20 May 11 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Last week, the Instytut Ksiazki announced that this year’s Transatlantyk Award was to Vlasta Dvořáčková, who translates Polish literature into Czech.

Vlasta Dvořáčková is the most important Czech translator of Czesław Miłosz, Tadeusz Różewicz, Wisława Szymborska, and Zbigniew Herbert. Ever since having studied Polish Literature at Charles University in Prague – in the complex circumstances of a communist state and widespread censorship – she has promoted Polish literature and culture, including authors that were blacklisted. She has performed an invaluable service in her publishing and popularizing of modern Polish poetry, both before and after 1989. Her contribution to the popularization of the classics of Polish literature is also inestimable, as her translations include Jan Andrzej Morsztyn, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Adam Mickiewicz. Dvořáčková has won the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland. In 2009 she received the translation of the year award from the Czech Translators’ Association for her rendering of recent volumes by Wisława Szymborska (Moment, Colon, and Here). She also translates from German and English.

The Transatlantyk is an annual Book Institute award presented for outstanding achievement in the promotion of Polish literature in the world. The Award Chapter selects the winner; it is made up of Ireneusz Kania, Xenia Staroshyelska, Beata Stasińska and Olga Tokarczuk. The head is the Director of the Book Institute. The award includes 10,000 euro and a statue. The winners to date have been: Henryk Bereska (2005), Anders Bodegård (2006), Albrecht Lempp (2007), Xenia Staroshyelska (2008), Biserka Rajčić (2009), and Pietro Marchesani (2010).

....
Bye Bye Blondie
Bye Bye Blondie by Virginie Despentes
Reviewed by Emma Ramadan

Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .

Read More >

La Superba
La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
Reviewed by Anna Alden

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .

Read More >

Intervenir/Intervene
Intervenir/Intervene by Dolores Dorantes; Rodrigo Flores Sánchez
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .

Read More >

All Days Are Night
All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .

Read More >

The Seven Good Years
The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .

Read More >

Human Acts
Human Acts by Han Kang
Reviewed by J.C. Sutcliffe

Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .

Read More >

Nowhere to Be Found
Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah
Reviewed by Pierce Alquist

It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .

Read More >