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.)
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
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Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .
“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .
What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .
The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .
Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .
The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .