This post originally appeared on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog. I highly recommend visiting the official blog for interesting posts from Richard Nash, Alex Hippisley-Cox, and Arun Wolf
In order to better promote works of Indian literature and independent Indian presses, a number of publishers are talking about joining forces to create their own collective stand at next year’s Book Fair. Granted, this is all still in development, but Zubaan Books, DC Books, Blaft, and Kalachuvadu Publications have all agreed in principle to working together to create a large, joint display at FBF 2010.
Let me put this into a bit of perspective and explain to anyone not actually here at the Fair why this is noteworthy. If you wander through halls 5 and 6 (again, for those not here, the FBF is made up of eight large halls filled with throusands of stands) you’ll see huge displays from the “book offices” in Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Denmark, Argentina, Iceland, Macedonia, etc., etc. These national book promotions are incredibly helpful to publishers looking for some information about what’s going on in the book scene in a particular part of the world. There are usually overview guides (e.g., “48 New Writers from Poland,” “New Korean Fiction,” “10 Books from Holland and Flanders”) booklets with data on that country’s book market, lists upon lists upon lists of publishers from that country, and all kinds of other promotional material.
Well, although India was a huge success as Guest of Honor just a few short years ago, the National Book Trust stand is completely empty and covered with a white sheet. Not to salt a wound or anything like that, but the Pakistan stand right around the corner is hoppin’ . . .
So for anyone interested in finding out what’s going on in Indian lit, you have the more difficult task of having to troll the aisles and talk (or try to talk) to all the individual publishers. This possible alternative—a vibrant stand with X number of innovative, indie presses—would be a frickin’ godsend. India is booming in all ways. And it’s a market that a lot of people are interested in. To provide a bigger, more attractive, more active platform for these presses to share their knowledge and info would be spectacular.
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. . .