At some point while I’m housebound thanks to the Colossal Snowpocalypse of the Century tm I’ll finish tweaking the write-up of the speech I gave in Amsterdam at the Nonfiction Conference, post part of that and write up some stuff about how fantastic this conference was. (If you look at the list of speakers you’ll immediately see why it was so interesting.)
Anyway, one of the random cool things that happened: At the coffee break on Saturday, moderator Maarten Asscher tole me about the “European Literature Prize,” a brand new award honoring the best Dutch translations of European literary novels—a prize modeled after the Best Translated Book Awards and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. It’s so, so cool that the IFFP spawned the BTBA, which led to the ELP . . .
This past Sunday they met to decide the twenty book longlist, which is printed below, along with their press release. (There are a few books here I’m really interested in—especially the Robles. And David Mitchell is one of my favorites . . .):
The longlist for the European Literature Prize was announced today. Thirteen independent Dutch and Flemish bookshops have selected the twenty best titles from among the European literary novels published in Dutch translation in 2010. The prize will be presented in early September during Manuscripta, the opening of the new Dutch book season.
The following twenty titles have been nominated (in alphabetical order by author):
The European Literature Prize will be awarded in 2011 for the first time, recognizing the best novel translated into Dutch from another European language and published in 2010. The winning author will receive the sum of €10,000. The prize is unusual in that it is also awarded to the translator of the chosen book; he or she will receive €2,500.
The professional jury is as follows:
Frans Timmermans, member of the House of Representatives, former Secretary of State for European Affairs (chairman)
Marja Pruis, writer and literary critic for De Groene Amsterdammer
Guido Snel, university lecturer University of Amsterdam, department of European Studies, writer and literary translator
Herm Pol, Athenaeum booksellers Amsterdam
Edith Aerts, bookstore De Groene Waterman, Antwerp
The jury will announce the shortlist at the end of April 2011. The European Literature Prize is an initiative of the Academic-Cultural Centre SPUI25, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, the weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer and Athenaeum Booksellers. The prize is sponsored in part by the following independent bookshops, which have also participated in the selection process:
Athenaeum Boekhandel, Amsterdam
Boekhandel de Groene Waterman, Antwerpen
Boekhandel De Omslag, Delft
Boekhandel H. de Vries, Haarlem
Boekhandel Het Martyrium, Amsterdam
Boekhandel Krings, Sittard
Literaire Boekhandel Lijnmarkt, Utrecht
Boekhandel Paagman, Den Haag
Boekhandel van Gennep, Rotterdam
Boekhandel Verkaaik, Gouda
Eerste Bergensche Boekhandel, Bergen N-H
Linnaeus Boekhandel, Amsterdam
Boekhandel Van Rossum, Amsterdam
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. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .