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.)
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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!. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .