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
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. . .