Even though I only skipped two days, it seems like so much time has passed since I last posted anything. One reason it seems so long is due to the weird time fluctuations surrounding the Ledig House.
E.J. and I were invited up there this past weekend to meet with the current residents and tell them a bit about Open Letter and Three Percent.
As you can read on its website, the Ledig House International Writers Residency was founded in 1992 and is named after German publisher Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt. It is located just north of Hudson in the town of Omi. Which, from what I’ve seen, is primarily made up of Art Omi (the Ledig House, a sculpture garden, and some other work spaces). Over the course of the year, there are residencies at Omi for writers, visual artists, and musicians.
I don’t have a lot of experience with writers’ colonies (and by “not a lot” I mean absolutely none), but I can’t imagine many are as nice as Ledig House. The views are spectacular, the silence astounding, and the array of authors from around the world that come there are all amazing. (And they’re actually there to work, not, um, you know.)
Usually about 10 authors and translators (I met the Lithuanian translator of Joyce’s Ulysses there on a day trip last month) there at any point in time, most of whom are from outside the U.S., but there are always few American authors as well.
Everyone we met was pretty incredible, including Gabriele Riedle, Martí Sales I Sariola (who is really psyched that we’re publishing Merce Rodoreda’s Death ad Springtime), Michael Obert, Denise Leith, Christine Bredenkamp (who translated How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic into Swedish), and Thachom Poyil Rajeevan, and everyone else who was there.
Just being able to sleep in, to spend hours in peace reading and writing, is so incredible. And then the discussions over dinner are pretty stimulating. It’s rare—for me at least—to get to sit around with so many well-read people from such diverse backgrounds.
I’d encourage any and everyone to apply for this residency, especially translators. Also, the residents are always up to give readings or speeches, so anyone looking for interesting international voices should get in touch with DW Gibson about arranging something. (We’re planning on doing something next spring here at the University of Rochester.)
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. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .
While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro remembers what his friend Kumamoto Akira said about poetry.
Its perfection arises precisely from its imperfection . . . . I have an image in my head. I see. . .
The central concern of Sorj Chalandon’s novel Return to Killybegs appears to be explaining how a person of staunch political activism can be lead to betray his cause, his country, his people. Truth be told, the real theme of the. . .
Spoiler alert: acclaimed writer Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte kill themselves at the end of Lauren Seksik’s 2010 novel, The Last Days.
It’s hard to avoid spoiling this mystery. Zweig’s suicide actually happened, in Brazil in 1942, and since then. . .