.”
My Two Worlds is a novel about an author walking through a city in the South of Brazil. As he wanders, this unnamed narrator thinks about his walk, about his new book (which isn’t getting very good reviews), and about his life (his birthday is a few days away).
Chejfec and Carson will discuss this novel, literature, and the process of translation.
(Sponsored by The Dept. of Rare Books, Special Collections & Preservation)
(This event is presented by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)
Last week, the penultimate event in this year’s Reading the World Conversation Series took place and featured Bill Martin (former Literary Program Manager at the Polish Cultural Institute and translator of Lovetown) and poet Piotr Sommer (Continued) discussion Piotr’s work, some general Polish poetry trends, etc. Attached below you can watch the event in its entirety.
On a related note, Wednesday is the final RTWCS event of the year: Thomas Pletzinger and Ross Benjamin will be here to talk about Funeral for a Dog. All the details can be found here. More plugging of this come Wednesday, but I’ll guarantee that it’s one of the liveliest RTWCS events to date. And, seeing that sex sells, I’m just going say that all the ladies in attendance will swoon . . . Hear that ladies? SWOON. So you bring the smelling salts and we’ll bring the hot literati.
As mentioned in the previous post, our second RTW event of the spring is almost upon us, and it’s happening this Wednesday, April 13, at the University of Rochester. All the breathtaking details follow below.
Reading the World Conversation Series
Piotr Sommer & Bill Martin:
Polish Poetry and Translation
APRIL 13, 2011
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m
Sloan Auditorium, Goergen Hall
University of Rochester
(Presented with the Skalny Center.
Free and open to the public)
What translates and what doesn’t in contemporary poetry? What are mutual inspirations of Polish and Anglo-American poetry today? This event will feature a poetry reading by Piotr Sommer, followed by a conversation between Piotr Sommer and Bill Martin.
Piotr Sommer, preeminent Polish poet and Visiting Professor at the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, has published several dozen books, including poetry, literary criticism, and anthologies. He is also a well-known translator of contemporary English-language poets and is the editor of Literatura na Świecie (World Literature), a Warsaw-based magazine of international writing.
Bill Martin, former Literary Program Manager at the Polish Cultural Institute, was responsible for the “Polish Literature” issue of the Chicago Review, which marked the first English publication for dozens of Polish writers. His translations from Polish and German include Natasza Goerke’s Farewells to Plasma and Erich Kästner’s Emil and the Detectives.
Visit this event on Facebook.
(This event is presented by the Skalny Center for Polish & Central European Studies at the University of Rochester and hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)
This past Monday’s RTWCS event—featuring Horacio Castellanos Moya (author of Senselessness, The She-Devil in the Mirror, and Dance with Snakes among many other untranslated books)—was easily one of the best events of the series. Castellanos Moya is engaging, hilarious, and extremely interesting, and I think our joint enthusiasms worked off one another really well.
Just start watching—I guarantee you’ll be entertained. (And not just by the way the opening intro is shot as if we’re secretly pirating some blockbuster movie.)
Last Monday we kicked off the spring season of the Reading the World Conversation Series with an event featuring the husband and wife translating team of Konstantin Gurevich and Helen Anderson. They talked with Open Letter editor E.J. Van Lanen about the process of translating Ilf & Petrov’s The Golden Calf, which is definitely one of the funniest books I’ve ever helped publish. (If you doubt me, simply read this excerpt which is part of what I read to kick off the RTWCS event.)
Anyway, here’s the video of the event:
The next event in the series will take place on Monday, April 12th at 6pm in the Hawkins-Carlson room in the Rush Rhees Library on U of R’s campus. I’ll be having a discussion with Horacio Castellanos Moya about his work (Senselessness, Dance with Snakes, and The She-Devil in the Mirror have all been published in English translation) and about world literature in general. Including Horacio’s thoughts on The Bolano Myth.
If you happen to be here in Rochester, you should definitely come to U of R’s Plutzik Library at 6:30 for tonight’s Reading the World Conversation Series event with Jorge Volpi and Alfred Mac Adam.
Jorge is one of the founding members of the “Crack” group—a collection of young Mexican writers who put together this manifesto about breaking with the (derivative) tradition of magical realism, and writing structurally complex, cosmopolitan books. Simon & Schuster published In Search of Klingsor a few years back, and we just got our copies of Season of Ash back from the printer.
Here’s the description:
Jorge Volpi’s international bestseller Season of Ash puts a human face on the earth-shaking events of the late twentieth century: the Chernobyl disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of Soviet communism and the rise fo the Russian oligarchs, the cascading collapse of developing economies, and the near-miraculous scientific advances of the Human Genome Project. Told through the intertwined lives of three women—Irina, a Soviet biologist; Eva, a Hungarian computer scientist; and Jennifer, an American economist—this novel-of-ideas is part detective novel, part scientific investigation, and part journalistic expose, with a dark, destructive love story at its center.
Praised throughout the world for his inventive storytelling and stylistic ambition, Jorge Volpi has become one of the leading innovators of twenty-first-century world literature. Season of Ash calls to mind the best works of Richard Powers and Carlos Fuentes, and it is a stunning, singular achievement.
Here’s a promo bit from this morning’s news program (which, fantastically, always interviews out RTWCS authors):
Jorge’s an impressive guy, and when I was with him at the Guadalajara Book Fair, he was the equivalent of a literary rockstar. And his translator Alfred Mac Adam is equally interesting. Alfred has translated Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jose Donoso, and Julio Coratzar among others. He also used to edit Review: Latin American Literature and Arts and currently teaches at Barnard College.
The event should be really interesting, both in the discussion of the book itself and in talking about the future of Latin American literature. (All next week we’ll be running a five-part essay by Jorge about the future of L.A. lit . . . ) And for those of you not fortunate enough to live in Rochester (or, you know, whatever), we’ll be videotaping this and will post it as soon as possible.
(Also want to take a line here and thank both the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts for making the entire Reading the World Conversation Series possible.)
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. . .