Anyone who’s met me knows that I can, on occasion, speak a bit fast. Almost incomprehensibly fast. Especially if English isn’t your first language . . . This “talent” kind of came in handy at the 21st Century Publishing Symposium at the Reykjavik International Literary Festival last week. The symposium was extremely interesting, with presentations by Kristjan B. Jonasson on the Future of Icelandic Publishing (I did a video interview with him that will run at Publishing Perspectives later this week), Heiko Strunk on Lyrikline.org, Helga Frese-Resch on finding and publishing literature in translation, and Alexander Schwarz on e-books.
I somehow managed to fit the bulk of my speech (which is probably 45 minutes long spoken at a normal, understandable clip) into about 20 minutes . . . So, for the benefit of anyone who attended the symposium and couldn’t understand a word I said, or anyone in general interested in the future of e-books and literature in translation, click here to download a pdf version of the entire presentation.
In terms of the Festival—I am writing a longer piece about it for Publishing Perspectives, and will post another update later today about some of the interesting authors I met in Iceland. And hopefully I’ll even have a few samples to run over the next few weeks . . .
In the meantime, enjoy this picture of a bone in the prison cells in the basement of the President of Iceland’s house. (I’m just going to let that statement stand as is for the time being.)
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. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .