The immense longlist for the 2009 IMPAC award was announced yesterday. As always with the IMPAC, the list is all over the place and almost too long (146 novels!) to really mean something.
The process for awarding the IMPAC goes on for almost a year, with the shortlist being announced on April 2nd, and the winner on June 11th.
Nominations for the list come from 157 libraries in 117 cities and 41 countries worldwide. On the IMPAC site, there’s a bit about how this longlist breaks down:
“The 156 authors [sic — or 146, it’s hard to keep track] hail from 41 countries. The books span 18 languages, 29 of which are translated from languages such as Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Slovenian and Hebrew. 19 [sic] of them are first novels. These are books that might not otherwise come to the attention of Irish readers”, says Deirdre Ellis-King, Dublin City Librarian. “The spread of languages and the number of books in translation continues to grow”.
Translated authors include Peter Høeg, Jan Echenoz, Lars Saabye Christensen, Laura Restrepo and Haruki Murakami.
Afghan/American writer, Khalid Hosseini is the libraries favorite with 18 nominations for A Thousand Splendid Suns. Divisadero by Australian Michael Ondaatje [sic — maybe they meant this Michael Ondaatje was nominated by 13 libraries and Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach received 10 nominations.
Despite the significant money that comes with this award (€100,000 that is split between author and translator if the book is in translation), I have a hard time paying much attention to this award. It’s cool in theory, but would be better served by having a shorter longlist (you could release a list of all nominated books separately), and a shorter time between events so as to build some momentum for the prize. There should be a word for something like this . . . something brilliant in concept, but fucked in execution.
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. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .
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. . .