9 December 09 | Chad W. Post | Comments [1]

The other week, media strategist David Henderson came to the University of Rochester to give us some media training on how best to present yourself on TV, how to buy a second to think of a good answer to a tricky question, how to speak slowly, etc., etc. (And no, that last one didn’t stick. At least not for me.)

Anyway, as part of this he filmed the following video about Open Letter Books. I’m embarrassed to watch myself on things like this, but I’ve heard from others that it’s a decent presentation of what we do. So in case anyone’s interested, here it is:

10 November 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Last Thursday, we held our final Reading the World Conversation Series event of the fall, featuring a group of four international writers and translators in residence at Ledig House — an international writers residency in New York that specializes in hosting authors and translators from around the world.

Now, the video of the event is available. Contained within this eight-part playlist is some reading, some commentary, some strong opinions on translating, and some Q&A:


And here are some more specifics about the event, Ledig House, and our four guests:

November 5, 2009 – Ledig House International Writers Residency is one of the only residences of its type in the United States. Since its creation in 1992, Ledig House has hosted hundreds of writers and translators from roughly 50 countries around the world.

At this event, Chad Post (Director of Open Letter at the University of Rochester) leads a panel of writers and translators from around the world—all of whom are currently in residence at Ledig House. The panel includes readings and discussion from:

Kathrin Aehnlich (Germany): Her first novel, published 2007, became a bestseller in Germany.

Tom Dreyer (South Africa): His second novel received the Eugene Marais Prize. His third was shortlisted for the M-Net Prize.

Linda Gaboriau (Canada): She is an award-winning translator of Quebecs most prominent playwrights.

Pravda Miteva (Bulgaria): She has worked as a literary translator since 1994, and owns a small publishing house.

(This event is 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.)

15 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Video is now up from our Reading the World Conversation Series event with the acclaimed French-to-English translator Charlotte Mandell. It’s in seven parts, and there’s interesting stuff throughout—with parts 1-3 comprising the reading and parts 4-7 comprising the questions/answer portion (conducted with aplomb by our own senior editor, E.J. Van Lanen).

About the event:
Oct. 6 2009 – The French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation. Zone has already been called “The novel of the decade, if not of the century” (Christophe Claro). In short, it is a 517-page, one-sentence novel about a spy, a train ride, a briefcase, and the pervasive violence of the twentieth century.

Charlotte Mandell is one of the great French-to-English translators, and has translated such prominent works as: The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honoré de Balzac, The Book to Come by Maurice Blanchot, A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy, and The Lemoine Affair by Marcel Proust.

(This event is 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.)

8 May 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Last week we hosted another Reading the World Conversation Series event at the University of Rochester (co-sponsored by PEN World Voices). This time we brought together the internationally renown Norwegian author Jan Kjærstad and fab American author and Rolling Stone contributing editor Mark Binelli. For your reference, here’s a rundown on the event with some short bios, and the video is below. Enjoy.

Reading the World Conversation Series: Jan Kjærstad & Mark Binelli from Open Letter Books on Vimeo.

9 October 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments

I’ll tell ya, it seems like forever since we posted a video of Chad. Luckily, Publishers Weekly has just published a lovely article-slash-interview with our director. It’s all about things like Open Letter, the books we publish, our websites (such as this one), and literature in translation. Also, there is an accompanying web video.

I especially enjoyed the article’s title: “The International Literature Evangelist.” Not only does Chad spread the good news (of sorts), but it seems like only yesterday that we were philistines.

....
Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage
Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Reviewed by Will Eells

Floating around the internet amid the hoopla of a new Haruki Murakami release, you may have come across a certain Murakami Bingo courtesy of Grant Snider. It is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s funny because it’s true,. . .

Read More >

The Matiushin Case
The Matiushin Case by Oleg Pavlov
Reviewed by Brandy Harrison

The publisher’s blurb for Oleg Pavlov’s The Matiushin Case promises the prospective reader “a Crime and Punishment for today,” the sort of comparison that is almost always guaranteed to do a disservice to both the legendary dead and the ambitious. . .

Read More >

Fear: A Novel of World War I
Fear: A Novel of World War I by Gabriel Chevallier
Reviewed by Paul Doyle

One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is difficult to believe that there are still novels, considered classics in their own countries, that have never been published in English. Perhaps it was the. . .

Read More >

Little Grey Lies
Little Grey Lies by Hédi Kaddour
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

In the London of Hédi Kaddour’s Little Grey Lies, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan, peace has settled, but the tensions, fears, and anger of the Great War remain, even if tucked away behind stories and lies. Directly ahead, as those. . .

Read More >

Autobiography of a Corpse
Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Reviewed by Simon Collinson

One of the greatest services—or disservices, depending on your viewpoint—Bertrand Russell ever performed for popular philosophy was humanizing its biggest thinkers in his History. No longer were they Platonic ideals, the clean-shaven exemplars of the kind of homely truisms that. . .

Read More >

A Musical Hell
A Musical Hell by Alejandra Pizarnik
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

The best way to review Alejandra Pizarnik’s slim collection, A Musical Hell, published by New Directions as part of their Poetry Pamphlet series, is to begin by stating that it is poetry with a capital P: serious, dense, and, some. . .

Read More >

Astragal
Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had. . .

Read More >