Congratulations to author Julian Barnes and translator Ronald Vlek, whose novel Alsof het voorbij is (The Sense of an Ending, published by Atlas Contact) just won the 2012 European Literature Prize. Initiated in 2011, the Prize selects the best Dutch translations of European literary novels to appear in the last year. For winning the award, the author receives a sum of €10,000, the translator € 2,500.
Barnes’ brief but powerful new novel is “. . . as calm as it is disturbing, as melancholy as it is comical, a novel that can be read on several levels: as a personal outpouring, an account by a man wishing to clear his name, or an assault on the power of memories. A novel that makes the reader doubt everything he thinks he knows about himself.” For Vlek’s translation, the jury expressed equal praise: “Translator Ronald Vlek not only manages to transform the narrator’s language into perfect, measured Dutch, he is remarkably successful in capturing Barnes’ undertone. He meticulously transforms the restrained, sometimes evasive sentences, the lucid images and carefully chosen words into Dutch without ever allowing them to lose any of their connotations.”
Modeled after Three Percent’s Best Translated Book Award, the European Literature Prize is sponsored by the Academic-Cultural Centre SPUI25, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer, and Athenaeum Booksellers. The four other shortlisted titles for the prize are as follows:
Geluk als het geluk ver te zoeken is by Wilhelm Genazino, translated from German by Gerrit Bussink (Atlas Contact)
De kaart en het gebied by Michel Houellebecq, translated from French by Martin de Haan (De Arbeiderspers)
C by Tom McCarthy, translated from English by Auke Leistra (De Bezige Bij)
De waarheid omtrent Marie by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, translated from French by Marianne Kaas (Prometheus)
Eleven independent bookshops selected books for the longlist. The professional jury then pared it down, selected the shortlist, and chose the winner.
In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about the strange cases of books/authors that most people don’t think of as having been translated. (Not to give away too much, but we start with Haruki Murakami.) From there, we talk about which authors are most associated with particular countries, the pros and cons of shelving authors by country, and how book discovery does (and might not) work.Read More...
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...
For this week’s podcast we decided to talk about a few recent news items, starting with this lawsuit against Apple that “alleges that the publishers and Apple colluded to increase prices for popular e-book titles to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.” Yep.Read More...
We’re finally back from our respective vacations, and back to podcasting. The big news from when we were gone was the liquidation and ultimate demise of Borders, so this week we talked about bookselling. About the fallout of Borders closing down, about the big losers, about the possibilities for the resurgence of independent bookstores, and about ordering books on Esperanto.Read More...
In order to decrease the confusion between Open Letter and Three Percent, and to allow all TP posts to appear on FB, and to create a more vibrant conversation via our newly enabled FB commenting system, and to allow us to do magic, we just set-up the Three Percent Facebook Page.
So, if you’re a Facebook user, you can “like” us and get all your Three Percent updates that way . . .
A few weeks ago, Larry Rohter of the New York Times came up to interview just about everyone involved in Open Letter and the University of Rochester’s Literary Translation programs. The piece he was working on appeared in the paper over the weekend.
So, if you’re curious what we’re doing up here, and if you’re reading this I assume you have to be at least a little curious, the article will give you a good overview of our program and vision.
As you probably noticed, we underwent a pretty significant redesign over the weekend. E.J. could explain this a lot better than I can, but basically, over the past two years, we’ve come to use the site is a slightly different way than initially conceived. When launched, we had no idea Three Percent would come to host the only Translation Database tracking U.S. publications, or the Best Translated Book Award. And even our most recent idea of a monthly bookstore feature was getting a bit lost in the old design . . .
So E.J. came up with what you see here. The big difference is the top menu which now has links to Open Letter Books, the Best Translated Book Award, the Translation Database, and the Translation Studies program at the University of Rochester. (The other striking change is that it’s no longer orange.)
Some things are still in progress—especially the column on the far right, which currently has “links.” Soon (this week?) that will become the “featured bookstore of the month” column, and will also contain a calendar of nationwide translation related events . . .
But in the meantime, if you have any comments, suggestions, etc., please e-mail them to me (chad.post at rochester dot edu) or to E.J. (e.j.vanlanen at rochester dot edu).
E.J.: Definitely let me know if anything isn’t working properly on your end. There are a lot of moving parts, and I’m sure to have missed a bunch of things.
The official news release about the launch of Open Letter—the new translation-focused publishing house at the University of Rochester, and overseer of this website—and Three Percent can be found here.
More information about Open Letter’s books, plans, etc., will be forthcoming over the next few months. And an official Open Letter website complete with full catalog, interviews, news, and a shopping cart feature will be up and running in early-October.
When I was about two-thirds of the way through Neuman’s very ambitious, very engrossing novel, Bromance Will Evans asked me what I thought the purpose the rapist had in this book. Not who the rapist was—something that’s held in suspense. . .
“At night Amarâq is coated with a darkness as viscous as unmixed colors, neither the fjord nor the mountains, valleys, lakes, or the river exist, there is only a black mass, a void that spreads across the landscape sporadically, pressing. . .
If you’ve been following any of the recent Antoine Volodine talk going around Three Percent—both on the blog or on the podcasts—and have heard his fans wax obsessive over all his alter author-egos, you’re probably starting to feel some Volodine. . .
Muireann Maguire’s Red Spectres is a stunning and engaging collection of eleven Russian gothic tales written by various authors during the early Soviet Era, all but two stories of which are featured in English for the first time ever. These. . .
“The small stone plaza was floating in the midday heat. The Christ of Elqui, kneeling on the ground, his gaze thrown back on high, the part in his hair dark under the Atacaman sun—he felt himself falling into an ecstasy.. . .
This slender, uncanny volume—the second, best-selling collection of stories by Russian author Ludmilla Petrushevskaya to appear in the U.S.—has already received considerable, well-deserved praise from many critics and high profile publications. Its seventeen short tales, averaging ten pages each, are. . .
The Urdu word basti refers to any space, intimate to worldly, and is often translated as “common place” or “a gathering place.” This book by Intizar Husain, who is widely regarded as one of the most important living Pakistani writers,. . .