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Two Events in Toronto!

If you listen to either of our podcasts, you probably know that I’ve been traveling a whole lot this fall. Spain, Poland, Minneapolis (twice!), and Brazil. All of these trips have been fantastic, and you can expect some posts about Poland and Brazil in the near future, but in the meantime, I wanted to tell you about my ...

Two Month Review #2.8: this is the eleventh book, my 12th composition book, book 13 (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 282-305)

CORRECTION: Throughout this podcast, we joke about having recorded the final episode of the season live at Spoonbill & Sugartown last weekend. This is a lie! The live event will take place THIS SATURDAY (September 30, 2017) as part of the Taste of Iceland events. Eliza Reid, Iceland’s First Lady, will start things ...

Two Month Review #2.5: tómas's seventh composition book, 8. (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 140-199)

This week author and translator Idra Novey joins Chad and Lytton to talk about one of the most challenging sections of the book so far. Not only is there a proliferation of children whose voices constantly interrupt Tómas’s thoughts, but there are a few more unsettling bits that raise questions about what we should ...

Read Local: Supporting Rochester Presses and Making Events Fun Again

Although we referenced Read Local in the write up of Josefine Klougart’s tour, I haven’t really explained what it is here, or why I think it could be a really exciting thing for Rochester. Just to as not to bury the lede, the first Read Local event is Friday, September 23rd at 6pm at Nox Cocktail Lounge. ...

All Open Letter Fall Events

Although I already miss the lazy days of summer, this fall is going to be amazing. First off, the St. Louis Cardinals will be in the playoffs, again, which guarantees me at least a couple weeks of emotional rollercoasting and eventual disappointment. In terms of books, there are a ton of great things coming out this ...

"The Man Between" Event in Rochester on Thursday, April 2nd

If you happen to live in Rochester, or would like to visit and check our Open Letter and/or the University of Rochester’s Literary Translation Programs, I HIGHLY encourage you to come out this Thursday for one of the most star-studded translation events we’ve ever put together. In honor of The Man Between: ...

Reminder for Three Percent Events Calendar

Considering that the fall semester and season are night, we just wanted to post a brief reminder that Three Percent is happy to add literary translation events to its Events Calendar. To have events added to the calendar, please send all relevant event information (time, location, description, etc., and web link, if ...

Crossing Worlds: Translation, Eventfulness, and the Political @ Barnard College

On Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3, the Center for Translation Studies and the Columbia Institute for Comparative Literature and Society will present a conference, Crossing Worlds: Translation, Eventfulness, and the Political. Crossing Worlds: Translation, Eventfulness and the Political, a conference organized by the ...

Bulgarian Literature Live! [All the Events, Part III]

And, following on the posts about Amanda Michalopoulou’s tour and the announcement of the Reading the World Conversation Series events, here are some details about a few upcoming Bulgarian literature events that might interest you. Bulgarian Fiction Night at 192 Books Tuesday, April 8th, 7pm Albena Stambolova ...

Spring 2014 Reading the World Conversation Series [All the Events, Part II]

Following on the post about Amanda Michalopoulou’s upcoming events, here’s a list of all three Reading the World Conversation Series events taking place this month. Women in Translation Thursday, April 10th, 6pm Welles-Brown Room Rush Rhees Library University of Rochester Rochester, NY 14627 A ...

Amanda Michalopoulou's Reading Tour [All the April Events, Part I]

Amanda Michalopoulou’s second novel to appear in English, the brilliantly titled Why I Killed My Best Friend, doesn’t officially come out until May 20th, but we released it a couple months early for her cross-country tour. The book details the lifelong ups-and-downs of two best friends who meet in grade ...

PEN America Event for Stig Dagerman

A couple weeks ago, a copy of Stig Dagerman’s Sleet (translated by Steven Hartman) arrived at our offices. To be honest, I’d never heard of Dagerman, but the attractive cover (I am a fan of Godine’s new Verba Mundi designs) and a very nice email from the book’s publicist kept this on my desk as a book ...

RTWCS: Ledig House Event CANCELLED

This should be pretty obvious, but we’ve had to cancel Tuesday’s RTWCS: Ledig House Event. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something with them in the spring. In the meantime, stay dry, ...

RTWCS: Ledig House Event

Next Tuesday we’re going to be hosting the second event of this year’s Reading the World Conversation Series—our annual event featuring four authors currently in residence at the Ledig House. As one of—if not the—only residencies in the U.S. dedicated to international writing and literature, ...

EVENT – Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011: Sergio Chejfec & Margaret B. Carson

Our second (and final!) Reading the World Conversation Series event of the fall is happening in just a few days. As always, it’s taking place in Rochester, NY. So, if you’re in the area, you’d better check it out—lest all your friends go without you and bond intimately over the great time they all ...

Reminder: RTWCS Event Tonight!

If you’re in the Rochester area, you should definitely come out for tonight’s Reading the World Conversation Series event. This is the first one of the 2011-12 season (which may actually be the last season due to lack of funding—another story for another post) and will feature four writers and translators ...

Albert Cossery and Two Lines Launch Event

On Wednesday, November 9th at 7:30pm, Two Lines is collaborating with The Bridge reading series to put on a special event at McNally Jackson (52 Prince St.) in celebration of the new issue, Counterfeits. “Counterfeits” editor Luc Sante will host the event, and will be joined by translators Aaron Kerner, Patrick ...

EVENT – Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011: International Writers from the Ledig House

Our big Reading the World Conversation Series events for the fall are just about to start, with our first event happening next Tuesday. If you’re near the Rochester (NY) area, please come and check it out. Here are the intoxicating details on event #1: Reading the World Conversation Series: International Writers ...

PEN World Voices in Rochester [Events!]

In case we haven’t mentioned this before, tonight we’re co-hosting a special event with Writers & Books and PEN World Voices featuring three international authors: Najat El Hachmi, Marcelo Figueras, and Carsten Jensen. All the info can be found here, but in short, this event starts at 7pm at Writers & ...

PEN: Brooklyn Public Library Event

Where: Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch, Dweck Center, 10 Grand Army Plaza, New York City The status of Arab women—often portrayed in the US and Europe as invisible, silent, and subjugated—has been used for a variety of purposes, from passing discriminatory legislation to justifying invasion. Join moderator ...

PEN: Next Steps: On College, Jobs, and Independence, an Event for Young Adults

Where: Westbeth Center for the Arts, Gallery, 57 Bethune St., New York City The professional trajectory in publishing was once crystal-clear: graduate from college, learn the craft through an apprenticeship, and land a cushy gig. But decades of economic strain have considerably diminished opportunities for building a ...

EVENT – Wednesday, April 27, 2011: Reading the World w/ Thomas Pletzinger & Ross Benjamin

Our final Reading the World event of the spring is coming up next Wednesday, April 27, in Rochester. (This event is not to be confused, by the way, with another that we have scheduled quickly thereafter on May 2. That event is our contribution to the PEN World Voices Tour, and we’ll be posting all the info on that ...

EVENT – Wednesday, April 13, 2011: Reading the World w/ Piotr Sommer & Bill Martin

As mentioned in the previous post, our second RTW event of the spring is almost upon us, and it’s happening this Wednesday, April 13, at the University of Rochester. All the breathtaking details follow below. Reading the World Conversation Series Piotr Sommer & Bill Martin: Polish Poetry and ...

EVENT – Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – Reading the World Conversation Series: Samuel Hazo & Nirvana Tanoukhi

Our first RTW event of the “spring” (I think we’d better keep that term in quotes for a little while longer, especially in Rochester) is coming up in just a few short weeks. See below for all the advance info that’s fit to print. Reading the World Conversation Series: Samuel Hazo & Nirvana ...

Reading the World Conversation Series: Announcing Our Spring 2011 Events

Extended details on all three events are in the queue. In the meantime, though, here’s a rundown of the schedule for this spring’s Reading the World Conversation Series. These events are hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences, and all events are supported in part by the ...

Bragi Olafsson's Upcoming Events & Giveaway

As you may already know, Bragi Olafsson’s new novel, The Ambassador, is releasing next month. It’s an awesome, hilarious, fun novel about an Icelandic poet who attends a poetry festival in Lithuania, where his coat is stolen, where he gets pretty wasted, and where he meets a bunch of eccentric poets (surprise?). ...

Tonight's RTWCS Event

For all of you within driving distances of Rochester, you really should come out tonight for our first Reading the World Conversation Series Event of the season. Barbara Epler (publisher of New Directions) will be talking with Susan Bernofsky (translator of a number of German authors) about Robert Walser’s Microscripts, ...

Fall 2010 Reading the World Conversation Series Events

And here it is—the official Fall RTWCS schedule. We have three great events lined up with a possible surprise fourth in the works (more info on that when/if it happens), and hopefully any and everyone in the Central NY area will come out for these. And if you’re not living in the CNY, you can always fly in . . . ...

A Quasi-Literary Event for People in Rochester

This isn’t an official Open Letter event (or Three Percent event, or Writers & Books event), but any and everyone in Rochester reading this should come to Tapas 177 tomorrow night at 8pm for the second “Rochester Literary Salon.” This was an idea that Alexa Scott-Flaherty (of Writers & Books) and I ...

PEN World Voices: Friday's Events

Following up on yesterday’s post about today’s PEN World Voices events, here’s a list of the things taking place on Friday that seem most interesting to me. (Some of which I’ll be writing about for the PEN blogs. More on that later.) The Poetry of Edward Hopper (Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, ...

PEN World Voices Festival (Preview of Thursday Events)

I’ve been meaning to write a bunch of things about the PEN World Voices events, but, well, life has sort of gotten in the way. Instead, what I think I’ll do is simply preview some of tomorrow’s events, and then tomorrow I’ll write up stuff about Friday and weekend. I’m flying down early (like ...

Macedonio Fernandez Event at the Americas Society

So last month, the day after the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award, the Americas Society hosted an amazing panel to help launch Macedonio Fernandez’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel). This event—which Open Letter executive committee member Hal Glasser helped put ...

Reading the World Conversation Series: Announcing Our Spring 2010 Events

More information on each event will be posted separately, but—so you can mark your calendars now—here is the rundown of all three events in this spring’s Reading the World Conversation Series at the University of Rochester. These events are hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & ...

"The Greatest Event Since It and the World Began"

So now that the Best Translated Book Awards are over, I can fully concentrate on the next event—one for Macedonio Fernandez’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) that is taking place tonight at the Americas Society tonight at 7pm. Our cheeky title for this event comes from Macedonio ...

The Greatest Event Since It and the World Began

This is still a few weeks away, but seeing that I’ll be off in Abu Dhabi for a while (see tomorrow’s post), I thought I should mention this now. On Thursday, March 11th at 7:00pm at the Americas Society (680 Park Ave, NYC) there will be a special event in honor of the first English publication of Macedonio ...

Tonight's BTBA Event!

(A glamorous shelf in my glamorous office filled with BTBA titles.) Just a reminder that after five weeks of build-up, we’ll be announcing the fiction and poetry finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards tonight at 7pm tonight at Idlewild Books (12 W. 19th St.). Cressida Leyshon will be ...

BTBA Finalists Event at Idlewild Books

We still have a few (like seven) books from the fiction longlist left to profile, but to be honest, my attention is turning to next week’s announcement of the fiction and poetry finalists . . . As we did last year, we’ll be announcing 10 books from each category—truly the best of the best of the literature ...

The Most Important Television Event of the Century

Begins tonight with the season six premiere of Lost. And of course, since I lost the TV in my divorce (grr!) and have my kids tonight (yah! except for the no going over to someone’s house to watch Lost aspect), I’ll have to wait until tomorrow or Thursday to actually see tonight’s episode . . . So if anyone ...

¿Qué pasa? An NBCC Reads Event

Where: Durango Building, UT-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX The National Book Critics Circle recently polled its membership on the question: “Which work in translation has had the most effect on your reading and writing?”  Some of the responses were posted on the NBCC Web site. As a follow-up, in various cities the NBCC ...

Reading the World Conversation Series: Announcing Our Fall 2009 Events

For all those in the Rochester area, here are the events we’ve scheduled for this fall’s Reading the World Conversation Series. More information on each individual event will be posted soon, but here is the rundown, so you can mark your calendars now. These events are hosted by Open Letter and University of ...

Events To Attend

Our events calendar is a bit empty right now (if you’re hosting—or attending—any interesting events related to international literature, please e-mail us so that we can include it on that calendar to the right . . ), but there are a number of interesting events coming up that might be of ...

Some Upcoming Events at Skylight Books

Here’s a message from Monica Carter of Salonica and Skylight Books—our featured indie store of the month—about some interesting upcoming events. One of the trademarks of Skylight Books is the ability to recognize and promote the literary greats of our time. Ten years ago, Skylight Books not only ...

Did You See Our Events Calendar?

The newest addition to Three Percent is our “Translation Events Calendar,” which is over to the right, beneath the featured Indie Bookstore of the Month. The purpose of this calendar is to highlight translation related events (readings from international authors, roundtables featuring translators, etc.) from ...

Death in Spring: Review and Event

Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda is probably our biggest book of the spring. I was planning on giving away a few copies of the galley, but the response from reviewers was so overwhelming that we quite literally ran out (we don’t even have a copy in our archive) and even had to send out a few unbound copies. This ...

Event: The Politics of Translation

Next Monday (March 23), we’re hosting a roundtable discussion at the University of Rochester with several highly distinguished guests—and, also, Chad will be there. Here are the basics: “The Politics of Translation: What Gets Translated and Why” March 23, 5:00 P.M. Plutzik Library (in Special ...

Harvard "Select Seventy" and Other Open Letter Publicity

I just found out last week that the Harvard Book Store selected The Conqueror by Jan Kjaerstad as part of its Select Seventy program. As implied by the name, this program consists of seventy books selected by booksellers and buyers—all of which are sold at a 20% discount for the month. Seeing any of our books on a ...

The Philoctetes Center Event on Translation

A couple weeks ago, the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination (one of the best names I’ve ever come across), hosted an interesting event on translation: Borges once noted that nothing was more central to the “modest mystery” of literature than translation. Across centuries and ...

BOMB's Americas Issue Event

Just a reminder that BOMB’s special event for the 10th anniversary of its “Americas Issue” is taking place tonight at the King Juan Carlos Center at NYU (53 Washington Square South). The event starts at 6:30 and includes readings from two great Chilean poets—Raul Zurita and Nicanor Parra—and ...

Upcoming Events Pt. II: Has the US Lost Touch with World Literature?

If only teleporting was cheap, and, you know, possible . . . Friday, January 23, 2009 7:00pm – 9:00pm Housing Works Bookstore Café 126 Crosby Street New York, NY Panelists Esther Allen, translator, former co-director of PEN World Voices, author of International PEN report on Translation and Globalization; ...

Upcoming Events Pt. I: BOMB's "Americas Issue" Party

Just so happens I’m going to be in New York for this, and will definitely be attending: Thursday, January 29 Reading & Launch Party Reception 6:30–8:30pm Co-sponsored by NYU’s MFA Program in Creative Writing in Spanish Contributors to BOMB 106 read in both Spanish and English. Featuring the work ...

This Week's Events

This week is probably going to be another slow one for Three Percent, but for good reason. Bragi Olafsson is in town and we’ve stacked up a number of events and readings, beginning tonight. Here’s his official schedule: Reading and Discussion on Monday, October 6th, 8pm Karpeles Manuscript Library 220 North St. ...

New York Lit Crawl and the CLMP Event

Tomorrow evening, the first ever New York City Lit Crawl will take place. Essentially a bar crawl + literature, the Lit Crawl will feature five events taking place in the Lower East Side at 6 pm, followed by another six events in the East Village at 7:15, and then six more in Williamsburg at 8:30, with a final after-party at ...

Cool Idea for a Book Event

Over at The Valve there’s an interesting reading event taking place that could be a really cool model for future online book clubs. The book at the center of this event is Douglas Wolk’s very interesting Reading Comics. But it’s the structure of this “event” that got me intrigued. ...

The Best PEN World Voice Event Ever

In my opinion at least, was the “Tribute to Robert Walser,” the audiofile of which is now available online A number of audiofiles from this year’s festival—including the Town Hall Readings, the Mia Farrow and Bernard-Henri Levy discussion on Darfur, and the Celebration of New Voices from China now ...

Center for the Art of Translation Event

We don’t usually post event info here, but based on the nature of (and Three Percent/Open Letter connection to) this event, I think it’s definitely worth highlighting. All this info is repeated below, but as part of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference (a.k.a. AWP), the Center for the Art of ...

Open Letter Article, Fall List, and Upcoming Event

This is a pretty loaded post, but this morning the new issue of UR’s Currents was released (which explains the above picture) and includes a long overview on Open Letter, including descriptions of our inaugural list of titles. The books don’t come out until Fall 2008 (the first will have a September 26th pub ...

Sunflower event in NYC

Sara, at NYRB’s weblog, is inviting you to their ‘launch’ event for Sunflower. If you’re in NYC tomorrow you should go check it out. The Hungarian Cultural Center presents John Lukacs in conversation with John Bátki. They will be discussing Gyúla Krúdy’s Sunflower. This fantasia of a book ...

Brooklyn Book Festival and Other Events

The Brooklyn Book Festival is on Sunday, and has a host of interesting events scheduled. (I’d include the link, but the website doesn’t allow it.) One that I’m definitely going to attend is “Brooklyn Bridges to Europe,” 3pm on Sunday at St. Francis College (180 Remsen St.): Brooklyn ...

Another Interesting New York Event

Also taking place in New York is a reading and discussion of Mexico: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, which is an anthology of Mexican fiction. The event is Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 6 pm, at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at NYU and will feature editor CM Mayo, writers Pedro Angel Palou and Monica ...

Season Six of the Two Month Review is Coming and It’s Pessoa

We still have a few episodes left in the Fox season of the Two Month Review ("Part V" on 8/28 with Caitlin Luce Baker, "Part VI" on 9/4 with Ryan Chapman, and a wrap-up on 9/10 with Dubravka Ugresic herself), but it's never too early to start planning ahead for the next season . . . Starting on September 24th for YouTube ...

Two Month Review: #5.06: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic (“The Devil’s Garden”)

Pete Mitchell—who wrote this great review of Fox for Asymptote—joined Chad and Brian this week to talk about the heartbreaking (and semi-profane) ending to "The Devil's Garden," the third part of Dubrakva Ugresic's latest novel. From the idea of a small ping singling one's eventual crack-up to peeing on the side of the ...

August 2018 Newsletter

Celebrate Women in Translation Month with 40% Off All Open Letter Books Written by Women OR Translated by Women Women in Translation Month is always an exciting time to discover, read, discuss, and celebrate books by women from around the world. It was created by Meytal Radzinski back in 2014, and has since spawned ...

The Very Pleasant Post

Usually I try and make the first post of the month one that's based around some sort of statistical analysis of what's going on with literature in translation. Since this is Women in Translation Month (#WIT2018), it would make a great deal of sense to run a bunch of data about women writers in translation, women translators, ...

A Balance of Plot and Place (Two Month Review: #5.03-5.04: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic – Blog Post)

Last week, Chad and Brian were joined by Ellen Elias-Bursác, one of the Fox translators, for an incredible discussion on the second half of “A Balancing Art.” Ellen was enamored with the dynamics between the Widow and Ugresic’s narrator, the former finding success managing the works of her late husband and the latter ...

A Whole Lot of Blather

I'm back from Ireland! I was there for the past two weeks as part of a University of Rochester Travel Club trip for which I served as the "academic host" and gave four different lectures--two on Ulysses, one on Irish humor, and one on the relationship between contemporary Irish literature and language. I think they all went ...

The Best Female Chinese Novelist You’ve Never Heard Of

To say that Xiao Hong's life was rough is a serious understatement. She was born in 1911, during one of China's most turbulent periods, all leading up to the Second Sino-Japanese War. In addition to the cultural turmoil, Xiao's mother passed away when she was nine, leaving her to be raised by an abusive father whom ...

“Katalin Street” by Magda Szabó

Katalin Street by Magda Szabó translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix 248 pgs. | pb | 9781681371528 | $15.95  NYRB Classics Reviewed by Jason Newport     What is a woman, or her ghost, to do for herself? This is the question that haunts Hungarian author Magda Szabó in her three novels ...

Is this All Fox-y Enough? (Two Month Review: #5.02: FOX by Dubravka Ugresic – Blog Post)

Last week, Chad, Brian, and returning special guest Tom Flynn of Volumes Bookcafe broke down some of the bigger elements of the introductory section of Dubravka Ugresic’s Fox, including the all-important question: is Ugresic’s fox metaphor fox-y enough? We’ll take our own look at some segments of this opening section ...

Two Month Review: #5.02: FOX by Ugresic (“A Story about How Stories Come to Be Written”)

This week's podcast is pretty fast and loose, with Fortnite disruptions, embarrassing pronunciations, lots of ribbing, and a deep dive into the various games going on in Part I of Dubravka Ugresic's Fox, "A Story about How Stories Come to Be Written." Starting from Pilnyak's story of the same name, this section revolves ...

9 Books Likely to Win the 2019 Best Translated Book Award

I'm just back from a poetry reading that's part of Rochester's The Ladder literary conference . . . actually, it was a poetry reading PLUS short stories (which are the poetry of novel writing), which is neither here nor there, except that a few of us played a sort of drinking game? Actually, we just straight up played a ...

New Two Month Review Season Starts 6/11!

After a bit of a hiatus, we're back! Starting tonight (Monday, June 11th) at 9pm, Brian and I are going to tackle Dubravka Ugresic's latest novel--Fox. Here's what Kirkus Reviews had to say about it in their STARRED review: Another tricky treasure from an internationally renowned author. Ugresic has been in exile from ...

9 Comp Authors for Dag Solstad, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Listicle

So much has happened over the past two weeks! Given all that I want to say about Dag Solstad's books and the people who review them, I'm going to rush through a few general comments about recent publishing events. First off: the New York Rights Fair and BookExpo. This year marked the first ever NYRF and the "newly ...

“Snatching Bodies” by Rodrigo Fresán [New Fiction]

To celebrate the release of The Bottom of the Sky (which happens to be Open Letter's 100th title!), we wanted to share this "bonus track" to the novel. He initially wrote this story as a sort of explanation for one paragraph in The Bottom of the Sky, and then had it anthologized in collection of “dysfunctional family” ...

May Is a Month of Grading

The Best Translated Book Award Finalists were announced earlier this week, and following up on my earlier post looking at the representation of various languages on the BTBA longlists, I thought I'd take a second to highlight the publishing houses (#NameThePublisher) that have historically done the best on the BTBA ...

“The Magician of Vienna” by Sergio Pitol [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from P.T. Smith. A full-time writer of WTBSW entries. The Magician of Vienna by Sergio Pitol, translated from the Spanish by George Henson (Mexico, Deep Vellum) Books that are part of a series have a tough time getting the recognition they deserve, in general and ...

“Spiral Staircase” by Hirato Renkichi [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from poet, translator, and Asymptote editor Aditi Machado. Spiral Staircase: Collected Poems of Hirato Renkichi, translated from the Japanese by Sho Sugita (Japan, Ugly Duckling Presse) The seventh statement in Hirato Renkichi’s “Manifesto of the Japanese ...

“Savage Theories” by Pola Oloixarac [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from George Carroll, former and future BTBA judge, soccer fanatic, world literature correspondent for Shelf Awareness, and curator of litintranslation.com. Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac, translated from the Spanish by Roy Kesey (Argentina, Soho Press) I would ...

“Suzanne” by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette [Why This Book Should Win]

The Why This Book Should Win entry for today is from literary translator Peter McCambridge, fiction editor at QC Fiction (a new imprint of the best of contemporary Quebec fiction in translation) and founding editor of Québec Reads. Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from the French (Québec) by Rhonda ...

“Bergeners” by Tomas Espedal [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This book Should Win series is from BTBA judge Patrick Smith, who is scrambling to finish covering all the books in this series. If you want to write about one of the remaining few, please get in touch! Bergeners by Tomas Espedal, translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson (Norway, Seagull ...

“Third-Millennium Heart” by Ursula Andkjær Olsen [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from poet, translator, editor, and BTBA judge, Aditi Machado.  Third-Millennium Heart by Ursula Andkjær Olsen, translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Denmark, Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books) What’s a translated book got to do to ...

“Compass” by Mathias Énard [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from former BTBA judge and founder of the Literary License blog, Gwendolyn Dawson, who lives in Houston, TX and is a practicing lawyer. She is a longtime supporter of literature in translation and all literary arts. Compass by Mathias Énard, translated from the ...

Day of Giving at the University of Rochester

Today is the official “Day of Giving” at the University of Rochester—a 24-hour push to support any school, program, or area across the University and its Medical Center. It’s directed at the entire Rochester community including alumni, parents, patients, friends, faculty, staff, and students. ...

Tickets to Open Letter’s Ten-Year Celebration in NYC Are Going Fast!

On Thursday, May 10th, at 7pm, Open Letter will be hosting its first celebration in New York City in ten years. Some of you might remember our initial launch party at the German Consulate in New York way, way back in 2008. Well, ten years and one hundred books later, we’re coming back! A week from Thursday ...

“Chasing the King of Hearts” by Hanna Krall [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is from Ruchama Johnston-Bloom, who writes about modern Jewish thought and Orientalism. She has a PhD in the History of Judaism from the University of Chicago and is the Associate Director of Academic Affairs at the London center of CAPA: The Global Education ...

“Return to the Dark Valley” by Santiago Gamboa [Why This Book Should Win]

Final entry today in the Why This Book Should Win series is from BTBA judge and curator of “Reader-at-Large,” Tara Cheesman. Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis (Colombia, Europa Editions) One of the characters in Return to the Dark Valley is a “crazy and ...

“Remains of Life” by Wu He [Why This Book Should Win]

This afternoon’s entry in the “Why This Book Should Win” series is from BTBA judge Adam Hetherington. Remains of Life by Wu He, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry (China, Columbia University Press) I’m not sure how to define historical fiction. How true does regular fiction need to be to become ...

“The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán [Why This Book Should Win]

Between now and the announcement of the BTBA finalists on May 15th, we’ll be highlighting all 37 longlisted books in a series we call “Why This Book Should Win.” The first post is from BTBA judge and Ebenezer Books bookseller P.T. Smith. The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will ...

Open Letter is Hiring a Marketing Assistant

As mentioned on the most recent podcast, we are searching for a Marketing Assistant to help out with promoting our books to reviewers, booksellers, and individuals. The complete ad is posted below, and available here. And you have to apply through that link. Open Letter is part of the University of Rochester, so the ...

A Quantum Spiral by Another Name (Part VII, Pgs 201-236)

Last week, Chad and Brian were joined by Rachel S. Cordasco of Speculative Fiction in Translation as they discussed Part VII, “Global Autumn,” of Georgi Gospodinov’s Physics of Sorrow. This section hits us from too many angles, from the relatable hilarity of having a phobia of being asked “how are you?” to trying ...

Best Translated Book Award 2018: The Longlists!

April 10, 2018—Celebrating its eleventh consecutive year of honoring literature in translation, the Best Translated Book Awards is pleased to announce the 2018 longlists for both fiction and poetry. Announced at The Millions, the lists include a diverse range of authors, languages, countries, and publishers. On the ...

Catching up on Season Four of the Two Month Review

As you hopefully noticed, earlier this morning the eighth episode of the current season of the Two Month Review went live. This was the seventh straight week of talking about Georgi Gospodinov’s incredible novel, The Physics of Sorrow, which was translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel. And the eighth write-up by ...

Thinking About Book Reviews

Clarice Lispector is undoubtedly one of the great writers of the past century. Her recent rediscovery—sparked off by the reissuing of The Hour of the Star in Ben Moser’s new translation—is definitely merited, and will hopefully usher in a time in which any number of very deserving female authors from the ...

A Myth with a Twist (Part V, Pgs 151-178)

Last week, Chad, Brian, and special guest Tom Flynn had a particularly boisterous discussion of Part V of The Physics of Sorrow that was as insightful towards the literature at hand as much as it was to learn sick burns for your friends with weak March Madness brackets. But between the trash talk and discussion of oysters, ...

This Headline’ll Make You MAD, MAD!

It’s fitting that I’m writing this post about a book called Trick as Stormy Daniels is on 60 Minutes? This is one of the daily reminders that life is not books, and that books aren’t as important as I make them out to be in my mind. Nothing matters, nothing makes sense. Guns and corruption are way more important than ...

Two Month Review: #4.06: The Physics of Sorrow (Part V: “The Green House”)

In addition to ripping on Chad and the poor showing by the Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Tournament, Brian Wood and Tom Flynn (from Volumes Bookcafe) discuss the morality of animals, how this section of The Physics of Sorrow focuses more on the “animal” side of the minotaur, the mixture of lightness and sorrow in ...

Ties that Confine [BTBA 2018]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Lori Feathers, co-owner of Interabang Books in Dallas, TX. She’s also a freelance book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Her recent reviews can be found at Words Without Borders, Full Stop, World Literature Today, Three Percent, Rain Taxi, and on ...

Gospodinov, the Curator; “The Physics of Sorrow,” the Time Capsule (Part IV, Pgs 119-150)

Last week, Chad, Brian, special guest Patrick Smith, and an insightful YouTube commentator discussed part IV of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. This section, in many ways, brought us full circle to the nature of Gospodinov’s work by introducing us to the cultural phenomena of the time capsule, and the ...

9 Moments That Make “Tomb Song” the Frontrunner for the National Book Award in Translation

  Tomb Song by Julián Herbert, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Graywolf Press) Moment Number One “Technique, my boy,” says a voice in my head. “Shuffle the technique.” To hell with it: in her youth, Mamá was a beautiful half-breed Indian who had five husbands: a fabled pimp, a ...

Context Is Everything

Given the length of yesterday’s post, I’m just going to jump right into things, starting with this handmade Excel spreadsheet showing the three-year rolling average of the total number of translations published in the first quarter (January-March) of every year since 2008.   That’s not the most illuminating ...

We are Minotaur, or: Eat your Darlings (Part II)

This week we’re following up from Chad, Brian, special guest Caitlin Baker (University Book Store in Seattle), and their discussion of Part II of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow, “Against an Abandonment: The Case of M.” Here, Gospodinov throws us for another loop, as we move from the halls of memory ...

Sorrow-Maker Gospodinov (Part 1, Pgs 1-58)

This week we will be looking at the opening section of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. If you didn’t already, you can catch the conversation between Chad Post, Tom Roberge, and Brian Wood on this section of the book at Three Percent or on YouTube for the unedited, behind the scenes full audio-visual experience ...

Less Than Deadly Serious

Every spring, I teach a class on “World Literature & Translation” in which we read ~10 new translations, talk to as many of the translators as possible, and then the students have to choose one of the books to win their imaginary “Best Translated Book Award.” It’s a great exercise—trying to explain why they ...

Georgi Gospodinov and The Physics of Sorrow (Introduction)

Throughout this season of the Two Month Review, Santiago Morrice will be writing weekly pieces about the section of the book discussed on the previous week’s podcast. These will likely go a bit more in depth into the style and content of the novel itself, nicely complementing the podcasts. On last week’s podcast, Chad ...

Noble Expectations

When I first decided to undertake this project of writing about one 2018 translation a week, I knew that there would come a week in which I didn’t finish the book that I had planned to write about. This might be due to time constraints, or simply because I didn’t feel like finishing the book in question. Well, it took ...

Making the List [BTBA 2018]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Tara Cheesman, a freelance book critic and National Book Critics Circle member whose recent reviews can be found at The Rumpus, Book Riot, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Quarterly Conversation. Since 2009 she’s written the blog Reader At Large (formerly BookSexy ...

An Imaginary Sabermetrics for Publishing

  Empty Set by Verónica Gerber Bicecci, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (Coffee House) Although five books is most definitely a small sample size of throwaway proportions, out of the books that I’ve written about for this weekly “column,” Empty Set by Verónica Gerber Bicecci and ...

The Translation Industry Is Frozen

Before getting into the February translations, data on what’s being published (or not being published), and all the random stuff, I wanted to point out a few modifications to the Translation Database at Publishers Weekly that were recently implemented. First off, when you’re entering a title, you can now ...

Never Fact-Check a Listicle

Back when I kicked off my 2018 Translations series I chose to include Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi as the fourth book from January I would read and review. And why not? It won the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction1 and came with pretty high praise. “A haunting allegory of man’s savagery against man ...

I Remember Nightfall

I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio (trans. From the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas) is a bilingual poetry volume in four parts, consisting of the poems “The History of Violets,” “Magnolia,” “The War of the Orchards,” and “The Native Garden is in Flames.” Each of these prose poems is divided into ...

A Best-seller Should Be Divisive

When I came up with my plan of reading (and writing about) a new translation every week, I wanted to try and force myself to read books that I would normally just skip over. There are definitely going to be months filled with books by New Directions, Coffee House, Dalkey Archive, etc., but to write about just those titles ...

Tabucchi in Portugal: On Tabucchi’s “Viaggi e altri viaggi” [an essay by Jeanne Bonner]

Jeanne Bonner is a writer, editor and journalist, and translator from the Italian now based in Connecticut. In the fall, she began teaching Italian at the University of Connecticut where she is also working on several translation projects. You can find out more about Jeanne and her work at her website here. It’s a travel ...

Why Continue [BTBA 2018]

“Why am I reading this?” I ask myself this almost constantly. Sometimes the answer is obvious: when the book is a masterpiece, when the pleasure is so deep or constant that there’s little else I want. I treasure those books, but if it was the only reason I read a book, I wouldn’t read much. There are novels where the ...

It’s 2018 and Where Have the Translations Gone?

Now that the Translation Database is over at Publishers Weekly, and in a format that makes it both possible to update in real time1 and much easier to query, I want to use it as the basis of a couple new regular columns here at Three Percent. First off, I want to get back to running monthly previews of translations. But, ...

The Size of the World

The Size of the World by Branko Anđić translated from the Serbian by Elizabeth Salmore 208 pages | pb | 9788661452154 | $10.99 Reviewed by Jaimie Lau   Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, ...

BTBA Gift Guide [BTBA 2018]

This post was compiled by BTBA judge P.T. Smith. From now until the announcement of the long list, we’ll be running one post a week from a BTBA judge, cycling through the nine of us. To launch those posts, just in time for the holidays (just in time, yes), here’s a gift guide. These are books that have stood out to ...

Two Month Review LIVE at McNally Jackson Next Tuesday (12/12/17)

For our final episode of the Rodoreda season, Brian and I will be taking the early morning train to NYC (seriously, it leaves at 5:41am, which is a time that exists) so that we can talk about Death in Spring in front of a live audience. At 7pm at McNally Jackson (52 Prince St.) we’ll be joined by María Cristina ...

Myths, Rituals, Fears in Death in Spring [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast I join Brian Wood, Meg Berkobien, and Anastasia Nikolis to talk about the opening section of Death in Spring, the first Rodoreda novel that Open Letter ever published. To preface that conversation (which is a lot of gushing over her prose and ideas, along with some ...

Two Month Review #3.6: Selected Stories (pgs. 208-255)

After yelling at Skype a bunch, Chad, Brian, and special guest Tom Flynn of Volumes Bookcafe discuss the merits of some of Rodoreda’s final stories, especially “The Thousand Franc Bill,” “Paralysis,” and “The Salamander.” Then they manage to slightly diss groups upon groups of ...

"Red, Yellow, Green": Alejandro Saravia and María José Giménez

Bolivian-Canadian writer Alejandro Saravia and poet and translator María José Giménez discuss his new novel, Red, Yellow, Green, the first to be translated into English, as well as the tumultuous existence of the exile, the crossings of language, and Latino-Canadian literature. When: Thursday, November 16 @ ...

Dominique Fabre at Green Apple Books

Join Green Apple Books when we welcome Dominique Fabre, French author and the latest participant in the French Consulate of San Francisco’s new “Room With A View” writer’s residency, discusses his work and his stay in S.F. When: Monday, October 30 @ 7:30pm Where: Green Apple Books at 9th ...

Three Observations and One Story [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast Brian and I talk about the first six stories in Mercè Rodoreda’s Selected Stories : “Blood,” “Threaded Needle,” “Summer,” “Guinea Fowls,” “The Mirror,” and “Happiness.” Which is only the ...

"A Working Woman" Happy Hour with the CAT

Have a drink on us and learn about the newest release from Two Lines Press. Join us for happy hour at the CAT and Two Lines offices to celebrate the release of A Working Woman. Stop by after work for wine and tapas and hear readings from the book by Two Lines staff. A Working Woman by Elvira Navarro, translated by ...

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the forms of plays, all of which make use of what could most simply be termed an overriding sense of “synesthesia.” ...

Dominique Fabre & David Ulin in Conversation

The Last Bookstore is pleased to present French writer Dominique Fabre, author of Guys Like Me and The Waitress Was New, in conversation with noted book critic and author David Ulin. Join us to hear Ulin and Fabre talk about Paris lonelier than you’ve ever experienced it, and to hear Fabre read from his latest ...

Children’s Literature in Translation: Celebrating Elsewhere Editions with Roger Mello and Daniel Hahn

Translated by children’s literature guru Daniel Hahn, You Can’t Be Too Careful! explores an idea that author and illustrator Mello had as a child: that one small action can have marvelous consequences. Through wordplay, dreamlike images, and a playful lightness of touch, You Can’t Be Too Careful! expresses serious ...

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Three Percent #134: The Books We Read and Why We Read Them

After an impassioned pitch for why you should support Open Letter’s annual campaign, Chad and Tom talk about ALTA, about how best to promote international literature to common readers, about the moral argument for reading translations, about Tim Parks and this article on Han Kang’s Human Acts, and about how ...

Wojciech Nowicki Tour!

This evening, at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, Wojciech Nowicki’s U.S. tour for Salki kicks off. A four-city tour spanning the next ten days, this is your one opportunity in 2017 to meet the author of the book about which Andrzej Stasiuk said, “Your skin will crawl with pleasure from ...

Two Month Review LIVE!!!

Over the next couple weeks, you’re going to hear me mess up this announcement on podcast after podcast, but on Saturday, September 30th at 3:30pm Lytton and I will be recording the final episode of the second season of the Two Month Review LIVE at Spoonbill & Sugartown in Brooklyn. This will be part of the ...

Kingdom Cons

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally published in Spanish in 2004 and translated by Lisa Dillman, is ...

Perceived Humiliations, The Board, and the Dangers of Desire [Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fifth composition book and VI (pages 69-139) from Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller. As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF document. As always, ...

Best Translated Book Awards 2018: Judges, Dates, and More!

It’s that time again! Listed below are all the details for this year’s Best Translated Book Award juries! Award Dates In terms of dates, this is subject to change, but currently we’re planning on announcing the longlists for fiction and poetry on Tuesday, April 10th, the finalists on Tuesday, May ...

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only the historical craft of the dance, but for their families and ...

Interview with Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès

To celebrate the official pub date for Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s Island of Point Nemo, you’ll find an interview below between the translator, Hannah Chute (who received a Banff Translation Fellowship to work on this book) and the author himself. You can get the book now either through our website, or from ...

"Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller" Reading Schedule [Two Month Review]

The first episode in the new season of the Two Month Review will release on Thursday, and in case you haven’t already heard, for the next ten weeks we’ll be discussing Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson. We have a Goodreads group set up to talk about about this, so feel free to join in and ...

Agnes

The narrator of Peter Stamm’s first novel, Agnes, originally published in 1998 and now available in the U.S. in an able translation by Michael Hofmann, is a young Swiss writer who has come to Chicago to research a book on American luxury trains. In the reading room of the Public Library he meets Agnes, a graduate student in ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part V)

If you’d rather read this podcast in one document, just dowload this PDF. Otherwise, click here to find all four of the earlier pieces along with a bunch of other Two Month Review posts about The Invented Part. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this ...

Class

The thing about Class is that I don’t know what the hell to think about it, yet I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll begin by dispensing with the usual info that one may want to know when considering adding the book to their “to read” list. Written by Francesco Pacifico. Translated by Francesco Pacifico. Published ...

Airplanes, Hyphellipses, and What's Next? [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the seventh, and final, part of The Invented Part (“The Imaginary Person,” pages 441-552). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also download this post as a PDF ...

I See You [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the sixth part of The Invented Part (“Meanwhile, Once Again, Beside the Museum Stairway, Under a Big Day,” pages 405-440). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

"Tomás Jónsson, Bestseller" Release Day!

Fans of challenging, cerebral, modernist epics, rejoice! Today marks the official release date of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, a masterpiece of twentieth-century Icelandic literature, the fifth Icelandic work Open Letter has published to date. This is a book that is sure to launch a thousand ...

Structure, Time, Memory, and the Sadness of a Disillusioned Writer [The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fifth part of The Invented Part (“Life After People, or Notes for a Brief History of Progressive Rock and Science Fiction,” pages 361-404). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and ...

The Inverted Part [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On this week’s Two Month Review podcast, we’ll be discussing the fourth part of The Invented Part (“Many Fêtes, or Study for a Group Portrait with Broken Decalogues,” pagest 301-360). As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some initial thoughts, observations, and quotes. You can also ...

The Dispossessed

To be, or not to be? Hamlet’s enduring question is one that Szilárd Borbély, acclaimed Hungarian poet, verse-playwright, librettist, essayist, literary critic, short-story writer, and, finally, novelist, answered sadly in the negative, through his suicide in 2014, at the age of fifty. Loss of life, voluntary or ...

Let's Get Weird [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On last Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast we covered the opening to the second section of The Invented Part, and coming up later this week we’ll be covering pages 99-207—the second section of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin.” As a bit of preparation, below you’ll ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part II)

You can read the first part of this interview here, and you can click here for all Two Month Review posts. Special thanks to Will Vanderhyden for conducting—and translating—this interview. Will Vanderhyden: Now, this is a question that, in a way, the book takes as its point of departure—so it might make ...

Reflections and Mirrors [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

On last Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast we covered the first forty-five pages of The Invented Part, and coming up later this week we’ll be covering pages 46-98—the first section of “The Place Where the Sea Ends So the Forest Can Begin.” As a bit of preparation, below you’ll find some ...

Interview with Rodrigo Fresán (Part I)

As you hopefully already know, for the next two months we’ll be producing a weekly podcast and a series of posts all about Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part. All grouped under the title “Two Month Review,” this initiative is part book club, part exercise in slow reading, and part opportunity to ...

Some Notes on "The Real Character" [Two Month Review: The Invented Part]

The first Two Month Review podcast went up just over a week ago, and the next one—covering the first section of the book, “The Real Character” (pages 1-45)—will be posted next Thursday, June 1st. Prior to each week’s podcast, we hope to have at least some sort of overview post that offers some ...

The Worlds of João Gilberto Noll: Adam Morris in discussion with Scott Esposito

Join us at City Lights Booksellers on May 18 for a reading from Atlantic Hotel, along with an intriguing conversation delving into modern-day Brazil, Noll’s influences (including Clarice Lispector), his mysterious protagonists, and the challenges of translating his labyrinthine, twisty sentences into English. When: May ...

Win a Copy of "Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller" by Gudbergur Bergsson from GoodReads!

As you may already know, Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, translated by Lytton Smith, is going to be the second Two Month Review title. This “season” will take place in August and September, but you can get a head start by winning a copy of the book through GoodReads. If you’re a GoodReads user, all you have to ...

"Bardo or Not Bardo" Wins the Inaugural Albertine Prize!

Antoine Volodine’s Bardo or Not Bardo, translated by J. T. Mahany has won the first ever Albertine Prize—a reader’s choice award celebrating contemporary French fiction. The book had to go through two rounds of public voting, moving from a longlist of ten titles, to a three title shortlist before eventually ...

Two Voices Salon: Translator Simon Wickhamsmith on Mongolian Poet Tseveendorjin Oidov

Join us for a conversation with Mongolian translator Simon Wickhamsmith and Scott Esposito about Wickhamsmith’s translation of Tseveendorjin Oidov’s The End of the Dark Era. Wickhamsmith was awarded a PEN/Heim Translation grant for his work on the book, and he’ll talk about how he became interested in Mongolian ...

Dick Cluster @ Oakland Public Library

Hear translator Dick Cluster read from Kill the Ámpaya! The Best Latin American Baseball Fiction. When: May 6, 2017, 2:30 pm Where: Oakland Public Library, Temescal branch, 5205 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609 For more information on the event, go ...

Auto-Fiction @ PEN World Voices

Each of these three authors has written work that falls on the spectrum of memoir – some is more fictionalized, and some stays truer to their authors’ lives and experiences. Each author will be reading from and speaking about their work. With Bae Suah, Marcelino Truong, and Oddný Eir. For more information on this ...

2017 BTBA Winners Announced

The winners of the 2017 BTBA for Fiction and Poetry will be announced on Thursday, May 4th at 7 p.m., simultaneously on The Millions and at a live event at The Folly (92 W. Houston Street, New York City). The event is free and open to the ...

Literary Quest: Westbeth Edition @ PEN World Voices

Residents open their homes for readings by authors and a party in their legendary gallery. With Moustafa Bayoumi, Rita Mae Brown (US), Farah Jasmine Griffin (US), Abeer Hoque (Nigeria/Bangladesh/American), Thomas Meinecke (Germany/US), Haroon Moghul, Tanwi Nandini Islam, Karolina Ramqvist, Idra Novey, Igor Stiks (UK), Han ...

Bae Suah @ East City Bookshop

Join us for a reading and signing by author Bae Suah. RSVP on Facebook or email rsvp@eastcitybookshop.com. RSVPs are appreciated but not required. When: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 – 6:30pm to 8:00pm Where: East City Bookshop 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE Washington, DC 20003 For more information, go ...

Dick Cluster and Norman Zelaya @ San Fran Public Library

Dick Cluster and Norman Zelaya read from Kill the Ámpaya! The Best Latin American Baseball Fiction. When: May 2, 2017, 6:30 PM Where: San Francisco Public Library, Main Library, 100 Larkin St, SF CA 94102 For more information on the event, go ...

Bae Suah @ Penn Book Center

Join us for a reading and discussion with South Korean poet and novelist Bae Suah! Ms. Bae is on tour around the United States in advance of her participation in the PEN World Voices Festival in New York, and will be stopping in Philadelphia to present her newly-translated novel “A Greater Music” and her new ...

Reading the World Conversation Series: Bae Suah @ Nox

May 01, 2017 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM NOX Cocktail Lounge (302 N. Goodman, Rochester, NY) One of South Korea’s most highly acclaimed contemporary novelists, Bae Suah is the author of more than a dozen works, including A Greater Music, Recitation, Nowhere to Be Found, and North Station. Additionally, she has ...

2017 PEN World Voices Festival

For more information on the festival, including event schedules, please go

Andrés Barba @ Green Apple Books

Join Green Apple Books and Andres Barba as he discusses his new novel, Such Small Hands, with Yiyun Li, followed by a party sponsored by Transit Books. When: April 25, 7:00pm Where: Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Avenue, SF CA 94122 For more information on the event, go ...

Why These Fiction Finalists Should Win [BTBA 2017]

We’re just over a week away from the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award winners1, so it’s a good time to start ramping up the speculation. Tomorrow I’ll post about the poetry finalists, and give updated odds on the entire shortlist on Thursday, but for today, I thought it would be worthwhile to ...

An Evening of Catalan Poetry with Maria Cabrera @ El Born in NYC

Join us for an evening of Catalan poetry and the US debut of an exciting literary talent. Poet Maria Cabrera’s original and unconventional poems from La ciutat cansada (Tired City) earned her the prestigious Carles Riba Poetry Prize in 2016. At this special New York appearance, Cabrera and translator Mary Ann Newman will ...

2017 Best Translated Book Award Finalists [BTBA 2017]

April 18, 2017—Ten works of fiction and five poetry collections remain in the running for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards following the announcement of the two shortlists at The Millions website this morning. A wide range of languages and writing styles are represented on these shortlists, from the more ...

Two Lost Souls: on "Revulsion" and "Cabo De Gata"

The dislocation of individuals from the countries of their birth has long been a common theme in contemporary literature. These two short novels recently translated into English appear firmly rooted in this tradition of ex-pat literature, but their authors eschew the romanticism found in earlier works. In Revulsion, Eguardo ...

Reading the World Conversation Series with Bae Suah

On May 1st, South Korean author Bae Suah (Recitation, A Greater Music, Nowhere to Be Found, and the forthcoming North Station) will be in Rochester, NY for TWO Reading the World Conversation Series events. The first will take place in the Humanities Center at Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester’s ...

“Zama” by Antonio Di Benedetto [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Oblivion” by Sergi Lebedev [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Angel of Oblivion” by Maja Haderlap [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Among Strange Victims” by Daniel Saldaña París [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Day of Translation @ George Mason

The Center for the Art of Translation is pleased to present our inaugural “Day of Translation” with the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center. All panels and events will take place on the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, VA. Writers and translators appearing include: Kareem Abdulrahman, Karen Emmerich, ...

“Night Prayers” by Santiago Gamboa [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“On the Edge” by Rafael Chirbes [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Last Wolf and Herman” by László Krasznahorkai [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“The Queue” by Basma Abdel Aziz [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Super Extra Grande” by Yoss [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

“Ladivine” by Marie NDiaye [Why This Book Should Win]

Between the announcement of the Best Translated Book Award longlists and the unveiling of the finalists, we will be covering all thirty-five titles in the Why This Book Should Win series. Enjoy learning about all the various titles selected by the fourteen fiction and poetry judges, and I hope you find a few to purchase and ...

Tenth Annual Best Translated Book Awards Longlists [BTBA 2017]

March 28, 2017—Celebrating its tenth iteration, the Best Translated Book Awards announced its longlists for fiction and poetry this morning, highlighting the best international works of literature published in the past year. Announced at The Millions, the lists include a diverse range of authors, from authors who have ...

The Hatred of Music

Pascal Quignard’s __The Hatred of Music_ is the densest, most arcane, most complex book I’ve read in ages. It’s also a book that covers a topic so basic, so universal—almost primordial—that just about any reader will be perversely thrilled by the intersections Quignard unearths between the mind and the world of ...

Two Voices Salon: Publisher Chad Post on Chinese Author Can Xue

The Center’s Scott Esposito will talk with publisher Chad Post via Skype about the latest book in translation from Chinese writer Can Xue, Frontier, “one of the most raved-about works of translated fiction this year.” Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Come prepared to join the conversation! When: 6 p.m. ...

Likes of the Future Are Shaped by Likes of the Past

As in past weeks here’s a PDF version of this post, which might be a lot easier to read. Two years ago, Yale University Press released The Dirty Dust, Alan Titley’s translation of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille, a supposedly “untranslatable” masterpiece of Irish literature. This past ...

BTBA 2017, This Issue: The Body

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Lori Feathers, an Assistant Managing Editor at Asymptote, freelance book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. Follow her online @LoriFeathers. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here ...

"Moonstone" by Sjón [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Mark Haber of Brazos Bookstore. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Small in size and epic in scale, Moonstone is Sjón’s fourth ...

Tim Parks, Style, and Europanto

As in past weeks, here’s a PDF version of this post, which might be a lot easier to read. For a few years now, on the first day of my “Translation & World Literature” class, I give my students an impossible task—translating the first few paragraphs of Diego Marani’s Las Adventures des ...

Reader Selection and Market Acceleration: Are We Living in a Backward World?

Given the insane length of this post, I would recommend downloading the PDF version. Besides, it’s easier to read the footnotes that way. Some of which are pretty fun, I think. Much in the same way it’s impossible for me to choose a single part of Franco Moretti’s Distant Reading that I like the best, I ...

Recent Open Letter Publicity [Justine, Gessel Dome, Ugresic, and More]

I don’t post on social media all that often—unless I’ve been drinking—but do generally try and share all of the reviews and publicity pieces that come up about Open Letter. And as with anything else, this tends to come in waves, including the onslaught of pieces from the past few days that I’ve ...

Open Letter in 2016

Sure, the start of a new year is a good time to look to the future, make resolutions you’ll definitely break, and all of that, but it’s also a nice moment to reflect on the past twelve months. Rather than include all the things that happened with Open Letter last year—from the success of our 2nd Annual ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Biographical Note]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso [Press Release]

The pub date for Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, which is translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, with a biographical note from Ben Moser officially came out on Tuesday, December 13th. To celebrate the release of this Brazilian masterpiece, we’ll be running a series ...

Two Voices Salon with translator Chris Andrews

Presented by the Center for the Art of Translation Chris Andrews joins us to talk about his newest translation, Ema, the Captive, from the prolific Argentine writer César Aira. This event is free and open to the public. When: December 8, 2016; doors open at 5:30, event starts at 6:00 Where: Center for the Art of ...

Keeping the Foreign in Translated Literature: a Dispatch from the Oklahoma Prairie George Henson

George Henson is a translator of contemporary Latin American and Spanish prose, a contributing editor for World Literature Today and Asymptote, and a lecturer at the University of Oklahoma. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a ...

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Three Percent #120: Crime and Concept Stores

It’s been a few weeks since the last podcast, but Chad and Tom are back with a over-stuffed episode that starts with a recap of recent events before turning to Barnes & Noble’s plans for their concept stores followed by a lengthy discussion about international crime authors. Here’s a complete list of ...

Two Voices Salon with translator Donald Nicholson-Smith

Presented by the Center for the Art of Translation Join us at a special Two Voices Salon to celebrate the release of prize-winning Moroccan poet Abdellatif Laabi’s latest book, In Praise of Defeat, translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith. This event is free and open to the public. When: November 10, ...

Handicapping Margaret Jull Costa's Odds at Winning the BTBA [BTBA 2017]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Jeremy Garber, events coordinator for Powells and freelance reviewer. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. Esteemed translator Margaret Jull ...

Andrés Neuman & Eduardo Rabasa @ Brazos Bookstore

Join the gang at Brazos Bookstore for a reading and chat with Andres Neuman on his How to Travel without Seeing and Eduardo Rabasa on his A Zero-Sum Game. When: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 – 7:00pm Where: 2421 Bissonnet StreetHouston, TX 77005 For more information, go ...

SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2016: Japanese Children's Literature in English

A day of presentations, critiques, and conversation for published and pre-published translators of Japanese children’s literature into English, including prose literature and manga. When: October 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Where: at Yokohama International School, 258 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku – Yokohama, Kanagawa ...

Bae Suah @ Brazos Bookstore

Join Bae Suah in conversation with Deborah Smith at Brazos Bookstore. More information is available here. The event is open and free to the public. When: Thursday, October 13th, 7:00 pm Where Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX ...

Celebration of Julio Cortázar @ Green Apple Books

Presented by the Center for the Art of Translation As part of our ongoing partnership with the annual Litquake literary festival and City Lights Books, the Center is delighted to be hosting a celebration of Julio Cortázar with our favorite Bay Area translators. Join Stephen Kessler, translator of the forthcoming Save ...

Bae Suah @ Volumes Bookcafe

Volumes is thrilled to announce have Bae Suah, one of the most lauded contemporary South Korean writers, along with her translator, Deborah Smith, in conversation about Bae Suah’s newly translated book, A Greater Music. Deborah Smith most recently translated the 2015 Man Booker Winning novel, The Vegetarian, by Han ...

"Books that Make Demands of the Reader" w/ Can Xue

“Books that Make Demands of the Reader” Best Translated Book Award winner Can Xue (The Last Lover, Vertical Motion, Frontier) writes books that blend elements of the Western literary translation with those from Eastern philosophy. As a result, her books are less about the things that happen and more about the ...

Bae Suah @ Elliott Bay Book Company

Join Korean author Bae Suah in conversation with translator Deborah Smith. Bae Suah’s A Greater Music (Open Letter) is a heart-wrenching story of the two love affairs a young Korean writer experiences while living in Germany. A novel of memories and wandering, A Greater Music blends riffs on music, language, and ...

Bae Suah @ Powell's Books

Join Korean author Bae Suah in conversation with translator Deborah Smith. Bae Suah’s A Greater Music (Open Letter) is a heart-wrenching story of the two love affairs a young Korean writer experiences while living in Germany. A novel of memories and wandering, A Greater Music blends riffs on music, language, and ...

Bae Suah @ Green Apple Books on the Park

Join translator Deborah Smith in conversation with South Korean writer Bae Suah about her novel, A Greater Music. More information is available here. The event is free and open to the public. When: Friday, October 7, 2016 @ 7:30pm Where: Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Avenue, SF CA ...

Josefine Klougart @ Green Apple Books

Danish writer Josefine Klougart reads from One of Us is Sleeping, the first of her novels translated into English. More information is available here. The event is free and open to the public. When: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 – 7:30pm Where: Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Avenue, SF CA ...

Buy Your Tickets for the Second Annual Celebration of Open Letter and Rochester

Last October, we put on our first ever celebration (or gala) here in Rochester. It was centered around the release of Rochester Knockings, which was translated from the French by local poet-translator Jennifer Grotz (who also runs the translation program at the University of Rochester). The local band The Fox Sisters played, ...

Josefine Klougart @ UC Berkley

Join the Department of Scandinavian and ScanGrads for a talk by Danish author Josefine Klougart. More information available here. When: Monday 3 October, 4:30 pm-6:00 pm Where: University of Berkley, Department of Scandinavian, 201 Moses ...

"One of Us Is Sleeping" by Josefine Klougart [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is the third entry in a series that will eventually feature all of the titles Open Letter has published to date. Catch up on past entries by clicking here. Last week’s entry was a pretty solid Chad rant involving the incredible Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin. Definitely check that one out. By contrast, this ...

Josefine Klougart @ Powell's Books

Join Danish author Josefine Klougart and Powell’s books for a conversation and reading about her first novel to be translated into English, One of Us Is Sleeping. The event is free and open to the public. When: Thursday, September 29 @ 7:30 PM Where: Powell’s Books, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR ...

Josefine Klougart @ Deep Vellum Books

Join Danish author Josefine Klougart at Deep Vellum Bookstore for a conversation and reading from her One of Us Is Sleeping. More information available here: http://deepvellum.org/event/josefine-klougart-u-s-tour-deep-vellum-books-dallas-texas/. The event is free and open to the public. When: Tuesday September 27 @ ...

"Neo-Noir, Violence, and Argentine Resort Towns" w/ Andrea G. Labinger

“Neo-Noir, Violence, and Argentine Resort Towns” Translator Andrea G. Labinger (recipient of a PEN Heim award for Gesell Dome) and Kaija Straumanis (editor, Open Letter Books) discuss the Dashiell Hammett Award-winning novel Gesell Dome, a neo-noir set in an Argentine resort town during the off-season. When the ...

Josefine Klougart @ Brazos Bookstore

Join Brazos Bookstore for a conversation and reading with Danish author Josefine Klougart. More information available here. When: Monday, September 26, 2016 – 7:00pm Where: Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet StreetHouston, TX ...

Josefine Klougart @ 57th Street Books

Join author Josefine Klougart in conversation with Susan Harris of Words Without Borders. More information available here. The event is free and open to the public. When: Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 3:00pm Where: 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL ...

Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is the second entry in a series that will eventually feature all of the titles Open Letter has published to date. Catch up on past entries by clicking here. Last week’s entry was about Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno. Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian ...

Josefine Klougart @ Community Bookstore

Join author Josefine Klougart in conversation with Sarah Gerard. More information available here. The event is free and open to the public. When: Wednesday, September 21st, 7:00 pm Where: Community Bookstore (143 7th Ave, Brooklyn, ...

Interview with Rein Raud

Officially pubbing last Tuesday, The Brother by Rein Raud, translated from the Estonian by Adam Cullen, is a spaghetti western and “philosophical gem” (West Camel). It’s also Raud’s first novel to appear in English, following an appearance in the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology. The book has ...

Josefine Klougart @ Scandinavia House

Join Josefine Klougart in a reading and conversation with Maria Margvard Jensen at the Scandinavia House. More information on the event is here. The event is free and open to the public. When: Monday, September 19th, 7:00 pm Where: Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave, New York, ...

Death by Water

Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in the first person by Kogito Choko, a septuagenarian writer with published works including ...

Latest Review: "Death by Water" by Kenzaburo Oe

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Will Eells on Kenzaburo Oe’s Death by Water, published by Grove Press. Here’s the beginning of Will’s review: Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The ...

Bae Suah and Deborah Smith on Tour!

This fall, two Open Letter authors will be on tour: Josefine Klougart (whose tour we announced a few weeks ago) will be going cross-country starting next week to promote One of Us Is Sleeping. And then, just as her tour is wrapping up, Bae Suah will be arriving in San Francisco (along with her translator, Man Booker Prize ...

Twenty-One Cardinals

Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the Cardinal family, and left me wishing I could stay for more. With ...

Latest Review: "Twenty-One Cardinals" by Jocelyne Saucier

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Natalya Tausanovitch on Twenty-One Cardinals by Jocelyne Saucier, published by Coach House Books. Natalya was a student of Chad’s last school year, and is in her final year of studies at the university. This summer, she did an internship with the press and ...

Best Translated Book Award 2017: The Judges

Running a little bit late with the BTBA announcments for this year, but over the next week, expect to see the official page updated and an updated to the translation database. In the meantime, this post will give publishers, translators, and interested readers all the necessary information about who’s on the committee ...

Josefine Klougart's Fall Tour

Summer is on its way out and August is coming to an end, which means, for me, back to school (aka papers and not always reading for fun). With some time left, however, I plan on finishing off and enjoying a few books from my ever growing ‘To Read’ stack. A book that should be on everyone’s end of summer ...

Alejandro Zambra & The White Review

Author Alejandro Zambra will be speaking at New York’s Center for Fiction with Sophie Seita on Thursday, May 26 at 7pm. This event is in celebration of the launch of The White Review No. 16. When: Thursday, May 26 at 6 p.m. Where: Center for Fiction, 17 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017 For more information and to RSVP, go ...

2016 Best Translated Book Award Winners: "Signs Preceding the End of the World" and "Rilke Shake"

May 4, 2016—The ninth annual Best Translated Book Awards were announced this evening at The Folly in New York City, and at The Millions with Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman, winning for fiction, and Angélica Freitas’s Rilke Shake, translated from the ...

2016 Best Translated Book Award Finalists!

Ten works of fiction and six poetry collections remain in the running for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards following the announcement of the two shortlists at The Millions website this morning. These sixteen finalists represent an incredible array of writing styles and reputation, and include the likes of ...

2016 Best Translated Book Award Fiction Finalists

As announced “earlier this morning at The Millions,”: these are the ten fiction finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Award: A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn (Angola, Archipelago Books) Arvida by Samuel Archibald, ...

2016 Best Translated Book Award Poetry Finalists

As announced “earlier this morning at The Millions,”: these are the six poetry finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Award: Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas, translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan (Brazil, Phoneme Media) Empty Chairs: Selected Poems by Liu Xia, translated from ...

“The Body Where I Was Born” by Guadalupe Nettel [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Charlotte Whittle, translator, and editor at Cardboard House Press. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the ...

“The Big Green Tent” by Ludmila Ulitskaya [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Stacey Knecht, BTBA judge and translator from the Czech and Dutch. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated from the Russian by ...

“The Story of My Teeth” by Valeria Luiselli [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Amanda Bullock, BTBA judge and director of public programs at Literary Arts, Portland. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated ...

The BTBA Celebrations

To celebrate this year’s Best Translated Book Awards, we’re going to have two separate parties. The first is on Wednesday, May 4th at 6:30pm at The Folly (92 W Houston, NYC). That’s where we’ll announce the two winning titles. (For those of you who can’t make it in person, be sure and tune into ...

“The Sleep of the Righteous” by Wolfgang Hilbig [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Hal Hlavinka, bookseller at Community Bookstore. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo ...

“A General Theory of Oblivion” by Jose Eduardo Agualusa [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by George Carroll, former BTBA judge, sales rep, and international literature editor for Shelf Awareness. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   A General Theory of Oblivion by José ...

The Seven Good Years

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 what seems a blasé manner, talk about how much they hate terrorist attacks. “They put a damper on ...

“I Refuse” by Per Petterson [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series is by Joseph Schreiber, who runs the website Rough Ghosts, and is a contributor at Numéro Cinq. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   I Refuse by Per Petterson, translated from the ...

“The Meursault Investigation” by Kamel Daoud [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Gwen Dawson, founder of Literary License. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, translated from the French by John Cullen (Algeria, ...

“The Story of the Lost Child” by Elena Ferrante [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Betty Scott from Books & Whatnot. We will be running two (or more!) of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Italy, ...

“Berlin” by Aleš Šteger [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by P.T. Smith, BTBA judge, writer, and reader. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Berlin by Aleš Šteger, translated from the Slovene by Brian Henry, Forrest Gander, and Aljaž Kovac ...

Human Acts

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 author’s first translation into English, yet Han’s surreal story and the skillful ...

Latest Review: "Human Acts" by Han Kang

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by J. C. Sutcliffe on Han Kang’s Human Acts, published by Portobello Books. Here’s the beginning of the review: 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 ...

“Murder Most Serene” by Gabriell Wittkop [Why This Book Should Win]

This entry in the Why This Book Should Win series, is by Ben Carter Olcott, who is a writer, editor of the KGB Bar Lit Magazine, and a bookseller at 192 Books. We will be running two of these posts every business day leading up to the announcement of the finalists.   Murder Most Serene by Gabrielle Wittkop, ...

2016 BTBA Longlist Announcement!

This entry is the general press release about this year’s awards. If you want to skip ahead, you can find the poetry list here, and the fiction one here. Check back in later today—we’ll be kicking off the “Why This Book Should Win” series in the afternoon. March 29, 2016—Clarice ...

Two Weeks to the BTBA Longlists!

In just a couple of weeks—on Tuesday, March 29th at 10am to be precise—we’re going to announce the longlist for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards for fiction and poetry. Between now and then, I want to put up a few posts about the award, the titles that might make the list, other trends, etc. But ...

Introducing "The Vegetarian" by Han Kang [RTWBC]

As previously announced, the fiction book we’re reading for this month’s Reading the World Book Club is The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith. Since I already read this one—taught it in my class last year, more on that below—I thought I’d start out this ...

Lina Wolff @ ButaPub [RTWCS]

This first RTWCS of 2016 welcomes Swedish author Lina Wolff to discuss her new novel, Bret Easton Ellis and The Other Dogs, with Brian Wood, local author and fiction editor at POST magazine. When: Wednesday, March 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Where: ButaPub, 315 Gregory Street, Rochester NY This event is free and open to the ...

Lina Wolff in Rochester [Spring 2016 RTWCS]

Next Wednesday, March 2nd, at 6:30 pm, the amazing and local Rochester restaurant ButaPub will be hosting the first Reading the World Conversation Series (RTWCS) event for Spring 2016. This first RTWCS of 2016 welcomes Swedish author Lina Wolff to discuss her new novel, Bret Easton Ellis and The Other Dogs, with Brian ...

Alvaro Enrigue @ Green Apple Books

An event with Mexican author Alvaro Enrigue, whose novel Sudden Death (his first in English, translated by Natasha Wimmer), was just released by Riverhead Books. Enrigue will talk about the book with Two Lines’ Scott Esposito at Green Apple Books on the Park. When: Friday, February 19, 2016 Where: Green Apple Books ...

Toni Sala @ Malvern Books

Join us for an evening with award-winning writer Toni Sala, who will be reading from The Boys, an “altogether brilliant” novel that centers around the sudden deaths of two young men in a provincial town in the Catalonian countryside. Where: Malvern Books, 613 West 29th Street, Austin, TX 78705 When: Friday, Feb. 19 at 7 ...

Toni Sala @ Brazos Bookstore

Long known as one of Spain’s most powerful authors, Toni Sala is at his mischievous best here, delivering a sinister, fast-moving tale laced with intricate meditations on everything from social networks to Spain’s economic collapse to the mysterious end that awaits us all. THE BOYS is a startlingly honest vision of the ...

Variations on a Theme: Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s "Tram 83" [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Heather Cleary, translator of Sergio Chejfec, Oliverio Girondo, professor at Sarah Lawrence, and co-founder of the Buenos Aires Review. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a ...

Carlos Labbé @ Community Bookstore

Join the folk of Community Bookstore for a conversation with Carlos Labbé, as he discusses his novel Loquela. When: Wednesday, February 3rd at 7:30pm Where: Community Bookstore, 143 7th Ave., Brooklyn, NY For more information, go ...

Updated 2014, 2015, & 2016 Translation Databases

I just uploaded new versions of 2014, 2015, and 2016 translation databases to our master translation database part of the website. There are two big updates worth noting here, before getting into some of the breakdowns: 1) I added over 150 titles to the 2016 database, so this is starting to look a little bit more robust ...

On Spoiling "The Weight of Things" [RTWBC]

I’m struggling with what to write about The Weight of Things for this week. Initially, I thought we’d have an interview with the translator ready by this point, but I suck at time management . . . Besides, what could I possible add after this interview between Adrian Nathan West and Kate Zambreno? BLVR: ...

Carlos Labbé @ 57th Street Books

Join the folk of 57th Street Books for an evening with Carlos Labbé to discuss his novel Loquela. Carlos will be joined in conversation by Victoria Saramago, assistant professor at the Department of Romance Languaes and Literature at the University of Chicago. For more information on the event, go here. When: Tuesday, ...

Why Are We Ignoring "Apocalypse Baby"'s Most Important Twist? [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by Kate Garber, bookseller at 192 Books. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. I have yet to find a review of Apocalypse Baby by Virginie ...

"Loquela" Is the Book You Should Be Reading

This is another one of those posts. One in which I wrote a long-ass essay/diatribe that I decided to delete so as to “focus on the positive.” In this case, I was on a roll about how sick I am of the literary field anointing four-five international authors a year and writing endless articles/listicles about ...

Valeria Luiselli and the Transformative Power of Translated Storytelling [BTBA]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from judge Kevin Elliott, bookseller at 57th Street Books in Chicago. As a reminder, you can stay up to date with all BTBA goings on by liking our Facebook page and by following us on Twitter. And by checking in regularly here at Three Percent. The Story Of My Teeth is ...

A Quote from "Twelve Stations" [RTWBC]

I was hoping to send Bill Johnston a bunch of questions about Tomasz Różycki’s Twelve Stations over the weekend, but the general exhaustion from MLA, Greyhound bus rides, and doing three events in three days won out. With a little luck I’ll have something from him to post next Thursday. In the meantime, I ...

Danielle Dutton on "The Weight of Things" [RTWBC]

As you probably know, this month’s Reading the World Book Club prose selection is The Weight of Things by Marianne Fritz, which is translated from the German by Adrian Nathan West and published by Dorothy. Danielle Dutton—a highly regarded author and founder of Dorothy, a publishing project—offered to ...

Book Club Breakdown for "The Weight of Things" [RTWBC]

Before getting to the main part of this post—which is admittedly a bit silly, but hopefully a good way to kick things off—I have a few quick notes. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make it easy for people to share their thoughts and opinions about these books—to make this really a book club and ...

Carlos Labbé on Tour!

If you happened to read Laird Hunt’s “great review of Carlos Labbe’s Loquela in the LA Times”:http://www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-carlos-labbe-20151220-story.html you’ll probably be interested in meeting the man behind this wild and wonderful book. Well, if you live in Dallas, Portland, ...

Six University Press Books [My Year in Lists]

I was hoping to have more time to write about the books on this list today, but after having technical problems recording the podcast, I’m going to have to rush through this so that I have enough time at the end of the day to mail out Loquela to all of our subscribers. Considering how many translations are coming out ...

Let's Talk about Lists

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few months, you’ve probably come across one rant or another about listicles and lists in general. Aside from the ones on the ROC in Your Mouth blog I think most of these things are pretty stupid. Actually, let me refine that a bit: “Best of” lists can ...

The Room

If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads to a tidy little room with a desk. Inside this room, he feels a ...

Latest Review: "On the Edge" by Rafael Chirbes

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Jeremy Garber on On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, and coming out from New Directions next January. Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. He is also currently serving on the BTBA judging ...

"A Raskolnikoff" by Emmanuel Bove [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Jason Grunebaum, senior lecturer at the University of Chicago, and translator from the Hindi. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. When ...

Translation Database Updates: AmazonCrossing Is the Story

The other day, I posted about the Translation Databases, pointing out that the 2014, 2015, and 2016 databases have all be substantially updated. That post was a bit bleak, talking about a 15% reduction in the number of works of fiction and poetry published in 2015 when compared to 2014.1 Since that went live, a lot of ...

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Three Percent #107: The Lost Episode

A couple weeks ago, Chad and Tom recorded a podcast about a slew of recent events, including ALTA 38, the Albertine Festival, the “New Literature from Europe Festival, Wordstock, and the Texas Book Festival. Unfortunately, that podcast—one of the best ever recorded—had to be tossed because of technical ...

Submission [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Tom Roberge from New Directions, Albertine Books, and the Three Percent Podcast. He’s not actually a BTBA judge, but since he’s helping run the whole process, he thought he’d weigh in and post as well. For more information on the BTBA, ...

Vermont Studio Center: Visiting Writer Jody Gladding

Reading with visiting author and translator Jody Gladding. Where: Vermont Studio Center, 80 Pearl Street, Johnson, VT 05656 When: Monday, November 16th, from 8-9pm For more information on the event, go ...

New Literature from Europe Festival

The New Literature from Europe Festival is an annual celebration of writing from across the European continent. Featuring readings and discussions between leading and emerging literary voices from Europe, and some of America’s foremost writers and critics, the Festival celebrates important new European literature in ...

Help Open Letter By Buying the Books for My Spring Class

As you probably know already, Open Letter Books is a non-profit publishing house. Which means that a) I go out of my way to help the field of translation/publishing as a whole (see: Best Translated Book Award, this blog, the translation database, and a dozen other things that don’t benefit us financially, but which I ...

LiT Forum: Translator Esther Allen with José Manuel Prieto

Reading with translator Esther Allen and author José Manuel Prieto. Where: Vermont Studio Center, 80 Pearl Street, Johnson, VT 05656 When: Friday, October 30th, from 8-9pm For more information on the event, go ...

Another Really "Important" Book We Publish: Guillermo Saccomanno's "Gesell Dome"

Last night I got a bunch of people excited on Twitter (my feed is a bit more . . . schizoid than the official Open Letter feed, although you should follow that one too!) about Guillermo Saccomanno’s Gesell Dome, so I thought I’d share a bit more about this book. We signed this on a while back, shortly after ...

Naja Marie Aidt @ Brazos Bookstore

Naja Marie Aidt’s long-awaited first novel is a breathtaking page-turner and complex portrait of a man whose life slowly devolves into one of violence and jealousy. Join the awesome folk at Brazos for a reading by Naja Marie Aidt. Where: Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet StreetHouston, TX 77005 For more information, go ...

Reminder: Our First Gala is Only Ten Days Away

Next Friday (October 23rd), we’ll be hosting our first annual Celebration of Open Letter and Rochester. It’s our one and only fundraising event of the year, and is centered around _Rochester Knockings: A Novel of the Fox Sisters by Hubert Haddad and translated from the French by Jennifer Grotz. The gala will ...

Naja Marie Aidt @ The Wild Detectives

Join the good folk at The Wild Detectives for a reading with Naja Marie Aidt. Where: The Wild Detectives, 314 W. Eighth St., Dallas, TX Free and open to the public. More information forthcoming ...

Private Life

In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night: When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on the events begin to seem more and more extraordinary, and the characters take on a ...

Naja Marie Aidt: A Reading and Conversation with CJ Evans at Litquake

Naja Marie Aidt’s Rock, Paper, Scissors (Open Letter Books), her long-awaited first novel, is a complex portrait of a man whose life slowly devolves into violence and jealousy. One of Denmark’s most decorated and beloved authors, Aidt will read from the newly released novel and share her thoughts on writing, being ...

Jennifer Grotz @ Barnes & Noble College Town

Join Jennifer Grotz who will lead a reading and discussion of her latest translation of Hubert Haddad’s book “Rochester Knockings: A Novel of the Fox Sisters”. An intriguing account of a house possesed, a clairvoyant and the emergence of the Spiritualist Movement. Sponsored by Open Letter Press. Don’t ...

Naja Marie Aidt @ Magers & Quinn

Naja Marie Aidt reads from Rock, Paper, Scissors Naja Marie Aidt’s long-awaited first novel is a breathtaking page-turner and complex portrait of a man whose life slowly devolves into one of violence and jealousy. Rock, Paper, Scissors opens shortly after the death of Thomas and Jenny’s criminal father. While trying ...

Svetlana Alexievich for the Nobel!

For the past few years, every time the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded, a certain number of journalists contact me about the winner, asking for information since, for the most part, they’ve never read or heard of these authors. Patrick Modiano. Herta Mueller. Mo Yan. Surprisingly, or maybe not so, I knew a ...

Words Without Borders & Naja Marie Aidt

Open Letter Books and Seminary Co-op Bookstores Present Danish author Naja Marie Aidt, reading from her long-awaited debut novel Rock, Paper, Scissors. Aidt will be joined in conversation by Susan Harris, editorial director of Words without Borders. Where: 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St., Chicago, IL RSVP ...

Still Hating on DraftKings [3 Books]

Rather than reinvent the ranting wheel (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds fun), I’m going to preface this preview of three new books with a couple of updates from last week’s post. First off, DraftKings. I spend way too much of my mental time hating all over this stupid company. I should just stop. ...

Reading with Naja Marie Aidt & Valeria Luiselli

Join the folk at the Community Bookstore for a reading with authors Naja Marie Aidt and Valeria Luiselli. Where: Community Bookstore, 143 7th Ave., Brooklyn, NY Free and open to the public. For more information, go ...

We're Not Here to Disappear

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 and comes out from Otis Books/Seismicity Editions next week. John ...

Latest Review: "We're Not Here to Disappear" by Olivia Rosenthal

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Megan C. Ferguson on We’re Not Here to Disappear by Olivia Rosenthal, translated by Béatrice Mousli and published by Otis/Seismicity Editions. The books we get from Otis/Seismicity are always this beautiful matte black, with a simple title heading and author listing. ...

"One of Us Is Sleeping" by Josefine Klougart [Short Teaser]

I started reading Martin Aitken’s translation from the Danish of Josefine Klougart’s One of Us Is Sleeping yesterday and came across this passage that I wanted to share. I know I need to post a more comprehensive overview of our forthcoming books—both for the winter and next spring—but for now, ...

Latest Review: "The Queen's Caprice" by Jean Echenoz

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Christopher Iacono on The Queen’s Caprice by Jean Echenoz, translated by Linda Coverdale and published by The New Press. What I particularly liked about this review is the last paragraph. I’m one of those people who has a lot of peeves over readers ...

The Queen's Caprice

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 a result, his characters, as well as his readers, are faced with the ...

The Lasting Impact of Bolaño's Quotes [3 Books]

After a couple weeks of touring and hosting events, I finally have time to get back to my “weekly” write-ups of new and forthcoming books. Last time I talked about a couple Indonesian titles one of which, Home by Leila Chudori, I’m greatly enjoying. I also complained about school starting before Labor Day, ...

Georgi Gospodinov @ Community Bookstore

Join the cool cats of Community Bookstore for a reading and conversation with Georgi Gospodinov and Alberto Manguel. Where: Community Bookstore, 143 7th Ave., Brooklyn, NY For more information, go ...

BTBA 2016 Poetry: The Jury Is Out [BTBA 2016]

It’s taken longer than it should to announce this—blame my disorganization, all the other events that have been going on, etc.—but we’re finally ready to unveil this year’s jury for the Best Translated Book Award prize for poetry. Before listing the judges, I just want to remind you to check ...

Literature on Location: Part II [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Stacey Knecht and is basically a follow-up to her first post. For more information on the BTBA, “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And check back here each week for a new post by one of the judges. I translate Hrabal. We work as a team. We ...

Andrés Neuman @ McNally Jackson

Join the radsters at McNally Jackson for a reading and conversation with Andrés Neuman and Heather Cleary. Where: McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St., New York, NY Free and open to the public. More information forthcoming ...

Open Letter Review Roundup!

Over the past few weeks, our books have received a bunch of great reviews. Each time this happens, I plan on posting about it on the blog, then I start answering emails, or teaching a class, or doing some mundane publishing related task (sales reports! metadata!) and don’t get around to it. So, here’s a huge ...

Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s ...

Georgi Gospodinov @ Seminary Co-op

Open Letter Books and Seminary Co-op Bookstores Present Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov, reading from his “quirky, compulsively readable” (New York Times) novel The Physics of Sorrow, with Angelina Ilieva (University of Chicago, Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures). Co-sponsored by The Center for East ...

Andrés Neuman @ Brazos Bookstore

With a variety of forms and styles, Neuman opens up the possibilities for fiction, calling to mind other greats of Latin American letters, such as Cortazar, Bolano, and Bioy Casares. Intellectually stimulating and told with a voice that is wry, questioning, sometimes mordantly funny, yet always generously humane, THE THINGS ...

Andrés Neuman @ 57th Street Books

Join the groovy folks at 57th Street Books for a reading and conversation with Andrés Neuman and Chad W. Post. Where: 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL For more information, go ...

RTWCS with Andrés Neuman & Chad W. Post

Come for the food, stay for the reading! The University of Rochester and Open Letter Books present a Reading the World Conversation Series event with author Andrés Neuman, in discussion with Chad W. Post. Where: Buta Pub, 315 Gregory St., Rochester, NY Free and open to the ...

French Concession

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 in expensive European hotels. The woman is Therese ...

Latest Review: "French Concession" by Xiao Bai

The latest addition to our Reviews section by Emily Goedde on French Concession by Xiao Bai, translated by Chenxin Jiang and published by Harper Collins. Emily Goedde received an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa. She is now a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University ...

National Book Festival: Presentation with Andrés Neuman

Andrés Neuman discusses “Talking to Ourselves: A Novel” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). For more information, go ...

Three Articles on Three Great Indie Presses: Graywolf, Coffee House, Europa

Yesterday I posted a little summary on two great translators, so it’s only appropriate that today I post about three great pieces that have come out about three of my favorite presses over the past few days. First up was this Vulture piece by Three Percent favorite Boris Kachka (BORIS!!) on Graywolf Press. ...

Complete Brooklyn Book Fair Schedule

I mentioned a few Brooklyn Book Fair Events in my post about all forthcoming Open Letter events (which I just updated), but the full schedule went up yesterday and, damn. If I were going, and if these were all taking place at different times, here are the panels I would attend: Twisted Fables. Fiction has come a long way ...

Anna Karenina

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. Even though it’s a very Russian novel that occasionally addresses problems in that country during ...

Latest Review: "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Christopher Iacono on one of the great Russian classics, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, translated by Marian Schwartz and published by Yale University Press. I recently had a brief correspondence with Marian about [epic] classic literature and the mediums in which one can ...

Two Great Translators: K. E. Semmel & Amanda DeMarco

I guess both of these articles are a couple of weeks old now—but do things really count if they happen in August while all of Europe is on vacation?—but I still want to share them since both are really interesting and feature two great translators and friends. First up, Asymptote has a nice profile of Danish ...

First Annual Celebration of Open Letter Books & Rochester

This has been in the works for a number of months now, but we’re finally ready to unveil some of the details about the first annual celebration of Open Letter and Rochester, including how you can buy tickets and support all of our programs. (Spoiler alert: Buy the tickets here.) The celebration is set to take place at ...

A Dilemma

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 shell of a tortoise. The tortoise, of course, is ...

Latest Review: "A Dilemma" by Joris-Karl Hyusmans

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Christopher Iacono on A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans, translated by Justin Vicari, and out from Wakefield Press. (We love you, Wakefield!!!) Here’s the beginning of Chris’s piece: In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature ...

Latest Review: "The Nightwatches of Bonaventura" by Bonaventura

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by J. T. Mahany on The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura, translated by Gerald Gillespie, and published by University of Chicago Press. J. T. is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s MALTS program, and is currently in the MFA program at Arkansas. He’s ...

The Nightwatches of Bonaventura

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 soliloquies in miasmic graveyards, a pregnant nun is entombed alive for ...

Latest Review: "Pavane for a Dead Princess" by Park Min-Gyu

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Christopher Iacono on Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-Gyu, translated by Amber Hyun Jung Kim, and published by Dalkey Archive Press. Here’s the beginning of Chris’s review: In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane ...

Pavane for a Dead Princess

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 pavane (a slow procession) that a princess would have danced to in the ...

Asymptote Summer 2015 Issue

This post is from current intern, soon to be Literary Translation grad student, Daniel Stächelin. From Mexican poet José Eugenio Sánchez and Danish poet Naja Marie Aidt, to Albanian author Ismail Kadare, among others, Asymptote’s Summer 2015 issue features some mind-bendingly vivid nuggets of literary and existential ...

Literature on Location: Part I [BTBA 2016]

As with past years, every week one of the Best Translated Book Award judges will be posting their thoughts and observations on some of the books that they’re reading for this year’s award. Stacey Knecht agreed to kick things off today with this post. Yes, I live in the Netherlands. No, I don’t live in ...

Best Translated Book Award 2016: The Fiction Judges

It’s only been a a month and a half since Can Xue’s The Last Lover and Rocio Ceron’s Diorama won the 2015 Best Translated Book Award, but given the number of eligible titles (over 550 last year), we’re getting the process started as early as possible this year, which is why, today, we’re ready to ...

Canada vs. Germany [Women's World Cup of Literature: CHAMPIONSHIP]

OK, here we are, at the final match of the first ever Women’s World Cup of Literature. If you missed any of the earlier games, or just want to read about all the incredible books that were included in this tournament, just click here. The Championship pits two very different books against one another. On one side ...

4 Dangerous & Immigrant Books: A Fundraising Party

Carlos Labbé, author of the excellent novels Navidad & Matanza (available now) and Loquela (forthcoming), sent me this information about a fundraising event he’s putting on this Saturday for Sangría Legibilities, a nonprofit publisher that he helped found. Since Sangría is the sort of press a lot of Three Percent ...

Australia vs. Cameroon [Women's World Cup of Literature: Quarterfinals]

From here on out, multiple judges will be voting on each of the matches and the “score” will be an accumulation of these votes. Just to recap, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Australia) got here by first beating Sweden and Camilla Läckberg’s The Stranger and then upending Nigeria and Chimamanda Ngozi ...

Spain vs. Costa Rica [Women's World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Katrine Øgaard Jensen, blog editor at Asymptote. You can follow her on Twitter at @kojensen. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! This match ...

Germany vs. Côte d'Ivoire [Women's World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Kalah McCaffrey, a Young Adult literary scout at Franklin & Siegal. You can follow her on Twitter at @moheganscout. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back ...

Canada vs. New Zealand [Women's World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Lizzy Siddal. You can keep up with her literary adventures at Lizzy’s Literary Life or on Twitter at @LizzySiddal. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back ...

Translator Ginny Tapley Takemori: On Whales, Blue Glass, War and Young People

Translator Ginny Tapley Takemori will discuss two children’s books she translated from Japanese into English, both of which are due out from Pushkin Children’s Books this year: The Whale That Fell In Love With a Submarine by Akiyuki Nosaka and The Secret of the Blue Glass by Tomiko Inui. Both titles explore ...

Germany vs. Thailand [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Emily Ballaine from Green Apple Books in San Francisco. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! In a David and Goliath style match up, these two ...

South Korea vs. Spain [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Mythili Rao, producer for The Takeaway at WNYC. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! What a brutal match. These two novels hold nothing back. Read ...

USA vs. Nigeria [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Sal Robinson, a graduate student in library science and co-founder of the Bridge Series. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! It seems hardly fair ...

Brazil vs. Costa Rica [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Meredith Miller, a Foreign Rights Agent at Trident Media Group. You can follow her on Twitter at @merofthemillers. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here ...

England vs. Colombia [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Rhea Lyons, a scout at Franklin & Seigal. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! Judging this match up between Life After Life and Delirium was ...

Canada vs. Netherlands [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Hannah Chute, recent recipient of her MA in literary translation from the University of Rochester. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! Oryx & ...

Australia vs. Sweden [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Rachel Crawford, graduate of the University of Rochester and former Open Letter intern. You can follow her rants online at @loveyourrac. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. ...

Energize Your Happy [Or: Why It's Important for Literary Translators to Go Do Stuff]

This is a bit of a risk, posting something among all the commotion surrounding the Women’s World Cup of Literature, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and wanted to finally write about it. I’m writing this post from Venstpils, Latvia, where I’ve had the pleasure to spend these first two ...

Côte d'Ivoire vs. Norway [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Hal Hlavinka, bookseller and events coordinator at Community Bookstore in Park Slope. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here daily! I’ll be up front and ...

My Best BEA Moment [Some June Translations]

Every May, 20,000 or so publishing professionals gather at BookExpo America to a) try and create buzz for their fall books, b) court booksellers and librarians, c) attend panels of minimal import, and d) bitch and moan. Mostly it’s just d, to be honest. Publishing people love to complain about everything. The Javitz ...

France vs. Mexico [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match, the first of the tournament, was judged by P.T. Smith, a freelance critic. You can follow him on Twitter at @PTSmith_Vt. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account and like our Facebook page. And check back here ...

Switzerland vs. Cameroon [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match, the first of the tournament, was judged by Lori Feathers, a freelance critic and Vice President of the Board of Deep Vellum Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriFeathers. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter ...

Translation Breadloaf and My Copyright Talk

As if three trips to New York and one to Torino weren’t enough, I just a few minutes ago arrived in Ripton, VT, where I have the honor of being able to participate in (and generally witness) the first ever Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. (A.K.A. Translation Loaf.) Since this was organized by Jen ...

BEA Translation "Buzz" Panels: Adult Fiction

So, this year, for the first time ever, BookExpo America is sponsoring two panels highlighting forthcoming works of fiction: one featuring general fiction, the other focusing on crime and thrillers. (Naturally, I’m moderating the first one and Tom Roberge is doing the other.) The one on general adult fiction will ...

"Chasing Lost Time" and "The Man Between" at Albertine

This Thursday, May 21st at 7pm, I’ll be moderating a conversation at Albertine Book Store (972 Fifth Ave., NYC) with Jean Findlay and Esther Allen about the life and work of two celebrated translators: C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Michael Henry Heim. You should come! While C. K. Scott Moncrieff’s work has shaped ...

What Makes a Reader Good at Reading? [Some May Translations]

In a couple weeks, the IDPF Digital Book Conference will take place in New York under the theme of “Putting Readers First.” As part of this Ed Nawokta (Publishing Perspectives founder and international publishing guru of sorts), Boris Kachka (Hothouse author and former BEA frond-waver [sorry, inside joke]), Andrew ...

Life Embitters

Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when he was a young law student and aspiring writer. Readers got to meet many of the ...

The Physics of Sorrow

“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said. bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I ask. Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow was an ...

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: The Bloggers

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: The Bloggers* Bloggers increasingly lead in reviewing international literature, as column inches for book reviews in traditional outlets have shrunk. Prominent bloggers discuss their role and how it’s evolving. Where: Albertine Books, 972 Fifth Avenue (at 79th ...

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: Women's Voices

Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: Women’s Voices Where are the women authors in translation? A panel of experts—writers, translators, editors—will consider the gender bias in literary translations published in the United States. Where: Albertine Books, 972 Fifth Avenue (at 79th Street), New ...

Translation Slam

What happens when a poem migrates into another language, not just once but twice? Find out when poets, translators, and audience square off in a smart and spirited exchange over meaning, choice, and freedom at this perennial Festival favorite. Where: Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East 3rd Street, New York When: Friday, May 8, ...

Vano and Niko

What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that these short pieces (what contemporary writers would call flash fiction) resemble fables and that ...

Why This Book Should Win – "Paris" by Guest Critic Chad W. Post

Paris – Marcos Giralt Torrente, Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, Spain, Hispabooks 1. Marcos Giralt Torrente is a literary descendent of Javier Marías. Similar to a Marías novel, the plot of Paris advances by one step forward, two steps sideways. The prose is interior, probing, less concerned ...

Why this Book Should Win – The Author and Me by BTBA Judge Michael Orthofer

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. The Author and Me – Éric Chevillard, translated from the French by Jordan Stump, France Dalkey Archive Press Obviously, two-time, back-to-back winner László ...

Why This Book Should Win: Q&A with Annelise Finegan Wasmoen about The Last Lover

Annelise Finegan Wasmoen is an editor and a literary translator. She is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators and is Associate Series Editor of The Cahiers ...

ASIA Publishers celebrating 110 Korean Classics

ASIA Publishers celebrating 110 Korean Classics in Bilingual Editions: “빨간 책 어디까지 읽었니?” This panel will present the triumphs of the previous two years, plans for ASIA Publishing, Authors, and Translators to keep this sort of project going strong in the future. When: Apr 25, 2015, 4pm to ...

Why This Book Should Win – Things Look Different in the Light by BTBA Judge Madeleine LaRue

Madeleine LaRue is Associate Editor and Director of Publicity of Music & Literature. Things Look Different in the Light and Other Stories – Merdardo Fraile, Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, Spain Pushkin Press For most of us, Things Look Different in the Light arrived late in the game. My ...

Why This Book Should Win – Faces in the Crowd by Guest Critic Tom Roberge

Tom Roberge is the Deputy Director of Albertine Books and Bookstore Liaison for New Directions. Faces in the Crowd – Valeria Luiselli, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney, Mexico Coffee House Press Early in Valeria Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd, she offers an explanation — of sorts — for ...

RTWCS: Jón Gnarr with Lytton Smith

Come join Open Letter Books for another Reading the World Conversation Series event, featuring Jón Gnarr and translator Lytton Smith! Jón Gnarr is an actor, punk rocker, comedian, and author who created the satirical Best Party in Iceland and, against all odds, rose to became major of Reykjavík. He is one of the ...

Latest Review: "The Indian" by Jón Gnarr

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by P. T. Smith on Jón Gnarr’s The Indian, translated by Lytton Smith and out this month from Deep Vellum. Jón Gnarr is an actor, punk rocker, comedian, and author who created the satirical “Best Party” in Iceland and, against all odds, rose to become major of ...

The Indian

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then comes sly awareness of the flow from preconsciousness to consciousness, “Murmuring ...

Why This Book Should Win – Talking to Ourselves by BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. Talking to Ourselves – Andrés Neuman, Translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, Argentina Farrar, Straus and Giroux Perhaps the question shouldn’t be why Andrés Neuman’s Talking to Ourselves ...

Latest Review: "Mother of 1084," "Old Women," and "Breast Stories" by Mahasweta Devi

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Christopher Iacono on three works by Mahasweta Devi, and published by Seagull Books: Mother of 1084 (trans. by Samik Bandyopadhyay), Old Women (trans. by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak), and Breast Stories (trans. by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak). Is everyone back on two feet after ...

Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories

Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women and their place in Indian society. Some of the characters in her stories are old women living in poverty, ...

Why This Book Should Win – Pushkin Hills by BTBA Judge James Crossley

James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Pushkin Hills – Sergei Dovlatov, Translated from the Russian by Katherine Dovlatov, Russia Counterpoint Press Pushkin Hills is ...

Why This Book Should Win – Adam Buenosayres by BTBA Judge Michael Orthofer

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. Adam Buenosayres – Leopoldo Marechal, Translated from the Spanish by Norman Cheadle and Sheila Ethier McGill-Queen’s University Press Leopoldo Marechal’s Adam ...

Why This Book Should Win – Monastery by BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. Monastery – Eduardo Halfon, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn Bellevue Literary Press One of three titles on this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlist to feature more than one translator ...

2015 Best Translated Book Award Poetry Longlist

The 2015 Best Translated Book Award festivities kick off today with the announcement below of the seventeen titles that made this year’s Poetry Longlist. The finalists will be announced the morning of Tuesday, May 5th, and the winner will be announced at a panel during BEA on Wednesday, May 27th. As always, thanks to ...

Best Translated Book Award 2015: Clues to the Fiction Longlist [Part One]

On Tuesday, April 7th, one week from tomorrow, we’ll be announcing this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists for both Fiction and Poetry. I’m going to unveil the poetry longlist at 10am, and the fiction one precisely at noon. (Eastern time. Because as much as I dislike East Coast Bias, our time zone ...

ALTA 2015 Travel Fellowships

OK, now that we have the ALTA 2015 location set (Tucson), the dates (October 28-31), hotel (Marriott University Park), and keynote speakers (Stephen Snyder and Jerome Rothenberg), it’s time to send out the call for Travel Fellowships. Each year, between four and six $1,000 fellowships are awarded to emerging ...

The History of Silence

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 a book that should have been called The History of Silence never came to be written. ...

Latest Review: "The History of Silence" by Pedro Zarraluki

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by P. T. Smith on The History of Silence by Pedro Zarraluki, translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, and published by Hispabooks Publishing. Here’s the beginning of Patrick’s review: Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and ...

Flesh-Coloured Dominoes

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 of attempting the latter. It has quite possibly the most ...

The Fringe Elements by BTBA Judge Monica Carter

Monica Carter is a freelance critic. Discerning how one should approach a written work for translation is a challenging task. The approach of some publishers is to accept the writer’s work as is, with no editorial input, which means the translation is as close to the original text as it can be, disregarding cultural, ...

Things I'm Over, Things That Are Interesting [Some March Translations]

For the handful of people who read these posts every month (I hope there are at least three of you), unfortunately, this one is going to be pretty short. I’m really strapped for time right now, with four trips (to New York, Bennington, Toronto, Seattle-Portland) and at least seven different events scheduled for the next ...

Adventures in Literary Translation on Saturday, March 14th

I’m going to be in NY most of this week for a number of events—a special seminar for publishing professionals on “Publishing Spanish Writers in English,” the National Book Critics Circle Awards—including the NY Circle of Translators Adventures in Literary Translation conference on Saturday, March ...

The Little Horse

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 on his own property for overdue political ...

Latest Review: "The Little Horse" by Torvald Steen

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by P. T. Smith on Torvald Steen’s The Little Horse, translated by James Anderson and published by Seagull Books. Here’s the beginning of Patrick’s review: The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder ...

Best Translated Book Award Winners to Be Announced at BookExpo America

So, this has been percolating for some time, but yesterday BookExpo America sent out the official press release (copied below) about how this year’s Best Translated Book Award winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 27 at 2:30 as part of BEA’s programming: Norwalk, CT, February 25, 2015: BookExpo America ...

Bookselling in Carolina [Some February Translations]

Last week, the tenth version of the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute took place in Asheville, NC, at a resort straight out of The Shining. I know! You should’ve seen the main lobby with it’s 40’ ceilings, giant fireplaces, and hidden passages. It was like something out of ...

Festival Neue Literatur 2015

This year’s edition of the Festival Neue Literatur, which features new writing from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S., will take place this upcoming weekend (February 19-22) and is loaded with interesting events. Here’s a video overview of the festival itself: You can find the complete schedule ...

Q&A with Hannah Johnson

This month, Wilkins Farago is publishing the translation of an award-winning children’s book, One Red Shoe by Karin Gruss with illustrations by Tobias Krejtschi, in the US (the book can be purchased both at the publisher’s website, and at Amazon.com). The story is a look at the impact of conflict on children who ...

The Frontrunners, Part Two by BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. Monastery (Bellevue Literary Press) Eduardo Halfon, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn Like a companion volume or literary reverberation, Eduardo Halfon’s Monastery continues the itinerant ...

The Frontrunners, Part One by BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. With the start of spring (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, that is) less than six weeks away, the BTBA longlist announcement draws ever closer (early April!) – and, as such, we judges continue our evaluation of the ...

Birth of a Bridge

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 weeks. While this may seem insignificant in a novel about the construction of a ...

Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia

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 American literary figures, a comic book superhero, international ...

Daniel Medin on The White Review and BTBAs Past, Present and Future

Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators and is Associate Series Editor of The Cahiers Series. The January 2015 Translation Issue that I edited for The White Review recently went live. Nearly a year in the making, it gathers various kinds of ...

Let Me Watch Crap! [Some January 2015 Translations]

This past weekend, my kids and I finally watched The Incredible Hulk—the final Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that we had to see to be all caught up before Avengers 2 comes out in May. After the ultimately disappointing Hulk ended, my son wanted to binge on the new season of Doctor Who, which is available through ...

FIVE NOIR NOVELS by BTBA Judge George Carroll

George Carroll is the World Literature Editor of Shelf Awareness and an independent publishers’ representative based in the Pacific Northwest. My day job is publishers’ representative, which is a snottier way of saying “traveling book salesman.” I present thousands (low thousands) of books twice a year to book ...

The Madmen of Benghazi

Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In Gerard de Villiers The Madmen of Benghazi, it happened on the ...

In Translation But Off the List by BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. As the calendar draws to a close, annual lists of the year’s best books begin to proliferate. However subjective these literary lineups may be, it should come as no surprise to readers of translated fiction that titles originating ...

New Literature from Europe 2014 [Weekend Work Getaways and then Some]

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of heading down to NYC for the 2014 New Literature from Europe festival, which primarily took place at the slightly Escherian, but beautiful Austrian Cultural Forum NY building. Even if you don’t read beyond this point, let me just say that this was a great festival, short and ...

Crossing Borders: Europe Through the Lens of Time

Join us for a celebration of the most exciting voices in European Literature today, guided by some of America’s top writers and critics. New Literature from Europe 2014 Crossing Borders: Europe Through the Lens of Time Austrian Cultural Forum New York 11 E 52nd St, New York More information and the event schedule is ...

CHILDREN OR SOVIETS OR BOTH: THE BOOKS THAT HAVE MADE ME LAUGH By Madeleine LaRue

Madeleine LaRue is Associate Editor and Director of Publicity of Music & Literature. The news has been worse than usual this year, so I’ve been particularly thankful for books that make me laugh. Here are some of the funniest contenders – in what I’m sure is just a coincidence, they all take place in the 1980s ...

Jeff Waxman's Rep Nights, Kramerbooks, and the Necessity of Face-to-Face Meetings

I’ve been incredibly discouraged over the past few weeks about the place of Open Letter in book culture. Part of this discouragement comes from traveling for twenty of the past twenty-four days (to Sharjah, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, L.A., and DC), but also, Open Letter didn’t get a single book on this Flavorwire ...

The Wild Detectives: Valerie Miles, in discussion with Prof. George Henson

Join us for readings and a discussion with Valerie Miles, editor of “A Thousand Forests in One Acorn,” a collection featuring twenty-eight of the greatest Spanish-language writers – with George Henson, Senior Lecturer of Spanish at UTD, this Wednesday at 7:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public. ...

Malvern Books: A Thousand Forests in One Acorn

Join us for readings and a discussion with Valerie Miles, editor of A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, a collection featuring twenty-eight of the greatest Spanish-language writers. And we’ll start the night in fine style with live Flamenco music from guitarist David Córdoba. This event is free and open to the public. For ...

Acorns in Texas

For those of you in the Austin and Dallas, Texas, areas, you’re in for a literary treat this week. Valerie Miles will be in Austin tonight (Tuesday), November 18th, at Malvern Books, and in Dallas tomorrow (Wednesday), November 29th, at The Wild Detectives to chat about A Thousand Forests in One Acorn. More ...

Bigger than the Burj Khalifa [Some November Translations]

This post is being written under extreme jet lag. Last Saturday I flew out to attend the Sharjah International Book Fair (the slogan for which is “A Book for Every Person,” which is not to be confused with Dubai’s Film Festival slogan, “A Movie for Every Person”) and then, yesterday, flew for ...

FEAR OF THE LONGLIST by George Carroll

George Carroll is the World Literature Editor of Shelf Awareness and an independent publishers’ representative based in the Pacific Northwest. None of the San Francisco Giants spoke with pitcher Madison Bumgartner in the dugout before he took the mound in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series except for ...

DANIEL MEDIN’S BTBA FAVORITES: FALL 2014

Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators and is Associate Series Editor of The Cahiers Series. Can Xue: The Last Lover, trans. from Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, Yale/Margellos The strangest and by far most original work I read this ...

The Best Translated Books So Far

James Crossley is a bookseller at Island Books. He writes regularly for the store’s Message in a Bottle blog and for the website of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Having talked about books that I think other people will probably like, it seems like I should talk at least a bit about the ones I ...

Miruna, a Tale

Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as “Niculae Berca”). The Evil Vale is located in the region of Wallachia (southern ...

Latest Review: "Miruna, a Tale" by Bogdan Suceavă

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Alta Ifland on Miruna, a Tale by Bogdan Suceavă, translated by Alistair Ian Blyth and out from Twisted Spoon Press. Fun fact! Bogdan and Chad were at MSU during the same time, where they became friends. Here’s the beginning of Alta’s review: Miruna is a ...

A Corner of the World: Interview with Author Mylene Fernández Pintado [Part I]

Mylene Fernández Pintado has been writing and publishing in Cuba, winning prizes and readers, since 1994. Her latest novel, La esquina del mundo, has just been published by City Lights as A Corner of the World, translated by Dick Cluster. Cluster’s other new Cuban translation is Pedro de Jesús’s Vital Signs, released ...

SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2014

SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2014: Japanese Literature in English for Young Adults A day of presentations, critiques, and conversation for published and pre-published translators of Japanese children’s literature into English, with a focus on young adult (YA) literature. The event will take place Saturday, October 18, ...

Part Two of BTBA Judge Jeremy Garber's Faves for 2015

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. Valeria Luiselli ~ Faces in the Crowd As sinuous and singular a novel as Valeria Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd (los ingrávidos) is (translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney), it is all the more remarkable on ...

Judge Jeremy Garber Shares Two of His Favorites So Far of BTBA 2015

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. With so much reading left to do (as submissions continue to fill our mailboxes daily), a handful of books already stand out as some of the year’s finest original translations. Although it remains to be seen whether any of the ...

Judge Jeremy Garber Sums Up His Thoughts for BTBA 2015

Jeremy Garber is the events coordinator for Powell’s Books and also a freelance reviewer. It is quite an honor (to say nothing of a responsibility) to be invited to adjudicate the creative output of others. In merely thinking of the myriad ways one might go about arbitrating the many facets that comprise a finished work ...

Kamal Jann

Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that contemplates what it means to accept your past. It is 2010. Kamal Jann, a ...

Latest Review: "Kamal Jann" by Dominique Eddé

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a by Lori Feathers on Kamal Jann by Dominique Eddé, translated by Ros Schwartz and published by Seagull Books. Lori helped us out in the World Cup of Literature round for the U.S. vs. Belgium, and is also a member of the Board of Dallas-based Deep Vellum ...

Abilio Estévez and His Exile from Cuba [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Abilio Estévez is next up in the Month of a Thousand Forests series. Arcade brought out a couple of his books a decade ago, but the piece he chose as his “aesthetic highpoint” (excerpted below) has never appeared in English translation. Just a reminder, you can buy A Thousand Forests in One Acorn for only $15 ...

Alfredo Bryce Echenique and a Microcosm of Peru [Month of a Thousand Forests]

Up next in the Month of a Thousand Forests series is Alfredo Bryce Echenique, whose entry in A Thousand Forests includes a bit from his novel A World for Julius and a previously untranslated story, “Manzanas.” One of the most intriguing things about Echenique’s life is the plagiarism case that he was ...

Kafka dreaming: Two contemporary fabulists

Madeleine LaRue is Associate Editor and Director of Publicity of Music & Literature. My strategy for BTBA reading is very simple and very biased: I read the books by women first, and if there are no books by women, then I read the shortest ones first. I start with the women because there are fewer of them, and with ...

Simply Put, Marian Schwartz Is Bad Ass

Our love for Marian Schwartz—translator from the Russian of Mikhail Shishkin’s Maidenhair along with Mikhail Bulgakov’s The White Guard and all the Andrei Gelasimov books that AmazonCrossing has been bringing out, and dozens of other works—runs deep, which is why we’re all really excited that she ...

I Called Him Necktie

While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro remembers what his friend Kumamoto Akira said about poetry. Its perfection arises precisely from its imperfection . . . . I have an image in my head. I see it clearly before me. Its colors are glaring and harsh in their brightness. But as soon as ...

Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio and His Precise Prose [Month of a Thousand Forests]

The first author in today’s Month of a Thousand Forests entry is Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, who has a couple books available already in English, both translated by superstar Margaret Jull Costa. What’s most interesting about his work—at least to me—is his obsession with words, grammar, precise ...

Return to Killybegs

The central concern of Sorj Chalandon’s novel Return to Killybegs appears to be explaining how a person of staunch political activism can be lead to betray his cause, his country, his people. Truth be told, the real theme of the book is the importance and artifice of myths and legends. In this sense, the novel’s plot, ...

Latest Review: "Return to Killybegs" by Sorj Chalandon

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Vincent Francone on Return to Killybegs by Sorj Chalandon, translated by Ursula Meany Scott and published by The Lilliput Press. All I have to say before we get to Vince’s review is that “Killybegs” sounds like something one might yell after a pint too many ...

Scott Cheshire on Plotless Novels

Electric Literature has a lengthy piece by Scott Cheshire on “plotless novels” that a lot of Three Percent readers would probably appreciate. Especially Max Frisch fans. The article is worth reading in its entirety, and excerpting it doesn’t do it justice, but here are a few paragraphs to draw you ...

Carlos Fuentes and Nationalist Writing [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

I’m going to start off today’s Month of a Thousand Forests entries with Carlos Fuentes—one of the greatest writers of all time. When I was at Dalkey Archive, we reprinted a few of his novels, including Where the Air Is Clear and Terra Nostra, which is excerpted below. I don’t love all of ...

The Last Days

Spoiler alert: acclaimed writer Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte kill themselves at the end of Lauren Seksik’s 2010 novel, The Last Days. It’s hard to avoid spoiling this mystery. Zweig’s suicide actually happened, in Brazil in 1942, and since then his fans have wondered what life must have been like for him in his ...

Selected Stories

To call Kjell Askildsen’s style sparse or terse would be to understate just how far he pushes his prose. Almost nothing is explained, elaborated on. In simple sentences, events occur, words are exchanged, narrators have brief thoughts. As often as translators are praised for their work with complex, tangled sentences, I ...

Latest Review: "Selected Stories" by Kjell Askildsen

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by P. T. Smith on Kjell Askildsen’s Selected Stories translated by Seán Kinsella and out from Dalkey Archive Press. Welcome back from the weekend, everyone! Kjell Askildsen has a neato name. That is all. Here’s the beginning of Patrick’s ...

Juan Marsé and French Women [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

Today’s entry in the Month of a Thousand Forests series is Juan Marsé, who has a few book available in English translation: Golden Girl, Lizard Tails, and Shanghai Nights. In this excerpt he talks a bit about this background and his time in Paris, which led to Últimas tardes con Teresa. __All this month, if you ...

BTBA Blog Returns with Judge Michael Orthofer

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. Getting started There’s no real official start date for the judging of the Best Translated Book Award – though maybe the announcement finalizing who the judges actually are is a ...

Murakami Can Not Be Stopped!

Right on the heels of the recent release of Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (see our review here), Murkami has another book coming out. From the New York Times: Haruki Murakami’s next book, “The Strange Library,” sounds surreal and experimental even for an author whose work ...

Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage

Floating around the internet amid the hoopla of a new Haruki Murakami release, you may have come across a certain Murakami Bingo courtesy of Grant Snider. It is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s funny because it’s true, to a certain extent: Murakami, for better or worse, has a particular style, and with it come the ...

The End of Half-Day Fridays [Some September Translations]

And just like that, school’s back in session. Having students back on campus brings up so many complicated feelings. Annoyance being the first and more obvious. It’s super irritating that from one day to the next it becomes infinitely more difficult to find a parking place for you bike, that you have to wait in ...

"A Thousand Forests in One Acorn" with Valerie Miles

Join the Spain-USA Foundation and Open Letter Books for a presentation by Valerie Miles on A THOUSAND FORESTS IN ONE ACORN, as well as a signed copy of the book. The event will take place from 10-2 at the Special Programs Pavilion, Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public. More ...

Fear: A Novel of World War I

One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is difficult to believe that there are still novels, considered classics in their own countries, that have never been published in English. Perhaps it was the overwhelming number of novels in English in the years following the war that prevented their ...

Latest Review: "Fear: A Novel of World War I" by Gabriel Chevallier

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Paul Doyle on Gabriel Chevallier’s Fear: A Novel on World War I, translated by Malcolm Imrie, and published by New York Review Books. Here’s the beginning of Paul’s review: One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is ...

A 14-Hour Zen Koan Shoved Though My Soul [Some August Translations]

Another month, another preview that’s late. This month caught me a bit by surprise though—how is it possible that the new academic year starts in three weeks? It just doesn’t seem right. So in the spirit of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essays, I thought I’d kick off this ...

A Few Good Reviews

Over the past few days, a few great reviews for Open Letter authors popped up online, all of which are worth sharing and reading. First up is P.T. Smith’s review for Full Stop of Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson’s The Last Days of My Mother, translated from the Icelandic by Helga Soffía Einarsdóttir: As a ...

Astragal

Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had in our 20s, while still bearing a literary feel that is more thought provoking than The ...

Latest Review: "Astragal" by Albertine Sarrazin

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Tiffany Nichols on Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin, translated by Patsy Southgate, published by New Directions. There’s some kind of summer flu-plague bug going around at the office here, so we’re short on humor and personal anecdotes. Also, Rochester is a city of ...

Translation, A Reciprocal Process [Interview with Kareem James Abu-Zeid on "Nothing More to Lose" by Najwan Darwish]

It’s always interesting to read a translator’s commentary on his or her translation process. For me personally, hearing how other translators think and work only adds to my personal work and experience, alternately showing me approaches or tactics that don’t work for me and showing me approaches and tactics ...

Conversations

In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a uniquely bogus set of facts that feels as realistic as waking up each ...

Latest Review: "Conversations" by César Aira

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Tiffany Nichols on César Aira’s Conversations, translated by Katherine Silver and out from New Directions. After a wild World Cup of Literature ride, what better way to wind down or frustrations or victorious cries than to talk about them (or bite each other over ...

Mexico vs. USA [World Cup of Literature: Semifinals]

Yesterday’s semifinal—which saw Roberto Bolaño secure a place in the WCL Championship with By Night in Chile —is a tough one to top, but I think we did it. Today’s match features upstart Valeria Luiselli from Mexico, whose first novel, Faces in the Crowd, is up against David Foster Wallace and his ...

Argentina vs. France [World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Tom Roberge. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the updated bracket. I genuinely love the World Cup. And yet every four years I’m reminded why I haven’t picked an English Premier League team to support, why in the end I’m glad it’s over, why I have no ...

Mexico vs. Australia [World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Chad W. Post. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the updated bracket. First off, let it be said that Barley Patch doesn’t even deserve to be playing in this match. Sure, Mauro had his reasons for choosing Gerald Murnane’s self-conscious masterpiece over ...

Honduras vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina [World Cup of Literature: Second Round]

This match was judged by Stephen Sparks. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the updated bracket. The battle between Honduras and Bosnia and Herzegovina is a contrast in style. This is obvious as the two teams line up for pre-match ceremonies: on one side, Horacio Castellanos Moya’s ...

Germany vs. Ghana [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by James Crossley. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. It’s an alliterative pair of nations facing off in the final match of the first round, as Ghana takes on Germany. On grass this is a bit of a mismatch, with the European squad ranked second in ...

Uruguay vs. Costa Rica [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Kaija Straumanis. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. One of my personal concerns going into the World Cup of Literature was ending up with a book I had already read—something that quickly became not an issue at all, since out of the 32 ...

Latest Review: "The Pendragon Legend" by Antal Szerb

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by P.T. Smith on The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb, translated by Len Rix, and published by Pushkin Press. If there’s one thing you should know immediately about Pushkin Press, it’s that their latest Pushkin Series covers are some of the coolest things I’ve ...

The Pendragon Legend

Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is paid to these books. Put out by presses more focused on quality than profit, it is a definition ...

Bosnia & Herzegovina vs. Iran [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Hal Hlavinka. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. “Welcome on this glorious summer evening to another match in the 2014 World Cup of Literature! We’re here in beautiful Brazil, where Bosnia and Herzegovina faces off against Iran. I’m Chaz ...

Greece vs. Ivory Coast [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Laura Radosh. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. Artist-activist Maria is on the playing field of her current job when the sudden appearance of the daughter of her ex-best friend, Anna, sends her on a fragmented journey through her life and their ...

Portugal vs. USA [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Will Evans. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. The result came to me as a shock, more of a shock to me even than to you: the US pulled out a 3-2 stunner of a victory over Portugal in the 2014 World Cup of Literature: David Foster Wallace’s final, ...

Bombay Stories

I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really only remember the barest details of Gandhi’s life and deeds. I can say, in the ...

Latest Review: "Bombay Stories" by Saadat Hasan Manto

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Will Eells on Bombay Stories, translated by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad, and out from Vintage International. For those of you who are regulars, you may remember Will’s name—he’s a former student of Chad’s at the University of Rochester, budding translator ...

Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize Winner Announced

The winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2014 is Susan Wicks for her translation of Valérie Rouzeau’s Talking Vrouz (Arc publications). From the judges: “Talking Vrouz is a wonderfully inventive and yet faithful translation of poems which are already at an oblique angle to their own language ...

Spain vs. Australia [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Mauro Javier Cardenas. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. In the year 2010, seventeen years after I stopped watching soccer, I wrote a paean to Your Face Tomorrow, claiming that “here’s the wonderfully parenthetical operations of a human mind in ...

Russia vs. Algeria [World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Chris Schaefer. For more info on the World Cup of Literature, read this, and download the bracket. This first-round match pits a futuristic fantasy of reborn Russian czardom against a present-day fantasy of repressed Algerian Islamism in Paris. Male author against female. Slav against Arab. ...

The Gray Notebook

Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist as “the greatest realist writer of all time.” Proust resolves the childish ...

Baltic Adventures [Some June 2014 Translations]

June started a few days ago, which means that my rambling monthly overview of forthcoming translations is overdue. It also means that World Cup 2014 is about to start, which means that for the next month my brain will be as filled with soccer tactics and outcomes as literary ideas . . . But sticking with the now: For the ...

2014 ALTA Travel Fellowships

If you’re an emerging literary translator and want to attend the 2014 American Literary Translators Association conference in Milwaukee but are short on cash, then you should definitely apply for this year’s travel fellowships. From the ALTA website: Each year, between four and six $1,000 fellowships are ...

The Guest Cat

In a story of two emotionally distant people, Japanese author Takashi Hiraide expertly evokes powerful feelings of love, loss, and friendship in his novel The Guest Cat. The life of the unnamed narrator and his wife, both writers, is calm and simple until the appearance of their neighbors’ cat, Chibi. Warmth and caring ...

Stacey Knecht and Alex Zucker in conversation @ WORD Bookstore

Join Stacey Knecht and Alex Zucker as they discuss the art of translation and Knecht’s translation of Harlequin’s Millions by Bohumil Hrabal, forthcoming May 2014. WORD Bookstore is located at 126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, 11222. More information on the event can be found at ...

“Happy Birthday, Hrabal!”: A Launch Party & Anniversary Celebration

Please join translator Stacey Knecht at DumboSky to celebrate the release of Harlequin’s Millions & the 100th anniversary of Bohumil Hrabal‘s birth. The event will take place at Dumbosky, located at 10 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. More information on the event can be found ...

Metropole II: Rats and Comedy @ Asian American Writers' Workshop

Please join Hindi fiction writer Uday Prakash (The Walls of Delhi, The Girl with the Golden Parasol) and translator Jason Grunebaum for a bilingual reading and conversation with Amitava Kumar and Jonathan Shainin at 7 p.m. on May 7th at the Asian American Writers Workshop (AAWW). The Walls of Delhi will be read in Hindi by ...

Hrabal Night @ 192 Books

Join 192 Books Tuesday, May 6th at 7 P.M., along with Caleb Crain and Stacey Knecht. This event, dedicated to the first English publication of Harlequin’s Millions by the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, brings together Stacey Knecht, the translator, and the author Caleb Crain. The event is free to the public. 192 Books is ...

Retranslations in 2064 [Some May 2014 Translations]

Welcome back to my monthly ramble about forthcoming works of literature in translations, which, as always, is punctuated by jokes, rants, and whatever else comes to mind. Even more so than usual, I’m really excited about this month’s offerings—and I actually have some things to say about the books ...

Uday Prakash @ City Lit Books

To celebrate Seven Stories Press’s publication of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature-shortlisted The Walls of Delhi, please join Hindi writer Uday Prakash and translator Jason Grunebaum for an afternoon reading and conversation at City Lit Books on Sunday, May 4th at 3:00pm. The event is free and open to the ...

"Translating on the Edge" @ PEN World Voices Festival

Translation can be dangerous and subversive from a literary perspective. It can also take on a political or ideological dimension. Join panelists Robyn Creswell, Bonnie Huie, Sara Khalili and moderator Heather Cleary for a discussion of how dangerous texts meet translation. The event will be held at the Frederick P. Rose ...

Translation Slam @ PEN World Voices

What happens when a poem migrates into another language, not just once but twice? Find out at the Translation Slam, a perennial Festival favorite, where poets, translators, and audience square off in a smart and spirited exchange over meaning, choice, and freedom. Join Baba Badji, Kerri Pierce, Michael Moore, K.E. Semmel, ...

A Discussion on Works in Translation and International Literature

A panel on translation & international literature with translators Stacey Knecht and Richard Sieburth, writer Chuck Wachtel, and Archipelago founder Jill Schoolman. The discussion, which will take place at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, is free and open to the public. The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers ...

Amanda Michalopoulou @ NYU

Join the folks at NYU at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30th, for a reading and conversation with Greek author Amanda Michalopoulou. The event is free and open to the public. Venue location TBA ...

Uday Prakash and Jason Grunebaum Reading @ University of Chicago

Join the University of Chicago for a reading by Hindi writer Uday Prakash and translator Jason Grunebaum from The Walls of Delhi (Seven Stories Press), shortlisted for the 2013 Prize for South Asian Literature. Q&A + Reception to follow. The event will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Room 802 of the Logan Center for the ...

Peter Platt and the Center for Translation Studies @ Barnard College

“From Translation All Science Had Its Offspring” : The Florio Translation of the Essays of Michel de Montaigne Join Barnard College and the Center for Translation Studies at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 28th, in the James Room at Barnard Hall for a conversation with Peter Platt of Barnard College and Phillip John ...

Jason Grunebaum and Uday Prakash: A Bilingual Reading of Stories @ Northwestern University

Join the folk at Northwestern University for a bilingual reading of stories by eminent Hindi author Uday Prakash of his 2104 collection The Walls of Delhi (Seven Stories Press), translated by Jason Grunebaum. The reading will be followed by a discussion, moderated by Laura Brueck, engaging both author and translator in a ...

BTBA 2014: Poetry and Fiction Winners

László Krasznahorkai becomes the first repeat winner, and Elisa Biagini and her three translators take home the poetry award in this year’s Best Translated Book Award. After much deliberation, Seiobo There Below, Krasznahorkai’s follow-up to last year’s BTBA winner, Satantango, won the 2014 BTBA for ...

"The Oasis of Now" by Sorab Sepehri [Why This Book Should Win]

We’re only hours away from announcing the two winners of this year’s BTBA awards, but it’s never too late to promote one of the finalists. The piece below was written by BTBA poetry judge, Bill Martin. The Oasis of Now by Sorab Sepehri, translated from the Persian by Kazim Ali and Mohammad Jafar ...

Sant Jordi 2014 / International Books & Roses Day

Join the Catalan Institute of America from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 26th, for a literary crawl through Brooklyn’s DUMBO community in celebration of La Diada de Sant Jordi, also known as “International Books & Roses Day” and UNESCO’s “World Book Day.” The event, which will highlight literature in ...

Nominations for the 2014 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature

The deadline to nominate people for this year’s Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature (run by Words Without Borders) is coming up fast . . . If you want to nominate someone, you have to fill out the form below and email it to Karen Phillips (karen [at] wordswithoutborders.org) before Friday, May ...

In Times of Fading Light

The historian John Lukacs observed, “Fictitious characters may represent characteristic tendencies and potentialities that existed in the past” and thus “may serve the historian under certain circumstances—when, for example, these are prototypical representations of certain contemporary realities.” Eugen Ruge’s In ...

Amanda Michalopoulou @ Brown University

Join the folk at Brown University at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, in Room 108 of the Rhode Island Hall for a reading and discussion with Greek author Amanda Michalopoulou on her novel Why I Killed My Best Friend (translated by Karen Emmerich). The event is free and open to the public. The Rhode Island Hall is located ...

BTBA 2014 Celebrations: In Paris, In New York

Less than one week from today—at 2pm East Coast time on Monday, April 28th to be exact—we’ll be announcing the winners of this year’s Best Translated Book Award. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting write-ups on the Poetry Finalists, along with uninformed speculation and other fun and ...

Reading for Works by Vsevolod Nekrasov @ Barker Center

Stop by the Barker Center at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, for a reading of translations of Vsevolod Nekrasov by Ainsley Morse and Bela Shayevich. The event is free and open to the public. The Barker Center is located at 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA, ...

City Lit Books: Amanda Michalopoulou

Join City Lit Books on Sunday, April 20th, at 3 P.M. for a reading event with Greek author Amanda Michalopoulou. City Lit is located at 2523 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago , IL 60647. The event is free and open to the ...

Celebrating Bulgarian Literature @ The Seminary Co-op Bookstore

Join CEERES and The Seminary Co-op on Friday, April 18th, at 6 P.M. for an event and reading with Bulgarian authors Virginia Zaharieva (Nine Rabbits) and Albena Stambolova (Everything Happens as It Does). The event is free and open to the public, and co-sponsored with The Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian ...

CAT: An Evening with Amanda Michalopoulou and Karen Emmerich

Join the Center for the Art of Translation and Two Lines Press on Friday, April 18th, at 6:00 P.M. to meet Greek sensation Amanda Michalopoulou and her talented translator Karen Emmerich for an intimate, alcohol-drenched reading from her latest novel, Why I Killed My Best Friend, at The Book Club of California. The event is ...

Talented Women of Indie Presses @ Hopleaf Bar

Join Curbside Splendor Publishing and the good folk at Hopleaf Bar at 7 P.M. on Thursday April 17th for an event celebrating the talented women of indie presses, featuring Daniela Olszweska (Cloudfang::Cakedirt) along with Albena Stambolova (Everything Happens as It Does) and Virginia Zaharieva (_Nine Rabbits). The event is ...

UO Eugene: Greek Author Amanda Michalopoulou and Translator Karen Emmerich

Join the University of Oregon at 4 p.m. Thursday, in Browsing Room at Knight Library. The event will feature Greek author Amanda Michalopoulou and translator Karen Emmerich as they read and discuss Why I Killed My Best Friend, a political coming-of-age tale set in post-dictatorship Athens. The event is free and open to the ...

Powell's Books: Amanda Michalopoulou with translator Karen Emmerich

Join Powell’s on Hawthorn on Wednesday, April 16th, at 7:30 P.M. for a conversation and book signing with Greek author Amanda Michalopoulou and translator Karen Emmerich for Why I Killed My Best Friend. From ’70s, post-dictatorship Greece to the present, Michalopoulou’s Why I Killed My Best Friend charts ...

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Three Percent #73: The David Peace Episode

In this week’s podcast, Tom and Chad talk about the works of British writer David Peace. Peace was part of the 2003 version of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists (along with Toby Litt, Nicola Baker, David Mitchell, Adam Thirlwell—really solid list), and is the author of nine novels, including the ...

Why This Book Should Win: The 10 Fiction Finalists

Now that the ten finalists for the 2014 BTBA in Fiction have been announced, it’s worth taking a look back at the reasons “why these books should win” according to the judges and other readers. Below is a list of all ten finalists, with links to their individual write ups along with a key quote from each. ...

Celebrating Bulgarian Writers with Elizabeth Kostova @ Malaprop's Bookstore

Join Malaprop’s Bookstore at 3 P.M. on Sunday, April 13th, for a celebration of Bulgarian writers. Authors Virginia Zaharieva and Albena Stambolova will be joined by Elizabeth Kostova for a conversation and reading. This event is free to the public and is co-sponsored by Black Balloon Publishing, the Elizabeth Kostova ...

The Devil’s Workshop by Jáchym Topol trans. By Alex Zucker – Why This Book Should Win

Michael Stein is a writer and journalist in the Czech Republic and runs a blog on Central European writing called literalab. He is an editor at B O D Y. Reading The Devil’s Workshop you come up against a remarkable and frightening historical reality: that the memory of the mass killings of World War II is most flawed, ...

Exhibit X: Amanda Michalopoulou

Join Exhibit X at the University of Buffalo on Thursday, April 10th, at 7 P.M. as they host an event with Greek author Amanda Michalopoulou. Michalopoulou’s story collection, I’d Like ,was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. Her novel, Why I Killed My Best Friend, is her second book translated into English, ...

Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, Trans. by Sam Garrett [Why This Book Should Win]

Casey O’Neil is a bookseller at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books. These days, he most often reads standing up, with a small sleeping daughter strapped to his torso. How to describe a book as affecting and unusual as Tirza I could cobble together a few ...

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly

Early in Sun-mi Hwang’s novel The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, the main character, a hen named Sprout, learns about sacrifice. After refusing to lay any more eggs for the farmer who owns her, she becomes “culled” and released from her chicken coop. However, she soon discovers that her new freedom comes with a loss of ...

Latest Review: "The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly" by Sun-mi Hwang

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Chris Iacono on Sun-mi Hwang’s The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, translated by Chi-Young Kim, and out last fall from Penguin. This is a review I’ve been sitting on a while and I apologize for that—but after a quick trip to NYC for a fantastic evening with Bulgarian ...

City of Angels: Or, the Overcoat of Dr. Freud by Christa Wolf, Trans. by Damion Searls – Why This Book Should Win

Sarah Gerard’s novel Binary Star is forthcoming from Two Dollar Radio in January 2015. Her essay chapbook, Things I Told My Mother, was published by Von Zos this past fall. Other fiction, criticism and personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Bookforum, the Paris Review Daily, the Los ...

An Evening of Bulgarian Fiction @ 192 Books

Join 192 Books Tuesday, April 8th at 7 P.M. with Kaija Straumanis, the Editorial Director of Open Letter Books, for a discussion about contemporary Bulgarian fiction with Virginia Zahrieva and Olga Nikolova. Two of Bulgaria’s most important and celebrated contemporary authors, Albena Stambolova (Everything Happens as It ...

Sankya

When Sankya was published in Russia in 2006, it became a sensation. It won the Yasnaya Polyana Award (bestowed by direct descendants of Leo Tolstoy) and was shortlisted for the Russian Booker and the National Bestseller Award. Every member of the cultural elite had an opinion on it. There was even a hatchet job by the ...

Latest Review: "Sankya" by Zakhar Prilepin

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by Kseniya Melnik on Zakhar Prilepin’s Sankya, translated by Mariya Gusev and Jeff Parker, out from Dzanc Books. In addition to being a new name in our reviewer pool, Kseniya was one of Granta’s “New Voices” ...

How to Become a Pessimist [Some April 2014 Translations]

Every semester I tell my publishing students about the time I was walking around BEA with Jerome Kramer and he pointed out how the whole fair was “filled with failure.” Mostly I want to shock and break them—every good professor needs to upend his/her student’s expectations and their latent belief that ...

McNally Jackson: Reading with Carlos Labbé

Join McNally Jackson tonight at 7 P.M. for a reading and conversation with Carlos Labbé on the English translation of his Navidad & Matanza. The event is open and free to the public. The McNally Jackson store is located at 52 Prince St., New York, NY ...

Two Crocodiles

This pearl from New Directions contains one short story from Russian literary master Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Constance Garnett) and one short story from Uruguayan forefather of magical realism Felisberto Hernández (translated by Esther Allen). Both pieces are entitled “The Crocodile,” hence Two Crocodiles. The ...

Navidad & Matanza

I’m talking about pathological individuals; six twisted people taking part in an unpredictable game. Carlos Labbé’s Navidad & Matanza is the story of two missing children and the journalist trying to find them. Actually. it’s the story of a group of scientists who are working on a top-secret project, and pass the ...

Latest Review: "Navidad & Matanza" by Carlos Labbé

The latest addition to our Reviews section is a piece by J.T. Mahany on Navidad & Matanza by Carlos Labbé, translated by Will Vanderhyden, and out next month from Open Letter. Carlos Labbé was one of Granta’s The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists, and has quickly become a Name to Know in the world ...

Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai – Why This Book Should Win

Judge Daniel Medin hands over the reins to Madeleine LaRue, Social Media Manager for Music and Literature. If, on the one hand, the BTBA aims to bring attention to a neglected work of international fiction, then I’m afraid Seiobo There Below is a poor candidate. Neither the book nor its author, László Krasznahorkai, ...

My Struggle: Book Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard – Why This Book Should Win

This post is courtesy of BTBA judge, Scott Esposito. Scott Esposito blogs at Conversational Reading and you can find his tweets here. I’ve read three volumes of My Struggle so far, and I’m almost certain that I like Vol 2 the best. I hate comparisons of My Struggle to Proust because they always end up being ...

The AWP of Bubbles, Balloons, and Lonely Hipsters [Some March 2014 Translations]

Last weekend, over 14,000 writers, publishers, agents, translators, reviewers, professors, and readers swarmed the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle for the annual Associated Writing Programs conference—four days of heavy drinking, pot-chocolate (it’s legal in Washington!), endless craft panels, a ...

BTBA 2014: Fiction Longlist Predictions!

At this moment in time, I have no idea what books are on the Best Translated Book Award longlist. The judges are still conferring—in fact, I’m not even certain that the list of 25 has been finalized . . . Which means that it’s a great time to start spreading rumors about what books are in and which are out. ...

My Fathers' Ghost is Climbing in the Rain

Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within your own culture, or that live in a certain parallel universe version of a ...

Finalists for Bookstore of the Year

I was probably asleep at the wheel in years past, but I think it’s really cool that Publishers Weekly announced the names of the five finalists for 2014 Bookstore of the Year. Here’s the list of the finalists with some commentary on why they should win: The Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle, ...

Ukraine: Everybody's Business

One of the most common clichés about international literature in America states that we, as reader-citizens, only become interested in a country’s literature once we start bombing in. Go to war with Saddam Hussain; publish a ton of Arabic works. It’s sad that this might be true—it feels a bit ...

Reading, "True Detective," and Twitter

The other day, a popular site on the Internet posted an article on True Detective and the various theories surrounding the show. I had a very bad reaction to this article, claiming on Twitter (the World’s Most Reliable Opinion Source!) that it was “anti-reading/anti-thought.” People got upset. Very upset. ...

Michael Orthofer's Final Selections

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. Final selections The deadlines approach – well, that one first, big deadline: with the Best Translated Book Award longlist due to be announced March 11 we judges have to decide what ...

"Why I Killed My Best Friend" by Amanda Michalopoulou [GoodReads Giveaway]

Our latest GoodReads Giveaway is for Amanda Michalopoulou’s Why I Killed My Best Friend, which may well win the prize for the best Open Letter title ever. And, along with Navidad & Matanza, it’s in the running for one of the best blurbs: “Flawlessly translated, Amanda Michalopolou’s WIKMBF uses ...

Daniel Medin’s BTBA Favorites: Winter Reading

Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators, is an editor of The Cahiers Series ,and co-hosts the podcast entitled That Other Word. He has authored a study of Franz Kafka in the work of three international writers (Northwestern University Press, 2010) ...

To the Spring, by Night

“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other, I was afraid. . . . Fears are a bit like fog, as are memories. On the one hand, one dreads to go forward and plunge into a future without end, and on the ...

Reason #387 Why Publishing Is a Thankless, Frustrating Business

Last year we brought out Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, one of my favorite books of the past few years. (And a title that deserves to at least be shortlisted for this year’s BTBA . . .) At the time I talked to Arnon about doing two of his other books—The Man without Illness and The Asylum Seekers—since we all ...

Ten White Geese

A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where he worked. Even though he stuffed his pockets with heavy objects from the hotel, the pond was too shallow, ...

The Mongolian Conspiracy

Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as Rafael Bernal’s The Mongolian Conspiracy (Mexico, 1969) and César Aira’s Shantytown (originally published in 2001 in ...

Latest Review: "The Mongolian Conspiracy" by Rafael Bernal

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Owen Rowe on The Mongolian Conspiracy by Rafael Bernai, translated by Katherine Silver, and out from New Directions. Owen (Matt) Rowe is a writer, editor, and translator (from Portuguese and Italian) based in Port Townsend, Washington. Stay tuned for his upcoming ...

Latest Review: "Talking to Ourselves" by Andrés Neuman

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Jeremy Garber on Talking to Ourselves by Andrés Neuman, translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, out from FSG. Andrés Neuman has quickly become an in-house name here at Open Letter/Three Percent, and, as Jeremy hints at in his review, everyone either ...

A Fairy Tale

It is destined that we will all become our parents. Some try to avoid it while others embrace the metamorphosis. Either way, it never fails— children eventually become their parents. A Fairy Tale is a psychological novel told through day-to-day activities that appear mostly normal from the narrator’s point of view and ...

Latest Review: "A Fairy Tale" by Jonas T. Bengtsson

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Tiffany Nichols on A Fairy Tale by Jonas T. Bengtsson, translated by Charlotte Barslund and out from Other Press. This is Bengtsson’s third novel, though his first published in English—the book is actually already available from House of Anansi Press in ...

Relocations: 3 Contemporary Russian Women Poets

Two women dominate the history of Russian poetry: Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva. Both authors transcended the label of “woman poet” and live in the realm of the eternal untouchable legends of Russian poetry. To wit, I remember a Russian professor in college correcting a short essay I wrote on an Akhmatova poem ...

American Literature Is "Massively Overrated" [How to Turn a Positive Article into a Rant]

This morning, the Guardian: ran an interesting piece recapping a session on the “global novel” at the Jaipur Festival—a session that got a bit heated when Xiaolu Guo called out, well, contemporary American writing1: “Our reading habit has been stolen and changed” said Guo. “For example ...

The Black Spider

In The Black Spider (Die schwarze Spinne —here newly translated by Susan Bernofsky), Jeremias Gotthelf—the pseudonym of Swiss pastor Albert Bitzius—spins a morality tale of evil in a Swiss hamlet. Originally published in 1842, The Black Spider illustrates with terrifying vividness a village tormented by deadly spiders ...

Latest Review: "The Black Spider" by Jeremias Gotthelf

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is SUPER EFFING CREEPY, and is by Phillip Koyoumjian on Jeremias Gotthelf’s The Black Spider, newly translated by Susan Bernofsky, who god only knows how didn’t need therapy after translating this, and out from New York Review Books, who will be responsible for my ...

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Chad's 2013 Books

As I mentioned in an earlier post—or two—I ended up reading 111 books last year. A lot of South Korean titles—as part of my judging their biannual translation contest—and a random assortment of other things, both that Open Letter is publishing, or that I wanted to review/think might be BTBA longlist ...

On Leave

In 1957, Daniel Anselme published On Leave, a novel about three soldiers on leave from the Algerian War. At that point during the war, only two of its eight years had passed and the full savagery and politically instability that would mark latter years of the conflict had yet to occur. Yet despite the national trauma of the ...

2014 Longlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

From the official Arab Fiction website: The International Prize for Arabic Fiction has today (Tuesday 7 January) announced the longlist of 16 novels in contention for the 2014 prize. Those selected were chosen from 156 entries from 18 countries, all published within the last 12 months. The 2014 longlisted authors ...

The Faint-hearted Bolshevik

Let’s say you’re in a car accident. It’s not a bad one. You rear-end someone on a busy highway where traffic is crawling. And let’s say the person you hit happens to be a wealthy woman who leaps from her vehicle and berates you in language unfit for the ears of small children. What would you do? Javier, the supposed ...

The Expedition to the Baobab Tree

In the beginning of The Expedition to the Baobab Tree by Afrikaans author Wilma Stockenström, the narrator, a former slave, walks on the path from the hollow trunk of the baobab tree in which she dwells to a water source that she shares with animals. As she collects her water using two “gifts” (a clay pot and an ostrich ...

Latest Review: "The Expedition to the Baobab Tree" by Wilma Stockenström

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Christopher Iacono on Wilma Stockenström’s The Expedition to the Baobab Tree, forthcoming in April from Archipelago Books. Chris is a writer, copy editor, and proofreader from Methuen, MA; he also runs the Good Coffee Book Blog, and has a new coffee mug that aptly ...

The Hare

“I should say at the outset that there is a lot of absurdity in the whole thing.” As the shaman Mallén prepares to explain to Clarke the legend of the Legibrerian hare, I can’t help but read “the whole thing” as not simply the legend, but indeed the entire novel. At nearly 300 pages, The Hare is a great deal ...

Latest Review: "The Hare" by César Aira

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Emily Davis on César Aira’s The Hare, from New Directions. Emily is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s MA in Literary Translation Studies program, and now lives in India, rubbing elbows with other awesome translators, and is also one of the contributing ...

Dutch Treats

Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. One of the many interesting things about judging the Best Translated Book Award is the sense it gives you of what (and how much) is actually being translated into English (and ...

A Burnt Child

The recent reissuing of several of Stig Dagerman’s novels by University of Minnesota Press has rekindled interest in his works, which have until now been little-known outside Sweden. Just twenty-four when he wrote A Burnt Child (here newly translated by Benjamin Mier-Cruz) in the summer of 1948, Dagerman was regarded at ...

Latest Review: "A Burnt Child" by Stig Dagerman

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Phillip Koyoumjian on Stig Dagerman’s A Burnt Child, from Zephyr Press. Phillip is a Rochester native with a background in European history and literature. He has an MS In Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois and is looking forward to ...

Why Literature in Translation is SUPER SUPER IMPORTANT

Most everyone who reads this blog has a good grasp on the importance of literature in translation. You learn about other cultures, their writing styles, what drives them spiritually and politically, what kinds of house pets they may or may not eat or wear occasionally as clothing, how they really feel about things like ...

Pixy Stick Infused Candy Canes [Some December Translations]

So, my 9-year-old daughter recently moved to a new school—one that encourages its students to participate in something called Odyssey of the Mind. If you’re not familiar with this, which I totally wasn’t, it’s basically a competition in which teams perform different tasks that highlight ...

Four Titles from the Big Stacks

Sarah Gerard is a writer who used to work at McNally Jackson Books, but recently took a job at BOMB Magazine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Bookforum, the Paris Review Daily, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Slice Magazine, and other publications. Her new book, “Things I Told My ...

Thanksgiving Weekend (and Hanukkah Week) Is a Weekend (Week) for Reading

Thanks to a blown out tire, which forced me to spend most of last Friday riding in a tow truck and sitting in a tire shop, I didn’t have a chance to write my weekly Weekend Reading post.1 So this week, I’m going to triple up on the normal post and write about the three books I hope to spend the next four days ...

Giving Thanks for This Review of "The Dark" by Sergio Chejfec

Yesterday, P. T. Smith’s insightful review of Chejfec’s new novel The Dark was published on BOMB’s website: Much of the response to Sergio Chejfec’s English-language debut, My Two Worlds, published in 2011 by Open Letter, placed him squarely in a Sebaldian camp. The narrator is on a walk, reminiscing ...

Seiobo There Below

In Seiobo There Below, Lázló Krasznahorkai is able to succeed at a task at which many writers fail: to dedicate an entire novel to a single message, to express an idea over and over again without falling into repetition or didacticism. His novel is an insistence that the rapturous does exist, can be met, and that, although ...

Zachary Karabashliev and the Texas Book Festival

Zachary Karabashliev, author of the wildly fun 18% Gray recently participated in the Texas Book Festival in Austin. According to the dozen or so friends I know who attended, it sounded like a real blast. So I thought I’d ask Zach a few questions about his experience, and share some of his photographs. (If you’ve ...

This Is Not Going to Go Over Well (But Will Help Me Teach My Class Today)

So, this morning, Amazon announced something called Amazon Source, a program to sell Kindles through participating independent booksellers. Yes, seriously. No, really, this isn’t one of my weird jokes. We created Amazon Source to empower independent bookstores and other small retailers to sell Kindle e-readers and ...

Every Good Heart is a Telescope

Poetry always has the feel of mysticism and mystery, or maybe this feeling is a stereotype left over from high school literature class. It is generally the result of confusion, lack of time committed to consuming the poetry, and the general difficulty poetry imposes on the reader. In Víctor Rodríguez Núñez’s ...

Latest Review: Every Good Heart is a Telescope

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Tiffany Nichols on Victor Rodríguez Núñez’s Every Heart is a Telescope, from Toad Press. Here’s a bit about Toad Press from their blog site: “The Toad Press International Chapbook Series publishes contemporary, exciting, beautiful, odd, and avant-garde ...

Mia Couto Wins 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature

As announced Friday, Mia Couto has won this year’s Neustadt International Prize for Literature: Gabriella Ghermandi, who nominated Couto for the Neustadt Prize, said of him, “He is an author who addresses not just his country but the entire world, all human beings.” Couto is the first Mozambican author ...

Gail Hareven in Asymptote

The new issue of the always spectacular Asymptote includes Good Girl, a short story by Gail Hareven. Hareven is an Israeli author who is most well-known for The Confessions of Noa Weber, an absolutely brilliant book that won the Best Translated Book Award in 2009. It was translated by the also brilliant Dalya Bilu and is ...

Ineligible Books

Stephen Sparks is a buyer at Green Apple Books. He lives in San Francisco and blogs at Invisible Stories. The fine print attached to the Best Translated Book Award states that in order to be eligible, a work cannot have been previously translated. I don’t disagree with the rule, especially as we already over 350 books to ...

CONTENDERS FOR DANIEL MEDIN’S SHORTLIST (SUMMER READS)

Daniel Medin teaches at the American University of Paris, where he helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators, is an editor of The Cahiers Series ,and co-hosts the podcast entitled That Other Word. He has authored a study of Franz Kafka in the work of three international writers (Northwestern University Press, 2010) ...

October 2013 Translations Worth Checking Out: The "Our Flight to Frankfurt Is Delayed" Edition

As mentioned last month, I decided to start this monthly round-up for two reasons—to highlight a few interesting books in translation that other venues likely won’t, and because I think there’s more to literature that the monthly Flavorwire listicles. (One more Flavorwire thing: It’s totally fine that ...

Nobel Considerations

BTBA blog post – Michael Orthofer Michael Orthofer runs the Complete Review – a book review site with a focus on international fiction – and its Literary Saloon weblog. This Thursday or next the Swedish Academy will likely announce who will receive the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature – still considered the ultimate ...

Denmark Recap

With the Frankfurt Book Fair literally around the corner, it seemed appropriate to post something about the most recent trip (don’t worry, Iceland, Chad’s got your back for a recap) we took in the name of bringing great world literature to an international audience. Just over a week ago, Chad and I had the ...

Latest Review: "Under this Terrible Sun" by Carlos Busqued

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Will Evans on Carlos Busqued’s Under This Terrible Sun, from e-book publisher Frisch & Co. Will Evans—known to many as The Apprentice of Summer 2012 here at Open Letter—is the publisher behind the still-relatively-new Deep Vellum, a translated literature press ...

Under This Terrible Sun

Equal parts stoner pulp thriller and psycho-physiological horror story, a pervasive sense of dread mixes with a cloud of weed smoke to seep into every line of the disturbing, complex Under This Terrible Sun. Originally published by illustrious Spanish publishers Editorial Anagrama, Under This Terrible Sun is Argentine ...

Wigrum

From the start, Daniel Canty’s Wigrum, published by Canadian press Talonbooks, is obviously a novel of form. Known also as a graphic designer in Quebec, Canty takes those skills and puts them towards this “novel of inventory” and creates a framework from which to hang the inventories. We get a table of contents, where ...

Latest Review: "Wigrum" by Daniel Canty

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by P. T. Smith on Daniel Canty’s Wigrum, from Talonbooks. Patrick, who is one of our regular reviewers, not only has a heightened interest in) and geographical proximity to) Montreal and its literature scene, but also shares the amusement and probable giggles at ...

Interview with Can Xue from the Reykjavik International Literary Festival

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Can Xue as part of the Reykjavik International Literary Festival. We ended up writing out our interview ahead of time, so I thought I would share it here. Enjoy! Born in China, where her parents were persecuted as being “ultra-rightists” by the Anti-rightest Movement of ...

Sarah Gerard's Three Longlist Contenders

Sarah Gerard is a writer and a bookseller at McNally Jackson Books. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Bookforum, the Paris Review Daily, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Slice Magazine, and other publications. She holds an MFA from The New School and lives in Brooklyn. I’m only going to talk ...

2013 Clifford Symposium

Entitled Translation in a Global Community: Theory and Practice, the 2013 Clifford Symposium at Middlebury College kicks off tomorrow, runs through Saturday evening, and features a number of interesting talks and discussions about translation. Here’s the Middlebury summary: You’re translating right now. We all ...

Reviews in Translation

This post is courtesy of BTBA judge, Scott Esposito. Scott Esposito blogs at Conversational Reading and tweets. So here are some things that I’ve reviewed, will review, or will do something with in some way at some point that I think are strong contenders for the 2013 BTBA. First up: The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet ...

High Tide for $3.99!

I mentioned this in my September translation overview post, but for those who missed it, we’re currently selling the ebook version of High Tide for $3.99. The book itself—which is amazing, more on that below—officially releases on September 26th. So, this week the ebook is $3.99, next week it’ll be ...

RTWCS Fall 2013

I’m proud to announce that we have two great events lined up for this fall’s iteration of our annual Reading the World Conversation Series, which all of you should fly into Rochester to attend. A Conversation with Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès Tuesday, September 24th, 6:00pm Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees ...

The Corpse Washer

Antoon gives us a remarkable novel that in 184 pages captures the experience of an Iraqi everyman who has lived through the war with Iran in the first half of the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War over the Kuwaiti invasion, and then the 2003 war. Jawad is the youngest child from a Baghdad family. His father, like his father before ...

BTBA: What I've Liked So Far

Monica Carter, one of the ten judges for the Best Translated Book Awards and curator of Salonica, gives her thoughts on some of the books she’s read so far this year. School is back in swing, a war with Syria looms and the new iPhone 5s is about to take over the world. Yet, let’s not forget the simple joys in ...

Starlite Terrace

Every fictional work set in L.A. begins with a slow crawl through its streets in the early hours of the morning right after sunrise. Maybe it’s always done this way to emphasize the vast sprawl of the city and highlight the loneliness of its inhabitants, or maybe it’s intended to emphasize that L.A., like New York, is ...

Weekend Reading: "Hothouse" by Boris Kachka

If you’re looking for a book to read this weekend, one worth checking out is Boris Kachka’s Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Coincidentally, my copy is supposed to arrive today, AND, more relevantly, ...

MatchBook is NOT a Dating Service for Readers

Amazon made a couple of announcements yesterday that, as Amazon announcements tend to do, set the book world atwitter. They announced the next version of the Kindle, but the news that really generated the headlines was the announcement of “MatchBook.”1 Amazon has unveiled a new US initiative to bundle print ...

The Arabic Sterne?

Thanks to a Three Percent fan who sends me periodic updates on titles I’ve left out of the translation database, I just found out about Humphrey Davies’s first-ever English translation on of Leg over Leg by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq. Originally published in 1855, this sounds like the sort of crazy, ...

Loving the Polish: Grzegorz Wróblewski's "Kopenhaga"

Recently I found out that, contrary to my past belief, I’m not 1/4 Polish, but 3/4 Polish (or Prussian, or whatever—most everywhere my family is from has changed hands over and over and over) and have since been on a bit of a Polish pride kick, mostly related to soccer players like Robert Lewandowski ...

LARB Interview with Brendon O'Kane

Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Jeffrey Wasserstrom (author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know and co-editor of Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land) has an interview with Brendan O’Kane, who, well, I’ll let Wasserstrom explain his importance ...

What Darkness Was

Of all the Holocaust novel genres, the most interesting is often the one that doesn’t describe clearly defined horrors, written with a clarity that brings the events into the present, whether written in present tense or not, but the one grasping at memories, personal or cultural, and even more so the ones of shadow ...

Latest Review: "What Darkness Was" by Inka Parei

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is from P. T. Smith on Inka Parei’s What Darkness Was, from Seagull Books. This book was another one several of our reviewers jumped at, and yet another strong and insanely fascinating sounding piece of German literature, and German literature in translation. That, and Inka ...

The Infatuations

“What happened is the least of it. It’s a novel, and once you’ve finished a novel, what happened in it is of little importance and soon forgotten. What matters are the possibilities and ideas that the novel’s imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with, a plot that we recall far more ...

Latest Review: "The Infatuations" by Javier Marías

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece from Jeremy Garber on Javier Marías’s The Infatuations, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa and available from Knopf. I could take a year off of work just to read, and at the end of that year, my “to read” bookshelves would still be ...

Words Without Borders is Looking for a New ED

For the right person, this is such a great opportunity, which is why I thought I’d just post the whole listing: Executive Director, Words Without Borders Full time, From Home (May change in future) Reports to: Board of Directors Words without Borders (wordswithoutborders.org) promotes cultural understanding ...

Dark Company

If you open Gert Loschütz’s new novel Dark Company expecting a clear answer as to who the titular dark company are, and why the protagonist’s grandfather warned him against them, you are sadly doomed to disappointment. Indeed, if you want a clear linear plotline neatly laid out, a consistent character set, or a ...

Latest Review: "Dark Company: A Novel in Ten Rainy Nights" by Gert Loschütz

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Rachael Daum on Dark Company: A Novel in Ten Rainy Nights by Gert Loschütz, from Seagull Books. Rachael (with an “A-E”, thankyouverymuch) I believe it’s been mentioned before, is a former intern-student of Open Letter, and a great friend to and advocate for ...

Preview of Brazilian Literature at Frankfurt

You may have already read this, but last week, Publishing Perspectives ran a piece I wrote about Brazil being the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair this fall. Below is that article in full with extra links to all the books mentioned. (And as a sidenote, in addition to the review of João Almino’s The Book of ...

Interview with Kazim Ali and Libby Murphy about Duras's "L'Amour"

Over at the Fiction Writers Review, Jennifer Solheim has posted a great interview with the two translators of Duras’s L’Amour, which just pubbed this past Tuesday. You can read the whole thing here, but here are a few highlights. Jennifer Solheim: In your beautiful introduction, Kazim, you write, ...

Kafka's Hat

Quebecois author Patrice Martin’s first book, translated into English by Chantal Bilodeau as Kafka’s Hat and published by Talon, is strongly influenced by Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, and Paul Auster. I’m putting this up front because it is something Martin really, really wants you to know. These authors are named ...

Latest Review: "Kafka's Hat" by Patrice Martin

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by P.T. Smith on Kafka’s Hat by Patrice Martin, from Talon. Patrick is pumping out these book reviews for us, and has much to say about Kafka’s Hat, the title of which, I’ll admit, makes me want to giggle. As does Wigrum. I don’t think I can explain why. ...

For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet's Journey through a Chinese Prison

With two previous versions confiscated by Chinese authorities before being published in Germany in 2011, and coming now into English with an introduction by 2009 Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller, Liao Yiwu’s memoir of years spent in a human rights–violating Chinese prison comes with immediate political and social ...

Another Megan McDowell Post

The second book from Frisch & Co. has just been released— Under this Terrible Sun by Carlos Busqued and translated by Megan McDowell. Cetarti spends his days in a cloud of pot smoke, watching nature documentaries on television. A call from a stranger, informing him that his mother and brother have been ...

Eduardo Galeano on Soccer and Brazil

More about this on Friday, but I’m going to be in Rio all next week for the Confederations Cup Final 2013 Brazilian Publishers Experience. As I’m sure you all know, there’s been a bit of unrest in Brazil as of late (one of the protests on Sunday was staged on the beach right in front of the hotel where ...

And the Hippies Came (Llegaron los hippies)

Kids these days. They think they’ve invented everything. The McOndo writers and Crack Generation, who so proudly buck the Magic Realist tendencies of García Márquez, who seek to find a place within Latin American letters sans spirits . . . they’ve got their heads in the right place even if their books aren’t always ...

"Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons: Lesson Eleven" by Antoine Volodine [A Sample]

As promised, here’s an excerpt from Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons: Lesson Eleven which we’ll be bringing out next year. It’s a pretty amazing text, which, as you’ll see, is filled with intertextuality, literary games, and horrible smells. Enjoy! Lutz Bassmann passed his final days as we all did, ...

New New Books in German

The new issue of New Books in German has been out for a little while, but it’s pretty loaded and deserving of a mention for anyone who might have missed it. I am delighted to introduce issue 33 of New Books in German: spring is finally springing here in London and our bright yellow plumage captures the vernal ...

Polyglossia and Jose Manuel Prieto's "Encyclopedia of a Life in Russia" [Part I]

This article is a transcript of a presentation Esther Allen gave at Boston University on Friday, February 22, 2013. Earlier this month I was invited to be on a panel about translation at a Brooklyn bookstore. The announcement promised potential audience members they would “Find out what it takes to make sure the ...

Around the World with SPD

For all of you who like to buy your indie press books from an indie press distributor, you should head over to Small Press Distribution to take advantage of their Around the World Sale. All this month, select translation (click above to see the complete list) are available for 40% off. All you have to do is use the promo ...

Open Letter at Book Expo America 2013

As the week comes to a close, we at Open Letter Books are getting ready to join the masses of publishers, agents, authors, translators, and book people in general in for Book Expo America 2013. In addition to getting ramped up to see familiar faces and meet new ones, we’ll be toting around a copies of a few of our ...

Latest Review: "There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories" by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Brendan Riley on There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, from Penguin. Brendan has written reviews for Three Percent in the past, and has worked for many years as a teacher, translator, ...

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories

This slender, uncanny volume—the second, best-selling collection of stories by Russian author Ludmilla Petrushevskaya to appear in the U.S.—has already received considerable, well-deserved praise from many critics and high profile publications. Its seventeen short tales, averaging ten pages each, are grouped into four ...

"The Black Spider" by Jeremias Gotthelf [Books I'm Excited About]

I think it was two summers ago that I was last in Chicago for the annual Goethe Institut Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize Extravaganza. (I love these gatherings. The award ceremony, the people involved with German literature, the panels, etc. It always seems to be a beautiful couple days weather-wise as well, which ...

The Buenos Aires Review [New Cool Things, Part I]

I’ve been a bit checked out the past few weeks with event upon event, travels to London and L.A. and New York (twice), final papers to grade, illnesses to overcome, soccer to geek out about, etc., etc. But now that it’s summertime (I only have one grade left to enter), it’s about time to get back into ...

Basti

The Urdu word basti refers to any space, intimate to worldly, and is often translated as “common place” or “a gathering place.” This book by Intizar Husain, who is widely regarded as one of the most important living Pakistani writers, traverses a number of cities, the connections between them, and the people who live ...

The Whispering Muse

The Whispering Muse, one of three books by Icelandic writer Sjón just published in North America, is nothing if not inventive. Stories within stories, shifting narration, leaps in time, and characters who transform from men to birds and back again—you’ve seen this sort of thing before in Ovid, Bulgakov, Kafka, and ...

2013 BTBA Winners: Satantango and Wheel with a Single Spoke

If you use the Facebook or the Twitter, you probably already know this, but the 2013 Best Translated Book Awards were handed out on Friday as part of the PEN World Voices/CLMP “Literary Mews” series of events.1 And you probably know that Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian ...

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Three Percent #58: Richard Nash.

We’re back! With our newest and semi-delayed installment of the Three Percent Podcast. This week is a two-parter. First, Chad and Tom run down the list of fiction and poetry finalists for the 2013 Best Translated Book Awards. Yes, it’s true that these were announced a couple weeks ago, but, as luck would have it, ...

2013 Best Translated Book Award Ceremony

For whatever reason, PEN World Voices doesn’t have this event listed on their event calendar (at least not clearly), so let this post serve as the official announcement of the event, and a personal invitation from me to all of you to come out, celebrate the winners, and get drunk in the street. First, the specifics: ...

Mundo Cruel by Luis Negrón

Luis Negrón’s debut collection Mundo Cruel is a journey through Puerto Rico’s gay world. Published in 2010, the book is already in its fifth Spanish edition. Here in the U.S., the collection has been published by Seven Stories Press and translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine, winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life" by Elfriede Czurda [BTBA 2013]

Over the course of this week, we will be highlighting all 6 BTBA Poetry Finalists one by one, building up to next Friday’s announcement of the winners. All of these are written by the BTBA poetry judges under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win.” You can find the whole series by clicking here. Stay tuned ...

Selected Translations by W. S. Merwin

“South” To have watched from one of your patios the ancient stars from the bank of shadow to have watched the scattered lights my ignorance has learned no names for nor their places in constellations to have heard the ring of water in the secret pool known the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle the silence ...

Latest Review: "Selected Translations" by W. S. Merwin

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Grant Barber on Selected Translations by W. S. Merwin, from Copper Canyon Press. Selected Translations is a collection of Merwin’s greatest translations, representing authors from all over the world and languages from almost every corner. Grant Barber is a regular ...

LoveStar

When Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason first published LoveStar, his darkly comic parable of corporate power and media influence run amok, the world was in a very different place. (This was back before both Facebook and Twitter, if you can recall such a time.) He noted as much himself in a recent interview with The ...

Latest Review: "LoveStar" by Andri Snær Magnason

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Larissa Kyzer on LoveStar by Andri Snær Magnason, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb and published by Seven Stories Press. Larissa is a regular contributor to Three Percent, and with this continues her streak of Nordic lit reviews. LoveStar is a book I’ve ...

Why This Book Should Win: "The Hunger Angel" by Herta Müller [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Atlas" by Dung Kai-Cheung [BTBA 2013]

As in years past, we will be highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist, one by one, building up to the announcement of the 10 finalists on April 10th. A variety of judges, booksellers, and readers will write these, all under the rubric of “Why This Book Should Win. You can find the whole series by clicking ...

City of Angels, or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud

Christa Wolf’s newly-translated City of Angels is a novel of atonement, and in this way the work of art that it resembles most to me is not another book, but the 2003 Sophia Coppola film Lost in Translation. Like that movie, its perched-on-the-shoulder meandering through a foreign city (Los Angeles in Wolf’s case, Tokyo ...

Latest Review: "City of Angels, or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud" by Christa Wolf

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is by Josh Billings on City of Angels, or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud by Christa Wolf, translated from the German by Damion Searls and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Josh Billings has reviewed for The Literary Review in the past, and is also a writer and a translator from ...

Where Tigers Are at Home

French author—philosopher, poet, novelist—de Roblès writes something approaching the Great (Latin) American Novel, about Brazilian characters, one of whom is st