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.)
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .