The first set of Art Works grants from the NEA were announced this morning, and I’m incredibly giddy about the fact that Open Letter was awarded $45,000 for the following:
To support the publication and promotion of books in translation and the continuation of the translation website Three Percent. Works from Germany, Denmark, Bulgaria, Italy, Iceland, and Greece will be translated. The website features 50-70 book reviews per year; the Best Translated Book Awards; and posts on international awards, new works, opportunities for translators, the future and business of publishing, and book culture in general.
To make that a bit more specific, this grant will primarily support the publication and promotion of these five titles:
Two or Three Years Later by Ror Wolf, translated from the German by Jennifer Marquart;
This Is the Garden by Guilio Mozzi, translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris;
The Last Days of My Mother by Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson, translated from the Icelandic by Helga Soffía Einarsdóttir;
When We Leave Each Other by Henrik Nordbrandt, translated from the Danish by Patrick Phillips; and,
Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amanda Michalopoulou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich.
We’ll be posting more information about all these titles as they become available (the Nordbrant poems will be coming out first, in April as part of National Poetry Month), and posting excerpts, etc.
So far, this has been a great week for Open Letter . . . And I recommend checking out the full list of literary organizations receiving NEA funding—it’s an absolutely stellar list of some of the best nonprofit lit orgs in the country.
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. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .