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An Article about a Book I'm Working On [100 Best Translations of the Century]

I’ve made reference to this a few different times—in a couple posts, on the podcast—but this article in today’s Frankfurt Show Daily (also available as a PDF) is the first official mention of the book that I’m writing with Stephen Sparks of Green Apple Books. (Granted, we don’t have a ...

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. ...

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 ...

This Article Is Interesting

Laura Miller’s critique of the iBooks store is fascinating for about 10 million reasons that I don’t have the time or mental energy to go into right now. The problem that she describes—how iBooks categorization is total trash, finding book and getting recommendations is hopeless, etc.—ties directly ...

Translation Database Update and PW Article

It’s not available online, but there’s an article by Rachel Deahl in this week’s Publishers Weekly about Three Percent and the translation database. The Excel file behind the above link is the most up-to-date version of the database, listing 187 works of adult fiction and poetry coming out this year. Some ...

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 ...

Follow-up to WTF? Article With Louder WTF?

Last week, E.J. posted about poet and novelist Taslima Nasrin, who was attacked at her book launch. Well, according to today’s Arts, Briefly in the New York Times things have gotten even crazier: The Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen will face criminal charges for what the authorities called her anti-Islamic ...

Another Interesting Article on the Espresso Book Machine

If:Book has a nice piece on the future of print and the Espresso Book Machine. Very well thought out article, with a cautionary paragraph at the end: More importantly, what does it mean? While there’s certainly work that needs to be done on these machines, they certainly seem viable. Epstein proposed these ...

Three Percent #141: Reimagining the Podcast (AKA Everything Stays the Same)

This week, Chad and Tom talk about the "newly reimagined" BookExpo, the New York Rights Fair, the Albertine Prize (congrats to Emma Ramadan, Anne Garreta, and Deep Vellum!), the BTBA (congrats to Will Vanderhyden and Rodrigo Fresán!), likely shortlisted titles for next year's award, and more. Totally lacking in sports talk ...

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 ...

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 ...

Three Percent #140: Save All the Nobels

Chad and Tom reunite after a few weeks of travel and hot takes to talk about the Best Translated Book Award shortlists, the Nobel Prize controversy, why we should (or shouldn't? or who cares?) save Barnes & Noble, and the awesomeness that is Jean-Patrick Manchette. This week's music is "Every 1's a Winner" by Ty ...

“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 ...

What if Writers Were Treated Like Soccer Players?

Told you I'd be back soon to catch up on these weekly posts! Next week I'll put together a recap linking to all of the posts in the series so far, and including a line or two about what they cover. And then, in addition to writing about one (or two) new books, next week I'll also post a May overview with some more data, a ...

Poetry Presses and Radical Idea #1

Thanks to a different writing deadline, the revamping of this website (still a bit of a work in progress), and trips to Chicago, Houston, and New York (with another NY trip later this week), I've fallen slightly behind with my weekly missives, so expect a bunch of these to drop over the next week or so. First up, I want to ...

Spanish Literature Is Our Favorite Scene

Last week, the 2018 longlists for the Best Translated Book Award were released and were loaded with books translated from the Spanish. Eight works of fiction and one poetry collection. Nine titles total out of the thirty-seven on the combined longlists. That’s just a smidge under 25%. Twenty-five percent! One-quarter of the ...

The End (Part VIII, IX, Epilogue, Pgs 237-281)

Last week, Chad and Brian (welded at the hip) were joined by “Stiliana Milkova”:https://www.oberlin.edu/stiliana-milkova of Oberlin College’s department of comparative literature to discuss the final moments of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. While we learned that Chad doesn’t like Elena Ferrante, and ...

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Three Percent #139: The Local Scene

Chad and Tom reconvene to talk about self-published titles that stay local, the Best Translated Book Award longlists, the elitism of the industry, and how you should vote for Emma Ramadan’s translation of Not One Day for this year’s Albertine Prize. This week’s music is a snippet from the 13+ minute long Beach ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Obsessive Empathetic-Somatic Syndrome and You (Part III)

On this week’s Two Month Review blog post, we’re exploring Part III: “The Yellow House” from Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow. As was unanimous from the conversation between Chad, Brian, and Nick last week, this is where the magic of the book and the skill of Gospodinov as a writer truly start to shine. And ...

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 ...

Everyone Needs an Editor

Before I get into the meat of this post—which is basically just a bunch of quotes and a handful of observations—I wanted to check back in on something from an earlier essay. Back in January, I wrote about Leïla Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny and basically assumed that it would be a best-seller. (There was also a lot of ...

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 ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #138: This Is the Most This Podcast Ever

Alex Shepard from The New Republic joins Chad and Tom to discuss the state of book journalism, the new National Book Award for Translation, Chad’s annoying whining about BookMarks, Winter Institute, and more. It’s a fun episode that goes deep into some contemporary book publishing issues—and the disparity between the ...

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 ...

Interview with Madame Nielsen

The following is an excerpt from an interview that was conducted by David Damrosch and Delia Ungureanu—both of Harvard University—with Madame Nielsen in Copenhagen this past July. If you would like to see the entire piece, email me at chad.post [at] rochester.edu David Damrosch: Across your career, your several ...

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Three Percent #137: The Fire & the Fury Over No Amazon in Rochester

After a few weeks away from podcast, Chad and Tom reunite to talk about sales of Fire and Fury and its lasting impact, Milo’s edits, the TA First Translation Prize Shortlist, Rochester’s failure to land the new Amazon HQ, Wormwood, and more. For those keeping track as you listen, here’s the baffling video ...

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 ...

The Best Sports Novels Match Sport and Style

On some old episode of NPR’s All Songs Considered, Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen talked about their unique irresistible song elements. Those bits in songs that aren’t the main hook, or even an integral part of the song itself, but, when they appear, automatically make you like a particular song. Like, for me, if ...

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 ...

In Favor of Translator Afterwords

As dumb as the content might be, there’s something to be said for hot takes in the sports world. Or maybe not the takes themselves—again, always dumb, always misguided, always loaded with bad suppositions and overly confident writing—but rather the situation in which you get to dissect and dismantle a hot take. It’s ...

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Three Percent #136: The Riffraff Is Upon Us

Back at last! Chad and Tom reunite after a month in which Tom finished building an entire bookstore and bar, which is now open! In addition to talking about Riffraff’s first week of business, they talk about the NCIBA statement against publishers selling direct to consumers and institutions, about Tyrant Books tweeting ...

Looking at Some Rodoreda Criticism [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast I join Brian Wood and George Carroll to talk about some of the stranger, more war influenced, Rodoreda stories. Specifically, we talk about “Before I Die,” “Ada Liz,” “On a Dark Night,” “Night and Fog,” and ...

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Three Percent #135: Polish Reportage and a Lot of Sci-Fi Talk

After discussing the incredibly long Dublin Literary Prize longlist, Chad and Tom discuss Polish Reportage, Stanislaw Lem’s book covers, ordering books for Riffraff, and a serial killer. UPDATE: Here’s a link to all of the new Polish Lem covers. And the one for His Master’s Voice. This week’s ...

Tracing Rodoreda's Motifs in "Carnival" [Two Month Review]

Coming up on this Thursday’s Two Month Review podcast Brian and I talk about the next seven stories in Selected Stories by Mercè Rodoreda (with special guest Mark Haber!): “Afternoon at the Cinema,” “Ice Cream,” “Carnival,” “Engaged,” “In a Whisper,” ...

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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 ...

Help Support Open Letter!

If you’re friends with us on Facebook (either me personally, or the press itself), or visit the Twitter on a regular basis, you’re hopefully aware that Open Letter just launched an annual fundraising campaign to support our 10-year anniversary. And if you’re not already familiar with this, that’s ...

Two Month Review #2.9: fourteen, fifteenth book, 16. notebook (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 306-360)

Icelandic novelist and poet Kári Tulinius joins Chad and Lytton this week to talk about three of the darkest sections of Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller and the history of this novel’s reception in Iceland. They also talk about the recent scandal that brought down the Icelandic government—and how it ties into Tómas ...

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Three Percent #133: From Catalonia to South Korea

After a bit of a hiatus, Chad and Tom are back to talk about Riffraff’s new location, break down Catalonian politics and the recent editorial gathering the Ramon Llull Institute put on in Barcelona, and somewhat pick apart this article about Deborah Smith’s translation of The Vegetarian. This week’s music is Day I ...

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 #2.7: tenth composition book (Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Pages 238-281)

This week Patrick Smith (Best Translated Book Award judge, The Scofield) joins Chad and Lytton to talk about this incredibly powerful section of the book, which raises all sorts of topical ideas about adhering to national myths and the problems of masculinity. This is also the section where Hitler shows up, and where a ...

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 ...

Another take on “The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán

The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden 552 pgs. | pb | 9781940953564 | $18.95 Open Letter Books Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols   Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of ...

Women in Translation Month [Throwback No.2]

As many of you may have noticed already, August is widely considered Women in Translation Month (look for the #WITMonth hashtag basically anywhere). Since Open Letter has published its fair share of baller women authors over the past ten years, we thought we’d take a few posts to highlight a handful of our all-time favorite ...

The Biggest Update to the Translation Databases Ever (And Some More Women in Translation Data)

OK, I’m supposed to be packing for my summer vacation right now, so this is going to be a lot shorter than it otherwise would be. But! I just updated the Translation Databases! Not just the spreadsheets for 2016 and 2017, but every spreadsheet I’ve ever run. There’s up to date info on 2008-2018 AND new ...

Women in Translation Month [Throwback No.1]

As many of you may have noticed already, August is widely considered Women in Translation Month (look for the #WITMonth hashtag basically anywhere). Since Open Letter has published its fair share of baller women authors over the past ten years, we thought we’d take a few posts to highlight a handful of our all-time ...

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Three Percent #132: Women in Translation Month, Genres, Co-opting a Style, and Garbage Plates

On this episode of the Three Percent Podcast, Chad and Tom talk about Peter Straub’s 2010 article about genre, the existence (or not) of translation as a genre, Hudson Bookstore’s attempt to co-op the indie bookstore “ethos,” and this stupid infographic. They also touch on Women in Translation month ...

New Jacket Copy for "The Invented Part" from Chad and Brian

As you probably heard on the most recent episode of the Two Month Review, Chad and Brian used a “guide to writing and publishing” to create new, focus-group approved, jacket copy for Fresán’s The Invented Part. In case it was hard to follow on the audio amid all the laughter, here are their respective ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #131: Stories from the First Half of 2017

Now that half of 2017 is over, Chad and Tom take a minute to reflect back on major stories, trends, and books from the first six months of the year. The conversation is quite lively (listen in to hear Chad lose his mind after reading the latest “Book Match” column), and covers issues of bookstore ownership, ...

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 ...

Can Xue in the New Yorker!

In case you missed it, last week Can Xue was profiled in the New Yorker. This is so well-deserved—Can Xue is a treasure—and proof positive that the New Yorker has good literary taste. (Especially on the Page Turner blog.) The only other thing I want to say is that the author of this piece, Evan James, ...

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Three Percent #130: French Fun and BookExpo

Delayed for a couple weeks due to travel and work schedules, Chad and Tom are back to talk about the inaugural Albertine Prize (won by Antoine Volodine’s Bardo or Not Bardo, translated by J. T. Mahany), Houellebecq’s no show, and BookExpo and the forthcoming New York Rights Fair. They also talk a bit about the Two ...

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 ...

“The Invented Part” by Rodrigo Fresán

The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden 552 pgs. | pb | 9781940953564 | $18.95 Open Letter Books Reviewed by Chad W. Post   Given all the Two Month Review posts and everything else, hopefully you’ll have heard of Rodrigo Fresán’s The Invented Part by now. But ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #129: Two Missteps from Disaster

In this week’s episode, following an unintentional s***storm started on social media, Chad and Tom talk about the obligations of publishers and freelance translators, the cascade of things that can go wrong in the publication process, the necessary sales needed for translations to break even (and how likely that ...

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Three Percent #128: Remembering, Rereading, Rewatching

In this week’s episode, Chad and Tom talk about their first ever episode, the new Granta list of Best Young American Novelists,, and books they’re looking forward to reading this summer. They also introduce the “Two Month Review”—a new series of weekly mini-episodes launching on ...

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Three Percent #127: The 2017 Best Translated Book Award Finalists

Riffraff co-owner and BTBA poetry judge Emma Ramadan joins Chad and Tom to talk about the fifteen finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards. After breaking down the poetry and fiction lists, the three talk about the new New York Times Match Book column and the value of booksellers and librarians. This ...

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Three Percent #126: The Potential Perils of Freelancing

On this week’s podcast, Tom and Chad discuss the potential troubles of getting paid as a freelance translator, the Missing Richard Simmons podcast, and Seed by Joanna Walsh. There are also allusions to the forthcoming BTBA shortlists, and a new podcast project that will be starting up in May . . . This week’s ...

Some Recent Open Letter Publicity

We don’t post these updates near as frequently as we should, but here’s a rundown of some interesting recent publicity pieces for our books. Frontier by Can Xue, translated from the Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping Interview between Can Xue and Porochista Khakpour (Words Without ...

“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 ...

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Three Percent #125: 2017 Best Translated Book Award Longlists

In this podcast, Tom and Chad go over all thirty-five longlisted titles on this year’s Best Translated Book Award longlists. They offer up some uninformed opinions (and a couple informed ones), make their guesses as to which titles will move on, and talk generally about the plethora of Spanish titles on the two lists. ...

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Three Percent #124: Amazon Gets Physical

This week, Tom and Chad talk about the Cubs and their “Zen way,” the largest publishers in the U.S., this If there were Oscars for Books! “article,” and, most importantly, the new Amazon bookstore, which Tom visited and brought back some pictures. This week’s music is ...

Banff International Literary Translation Centre and ITEF 2017

Joining the Gutekunst Prize in calls for applications this season are both the Banff International Literary Translation Centre residency, and the Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival (ITEF) fellowship. About Banff: Inspired by the network of international literary translation centres in Europe, the Banff ...

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 ...

World Literature and Translation (Spring 2017)

I know I’ve mentioned this on the blog (and podcast) a million times, but every spring I teach a class on “World Literature and Translation” that features somewhere between eight and ten recently published translations. Although the individual arrangement of ideas and books shifts every year, the overall ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #121: The Summer Following

Caroline Casey from Coffee House Press joined Chad and Tom on this podcast to talk about 2016 movies, TV shows, and podcasts. Before they got into a long discussion about the royal family, Luke Cage, Crimetown, Midnight Special, and more, they touched on a number of things that are both intriguing and a little bit ...

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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 ...

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Three Percent #119: We Are Being Trolled

This week’s podcast starts with the biggest, most surprising news of recent memory—Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. Then Chad and Tom talk about the National Book Foundation’s study of translation, the unmasking of Elena Ferrante (and the backlash to that unmasking, and the backlash to the ...

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Three Percent #118: Our Titles Are No Better

This week’s podcast kicks off with a list of corrections from episode 117, from a mix-up of Sophies to an explanation of which Basque Country soccer team only fields Basque players. Then Chad and Tom move on to talk about the recent NEIBA conference and some fall titles they left out of their mini-previews before ...

Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno [An Open Letter Book to Read]

This is a new, hopefully weekly, feature highlighting a different book from our catalog in each post. Even though this book is pretty recent (official pub date just a few weeks ago August), I plan on going deep into our backlist in the near future. Gesell Dome by Guillermo Saccomanno, translated from the Spanish by ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #116: Why Is Tom in Providence?

After an extended hiatus, Chad and Tom are back to discuss a slew of things that happened over the past couple months. These include Book Marks, what’s going to happen to B&N, and Tim Parks’s article on The Vegetarian. They also talk about some books they’ve read recently—including Zero K, which ...

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Three Percent #114: BTBA Shortlists, The Vegetarian, Diorama

In this week’s podcast Tom and Chad talk about the recently released Best Translated Book Award shortlists, before moving on to discussion of the two Reading the World Conversation Series books for April: The Vegetarian by Han Kang and Diorama by Rocío Cerón. Additional articles and books discussed include, ...

Thank You, Katy Derbyshire, For Not Finger-Wagging

Many of you will have read or seen Katy Derbyshire’s recent article in the Guardian on women in translation. I braced myself for paragraphs of commentary on how publishers of literature in translation could “be better” than they are, and was already feeling that defensive twinge build up in my jaw. BUT, Katy ...

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 ...

Share Your Thoughts on "On the Edge" by Chirbes and "Monospace" by Parian [RTWBC]

Sure, February is officially over, but next week Tom and I will be discussing last month’s Reading the Book Book Club selections: On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes and Monospace by Anne Parian. We’d love to include comments and questions and topics from everyone else, so if you have any thoughts or reactions, you ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #110: The Weight of Things

Adrian Nathan West joined this week’s podcast to talk about Marianne Fritz and his translation of The Weight of Things, the first novel in the recently launched Reading the World Book Clubs. Additionally, we talked about Twelve Stations by Tomasz Różycki (the RTWBC poetry selection this month), the ABA Winter ...

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Three Percent #109: Making Reading Private

In a sort of role-reversal, Tom does most of the ranting in this podcast, partially inspired by this article entitled “Damn, You’re Not Reading Any Books by White Men This Year? That’s So Freakin Brave and Cool.” They also discuss some women in translation stats, Philip Pullman’s decision to pull ...

Latvian Rap, Porziņģis, Translations [& What Deadspin Was Apparently Too Good For]

Back in July 2015, Deadspin posted an article on a rap song by the Latvian group Transleiteris about Latvian-born, New York Knicks player Kristaps Porziņģis. After the initial ripple of interest across the Internet, and because sometimes I don’t sleep at night and have hours of free time as a result, it ...

"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 ...

The Gun

Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so beautiful, or that feels so right in my hand. I didn’t have much interest in guns ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #108: Lists and Lists and Lists and Lists

This week Chad and Tom talk about this Guardian article about how indie presses are doing the work discovering new authors for the big commercial houses. Then, they talk about all the year-end lists Chad’s been creating for Three Percent and end by raving about champagne bottle sizes and ranting about book cover ...

Seven Books by Women in Translation [My Year in Lists]

Rather than devolve into posting clickbait featuring cats, penguins, hedgehogs, corgis, and books, like other BuzzHole sites, I’m going hard for the rest of the week, starting with seven books by women in translation. The gender disparity in terms of women in translation has been fairly well documented—see the ...

PEN Translation Prizes

This morning, PEN America released the longlist for their two annual translation prizes—the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and the PEN Translation Prize (for prose.) I’m going to start by listing the PEN Translation Prize longlist, which includes an Open Letter title! This has never happened before, so ...

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, ...

Poets & Writers Roundtable on Publishing Translations

A few months ago, Jeremiah Chamberlain invited me to participate in an indie-press roundtable on publishing translations with Barbara Epler from New Directions, Michael Reynolds of Europa Editions, Jill Schoolman of Archipelago Press, and CJ Evans of Two Lines. This ended up being a long, sprawling email conversation, that ...

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Three Percent #104: Banned Books Week

This week Chad and Tom discuss Oyster shutting down, whether or not Serial Box makes any sense as a way to consume books, and this list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books. Additionally, they talk about My Struggle: Volume 2 by Karl Ove Knausgaard and Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila. This week’s music is ...

Anne Garréta and William Burroughs [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, ...

Books (In Translation) About Books [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is from Amanda Nelson, managing editor of Book Riot. 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. Jose Alberto Gutierrez is a garbage truck driver in ...

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 ...

On Yoel Hoffmann’s "Moods" [BTBA 2016]

This week’s Best Translated Book Award post is by translator and co-founder of the Buenos Aires Review, Heather Cleary. 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. Earlier this week, I returned home ...

A Brilliant Review of Georgi Gospodinov's "The Physics of Sorrow"

We already did one post about Asymptote today, but this review by Pete Mitchell of Georgi Gospodinov’s The Physics of Sorrow is so wonderfully complete and serious that I just have to share it. I’ll start by giving you the money shot from the review (at least in my opinion): But Gospodinov is playing for ...

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 ...

China vs. New Zealand [Women's World Cup of Literature: First Round]

This match was judged by Florian Duijsens, a senior editor at Asymptote, fiction editor at SAND Journal, and teacher at Bard College Berlin. You can follow him on Twitter at @neonres. For more information on the Women’s World Cup of Literature, click here or here. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter account 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 ...

Why This Book Should Win – 1914 by BTBA Judge Monica Carter

Monica Carter is a writer and freelance critic. 1914 – Jean Echenoz, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale, (France) The New Press Jean Echenoz’s novel, 1914, delivers the punch of a heavyweight yet moves with the speed of a flyweight. In fewer than 120 pages, Echenoz gives us the exhausting thirteen ...

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Three Percent #95: Is Book Advertising a Waste of Money?

Inspired by all the stupid Buick ads (and disturbing Volkswagon ones) playing throughout the NCAA Tournament, we decided to dedicate this week’s episode to talking about advertising for books: whether it’s worthwhile, how much it costs, why are book trailers a thing, who buys books because of ads on a subway, and ...

I Am a Sore Loser [Some April Translations]

Back when I was in junior high, my best friend and I would spend hours and hours playing Double Dribble on his Nintendo. (Fun fact! This game was called “Exciting Basket” in Japan.) I might be 100% wrong, but I’m pretty sure this was the first basketball game for the Nintendo. And man, was it ever low rent. ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #93: Always a Work in Progress

In this episode, Chad and Tom discuss the recent Festival Neue Literatur, a NYC-based festival promoting German-language literature, and spend a lot of time talking about the ins and outs of editing literature in translation. Additionally, they breakdown this Buzzfeed article about ebook data mining and what this means for ...

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 ...

Yawning vs. Not Reading: Americans and Translations a Decade Apart

This morning, the Daily Beast ran a piece by Bill Morris entitled Why Americans Don’t Read Foreign Fiction. It starts with Morris admitting his ignorance of Patrick Modiano’s work prior to his winning the Nobel Prize, then goes into a reading of Modiano’s Suspected Sentences, before veering into the ...

The Translation Databases Have Been Updated

If you want to download all new, up to date version of the Translation Databases, you can do it here. These include all books that I’ve logged on through this morning, although, as always, if there’s anything missing, just email me. I have a day or two of Edelweiss catalogs to search through before the 2015 ...

Prize Winners 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. Some five-hundred-odd translated titles are in contention – well, at least get considered – for a book prize, the Best Translated Book Award. Not surprisingly, a number of them have ...

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 ...

Chad vs. Skype/Moneybookers

Admittedly, this has absolutely nothing to do with international fiction, but since it is related to this week’s podcast and is incredibly hilarious, I feel like I have to share. Here’s the setup: Back in 2008, I bought credit on Skype to call some people in India for an article I was writing. After doing the ...

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Three Percent #86: Translators Aren't Dockworkers

We’re back! And, actually, now that Tom has a more regular schedule at “Albertine”: we’re planning on recording a new episode every other week. More great sports book talk! This week’s episode centers around John O’Brien’s BookBrunch article, Don’t Blame the Readers for Lack ...

Cheesy Thanksgiving Post [Some December Translations]

I don’t think this particular monthly write-up needs any real explanation—it really is a “cheesy Thanksgiving post,” complete with holiday cheer and unwanted gifts—so let’s just get into it. (Also, I think it’s going to be really long.) Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa, ...

Latest Review: "Writers" by Antoine Volodine

The latest addition. to our Reviews section is a piece by P. T. Smith on Antoine Volodine’s Writers, translated by Katina Rogers and published earlier this year by Dalkey Archive Press. For those who don’t know, it was announced this week that Volodine had been awarded the Prix Médicis for his latest book, ...

Stealth

From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’ performance at the 1948 Summer Olympics didn’t help bolster nationalism: of the ...

Latest Review: "Stealth" by Sonallah Ibrahim

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Christopher Iacono on Stealth by Sonallah Ibrahim, translated by Hosam Aboul-Ela and published by New Directions. Chris is a regular reviewer for Three Percent, and happens to be taking the next month off to participate in NaNoWriMo. We wish him endurance and good writing ...

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

Yesterday we ran Part I of an interview between author Mylene Fernández Pintado and translator Dick Cluster. Part I left off with Mylene going over a little background information on their work together on A Corner of the World to be. This here is Part II of that interview. Mylene Fernández Pintado has been writing and ...

40% Reading Comprehension, and Dropping Fast! [Some October Translations]

A couple weeks ago I had a dream that I was dropping my daughter off at a “Reading Tutor” to study for some sort of standardized “Reading Comprehension” test for fifth graders. When I got to the shopping mall for tutors (dream!), I found out that, not only had her tutor quit, but that “Reading ...

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 ...

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 ...

Why Won't English Speakers Read Translations?

I don’t know the answer to that, and neither does Hephzibah Anderson, writing for the BBC, but she does summarize some of the arguments related to publishing literature in translation, and gives up heaps of praise to Pushkin Press, along with Open Letter, Words Without Borders, and a few others. Some call it the ...

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Three Percent #83: "Johnny Appledrone"

This week’s podcast is mostly about this BBC article on Hieroglyph, a collaborative project between scientists and science-fiction writers that was inspired by the Neal Stephenson article Innovation Starvation. Basically, this is a call to create fewer dystopian novels, and more positive sci-fi ideas that can help ...

Ana María Matute and the Shadow Children [A Month of a Thousand Forests]

Next up in our Month of a Thousand Forests series is Ana María Matute who has one book already available in English—School of the Sun, which was translated by Elaine Kerrigan and published by Columbia University Press. The piece that’s excerpted below is from Olvidado Rey Gudú which is “the book I wanted ...

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Three Percent #82: Why We Need [SOLUTION TK] More Than Ever

In this podcast, Chad and Tom discuss Tom’s recent article in Publishing Perspectives (which he wrote in response to Amazon’s infamous letter to readers), along with some thoughts on why we shop at bookstores, and Julian Gough’s Litcoin project. Also, as mentioned at the end of the podcast, Chad and Tom ...

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 ...

Ottilie Mulzet on Translating "Seiobo There Below"

English PEN’s “World Bookshelf” blog has a fantastic piece by Ottilie Mulzet on the complexities of translating László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo there Below, which won the both of them last year’s Best Translated Book Award. The whole article is worth reading, but here are a few really interesting ...

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Three Percent #80: My Struggle's DNA Is 92% Introspective

This week’s podcast focuses on two main things: This article by Tim Parks about the sales of Knausgaard’s books, and the sale of BookLamp to Apple for an obscene amount of money. This week’s music is MTLOV from the new A Sunny Day in Glasgow album. ...

Amazon on Hachette Controvery and Pricing

A lot of people are going to have a lot to say about this, but for anyone interested in the inner workings of publishing, ebooks, and pricing, it’s worth checking out this open letter from Amazon about their ongoing dispute with Hachette. Just to recap: Hachette and Amazon are currently negotiating over terms, a ...

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 ...

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 ...

Latest Review: "I am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan"

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by Grant Barber on I am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan translated by Eliza Griswold, and out last month from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Because I don’t know much about the tradition of Afghan landays, though I do find it both fascinating ...

The Official Launch of Deep Vellum

Two summers ago, Will Evans (aka Bromance Will) came to Rochester for the summer to learn about how to launch his own press dedicated to international literature. Although he did help out at Open Letter by reading a bunch of manuscripts, editing High Tide, doing some marketing and publicity, and arranging a bunch of Frankfurt ...

Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction

“I am honored to have ushered Mario Bellatin’s biography of the great Shiki Nagaoka, a writer and artist almost entirely unknown to English-language readers, into English for the first time, and it is my hope that this new translation begins to redress his under-acknowledgement as a major influence on contemporary ...

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 ...

"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 ...

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Three Percent #74: One Hundred Years of the NY Times Style Section

OK, that’s a totally lame way to try and combine the two main topics of this week’s podcast: Gabriel García Marquez, and the awful amazingness of the NY Times Style section article on soccer’s popularity in creative circles. Our conversation ranges a bit to include other authors from “el Boom,” ...

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, ...

The 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist

The shortlist for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was announced yesterday and features six books from around the world: The Iraqi Christ, by Hassan Blasim, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Comma Press) A Man in Love, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don ...

Sleet By Stig Dagerman – Why This Book Should Win

Elizabeth Harris’s translations from Italian include Mario Rigoni Stern’s novel Giacomo’s Seasons (Autumn Hill Books) and Giulio Mozzi’s story collection, This Is the Garden (Open Letter Books). She has won a 2013 Translation Prize from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Culture (Rome) for Rigoni Stern’s Giacomo’s ...

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 ...

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014: The Longlist

Next Tuesday we’ll be announcing the 25-title Best Translated Book Award longlist, which makes today’s announcement of the IFFP longlist even that more intriguing . . . Although there are different eligibility rules between the two prizes—and different books published in the UK vs. the U.S.—there often ...

There Is Reading, and There Is Looking at Letters

One of CLMP head Jeffrey Lependorf’s favorite sayings is that publishing is getting books to readers, without that, you’re just printing. That’s not a perfect analogy for why “Spritz,” an app that’s going to be part of Samsung’s wearable technology, irks me, but it’s a good ...

Open Letter Editor Getting Hit in the Face, Repeatedly

This isn’t exactly books related, but in case you’re one of the millions of people of people who have come across this photo recently (like on HuffPo, HLN TV, Reddit, Daily Mail The Sun, Bored Panda, the oft-ridiculed Flavorwire, and several others), I have two things to tell you: 1) Yes, that is a copy of ...

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 ...

Elizabeth Harris Tells Us Why Translation Makes All the Difference

Elizabeth Harris has translated fiction by Mario Rigoni Stern, Fabio Stassi, and Marco Candida, among others. Her translation of Giulio Mozzi’s story collection Questo è il giardino (This Is the Garden) will be published by Open Letter Books in 2014; the individual stories have appeared in The Literary Review, The Missouri ...

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. ...

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Three Percent #70: Bookworm, Amazon, and Iowa

As an interlude in our 2013 round-up series—the Nate & Tom Movie Podcast will be coming soon—Tom and I decided to talk about his recent trip to L.A., where he met with Michael Silverblatt of the amazing Bookworm, and about a couple of recent articles that have been making the rounds in social media and ...

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 ...

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 ...

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2013 Albums I Like Listening To [Chad's Picks]

This is usually the section of my Music of the Past Year roundup post where I go on and on about how much easier it is to discover music than it is to discover books. Although I still feel the same way—right now I’m listening to the new El Ten Eleven EP thanks to an email from Spotify I received this morning; ...

Why Tech People Make Me Howl and Scream and Laugh

It’s no secret that I’m very anti-techtopian people. Anyone talking about Google Glass and how it’ll “solve all publishing problems ever!” is someone I want to run away from. All the industry focus on new “apps” that will “revamp and disrupt the creation, distribution, and ...

What Is a Zola?

I’m not entirely sure what a Zola is—an ebook only store! a social network for readers! a discovery engine! something made in Manhattan!—but apparently it’s important enough to acquire (and thankfully dismantle) Bookish. From Publishers Weekly: Bookish, the struggling social network funded by ...

The Snow Day Edition [Some January Translations]

Along with about, well, everyone else in the northeast, I’m snowed into my apartment today, so instead of answering the phones at Open Letter (HA! no one ever calls us), I’m at home, working on our forthcoming anthology of Spanish literature, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, and, as a break of sorts, I thought ...

Words Without Borders: The Oulipo Issue

Aside from every stupid Buzzfeed list ever, the number one link I’ve seen on my social media networks over the past few days has been to the new Words Without Borders issue. On the one hand, this is a testament to the amazingness of WWB; on the other, it illustrates that the vast majority of my friends are book nerds ...

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 ...

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Let's Capitalize on the Garth Risk Hallberg Thing for a Post

If you’re into book industry news and whatnot, you’ve probably heard the story about Garth Risk Hallberg’s novel, City on Fire. Just to recap though, before the book had a publisher, Scott Rudin, the movie producer behind Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and No Country ...

Disgruntled Frankfurt Exhibitors

Last week, Open Letter editor and resident expert in all things Latvian, translated aloud a bit of an article decrying the Latvian stand at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of the article was that the stand was lame, boring, the laughing stock of the fair, and not nearly as cool ...

A Cautionary Tale

Here’s an open letter from Jonathan Wright about some shit that went down with Knopf and Dr. Alaa Al Aswany, the author of The Yacoubian Building. If nothing else, you MUST check out this set of corrections from Al Aswany. It is things. And something I’m using in my classes from now until forever . . . Anyway, the ...

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 ...

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Three Percent #65: Erudition Isn't the Same as Being Intentionally Esoteric

This week’s podcast is the first one Tom and I have recorded in almost a month. So after a bit of catching up, we talked about David Bellos’s new translation of Simenon’s Pietr the Latvian, the difficulties of translating “I love you” and all the swears into Japanese, and this list of “The ...

How You Can Help BuzzFeed Take Over the World

Just to make sure the sarcasm of the post title doesn’t slip by, I want to start by saying that BuzzFeed is AWFUL. Sure, thanks to Facebook shares, I’ve clicked on some of their asinine listicles and have rarely (if ever) come away feeling like I learned anything. Even more rarely have I laughed at their jokes. ...

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 ...

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) ...

Elizabeth Harris Talks Translation

Elizabeth Harris has translated fiction by Mario Rigoni Stern, Fabio Stassi, and Marco Candida, among others. Her translation of Giulio Mozzi’s story collection Questo è il giardino (This Is the Garden) will be published by Open Letter Books in 2014; the individual stories have appeared in The Literary Review, The Missouri ...

Arnon Grunberg in The Believer

Arnon Grunberg—author of a number of books, including Tirza, which is one of my favorite Open Letter titles from 2013—has a really fantastic essay about a trip to Thessaloniki in the new issue of The Believer. You need to read the whole long thing, but here’s a bit to entice you: Until recently, wars ...

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 ...

The Inagural Écrivains du Monde festival

The New York Times has a nice overview article on a new literary festival launching in Paris later this week, and run in part by Caro Llewellyn who directed the PEN World Voices Festival a few years back: Paris is reaching out to recapture its place as a center of literature with a new festival of international writers ...

Latest Review: "The Bridge Over the Neroch & Other Works" by Leonid Tsypkin

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is from Vincent Francone on Leonid Tsypkin’s The Bridge Over the Neroch & Other Works, from New Directions. My apologies to Vincent for posting this so late—he had it ready for us almost a month ago—but it’s never too late for a Russian classic. Great Russian ...

The Bridge Over the Neroch & Other Works

Not long ago, Nick Laird wrote an interesting article for The Guardian on the Slow Food Movement, an idea sprung from modern dissatisfaction with fast food. Participants gather to enjoy homemade meals cooked for as long as necessary. The emphasis is on the experience, not merely the consumption, of food. From this, Laird ...

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 ...

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Julio Cortázar!

Julio Cortázar, one of the greatest writers ever,1 was born on August 26, 1914, and to celebrate the week of his birthday, Archipelago Books, one of the greatest presses ever, is offering a 25% discount on all three of the Cortázar books that they publish. Just insert “HOPSCOTCH13,” a code based on one of the ...

Some Thoughts on Quebec's Attempt to Legislate Fixed Book Prices

As you may have read in yesterday’s PW Daily, this past Monday, a Quebec legislative committee opening a couple weeks of hearings on the idea of implementing fixed book prices in the province to benefit and preserve independent bookstores. From the “Montreal Gazette:”: Under the scheme, booksellers, ...

I Have to Agree

This weekend, David Ulin of the Los Angeles Times joined the chorus of people begging James Franco to “just stop.” Generally speaking, I couldn’t care less about Franco (he was awesome in Spring Breakers), although using Indiegogo in a pretty hypocritical fashion to raise money to film his own short stories ...

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 ...

July 2013 Asymptote Journal

The new issue of Asymptote is now available, and GOD DAMN is it loaded. Just read this intro note from the editors: Every translation is a conversation, each translator in dialogue with the original author, each language speaking to another. Asymptote’s Summer issue is full of such conversations, perhaps most ...

2013 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation

The 2013 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation was just announced, with Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody receiving this year’s honors for his translation of Benjamin Fondane’s Ulysse. Not much info up on the Sontag site yet, although I think this literally just went online. (I’ve been refreshing that page like a ...

Horrible News

From today’s PW Daily: Karl Pohrt, founder of Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor, Mich., died on Wednesday. He was 65. Pohrt was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer in October 2012 and wrote about his illness on his blog, thereisnogap.com. In 2009, plunging textbook sales and the economy forced Pohrt to ...

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 ...

Interview with Harold Goldblatt

Last semester, one of my favorite class periods was the one in which we talked with Harold Goldblatt about his translation, especially his translation of Mo Yan’s Pow!. One of the great moments was when I asked him how many books he had translated and he honestly wasn’t sure. “Something around 50-55, I ...

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 ...

Why Bury the Lede? AmazonCrossing Publishes More Books in Translation than Anyone Else (In 2013. Probably.)

For everyone interested in the state of literature in translation today, I just posted updates to the 2012 Translation Database and the 2013 one. First things first: In 2012, AmazonCrossing published more works of fiction and poetry in translation than any other press except for Dalkey Archive, and is the largest publisher ...

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

This article is a transcript of a presentation Esther Allen gave at Boston University on Friday, February 22, 2013. Click here for Part I. For the reader of the original text, the book’s origin in the Spanish-speaking world is evident in its every word and requires no further emphasis. As its translator into English, my ...

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 ...

I Want to Mamihlapinatapei with You [A Book You Must Buy]

The guest post going up in an hour or so—which also happens to be one of the best things we’ve published on Three Percent in quite some time—is by translator extraordinaire, Esther Allen, who, in my opinion and the opinion of many, is one of the most important supporters of literature in translation living ...

Pathlight Available through Apple, Amazon

This morning, I talked to a journalist for quite a while about an article she’s writing on publishing Chinese literature in translation. On of the prompts for her article is Pathlight: New Chinese Writing, a magazine that I haven’t mention on here before, but definitely should have. In addition to a general ...

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 ...

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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, ...

Why This Book Should Win: "Transfer Fat" by Aase Berg [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 ...

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: "With the Animals" by Noëlle Revaz [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: "The Island of Second Sight" by Albert Vigoleis Thelen [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: "The Map and the Territory" by Michel Houellebecq [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 ...

Another Short Short Story for Your Monday Morning

Over at Bomb’s blog you can read “First Kiss,” a short story by Clarice Lispector, and translated from the Portuguese by Rachel Klein. The two of them murmured more than talked: the relationship had begun just a little while before and they were both giddy, it was love. Love and what comes with it: ...

. . . Things to Buy . . .

Calling all Krashnahorkai fans (of which there are legion): The next issue of Music & Literature, which is available for preorder now, will feature a bunch of interesting works by and about your favorite Laszlo. Music & Literature_’s second issue, now available for pre-order, features new literature on and by ...

Mark Linz Obituary

I’m not sure what’s sadder, the fact that Mark Linz—former director of American University of Cairo Press and all around great guy—recently passed away, or this obituary from PW (reprinted here in full with no permission, since the “fair use” rule would limit me to probably 5 ...

Open Letter Love from the West Coast, Part II

I’m not even going to bother setting this one up—just read the opening of this review by Gregory Leon Miller from the San Francisco Chronicle: Quim Monzó might just be the best writer you’ve never heard of. One could say he’s Catalan’s best-known writer – in fact, the publicity ...

Bookish: What it Isn't [Weekly Rant #1]

OK, so first off, for anyone who saw my little Facebook hissy fit last night about Bookish, I apologize. I may have overstated things a bit (yeah, I know that totally doesn’t sound like me), and jumped the gun a bit on some of my insults. That said, and before I get more fully into the Bookish conundrum, a few of the ...

The Problem with Book Awards [Why America Sucks, Part Infinity]

Late last night, I came across this article about a new book award—one to reward innovative writing: [In reference to all the other book awards out there—Man Booker, Costa, IMPAC, Women’s Prize for Fiction, etc.] Enough to be going on with? Well, no. Not just because there can never be too many literary ...

In Conversation about Queneau's "Exercises in Style"

One of the coolest releases of the winter has to be the new version of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style—the classic Oulipian text in which Queneau tells and retells the same story of two men who get on a bus and have a minor row, ending with one telling the other to replace a button on his overcoat. The ...

Intriguing Questions about Translation and Culture

Over at today’s Publishing Perspectives, there’s an interesting piece by translator Burton Pike about “Cultural Homogeneity and the Future of Literary Translation.” This essay was written in preparation for a German Book Office panel discussion, and as such, it focuses more on bringing up issues and ...

New Issue of Asymptote

Asymptote, one of the prettiest (and smartest) online magazines, has a new issue out to kick off the new year, and it’s pretty packed with interesting material: For one, we got to talk to our favorite Francophile, Edmund White, about why Proust is “a more profound psychologist than Freud”. We also have ...

The Camera Killer

The Camera Killer by Austrian writer Thomas Glavinic, translated by John Brownjohn, is a psychological thriller that was first published in 2003 as Der Kameramörde. The unnamed narrator travels to the region of West Styria over Easter weekend with his “partner” Sonja to stay with their friends, Eva and Heinrich ...

Latest Review: "The Camera Killer" by Thomas Glavinic

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Lisa Boscov-Ellen on Thomas Glavinic’s The Camera Killer, which is translated from the German by John Brownjohn and published by AmazonCrossing. Lisa Boscov-Ellen is another MA student here at the University of Rochester, and translates from Spanish. She was ...

Dzanc Books Launches Translation Press

From Publishers Weekly: Dzanc Books, a seven-year-old literary nonprofit publisher headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., is starting off the new year by launching a new imprint: DISQUIET. It will be the publisher’s primary imprint for publishing contemporary literature from around the world that has been translated into ...

More Mo Yan and the "C" Word

Mo Yan accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature the other day, giving this acceptance speech: In the fall of 1984 I was accepted into the Literature Department of the PLA Art Academy, where, under the guidance of my revered mentor, the renowned writer Xu Huaizhong, I wrote a series of stories and novellas, ...

Riffle. Oh, Riffle

So, a couple weeks ago, Publishers Weekly ran an article on Riffle, asking whether it could be “the Pinterest for Books.” A social media tool powered by Odyl, Riffle takes its name from the word for thumbing through a book.1 And that’s exactly the sense of discovery that Odyl founder and CEO Neil Baptista ...

Quarterly Conversation #30 [The Author Interviews]

Most of today’s content is brought you by Scott Esposito and Daniel Medin and the spectacular new issue of Quarterly Conversation, which, as always, features a lot of great international lit related content. Generally, when a new issue comes out, I post a summary piece linking off to all of the various articles of ...

Unchain it! Unchain it NOW!!!

When it comes to the representation of lesser-known countries and their literatures, I’m clearly one to have a personal bias toward pitching anything Latvian to the world at large (moment of self-promotion: Open Letter Books will be publishing the English translation of Latvian author Inga Ābele’s novel High Tide in fall ...

Albena Stambolova Wins the 2012 Contemporary Bulgarian Writers Contest

Albena Stambolova’s novel, This Being How, translated by Olga Nikolova, has been selected as the winner of the third iteration of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation’s annual novel contest supporting Bulgarian literature. Open Letter will be publishing this book in October 2013, making it the fourth Bulgarian ...

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Three Percent #49: Two Books, One Rant

This week’s podcast is focused on crime and detective books—both fiction and nonfiction. First off, we talk I monologue about Errol Morris’s A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald and my recent Twitter fight with Joe McGinniss about this case, then we move on to talking about Wolf ...

Bigger than a MegaUltraÜberApocaCane [Random House Penguins]

Although information started leaking last week, it wasn’t until this morning that the Penguin-Random House merger was made official: Publisher Pearson says it has agreed a deal with German media group Bertelsmann to combine their Penguin and Random House businesses. Under the terms of the deal, the two ...

An ALTA So Great it Made the New York Times [ALTA 2012]

Way back at the start of the year, I promised that this year’s ALTA would be “THE GREATEST CONFERENCE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE OF CONFERENCES.” Now, I’m not sure that was the case—although it was the most interesting ALTA I’ve ever attended—but it was awesome enough to get ...

More about Mo Yan's "POW!"

One of the things that may have gotten buried in all the articles about Mo Yan receiving this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature is the fact that Seagull Books is bringing out his next work in English translation—POW!, which sounds pretty wild, and has been compared to the works of Witold Gombrowicz and Javok ...

Michael Henry Heim (1943-2012)

I’m really not sure how to write this post . . . I didn’t know Michael Henry Heim as well as a lot of other people, such as Esther Allen, Susan Bernofsky, Sean Cotter, and the like, but I did have a number of really amazing interactions with him, and his passing is incredible sad and hitting me pretty hard. ...

The Daily Beast's "Hot Reads" for September [Sometimes a Gimmick Is Not a Gimmick]

Great news for Open Letter! The Daily Beast just posted a selection of five “Hot Reads” for September: The Spark of Life by Frances Ashcroft (Norton), We Have the War Upon Us by William J. Cooper (Knopf), Sutton: A Novel by J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion), Ike’s Bluff by Evan Thomas (Little, Brown), and The ...

Reading in Reverse [Part III of III]

And here’s the final part of Matt Rowe’s dissertation on Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels. You can read part I here and part II here. Enjoy! It’s in Part III of Many Subtle Channels that Levin Becker turns to the “So What” question, the influence and value of the Oulipo in the wider world ...

Reading in Reverse [Part II of III]

Following up on Monday’s post, here’s the second part of Matt Rowe’s essay on Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels. Part II of Many Subtle Channels is an entertaining survey of the group’s origins and its chief personalities. Levin Becker recounts the exploits of many literary pranksters, ...

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Three Percent #45: +1

This week’s podcast features freelance book critic Jacob Silverman, who stirred up a lot of discussion last month when Slate published his piece, Against Enthusiasm about “the epidemic of niceness in online book culture.” Basically, Jacob argued that online book culture has lead away from legit discussion to ...

John Locke Paid People to Buy His Books [Last Laughs Laugh Best]

Hardcore Three Percent fans may remember some of my issues and troubles with the hack writer, John Locke (in comparison to the talented philosopher John Locke and the John Locke who featured prominently on Lost), who is the author of hundreds1 of Donovan Creed mystery novels, which feature midgets, pseudo-thriller plot-lines, ...

China Miéville and The Futures of the Novels

In today’s Guardian (my favorite media organization, in part because it’s responsible for the best soccer podcast on the planet) you can find China Miéville’s keynote speech to the 2012 Edinburgh World Writers’ conference, which is all about “the future of the novel,” or, since he wants to ...

Almost Ready to Start Blogging Again

I know it’s been a terribly slow summer on Three Percent, and I apologize for that. Every day I come in with good intentions and 3-4 ideas for posts, but then I get sucked into planning the ALTA conference, or the never-ending deluge of emails, managing interns, printing things to mail, etc., etc. It’s been a ...

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Three Percent #43: This Is Spoilers

I’m just back from family vacation, so this week we decided to take things easy and talk about The Dark Knight Rises (which we sort of spoil for anyone who either hasn’t seen it, or thinks it’s great), the Olympics, books we’ve read recently, and J. K. Rowling and her misguided attempt to prevent ...

Newest Issue from Asymptote

Click here to read the latest issue from Asymptote, an online literary journal dedicated to publishing contemporary works in translation. This issue includes a riveting excerpt from Goce Smilevski’s new book, Freud’s Sister, in which Dr. Freud visits his psychologically troubled sister at a carnival-style ...

"Creative Constraints: Translation and Authorship"

Even if Peter Bush hadn’t have sent along the copy of his essay that’s in this collection, I think I would’ve been interested in checking out Creative Constraints: Translation and Authorship, which just came out from Monash University Press in Australia. The essays in this volume address one of the ...

Inventing the Enemy

Umberto Eco introduces Inventing the Enemy as a compilation of “occasional writings” (xi); indeed, the essays in this collection were written intermittently throughout the past decade and expound upon a vast array of subject matters. Several of the essays were originally presented as lectures at various gatherings ...

Latest Review: "Inventing the Enemy" by Umberto Eco

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Kathryn Longenbach on Umberto Eco’s Inventing the Enemy, which is translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon and is available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kathryn Longenbach is a rising senior at Hamilton College. She is pursuing a double major in English ...

2012 PEN Translation Fund Winners

The twelve recipients of this year’s PEN Translation Fund were announced last week, and since I can’t find it on their website, I’m just posting the complete list below. Bunch of interesting sounding projects—Hillary Gulley’s and Bonnie Huie’s caught my eye (the latter for the use of the ...

EU Lit Prize 2012

Click here to read a new article (Publishing Perspectives, June 20) on the European Union’s annual Literature Prize, as well as thoughtful conversation about the difficulty of getting published in a “big” language. The EU’s Literature Prize was developed to facilitate cultural and artistic exchange ...

Remembering Alicia Steimberg

The world lost an incredible writer this past week. Jewish-Argentinean author Alicia Steimberg, best-known for her novel Musicians and Watchmakers, died suddenly of a heart attack one week ago. To commemorate her life and works, JewishFiction.net has published an early-release excerpt of her novel Innocent Spirit, which was ...

Banipal 44

Here’s the newest issue from Banipal, an independent literary magazine that publishes authors from the Arab world in English translation. This summer issue spotlights twelve women writers from all around the Arab diaspora, whose short stories and excerpted novels center on “human issues such as loss, identity, personal ...

Dublinesque

“The funeral march has begun, and it is futile for those of us who remain loyal to the printed page to protest and rage in the midst of our despair.” Samuel Riba, Dublinesque’s depressive and narcissistic protagonist, stumbles upon this and other similarly prophetic sentiments in an online article ...

Latest Review: "Dublinesque" by Enrique Vila-Matas

The latest review to our Reviews Section is a piece by Jeremy Garber on Enrique Vila-Matas’s Dublinesque, which Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey translated from the Spanish and is available from New Directions. Enrique Vila-Matas was born in Barcelona in 1948. His novels have been translated into eleven languages and ...

Hi there!

I’m Sarah Winstein-Hibbs – nicknamed “quantum Sarah” by Chad, who thinks my weird hyphenated last name sounds like some kind of subatomic particle – and I’m an English Literature major at University of Rochester. I’m interning at Open Letter this summer, so I’ll be posting on ...

Latvian Publishing Controversy

Our Latvian publishing correspondent Kaija Straumanis (no, not Janis Stirna, he’s restricted to Eurovision) came across an interesting controversy that just took place in Latvia. I think the translated letters/articles pretty much speak for themselves, but I’ll try and contextualize this as it goes along . . . ...

Yingelishi: Sinophonic English Poetry and Poetics

If poets are, as P. B. Shelley wrote, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” then translation must be one of the unacknowledged legislators of poetry. Certainly translation of Chinese poetry has been essential to modern American writing: Ezra Pound’s Cathay didn’t just invent, as T. S. Eliot put it, “Chinese ...

Doña Barbara, Gallegos, and the Backstory of a Book's Lifetime

Our old friend Jeff Waxman of University of Chicago Press and Seminary Co-op up in Chicago turned our attention to this little gem of an article the other day from Publishing Perspectives written by Maggie Hivnor, the Paperback Editor at “U. of Chicago Press, about how Doña Barbara by Rómulo Gallegos, which had been ...

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Three Percent #39: The King of Publishing

In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about two related subjects: this New Yorker article about the translation of the first line of Camus’ The Stranger, and the PEN World Voices panel about “Reviewing Translations.” (See video embedded below.) There are also some digressions, mostly involving me ...

Rossica Prize Goes to John Elsworth

Yesterday, Academic Rossica announced that the winner of the 2012 Rossica Translators Award is John Elsworth for his translation of Andrei Bely’s Petersburg. I was really pulling for Helen Anderson and Konstantin Gurevich and their new translation of The Golden Calf, in part because it’s one of our books (and ...

The Intricacies of Translating a Single Sentence

At this year’s ALTA Conference (which will take place October 3-6 here in Rochester and will be the Best ALTA Ever . . . get more info here and if you come, I promise you a good time), we’re going to have a roundtable organized by Aron Aji to investigate the difficulties of translating a single sentence. ...

A Book You Should Read: "The Little Red Guard" by Wenguang Huang

Two of my friends have memoirs coming out this spring (the other being Gideon Lewis-Kraus’s A Sense of Direction), which is a sort of interesting phenomenon. I don’t typically read a lot of memoirs, but when it’s someone you know? . . . That’s extra intriguing. I don’t know either Gideon or Wen ...

The Contest of the Eurovision Begins [FuckyeahEurovision!]

We here at Three Percent clearly love Eurovison. To celebrate this year’s version of the World’s Greatest Music Competition we asked Latvian writer Janis Stirna to write a month-long series of articles about all the contestants. In our excitement to “get to the whale” (so to speak), we knew we ...

Five New Argentine Books Worth Checking Out

Over at The Argentina Independent, Joey Rubin has an article about five “exciting new Argentine novels” that have recently been translated into English. As a huge fan of Southern Cone literature, the fact that there’s quality contemporary works coming out of that area isn’t that surprising, but it ...

Fifty Shades of Grey

So, this past weekend, Salon ran this article about Amazon’s “$1 million secret”—their recently created giving program, which has benefitted a large number of literary nonprofits.. Key word there being “nonprofit,” but I’ll get to that in a minute . . . On the whole, the article is ...

"Montecore" by Jonas Hassen Khemiri [25 Days of the BTBA]

As with years past, we’re going to spend the next week highlighting the rest of the 25 titles on the BTBA fiction longlist. We’ll have a variety of guests writing these posts, all of which are centered around the question of “Why This Book Should Win.” Hopefully these are funny, accidental, ...

Dream of Ding Village

Dream of Ding Village tells the story of a village destroyed by unregulated blood selling. Gloomily enough, the novel is narrated by a 12 year-old-boy who died without ever having sold his blood; instead, the narrator, Ding Quiang, was murdered by villagers with a grudge against his father, Ding Hui, the local blood head. ...

Unbelievable Ledig House Opportunity

I think this press release speaks for itself: Writers Omi at Ledig House Translation Lab, Fall 2012 Writers Omi at Ledig House, a part of Omi International Arts Center, has been awarded a grant from Amazon.com to fund Translation Lab, a weeklong special, intensive residency for five collaborating ...

It's Still Us Against Them

From an article in The Guardian about a very jacked Russian translation of a movie about Margaret Thatcher: Speaking to a crowd of supporters, Margaret Thatcher, as played by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, explains what she would do as prime minister: “Crush the working class, crush the scum, the ...

"Zone" by Mathias Enard [25 Days of the BTBA]

As with years past, we’re going to spend the next five weeks highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA fiction longlist. We’ll have a variety of guests writing these posts, all of which are centered around the question of “Why This Book Should Win.” Hopefully these are funny, accidental, entertaining, and ...

"Lightning" by Jean Echenoz [25 Days of the BTBA]

As with years past, we’re going to spend the next five weeks highlighting all 25 titles on the BTBA fiction longlist. We’ll have a variety of guests writing these posts, all of which are centered around the question of “Why This Book Should Win.” Hopefully these are funny, accidental, entertaining, and ...

Sample of "High Tide" by Inga Ābele

The sample below is from Kaija Straumanis’s translation of Latvian author Inga Ābele’s Paisums (High Tide) which we discuss in this week’s podcast. Even if you don’t listen to the podcast (and if you don’t, why not?), you should take a look at this—it’s a really interesting ...

About Time

From this PW piece on BookExpo America and changes to the show: Reed is already looking to bigger changes in 2013. In a blog post yesterday Rosato discussed a move to B2C, enabling publishers to connect directly with consumers. The show would move to Thursday to Saturday with the general public invited to attend author ...

This Is Very True

Although this op-ed piece is primarily about San Francisco performing arts orgs, it really applies to any and all arts nonprofits: In general, arts organizations have done all they can to reduce costs. They’ve reached out to audiences, luring them with promotions, free stuff, and advertising they can barely afford. So ...

Stig Sæterbakken (1966-2012)

As noted on the Dalkey Archive website, Norwegian author Stig Sæterbakken took his own life this past Tuesday. Sæterbakken was the author of the novels Incubus, The New Testament, Siamese, Self-Control, and Sauermugg (the latter three constituting the “S-trilogy”), and two collections of essays, Aesthetic ...

Do You Need More Reasons to Read Raymond Roussel?

One of the precursors to the Oulipo, and cult-author extraordinaire, Raymond Roussel is one of those authors that everyone of a certain aesthetic leaning likes to rave about. He is the admiration of many a literary fan-boy, and if there was an international fiction cosplay festival, his hat, cane, and ‘stach would adorn ...

[Redacted]

E.J. and Nate have censored this post for reasons that are probably obvious. I swore to myself that I would never write about Amazon, pricing, price checking, and the suckery of NPR ever again, but then of course, NPR has to go and run this insipidly stupid piece about a “predatory” Amazon. I’m ...

The Morning News Tournament of Books 2012

The Morning News Tournament of Books is BACK! For the uninitiated, this is a 16-book, bracket-style “tournament” designed to crown the . . . well, I’ll just let them explain it: Today we’re announcing the shortlist for the 2012 Tournament of Books (for novels, of course, published in 2011) only a week ...

Keep Up the Good Work. And Please Go Bankrupt. [Some Publishers Are D*cks]

This is likely to be the first of two or three “socialist-leaning” posts I’m going to write this week in honor of the New Hampshire primary. . . . Anyway, to get to the point, I just read this PW piece and am feeling the rage. A recently introduced bill in the House of Representatives would bar the ...

Rocking MLA Like It's 2004

The MLA conference starts today in Seattle, and I’ll be there all weekend manning the booth that Open Letter is sharing with Archipelago and Counterpath. If you happen to be attending, stop on by. I’ll have copies of a bunch of our books AND the brand-new uber-cool Spring/Summer 2012 catalog, which you have to see ...

The Perpetual Motion Machine: The Story of an Invention

Paul Scheerbart was a German writer and artist who lived around the turn of the twentieth century. He was perpetually broke, even though he was constantly writing books, newspaper articles, and plays. Even when he was alive he was not generally well known or successful, despite the influence his book Glass Architecture would ...

Ruth Franklin on Five Books She Wished She Had Written About

Over at The New Republic Ruth Franklin (who is working on a biography of Shirley Jackson, which should be amazing) has a piece detailing the five books that came out in 2011 that she wishes she had reviewed. It’s a great list that includes Teju Cole’s Open City (“Reminiscent of the works of W.G. Sebald, ...

Farhad Manjoo, Amazon, and Independent Bookstores [Controversies]

Following on my post from yesterday, which was following on Richard Russo’s op-ed piece, which was following on Amazon’s “Price Check special,” today Slate’s tech guy, Farhad Manjoo, has his own piece about Amazon and indie bookstores—one that has seemingly pissed off everyone I know. If ...

Jellybooks: The Last.fm of Ebook Discovery?

Today’s Publishing Perspectives is all about Jellybooks, a new service for “Discovering, sharing and group buying ebooks.” Online book discovery was the focal point of the last couple weeks of my “Intro to Literary Publishing” class, so this comes at a perfect time . . . Anyway, here’s a ...

Angel Igov's "A Short Tale of Shame"

Following up on the announcement from a few weeks back of the co-winners for this year’s Contemporary Bulgarian Novel contest, below you’ll find a long excerpt from Angel Igov’s A Short Tale of Shame. I would try and summarize this, but the summary would be long and confusing and much broader than what I ...

2011: The Year of the Translator?

Over at The Guardian, Robert McCrum has a pretty interesting piece about how the publication of a number of high profile international works has “contributed to a new appreciation of the art of the good translation.” Through the power of global media, there is more than ever before a market for literature in ...

Making the Translator Visible: Edward Gauvin

Edward Gauvin is simply awesome. I first met him when he was working at the French Publishers’ Agency. Actually, that’s not exactly accurate. I first corresponded with him when he was at the FPA, but I first met him in person when he was visiting Rochester. See? People do visit Rochester. Edward’s ...

Sometimes I Don't Think Academics Quite Get It

So, today’s Inside Higher Ed has a piece about “OccupyMLA” the “newest Occupy movement,” which is currently only in Twitter form. My knowledge of this is based almost entirely on personal prejudices and this IHE article, but for any number of reasons, this bugs me immensely.1 First off, ...

2011 Finlandia Prize

This year’s shortlist for the Finlandia Fiction Prize—awarded annually to the best novel written by a Finnish citizen—was announced yesterday, and is unique in that it’s the first list of finalists comprised entirely of women authors. Granted, this doesn’t happen very often, but I get the sense ...

Last.fm for Books

Spiegel Online has an interesting article about Readmill, a new start-up with the goal of making book reading a “more social” activity: The goal is to transform book reading into a social activity, bringing together readers via their e-readers, and to grab a share of the booming E-book market. Other companies ...

Better News Re: St. Mark's and Their Rent Problems

Earlier in the week things weren’t looking so good for St. Mark’s. They’ve been asking Cooper Union for a $5,000/month break in their rent (which is currently $22,500/month), but Cooper Union was using their own financial difficulties to explain why such a decrease was impossible. Well, apparently ...

CONTEXT #23 [Back!]

After an absurdly extended hiatus, Dalkey Archive Press’s tri-ennial quarterly occasional tabloid magazine, CONTEXT is back! For anyone familiar with it, this is great news . . . CONTEXT is consistently interesting, and one of the best ways to discover and learn about “experimental,” “strange,” ...

One Interesting Translation Person Talking About Another

Last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review had a few interesting pieces, including Adam Thirlwell’s review of David Bellos’s new book Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, which is, by far, one of the best reviews I’ve read about this title. That’s not all that surprising, since Thirlwell is such an ...

Bad News for St. Mark's Bookshop

From the NY Daily News: The struggling St. Mark’s Bookshop was dealt more bad news Tuesday when its owners were told they will not receive a rent reduction. Owners Bob Contant and Terry McCoy found out their bid for a $5,000 rent cut was nixed by landlord Cooper Union in a meeting with T.C. Westcott, a vice ...

And Then There Was BAM!

The Melville House blog has a really interesting post about the future of Barnes & Noble that links off to this piece by Rick Aristotle Munarriz. Barnes & Noble is coming off another dreadful quarter. Back out the Nook and its digital downloads and you’ll find that sales actually fell by 11% at its ...

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Three Percent #19: The Moneyball of Book Publishing

This week’s podcast centers around two things: Gerald Howard’s article in PW about the possible influence of Moneyball ideas on book publishing, and Helen DeWitt’s comments in an interview I did with her about stats in fiction. We also talk about the World Series, and my unwavering faith in the St. Louis ...

Murakami Profile in the NY Times Magazine

This past weekend, in advance of today’s drop date for 1Q84, Sam Anderson wrote a long, very well-textured profile of Murakami entitled The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami. To be honest, I’m not the biggest Murakami fan in the world. I really like Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and to a ...

Open Letter Subscription Offer

As you probably already know, since our inception, we’ve offered subscriptions to Open Letter. You can subscribe for six months or a year and receive every title that we publish during that time, which means that you receive a book about every five weeks. Also included is a letter explaining how we came to publish that ...

Útúrdur Gives Iceland What it Wants [Icelandic Culture]

Here’s one last guest post from the wonderful Amanda De Marco. I want to publicly thank her for all of her contributions this week. I would send her a bottle of Brennivin as a token of my appreciation, but that shit is DEATH. For more of Amanda’s writings, be sure to check out Readux: Reading in Berlin. ...

"The Ambassador" by Bragi Olafsson [Icelandic Literature]

Since we publish two of his novels, and since we featured his band yesterday, I thought today would be a perfect day to excerpt Bragi Olafsson’s The Ambassador, which is translated by Lytton Smith. (FYI: Lytton is the one responsible for providing me with the bottle of Brennivin featured in my upcoming “Black ...

Book Sluts [Icelandic Culture]

This is a guest article by Amanda DeMarco, editor of Readux: Reading in Berlin and contributor to Publishing Perspectives. Just so happens that Amanda is in Iceland right now, and totally wanted in on this Icelandic Week project. In addition to this piece, she’s working on at least one more for us, which will run later ...

Thank God, Bob Dylan Didn't Win

And this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Tomas Transtromer. From the “Guardian:”: Praised by the judges for “his condensed translucent images” which give us “fresh access to reality”, Tranströmer’s surreal explorations of the inner world and its relation to the ...

New Issue of Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies: Facts and Fictions of Antonio Lobo Antunes

Since every day is a good day to talk about how great Antonio Lobo Antunes’s works are, I was really excited to get a copy of the new double-sized issue of Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies in the mail today and find that it’s dedicated to Antunes. There are a lot of articles in here that sound really ...

Inside Higher Ed on The Three Percent Problem

At some point in the next couple weeks, I’ll post something more substantial about the sales and rankings for The Three Percent Problem, our $2.99 ebook that collects the best of the best of Three Percent and organizes these pieces into a semi-coherent look at the contemporary publishing scene. (In case you’re ...

Quarterly Conversation #25

I mentioned the new issue of Quarterly Conversation a couple weeks back in relation to the long piece I have in there about Antonio Lobo Antunes, but never got around to making a post about all the other great stuff in this issue . . . So, here’s a list of excellent articles that are definitely worth checking ...

The Nonfiction Gap

This is a special piece by Sal Robinson, freelance editor and co-founder of The Bridge, the first independent reading and discussion series in New York City devoted to literary translation. She has worked for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Phaidon, and Words Without Borders. Among the small number of translated books published ...

Houellebecq Missing

This is pretty bizarre: Michel Houellebecq, the French writer whose novels address sex tourism, sado-masochism and cloning, failed to show up for a scheduled reading tour of the Netherlands and Belgium and cannot be reached by his publishers. “We really don’t know what is happening,” said Barbara ...

Vladislav Bajac and SPIT

The Valley Advocate just published an excellent article about Vladislav Bajac, author of Hamam Balkania and director of Geopoetika, a most amazing Serbian publishing house. In addition to publishing the best of the best of world literature, Geopoetika is also the home to SPIT (Sebian Prose in Translation), a new ...

Andrew Barrett's Words Without Borders Debut

Over the next couple months, we’ll be featuring some of the recent University of Rochester translation students on our weekly podcast. They’re all extremely interesting (and entertaining) people, and all working on very cool projects that we’d like to feature. One of those students is Andrew Barrett, who ...

Introducing "The Three Percent Problem" [Update on Kindle Apps]

In a variety of podcasts and other posts, I’ve made reference to a “best of Three Percent” book that we were putting together. One that would sell for $2.99 with all the proceeds going to benefit translators . . . Well, at long last, after forcing Taylor McCabe (Intern #1) to read and sort some thousands ...

Latest Review: "Lunar Savings Time" by Alex Epstein

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Daniela Hurezanu about Alex Epstein’s Lunar Savings Time, which is translated from the Hebrew by Becka Mara McKay and available from Clockroot Books. Daniela Hurezanu has reviewed for us several times in the past, and here’s her official bio, courtesy of ...

Why Read Antonio Lobo Antunes?

That’s the title of the extremely long article I wrote about Antonio Lobo Antunes for the new issue of Quarterly Conversation. (More on that issue later.) If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ve probably come across one or more posts in which I wax poetic about the awesomeness of Antunes’s writing. ...

Splendor in Portugal

Splendor of Portugal is the tenth book by Antonio Lobo Antunes to appear in English translation, and the seventh that I’ve reviewed. Which, in some ways, makes this difficult to write. Not to mention, I just wrote an epically long piece on Antunes for a forthcoming issue of Quarterly Conversation. It was one of those ...

New Libyan Literature

M. Lynx Qualey, who runs the excellent blog Arabic Literature (In English), wrote an interesting, useful article for Al-Masry Al-Youm entitled New Life for New Libyan Lit which discusses the future of Libyan literature post-Qadhafi: While Egyptian authors embraced social realism in the 1960s and 1970s, many Libyan ...

Discovering Books: Booklamp vs. GoodReads

Today’s Publishing Perspectives feature is all about Booklamp.org, a new book discovery site that’s being referred to either as “Pandora for Books” or the “Book Genome Project.” Here’s a brief description: “Our program breaks a book up into 100 scenes and measures the ...

Daniel Stein, Interpreter

To some in the realm of journalism and literary representation the notions of “poetic license” and “poetic truth” stand as two very dubious cornerstones on which to build factual novels. The shaky foundations leave all kinds of room for interpretation, embellishment and, perhaps in the wrong hands, the glorification ...

Latest Review: "Daniel Stein, Interpreter" by Ludmila Ulitskaya

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Julianna Romanazzi on Ludmila Ulitskaya’s Daniel Stein, Interpreter, translated from the Russian by Arch Tait and available from Overlook Press. Ludmila Ulitskaya is one of a handful of contemporary Russian writers to have a number of their works translated ...

Matthew Battles on Tove Jansson

Over at the B&N Review, Matthew Battles (Harvard University’s rare books librarian and author of Library: An Unquiet History, Widener: Biography of a Library, along with other articles) has a long, interesting piece on Tove Jansson. He talks a bit about the recently released Fair Play, but I really like this bit ...

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Three Percent #12: Lawsuits and Million Dollar Ideas

For this week’s podcast we decided to talk about a few recent news items, starting with this lawsuit against Apple that “alleges that the publishers and Apple colluded to increase prices for popular e-book titles to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.” ...

"There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me

I will admit, right off the bat, that I have never read anything by Stieg Larsson. Not a word, not a page, not even the back of a book cover. Yes, I am aware of the existence of the Millennium Trilogy, with the movies and the books and the commercials and whatnot, and I have perhaps eavesdropped on a few hushed, excited ...

An Interview with Gregor Von Rezzori [Read This Next]

As part of this week’s Read This Next focus on Gregor Von Rezzori’s An Ermine in Czernopol, we dug up this interview with Von Rezzori that appeared in BOMB magazine way back in 1988. Bruce Wolmer: I’m tempted to begin by asking the question interviewers on French TV like to pose: “Gregor von Rezzori, _qui ...

Numbers that Make You Go Ouch

So, Borders is basically dead-and-nearly-gone, what with their liquidation starting tomorrow and almost 11,000 employees losing their jobs in the next few weeks. This was a long time in coming, and is a surprise to no one. That said, it’s a tricky thing to formulate an adequate response to. On the one hand, over the ...

Catching the Prize in Klagenfurt: Leif Randt and the Ernst Willner

After a three day marathon of reading a seven-person panel of judges for the Festival of German-Language Literature announced Leif Randt as the winner of the Ernst Willner Prize for his novel Schimmernder Dunst uber CobyCounty (The Haze Over Coby County), translated by Stefan Tobler. The Festival, formerly known as the ...

Man Booker International vs. Translated Literature

The following piece was written by Ángel Gurría-Quintana, a freelance journalist, editor and translator. He is a regular contributor to the books pages of the Financial Times. His writing has also appeared in The Observer, The Economist, Prospect, The Paris Review and Brick. Ángel lives in Cambridge, U.K. This piece of ...

From the Observatory

It’s not like any of Cortazar’s books are easy. Hopscotch is a tricky book, even putting aside the jarring juxtapositions that arise from the strange way of reading it (if you follow the prescribed path, you read a bunch of chapters out of order). 62: A Model Kit, which applied the theory explicated in chapter 62 ...

Latest Review: "From the Observatory" by Julio Cortazar

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece I wrote about Julio Cortazar’s From the Observatory, which is translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean and forthcoming from Archipelago Books. It also happens to be this week’s Read This Next title. Here’s the opening of the review: It’s ...

Egyptian Writers

Last week, The Millions posted a very interesting piece by Pauls Toutonghi entitled Six Egyptian Writers You Don’t Know But You Should. Toutonghi opens by describing a very common problem: In Cairo, in March, the city had a surplus of intellectual energy. Literature, it seemed, might just be at the vanguard of ...

Fric-Frac Club Interview with Sergio Chejfec [Read This Next]

Following up on yesterday’s post about the conversation between Sergio Chejfec and Margaret Carson about My Two Worlds, this week’s Read This Next book, today we just posted an interview originally published by the Fric-Frac Club, and translated from the French by Christie Craig. You can read the complete English ...

In Other Words, pass the crumpets, will you?

The University of East Anglia in the UK is looking for submissions for their biannual journal In Other Words, published by the British Centre for Literary Translation. If you are interested in contributing to issues 38-40 (and these contributions are not limited to the specific topics of each issue) drop a line to editor ...

Holy $%^&! [The More You Know]

Holy crap. After spending a week talking about $.99 ebooks and their influence on culture (see this article, and today’s podcast) this story from Reuters takes my “concerns” and EXPLODES them: Spam has hit the Kindle, clogging the online bookstore of the top-selling eReader with material that is far ...

European Literature Prize to Marie NDiaye

In an earlier post about the European Literature Prize, I conflated the awards ceremony with the announcement of the winner, and thought we’d have to wait until September to find out which book was selected. Thankfully, I was totally wrong, and received this announcement this morning: The novel Drie sterke vrouwen ...

Tyrant Memory

Contemporary Latin American literature in translation abounds with words of posthumous support from Roberto Bolaño, a blurber par excellence for a generation of writers only now being ushered into the Anglo-American canon, in some cases two decades after first being published. The mild absurdity of this gold standard, ...

Latest Review: "Tyrant Memory" by Horacio Castellanos Moya

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Julia Haav on Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Tyrant Memory, which is translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver, and will be available later this month from New Directions. It’s also this week’s Read This Next title. Julia is is a publicist for ...

Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends

Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legend is a poorly organized book that presents the reader with a disjointed narrative chronicling the life of a supremely caustic, yet also compassionate, man. The title suggests that readers will be presented with a traditional biography, chronologically narrating the private and personal life ...

Hocus Bogus

Romain Gary was an immigrant from Russia, writer of the heroic Depression and World War II generation. He came to France with his mother in the 1930s. He attended law school in Provence and joined the Air Force in that decade. When the war broke out and France was occupied, he escaped and joined the free French army of ...

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Three Percent Podcast #4: Books for Baseball Players

This week is another baseball-centric podcast featuring Tom Roberge’s individual book recommendations for five Mets players. He came up with this idea as a tribute to the recently “retired” Phil Jackson (who won’t be smoking peyote in his Montana cabin), who is famous for giving books to all of his ...

Peter Nadas & His New Book

One of the fall books that I’m interested in checking out is Peter Nadas’s Parallel Stories, an extremely long trilogy (like 1200 pages long) that’s coming out from FSG this October. This week, in FSG’s consistently interesting Works in Progress newsletter has an interview with Nadas about this new ...

For an "Industry in Crisis" There Sure Are a Lot of Books

From today’s Publishers Weekly summary of Bowker’s latest report on publishing: Despite the belief in many quarters that the growth of e-books will mean the death of the printed book, the number of books produced by traditional publishers rose 5% in 2010, to a projected 316,480, according to preliminary ...

On Translating for the Stage

Click here for Joanne Pottlitzer’s introduction to her essay. This piece was delivered last month at an event at the Americas Society in NYC. It is my pleasure to share a few words with you on translating for the stage and on the journey of translating José Triana’s Palabras comunes. One of the ongoing debates ...

Can S&S, Penguin, and Hachette Recommend the Best Books?

As mentioned before, I’m obsessed interested in the ways in which readers find books—especially in the New Digital Reality of Facebook comments and whatnot. The idea of a “Pandora for Books” (or maybe better, a “Last.fm for Books”) has been batted around for sometime now, and apparently a ...

Which Is More True?: Students Have No Time to Read, or Students Have Crappy Taste

From The California Aggie, UC Davis’s student newspaper: Parsa is not alone. Though reading textbooks and articles is high on many UC Davis students’ to-do lists, reading books purely for pleasure? Not so much. A 2007 study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts found that in 2005, 65 percent ...

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 & ...

RTWCS: Bill Martin + Piotr Sommer = Polish Poetry

Last week, the penultimate event in this year’s Reading the World Conversation Series took place and featured Bill Martin (former Literary Program Manager at the Polish Cultural Institute and translator of Lovetown) and poet Piotr Sommer (Continued) discussion Piotr’s work, some general Polish poetry trends, etc. ...

In Europe

In Europe is a heart wrenching, historically priceless, and utterly fascinating work of nonfiction. Part travelogue, part historical narrative, and part autobiography, it chronicles Dutch journalist Geert Mak’s year-long sojourn from January 1999–December 1999 around the European continent as a sort of “final ...

Latest Review: "In Europe" by Geert Mak

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Jessica LeTourneur on Geert Mak’s In Europe, which came out a few years back in Sam Garrett’s translation from the Dutch. In Europe is a book that’s been on my “to read” pile since 2007 or so. As Jessica mentions, it’s a huge book, ...

Oulipians Have More Fun [Life A User's Manual: Part 3]

Back when the Life A User’s Manual Big Read first started,1 I referenced this huge chart of constraints that served as Perec’s guide in constructing this novel.2 At the time, the only constraint I mentioned was the “Knight’s Move,” which determines the chapter order of the novel. But as you can ...

Outspoken Lyudmila Ulitskaya

Kind of in conjunction with the release of Daniel Stein, Interpreter, the Guardian has a longish piece on Ulitskaya that focuses on her more dissident side, especially in relation to Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Articles, Dialogues, Interviews, a collection of her letters with jailed billionaire Khodorkovsky: [Ulitskaya] was ...

Boyd Tonkin on the IFFP Shortlist

Boyd Tonkin’s summary of the IFFP Shortlist appeared in today’s Independent and is a great overview of these six titles: Four works from Latin American writers appeared on the long-list; three still figure here. If the Southern Cone ever went away as a heartland and hotbed of excellence in modern fiction ...

April Fiction from Asymptote

Asymptote Journal just posted their April 2011 fiction section featuring four interesting works in translation. I first found out about this, because they included an excerpt from Ingrid Winterbach’s The Book of Happenstance, which we’re bringing out in June. The excerpt is fantastic, naturally, but the care ...

Please, Let's Just Get This All Over With

I resisted commenting on the $8.3 million of insane bonuses Borders is offering its top execs, but now that Borders has reached a new low and are having a meeting with skeptical publishers this morning to try and convince them that their reorg plan is viable, I think it’s time to really diss on this debacle. According ...

Readux

Seeing that we already referenced Amanda DeMarco once today, it seems like the perfect time to mention Readux the new Berlin-based online literary magazine that she’s running. Here’s how they describe the magazine on their about page: Readux is a Berlin-based literary website with reviews, interviews, ...

Approve.

As reported by Amanda DeMarco in Publishing Perspectives, Switzerland has reinstated its fixed price system for books. On March 18 the Swiss parliament approved a fixed price system for books in German-speaking Switzerland, both for online and in-store sales as of next year. The debate over fixed book pricing is a ...

Cool Guardian Series

The Guardian is one of my favorite newspapers for any number of reasons, but I particularly like their series and their overall international focus. For instance, earlier this month they launched their New Europe Series, which features an in-depth look at four European countries: Germany, France, Spain, and Poland. (The ...

Montreal International Poetry Prize [BIG MONEY!!]

From the Globe & Mail: Literary Montreal is the source of an audacious new literary prize announced late last week: the Montreal International Poetry Prize, which will award $50,000 for a single poem of up to 40 lines written in English. Billing itself the “World’s Largest Poetry Competition,” the prize ...

Why Should The Jokers Win the BTBA? Look No Further.

As referenced in this article in the New York Times, the April issue of Oprah Magazine has a special feature on Spring Fashion Modeled by Rising Young Poets. And one of the featured poets? None other than Anna Moschovakis, who is one of the editors at Ugly Duckling Presse (whose collection Geometries by Guillevic is a poetry ...

Everybody Please Just Calm the &*%$ Down [We Should All Be Butler]

In honor of Butler’s semi-improbable run to the Final Four, making Brad Stevens the youngest coach in history to make it to two Final Fours, and because it’s true that publishers and bloggers and people in general freak out too much, and because it’s Monday, I’m rerunning this post from last April, ...

Latest Review: "Remote Control" by Kotaro Isaka

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Will Eells on Kotaro Isaka’s Remote Control, translated from the Japanese and published by Kodansha International. (Quick side-note: the closing of Kodansha International sucks. That’s all I have to say about that. I’m out of witty attacks for ...

Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer [Why This Book Should Win the BTBA]

Similar to years past, we’re going to be featuring each of the 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist over the next month plus, but in contrast to previous editions, this year we’re going to try an experiment and frame all write-ups as “why this book should win.” Some of these entries will be absurd, some more ...

The Black Minutes [Why This Book Should Win the BTBA]

Similar to years past, we’re going to be featuring each of the 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist over the next month plus, but in contrast to previous editions, this year we’re going to try an experiment and frame all write-ups as “why this book should win.” Some of these entries will be absurd, some more ...

Touch [Why This Book Should Win the BTBA]

Similar to years past, we’re going to be featuring each of the 25 titles on the BTBA Fiction Longlist over the next month plus, but in contrast to previous editions, this year we’re going to try an experiment and frame all write-ups as “why this book should win.” Some of these entries will be absurd, some more ...

In the Age of Screens (Part I)

So, following up the last post about the Non-fiction Conference . . . When I was invited to talk at this, I decided that I really wanted to write something new, something that I haven’t exactly written about, or talked about before. (It’s way easier just going back to the tried-and-true, but that does start to ...

Herve Le Tellier & PEN World Voices [Sensible Pricing]

I’ll post about this again as the time grows closer, but I wanted to announce that on Monday, May 2nd, Herve Le Tellier, Amelie Nothomb, and Carsten Jensen will be here in Rochester for our annual PEN World Voices event. For this year’s event, we’ve partnered with the admirable Writers & Books who will ...

mTm Journal, call for papers

Call for papers: MTM. Minor Translating Major – Major Translating Minor – Minor Translating Minor Call Deadline: 31-May-2011 mTm Journal is a new international refereed journal with an Editorial Board comprised of leading scholars in the field of translation studies. mTm aims at starting and promoting a ...

New Issue of Bookslut

The new issue of everyone’s favorite provocatively named webmag/blog is now available and includes a few translation-related items. First off, there’s a review of To Hell with Cronje by Ingrid Winterbach and translated from the Afrikaans by Elsa Silke. The review is solid, and starts with a nice bit that ...

French Voices 2010

Launched in 2006, the French Voices program exists to promote contemporary (re: published after 2000) works of French literature. To that end, every year they come out with a list of titles (fiction and non) selected by their international committee that will receive $6,000 translation subsidies. As you can see from the ...

Prefacing a New Series of Posts [We Are Not Muckrakers]

Before posting Mima Simić‘s story of the offensive edits done to the story/translation of hers that appeared in this year’s Best European Fiction volume from Dalkey Archive Press, feel like I should provide a sort of frame and preface that explains my professional interests and personal concerns about running ...

Vook! [Things That Drive Me Insane]

Late on Saturday night, I came across this article by Virginia Heffernan about “video books.” Generally speaking, I like the pieces by Heffernan that I’ve read, in particular this piece about headphones. But this one on Vook? Oh dear god no. Although to be fair, I’m not sure what’s more ...

World Lit Today: January 2011 [New Issues I]

The new issue of World Literature Today is now available, and the focus is on one of my favorite topics: “The Crosstalk between Science and Literature.” (Did I mention that I have a Thomas Pynchon related tattoo? And that I rushed out of MLA to see Jonah Lehrer speak about neuroscience and creativity? ...

The Downfall of Borders According to Peter Osnos

As you may have heard, Borders is in a bit of trouble. Not that they haven’t been on the brink of disaster for years, but with the announcements of the past couple weeks—including the suspension of payments to some publishers, resignation of several execs, closing of a distribution center, etc.—it sounds ...

Welcome to the Wonderful World of the MLA

This year’s MLA convention starts tomorrow, and for once, Open Letter will be exhibiting. (We’re sharing a booth with Counterpath. Number 237 in case you’re going to be there.) MLA isn’t necessarily the most uplifting of conventions, although as with anything else that’s social, I love the ...

Jan 2011 Words Without Borders

The January 2011 issue of Words Without Borders is now available, and has a number of really interesting pieces. This issue’s theme is “The Work Force,” which is elaborated on in the little intro to the issue: Whether loathed or loved, work provides both livelihood and identity; and in times of economic ...

Nitpicking

Over the break, while I was drinking mimosas and staying as far away from work-related email as possible, NPR did a story on literature in translation, namely, Edith Grossman’s translation of Don Quixote and Lydia Davis’s Madame Bovary. Before getting all screedy, here’s a bit of the piece that I ...

Welcome to the Latest Year to Look Weird on Checks . . .

Ever since the year 2000, every year seems less believable to me . . . When I was a kid, I never thought I’d see the year 2000, much less the year 2010, after which, 2011 seems sort of anti-climactic. Sure, this technically marks the start of a new decade, but since we never named the last one, it feels pretty ...

Samanta Schweblin [Granta's Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists]

As we mentioned a few Fridays ago, we’ve been highlighting all of the authors selected for Granta’s _“Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists” special issue. Today is the penultimate post in this series. All past and future posts related to this issue can be found by clicking here. Today ...

Lucia Puenzo [Granta's Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists]

As we mentioned a couple Fridays ago, we’re going to spend the next 6 days highlighting all of the authors selected for Granta’s _“Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists” special issue. All past and future posts related to this issue can be found by clicking here. Today’s featured Granta ...

Translation as Literary Ambassador

Last year around this time, Larry Rohter wrote this amazing piece about the mission of Open Letter and the need for literature in translation. Which did wonders for our reputation and subscription program, and was one of the coolest pieces of publicity we’ve ever received. Well, as the holidays roll back around, ...

Visitation

Jenny Erpenbeck has already received a great deal of well-deserved critical acclaim in the wake of her third novel, Visitation (New Directions, translated by Susan Bernofsky), which Vogue has called “a remarkable achievement.” Such a response (especially coming from the mainstream, one is tempted to say) is very exciting ...

Latest Review: "Visitation" by Jenny Erpenbeck

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Phillip Witte on Jenny Erpenbeck’s Visitation, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky and published earlier this year by New Directions. Phillip Witte was an intern for Open Letter way back in the day, and also had a summer internship at New Directions. ...

Alejandro Zambra [Granta's Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists]

As we mentioned a couple Fridays ago, we’re going to spend the next 15 days highlighting all of the authors selected for Granta’s _“Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists” special issue. All past and future posts related to this issue can be found by clicking here. Today’s featured author is ...

Andres Neuman [Granta's Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists]

As we mentioned last Friday, we’re going to spend the next 18 days highlighting all of the authors selected for Granta’s _“Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists” special issue. All past and future posts related to this issue can be found by clicking here. Today: Argentine novelist Andres Neuman, ...

National Translation Award to Alex Zucker for "All This Belongs to Me"

Really late with my ALTA 2010 write-ups (there are a couple in the works though), but I wanted to make a special post congratulating Alex Zucker on receiving this year’s National Translation Award for his translation from the Czech of Petra Hulova’s All This Belongs to Me. From the press release: Alex ...

Do These Numbers Even Make Sense?

Now, it’s nothing new for Amazon.com to release sales information without any actual hard numbers (how many Kindles have been sold?), but this announcement in The Bookseller begs a explanation: Amazon.com customers have bought more Kindle e-books than both hardback and paperback books combined for the top 10, 25, ...

Ledig House Fundraiser and Online Auction

One of my favorite literary organizations in the country has to be the Ledig House. I could go on and on about how beautiful Omi, NY is, what a great host DW Gibson is, how cool the international authors and translators are that visit, so on and forth. (And for those of you in the CNY region, you can come find out more on ...

Latest Review: "Song for His Disappeared Love" by Raul Zurita

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Vincent Francone on Raul Zurita’s collection Song for His Disappeared Love, which was translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky and published by Action Books. I don’t read much poetry, so I wasn’t familiar with Zurita until Vincent Francone ...

OR Books & A Bit about TOC

OK, I’m bloody exhausted. There’s only so many meetings, parties, dinners, jokes, and seven-hour plane rides one can take before totally crashing. I’ve been traveling since October 1st—after spending a late night out with Paul Auster on the 30th, which seems like maybe two months ago—so forgive ...

It Helps to Have a Sense of Humor [Frankfurt, Day One]

Although today is the first day in which all eight halls are buzzing with excitement (or hangovers . . . whatever), the 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair officially kicked off yesterday with the TOC Frankfurt conference, the International Digital Rights Symposium, the Opening Ceremony, dozens of agent meetings at the Frankfurt Hof, ...

Broken Glass Park

“Sometimes I think I’m the only one in our neighborhood with any worthwhile dreams. I have two, and there’s no reason to be ashamed of either one. I want to kill Vadim. And I want to write a book about my mother.” So begins Broken Glass Park, the achingly beautiful debut novel by Russian-born Alina Bronsky (a ...

Bragi Ólafsson @ The Scandinavia House

Where: Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue (@ 38th Street), New York, NY Sturla Jón Jónsson, the fifty-something building superintendent and sometimes poet, has been invited to a poetry festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, appointed, as he sees it, as the official representative of the people of Iceland to the field of poetry. ...

Ebooks, Literary Fiction, and the WSJ

OK, so typically I like—or at least highly respect—Jeffrey Trachtenberg’s Wall Street Journal articles about publishing. He’s one of the better book reporters out there, and it’s nice that the WSJ covers our little industry. But his new piece, Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books, is a bit ...

AmazonCrossing's Spring List

A good deal of attention was paid to AmazonCrossing when they announced their first title—The King of Kahel by Nicholas Elliott—and a lot of people (self included) were interested in seeing what other sorts of books they’d be publishing in the future. I just received a copy of the galley, so I haven’t ...

Literary Perspectives: Denmark

Eurozine Literary Perspectives: Denmark. I’m a big fan of the

Brooklyn Book Festival: Reading the World

The Brooklyn Book Festival took place this past Saturday, and as always, I wish I could’ve been there. I was able to attend a few years back, and was really impressed by how many people were out browsing the stands, attending panels and readings, and generally getting excited about books. And from what I’ve heard ...

Horacio Castellanos Moya and Sampsonia Way

If you haven’t already come across it, Sampsonia Way is a relatively new web magazine, with a really cool back story: In the summer of 2004, Huang Xiang became the first writer in City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s exiled writer-residency program. He immediately made his mark on the city, figuratively and literally, by ...

Man Booker Shortlist

The shortlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize was announced earlier today. Looks like a decent enough list, although I’m pretty surprised that the David Mitchell book didn’t make it . . . Anyway, here’s the full list, and I’m sure over the next few days there will be tons of articles and posts ...

FILI Editors' Trip

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Helsinki, Finland at the invitation of the Finnish Literature Exchange. FILI invited fourteen editors, from Tawain to the UK to the US, to attend a few lectures on the Finnish Publishing scene, meet with individual publishers and agents, and generally soak up the publishing ...

PW's Indie Sleepers . . . Including "Zone"

I feel like this is a week of individual themed days . . . Yesterday was all Japanese literature and Michael Emmerich, today is all Zone . . . Publishers Weekly‘s Indie Press Sleepers list for the fall came out yesterday, featuring twenty titles from independent presses that may be slightly less hyped than ...

RTWCS: Robert Walser & His "Microscripts"

Just so happened that a copy of Walser’s Microscripts arrived in the mail this morning from the wonderful people at New Directions, so I thought I’d follow up on the last post with a bit more info about the first event in the fall RTWCS. On September 23rd, Barbara Epler of New Directions will talk with Susan ...

Dynamic Pricing and Ebooks

Today’s feature article at Publishing Perspectives is an interview with Rafi Mohammed about pricing, specifically about the “1% windfall” (increase prices by 1% make $$$$) and “dynamic pricing” for books. Here are a couple choice excerpts: PP: Author Cory Doctorow has framed this debate as ...

Argentina's "Hot 20"

With Argentina as Guest of Honor at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, there’s bound to be a ton of articles coming out about its publishing scene. And based on my obsession with Argentine literature, we’re bound to feature as many as possible. (We’ll also try to do something special to highlight a ...

All of the Books in the World

As many other bloggers have mentioned over the past week, Google recently came out with an announcement that there are 129, 864, 880 books in the world. This post explains how Google got to that number (very interesting), defines what a “book” is (”‘tome,’ an idealized bound volume”), and ...

Ebooks in Argentina

Today’s Publishing Perspectives article on the forthcoming Argentine ebook market is really interesting. Octavio Kulesz from Teseo delves into some of the difficulties facing Argentine publishers regarding the creation and sale of ebooks, making a case for Argentinean entrepreneurs to come along and save the ...

This Week at Publishing Perspectives

This week I’m technically guest editing over at Publishing Perspectives, so we may not be posting quite as many things here. (Or at least not as many serious articles.) Ed Nawotka—the regular editor of Publishing Perspectives—put together the majority of pieces to run this week, including the one today ...

Ice Cold Crime, Cliches, and Bad Puns

Although I’m not a big reader of Nordic crime, it’s nice to know that places like Ice Cold Crime are out there, translating and publishing these titles, which probably appeal to a pretty wide audience. And Ice Cold Crime’s story — featured in this article — is kind of touching: Riding the ...

A Rational Discussion about Amazon

Over at The New Republic, Ruth Franklin has one of the most rational pieces on Amazon.com that I’ve seen in a long while. She wrote this in response to Colin Robinson’s The Trouble with Amazon article that appeared in a recent issue of The Nation. (And which I haven’t read, because after subscribing to The ...

"Zone": An Excerpt of a Sentence

In some ways, the books we publish are like having children—the newest one always smells the best, is the most EXCITING THING EVER, and is that much more aesthetically refined, er, more adorable, or whatever. But seriously, when I read our titles for the final proof, I frequently fall in love all over again, getting all ...

Little Star and a Little Love for Jerzy Pilch

Ann Kjellberg—who has not only serves as literary executor for Joseph Brodsky, but has been an editor at The New York Review of Books, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and Artes, the journal of the Swedish Academy—recently launched a new journal called Little Star, featuring work from a host of interesting authors and ...

Odyssey Editions

Last Thursday the publishing news of month year century broke with the announcement that the Andrew Wylie Literary Agency (one of the largest, most powerful, most intimidated, most unscrupulous literary agencies out there) had launched Odyssey Editions so they could publish ebook editions of a number of backlist titles by the ...

Ebooks and Numbers and Little Girls in Rochester Suburbs [Random Digital Stuff]

A number of interesting e-book related articles and news items came out over the past few days, and rather than try and make something coherent out of all this, I’m just going to post a smattering of links . . . So: The big news this week was Jeff Bezos’s announcement that Amazon.com is now selling more e-books ...

Serbian Prose in Translation (Quick Update)

Yesterday I posted a short thing about Geopoetika’s Serbian Prose in Translation series and managed to both include a few inaccuracies and leave things a bit vague and confusing. Par for the course, I know, but just to clarify a few things: Zoran Zivkovic’s novel Escher’s Loops is listed on the ...

New York Review Books Has an Amazing Forthcoming List

I’ve been a huge fan of NYRB for years. I think I even have copies of the first twelve/thirteen books in those very unfortunately designed covers. Every season I drool when their catalog arrives. I’ve been planning a post for weeks entitled “Albert Cossery is Effing Awesome,” which is due in part to ...

Translation Preview: September 2010

Following up on last week’s post about the various summer/fall 2010 previews that came out from The Millions and elsewhere, I thought that over the next few days, we’d highlight some forthcoming titles that sound pretty interesting to me. Sure I’m missing things and whatnot, so feel free to overload the ...

Because Cleveland Folks Have Enough Problems . . . More World Cup!

Over at Words Without Borders, Andy Tepper has a great post listing interesting books to read from all participating World Cup countries: There are some interesting books, even more so perhaps this year because the Cup is being held in Africa for the first time. But I thought it might also be fun to use the idea of the ...

Libraries, Ebooks, FOX News, and Choreography [Is it the Holiday Weekend Yet?]

I do have one final, semi-serious Future of Reading post to write, but I’m caught up in a few other things and will have to put that off until tomorrow . . . Now although libraries weren’t a huge part of the discussion at the RIT conference the other week, they obviously play a huge role in the future of book ...

Where People Talk about Books

The other week, the first Future of Reading conference took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a fantastic few days, very interesting, with a range of great speakers. Rather than summarize each panel or person, I want to try and explore a few of the topics that came up. A lot of these posts will be simply ...

What We Talk about When We Talk about the Future of Reading

The other week, the first Future of Reading conference took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was a fantastic few days, very interesting, with a range of great speakers. Rather than summarize each panel or person, I want to try and explore a few of the topics that came up. A lot of these posts will be simply ...

Tim Parks on Literature in Translation

Really interesting article called “America First?” in the new issues of the New York Review of Books. In this piece, Tim Parks looks at four recent books: Best European Fiction 2010 edited by Aleksandar Hemon, Why Translation Matters by Edith Grossman, The Novel: An Alternative History, Beginnings to 1600 by ...

The Winter 2010 Open Letter Catalog

As some people have noticed, our new Winter 2010 catalog is now available and listed on the Open Letter website.. Totally biased, but I think this is one of our strongest seasons yet, what with Zone, the new Bragi Olafsson novel, the first of a million or so Juan Jose Saer books (one of my absolute favorites! If you ...

Chip Rossetti on Translating "Saint Theresa and Sleeping with Strangers" by Bahaa Abdelmegid

In our ongoing effort to both make translators more visible, and to provide as much interesting information about international literature as possible, we’re launching a new semi-regular series in which translators talk about something they recently worked on. This could take a few different forms—why they chose ...

RIT's "The Future of Reading" Conference: A Recap and a Prelude

So last week (was it really just last week?), Rochester Institute of Technology hosted a three-day (and four-night) conference on the “future of reading.” I meant to write about it after seeing Margaret Atwood’s speech (which was surprisingly funny—though the weird thing was, it actually seems funny to ...

This *&^%ing Sucks

Sorry for the vulgarities, but I just found out from both Suzy Staubach at the University of Connecticut Bookstore and from Publishers Weekly that the Brown University Bookstore is laying off scads of employees, including Peter Sevenair, the senior buyer who has been there for 31 years and is one of the most respected ...

The Year in Translations (So Far): "The Literary Conference" by Cesar Aira

Last week I was on the Wisconsin Public Radio show Here On Earth to make some international literature summer reading recommendations. We weren’t able to cover the full list of books I came up with, so I thought I’d post about them one-by-one over the next couple weeks with additional info, why these titles sound ...

"The Mythology of László Krasznahorkai"

Over at the Quarterly Conversation, David Auerbach discusses the work of Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai: In the post-war years, many European authors, especially those from Communist states, engaged in surrealism, parable, and allegory as a way of containing the mid-century chaos that spilled over from the war, ...

Let's Talk about Amazon for a Minute

I’ve been meaning to write about The AmazonCrossing announcement all week, but it’s taken a few days of Torino detox to partially regain my ability to put words into some sort of meaningful order. (Emphasis on “partially” . . . my mind is still unfurling, but hopefully by the time I’m drowning in ...

Readings, Conversations & Parties with Alejandro Zambra

There are a number of reasons I’m disappointed to be missing BEA this year . . . I’d love to see how this mid-week idea works out (or fails), I’d love to see who actually shows up (or doesn’t), love to see all my friends (hello!), and would love to be able to attend all the various events we’re ...

Top 100 Language Blogs [Vote for Us!]

Three years ago, Lexiophiles — a rather intriguing German-based website about words and language and translation failures (you must check out that link . . . my favorite is “translation fail #3”) — started a Top 100 Language Blogs competition to draw attention to the best language-centric blogs out ...

Just Waking Up . . .

Well, not really, but after being away in Torino all last week, and “recovering” from jet lag the past couple days, it feels like I haven’t posted in months, ages, eons. Tomorrow I’ll get back in the swing of things. And next week I should have a long, semi-crazy article about the Torino International ...

Foreign Policy and Translations

Foreign Policy may not be the first magazine you think of when you think of literature in translation, but Britt Peterson put together a really cool set of translation-centric features for the May/June issue. First off is a piece by Edith Grossman that’s related to her book Why Translation Matters: The dearth of ...

Reminder: Open Letter Celebration Today

If you’re near the University of Rochester at 6:00 p.m., today is our Open Letter Celebration—our final Reading the World event of the spring. We’ll have ten participants doing ten micro-readings from ten different Open Letter books (also, there will be food and an after-party/get-together at Tapas 177 to ...

Review of "Why Translation Matters"

I know I had a week off (more or less, and thanks again to Edward Gauvin for kicking such ass last week), but all I’ve really got right now is this review I wrote of Edie Grossman’s Why Translation Matters. Honestly, this is one of the only things I’ve ever written that I’m pretty proud of. (And all ...

WHAM Morning News: The Sixth Time's the Charm

For the sixth time in under three years, Chad has appeared on the preeminent local morning news show in Rochester, NY—clearly breaking/setting a record of some sort. In today’s video, Chad’s talking about Open Letter hitting the three-year mark, and our celebration on Monday, April 26, (featuring 10 ...

Foreignization and Neologism

A shorter post today: what are blogs for if not indulging (à livre ouvert, as they say) parbaked ruminations? Removing this one from deep freeze and tossing it to the hive mind. Two summers back at Banff, an author was defending her insistence on using foreign words in her novel, which her American editor objected to. I ...

Titles Are the Hardest Part

Well, not really: many are easy, literal, straightforward, straight-faced and unpunny. But we all have our pet peeves or favorites that caused trouble at the border crossing between tongues. They’re a short, easy thing to wish had gone differently. Movies provide many quizzical examples. Who knows what arcane ...

Bob Brown's Digitial Reading Device

Jennifer Schuessler has a really fun and interesting article in this week’s New York Times Book Review about Bob Brown, the Godfather of the E-Reader: Brown is perhaps best remembered for The Readies, a 1930 manifesto blending the fervor of the Futurists with the playfulness of Jules Verne. “The written word ...

Quim Monzo: "Gasoline" and PEN World Voices [Part I]

Not a lot going on in terms of publishing news today, so I thought I’d take a break from the usual posts about ebooks, Zen wisdom, and disturbing novels to bring you a bit of information about Catalan author Quim Monzo, whose Gasoline recently arrived from the printer. (If you’re an Open Letter subscriber, ...

Not To Bludgeon the Dying Horse

But following on that 192 Books post, here’s a bleak bit from Yahoo! Finance about “Businesses on the Brink of Change or Fail”: Borders Group The printed book market just doesn’t seem large enough for Borders anymore. Borders is the second-largest bookstore chain in the U.S. behind Barnes ...

192 Books–A Retail Star

Over at Monocle.com there’s an interesting video called “Retail Stars” that features “companies and people who are setting benchmarks we should all take note of.” This particular video (click above link to check it out—192 comes in at the 3:19 mark) features 192 Books, one of my personal ...

Everybody Please Just Calm the &*%$ Down [We Should All Be Butler]

So last night’s National Championship was one of the best basketball games I’ve ever watched. Back-and-forth, fairly well-played, intense, exciting, etc., etc., all coming down to a half-court miracle shot that was a fraction of a hair from going in and bringing the Evil Duke Empire (and their possibly unhinged ...

Quim Monzó on WWB

Quim Monzó, whose Gasoline we’re releasing shortly, has two stories in Words without Borders’s PEN World Voices issue, Mr. Beneset and ...

Marian Schwartz on Faithfulness in Translation

Yesterday’s Boston Globe has a nice interview with Marian Schwartz, one of the great contemporary translators, whose translation of Olga Slavnikova’s 2017 was recently released. (Here’s a link to K.E. Semmel’s review of 2017 that we ran last week.) Q. What is a good translation? A. I think a ...

RTWCS: Helen Anderson and Konstantin Gurevich on Ilf & Petrov's "The Golden Calf"

Last Monday we kicked off the spring season of the Reading the World Conversation Series with an event featuring the husband and wife translating team of Konstantin Gurevich and Helen Anderson. They talked with Open Letter editor E.J. Van Lanen about the process of translating Ilf & Petrov’s The Golden Calf, which ...

Globish

Robert McCrum—one of my favorite UK book critics, due in part to his interest in all things international—has a really interesting looking book coming out this May. Entitled Globish, it will be available in the UK from Penguin, and from W.W. Norton in the U.S. (although god help me to find this on the Norton ...

Google, Machine Translation, and Literature

The other week, the New York Times ran a piece on advances in Google’s translation tools, focusing on the way Google essentially crowdsources its mechanical translations by searching its mammoth database of web pages, books, etc. Creating a translation machine has long been seen as one of the toughest challenges ...

The Possibility of International Poetry

The Poetry Foundation website posted a fascinating conversation last week between author/editor/translator Ilya Kaminsky and reviewer Adam Kirsch. The reason for this interview was the recent release of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (full review forthcoming), and the main topic is the possibility, or ...

"Your Face Tomorrow" Reading Group

After reading a bunch of glowing reviews for the third volume of Javier Marias’s Your Face Tomorrow trilogy (including this one from the Independent in which the trilogy is referred to as “one of the most thoughtful and inspiring fictional works of the last decade”) I tentatively decided that I would spend ...

ADIBF and the Future of Book Culture

Over the next day and a half, while everyone watching basketball I’m going to repost a number of the things that I wrote for the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The ADIBF is the premiere professional fair for the Arab world, thanks in part to an arrangement with the Frankfurt Book Fair. Everyone involved with the ...

Interview with Margaret Schwartz

Following on last week’s serialization of Margaret Schwartz’s introduction to Macedonio Fernandez’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel), here’s an interview that she did with Meredith Keller, one of our current interns. Meredith Keller: I know you spent your Fulbright year ...

Chad Talks up the 2010 BTB Awards on WHAM News

Continuing his proud tradition of infiltrating your local morning news shows (if your locale happens to be Rochester, NY), Chad was on WHAM news, again, this morning. In just over four minutes, he talked about the recently announced Best Translated Book Award finalists, the breadth of languages and cultures highlighted ...

"Desert" by J.M.G. Le Clézio [BTBA 2010 Fiction Longlist]

We did it! Here’s the final featured title from this year’s Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist. Click here for all past write-ups. Desert by J.M.G. Le Clézio. Translated from the French by C. Dickson. (France, David R. Godine) Below is a guest post from Monica Carter, a member of the BTBA ...

"Brecht at Night" by Mati Unt [BTBA 2010 Fiction Longlist]

Over the next two days, we’ll be highlighting a book a day from the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist. Click here for all past write-ups. Brecht at Night by Mati Unt. Translated from the Estonian by Eric Dickens. (Estonia, Dalkey Archive) Below is a guest post from Bill Marx — the man behind ...

Indie Presses on Campuses

This PW article by Judith Rosen actually came out last, but I got so busy with life—and the BTBA longlist write-ups—that I never had a chance to post about it . . . Entitled “Indie Presses Find a Home on Campuses,” the piece focuses on the handful of presses located on university campuses, what the ...

Chad on Chicago Public Radio

Chad was on Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview yesterday afternoon. His shout outs included: Per Petterson, JMG Le Clézio, Herta Müller, and Stieg Larsson. Americans don’t get the chance to read many books written by authors who aren’t from this country. That’s because just about three percent of all the ...

"In the United States of Africa" by Abdourahman Waberi [BTBA 2010 Fiction Longlist]

Over the next eight days, we’ll be highlighting a book a day from the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist. Click here for all past write-ups. In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman Waberi. Translated from the French by David and Nicole Ball. (Djibouti, University of Nebraska Press) Below is a ...

"Memories of the Future" by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky [BTBA 2010 Fiction Longlist]

Over the next three weeks, we’ll be highlighting a book a day from the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist. Click here for all past write-ups. Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. Translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull. (Russia, New York Review Books) Since today is the day ...

So Translation Is Having a Moment . . . (Part III)

So, on top of articles in the Chronicle and the New Yorker, there was a third moment for translation that took place last week—The Elegance of the Hedgehog has now been on the NY Times Bestseller list for 52-weeks. From the Europa Editions website: Five years ago, when we opened Europa Editions, people seemed to ...

So Translation Is Having a Moment . . . (Part II)

When I was in New York last week for sales calls and publicity meetings (which is why the blog has been so slow . . . But I’m back! And excited about life, the BTBAs, books, and everything, so expect an onslaught of material for the next few days . . . ), everyone was all abuzz about the fact that the New Yorker ran an ...

So Translation Is Having a Moment . . . (Part I)

I know E.J. posted Jennifer Howard’s article on translation in the academy last Monday, but because it’s such an interesting—and charged—topic, and because it’s just one of a few cool translation-related articles that came out in the past week. The recent MLA convention—where the focus ...

A few quick Monday links

Dubravka Ugresic interview at The Rumpus. The Czech Literature Portal. Translators Struggle to Prove Their Academic Bona Fides at The Chronicle of Higher ...

Desert

The lack of any article in the title should immediately tip off the reader: Desert is not about a particular desert, such as the Sahara, or even the desert, that great thirsty body that covers the world in sandy blotches and makes travelers conflate Perrier with Dom Pérignon. Both are certainly integral to the novel, but the ...

Latest Review: "Desert" by J.M.G. Le Clézio

The latest addition to our Review Section is a piece on Nobel Prize winner J.M.G. Le Clézio’s Desert, translated from the French by C. Dickson and published by David R. Godine as part of the amazing Verba Mundi series. Timothy Nassau, an intern here last summer and current student at Brown, wrote this review. ...

Why More Foreign Writers Aren't Published in America

Over at Publishing Perspectives, Emily Williams continues her series of articles on scouting with one about why more books aren’t published in English translation. Her focus is more on “large scale houses that compete for high profile submissions” than on the small, indie, nonprofits like Open Letter and ...

"The Tanners" by Robert Walser [BTBA 2010 Fiction Longlist]

Over the next five weeks, we’ll be highlighting a book a day from the Best Translated Book Award fiction longlist. Click here for all past write-ups. The Tanners by Robert Walser. Translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky. (Switzerland, New Directions) Thanks to New York Review Books, University of ...

New WWB Site + Quim Monzó

The January issue of Words Without Borders is online (as is their new, and Vastly improved, website), and this month it focuses on ‘flash fiction.’ Our own Quim Monzó has two stories featured, Thirty Lines and The Fork. Also featured is one of my personal favorites, José Eduardo Agualusa. (Even if you ...

Mo Yan's "Frog"

Thanks to Paper Republic for pointing out this early English-language review of Frog, Mo Yan’s latest novel. The author of many novels, including Red Sorghum and The Republic of Wine, Mo Yan is one of the lucky Chinese writers who has been published in English translation, and it’s likely Frog will make ...

BOMB's Americas Issue

Every year BOMB puts together a special “Americas Issue” focusing on art and literature from a different part of the Americas. This tends to mean South America, but you never know, maybe Canada will be—or was?—the focus at some point in time. Regardless, this is always one of my favorite issues of the ...

Back from MLA and Goodbye to 2009

Sorry that things have been a bit quiet around here. A couple days after Christmas I drove down to Philadelphia for this year’s Modern Language Association Convention, which had a special focus on Translation. (Jen Howard wrote a great summary piece about this for the Chronicle of Higher Education that’s worth ...

Open Letter in the NY Times

A few weeks ago, Larry Rohter of the New York Times came up to interview just about everyone involved in Open Letter and the University of Rochester’s Literary Translation programs. The piece he was working on appeared in the paper over the weekend. So, if you’re curious what we’re doing up here, and if ...

Winter Reading List

One of the best unexpected results of putting together the translation databases is being able to put together an awesome reading list of forthcoming translations. (Or, to put it in a slightly more negative light: to know about way more interesting books than I’ll ever have time to read.) The spring is a perfect ...

Jan/Feb 2010 Issue of World Literature Today

Michael Orthofer has complained in the past about the crappy format of World Literature Today online, and he’s absolutely right. WLT (along with the Review of Contemporary Fiction, another publication resisting the online world) is one of the most interesting magazines being published today concerned with international ...

If We Don't Publish It, People Won't Steal It

Every time I feel like I’ve said all I really want to say about e-books and digital revolution (see all of these pieces from my recent trip to Paris), some crazy announcement or other is made, feathers are ruffled, barbs are traded, and I feel the insane itch to comment . . . And no matter how much I try and resist ...

PRI's World Books Holiday List and Podcast

I’m a big fan of year-end lists. Especially year-end lists that include Open Letter titles . . . But seriously, the International Reads for the Holidays feature that Bill Marx put together for PRI’s World Books is a very solid, quirky, highly literary collection of great titles from 2009. Bill is a panelists ...

Haruki Murakami and the Problems of Popularity

I’m home sick—damn winter colds that are even resistant to Advil Cold & Sinus, the Wonder Drug—so it’s a perfect day for a guest post from intern Will Eells. You might remember Will from his review of The Housekeeper and the Professor, and he will be writing more reviews for us in the future, ...

Five Dials Issue 8.2

Just received this e-mail about the new issue of Five Dials: The latest edition of Five Dials — number 8b — is now available. As you will notice, it is an addendum, but a far better addendum than, say, the one you find at the back of your Self Assessment Tax Return. Your free copy is available ...

TLS Best Books of the Year

Always a big fan of TLS‘s best books of the year feature in which they ask authors to talk about the best books they read over the past year. Even cooler when an Open Letter title is included . . . (And we’re 2 for 2! Last year, The Pets by Bragi Olafsson was selected.) Ali Smith The final parts of two ...

Aira on Translation

Seems ironically fitting to follow the first Making the Translator Visible post with this bit from Conversational Reading about a recent interview with Cesar Aira (whose Ghosts is—to steal a line from a New York Times article—so good it’s in need of adjectives yet invented that would be written in italics ...

The Future of Latin American Fiction (Part III)

To celebrate the recent release of Jorge Volpi’s Season of Ash, all this week we’re going to serialize a speech that Jorge gave this past summer on the Future of Latin American Fiction. And, as a special offer, for the next 20 people who subscribe to Open Letter—either a 5 book or 10 book ...

How to Sell Books in France (Part III of the Study Trip Posts)

OK, so despite my best efforts, I don’t really have an overarching design to all of these posts about the study trip. I do have ideas about what I’m going to write about tomorrow (good/bad of eBooks and pricing) and on Friday (authors and business models), but I can’t actually imagine that reading these from ...

A "Wall in My Head" Roundup

If you read Three Percent often, then you’ve already heard of The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain. In case you’ve missed it, though, Wall is a collection of of stories and essays from over 30 writers (and nearly as many translators) “that witnessed the fall of the Iron ...

Starred review from PW

Our release of The Golden Calf by Ilf & Petrov is only a few weeks away, and Publishers Weekly has already run a splendid and starred review (and our first starred review in PW, at that): A hilarious blend of absurdist, futurist and surrealist sensibilities, this new (and only complete) translation of Ilf and ...

Schwob It

This post originally appeared on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog. I highly recommend visiting the official blog for interesting posts from Richard Nash, Alex Hippisley-Cox, and Arun Wolf Seems like every year the Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature (NLPVF) comes to the Frankfurt Book Fair with ...

RTWCS: Jorge Volpi and Alfred Mac Adam

If you happen to be here in Rochester, you should definitely come to U of R’s Plutzik Library at 6:30 for tonight’s Reading the World Conversation Series event with Jorge Volpi and Alfred Mac Adam. Jorge is one of the founding members of the “Crack” group—a collection of young Mexican ...

Estonian Literature, Book Buying, and Capitalism

This post originally appeared on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog. I highly recommend visiting the official blog for interesting posts from Richard Nash, Alex Hippisley-Cox, and Arun Wolf One of the most interesting figures Kaidi Urmet of the Estonian Publishers’ Association dropped in her speech about the Estonian Book ...

The Discoverer by Jan Kjaerstad (Part IV of V)

The Frankfurt Book Fair is going all week, so rather than vanish for a few days, all this week we’re serializing the opening of Jan Kjaerstad’s _The Discoverer, translated from the Norwegian by Barbara Haveland. This is the follow-up to The Conqueror (although each book in the Wergeland Trilogy can be read ...

Omission in Herta Muller Coverage [UPDATED]

I’m just going to let this speak for itself . . . It’s a letter to the New York Times from esteemed translator Esther Allen who is also the executive director of the Center for Literary Translation at Columbia and the author of To Be Translated or Not To Be, a recent PEN/Ramon Llull Report on translation and ...

Nobel Prize for Literature for 2009 Given to Herta Mueller

Wow. Michael Orthofer was right and Romanian-German author Herta Mueller has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. From the Associated Press: Romanian-born German writer Herta Mueller won the 2009 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday, honored for work that “with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of ...

The Next Volume of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84

One of my interns mentioned this the other week, and now The Millions points to this article about ads for next summer’s release of the third volume in Murakami’s already mammoth 1Q84: Murakami is currently working on the story, aiming for a release next summer, sources said. Sales of the first and second ...

Five Dials, Number 8: The Paris Issue

Published by Hamish Hamilton in pdf format and distributed free of charge through their website, Five Dials is a pretty amazing publication that doesn’t seem to get nearly as much attention as it deserves. I mean, in just this 45-page issue there are pieces by Ali Smith, Geoff Dyer, Susan Sontag (on Camus), John Updike, ...

Scandinavian Literature in Translation

This is a bit of a self-indulgent post, but yesterday I received a copy of the Bog Markedet, a Danish book trade magazine, that contains an article I wrote on the surprising success of Scandinavian literature in English translation. Since most of the people I know can’t actually read Danish, I thought I’d reprint ...

The Future Has Yet To Arrive

Sure, it’s undeniable that e-books are going to play a significant role in the future of publishing (according to this survey from the Frankfurt Book Fair, most professionals believe e-sales will surpass sales of traditional books by 2018—more on this article later in the week), but it’s clear from these two ...

Publsihing Perspectives and the Frankfurt Show Daily

Just wanted to mention that I’m going to be writing a number of articles for the Publishing Perspectives Show Daily at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Actually, I’m working on a bunch of them right now . . . But that said, if you have an interesting announcement/story/event related to the FBF, please feel ...

Merce Rodoreda in The Nation

Natasha Wimmer has an interesting piece on Catalan author Merce Rodoreda. It’s great introduction to Rodoreda—considered to be one of the greatest Catalan authors of all time—even if Wimmer does prefer The Time of the Doves (available from Graywolf) to Death in Spring (which we brought out last year and was ...

Horacio Castellanos Moya and the "Bolano Myth"

At Conversational Reading, Scott Esposito points to an interesting article by Horacio Castellanos Moya about his disgust with the “Bolano Myth.” The article is primarily based on Sarah Pollack’s essay “Latin America Translated (Again): Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives in the United ...

October Translations

I can’t believe September is almost over . . . Although I’m sort of glad—October brings the Frankfurt Book Fair, a study trip to France (more on that in another post), and another playoff appearance for the St. Louis Cardinals. (Next year, Cubs fans. Next. Year.) October also brings some interesting ...

Crushing on Iceland and Another Interesting Author

First off, I can’t believe that I managed to leave Hallgrimur Helgason off of yesterday’s list of contemporary Icelandic authors. His novel 101 Reykjavik was published a few years back by Scribner, and was also made into a movie. The book of his that always sounded most interested to me though is The Author of ...

Some Icelandic Authors

The article I wrote for Publishing Perspectives about the Iceland Literary Festival (along with a video interview with Kristjan B. Jonasson, the head of the Icelandic Publishers Association) will go live tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, I thought I’d put together a short write-up of some of the interesting ...

Tomorrow's E-Utopia? [Part 3 of 4]

Here’s the third part of the paper I’m preparing for the Iceland Literary Festival. Click here for part one and here for part two. The last section—the part that’s critical of the e-future—will go up over the weekend. Now we’re back to e-books: What’s quicker than right-fucking-now? ...

Tomorrow's E-Utopia? [Part 1 of 4]

Next week I’m going to be in Reykjavik for the Icelandic Literary Festival, where I’ve been asked to give a brief speech on e-books and translations. In preparation I’ve written something that’s far far too long for the speech . . . But, I thought I’d run it here over the weekend, giving me the ...

Brazos Bookstore: Featured Store of the Month

This post is two days overdue, so you may already have noticed that Brazos has replaced Skylight as our “Featured Bookstore” for September. Back when I did sales calls at Dalkey, I used to love calling Brazos and talking to Karl Kilian. Very nice guy, very kind, very interested in our books. So I was dismayed ...

Good Books, "Difficulty," and Plot

I think blogs were created for the very reason of attacking articles like Lev Grossman’s Good Novels Don’t Have to Be Hard, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. This article is so annoying and so preposterous that it’s actually dangerous. It opens with Grossman’s praising ...

Douglas Rushkoff's Optimism about the Book Industry

PW‘s Soapbox pieces can be a bit hit-or-miss, but the one this week from Douglas Rushkoff (author of several books, including Life, Inc., which, along with Gaddis’s JR, should be mandatory reading for all business school students) is pretty fantastic. There’s nothing particularly new in Rushkoff’s ...

Observer, Paper-over-Board, and Oprah

OK, I threw my little fit about this on Facebook, and now that that’s out of my system, I can take a more tempered, critical look at Leon Neyfakh’s article in today’s New York Observer about books without dust jackets. (It’s new! It’s hip! It’s trendy!) September will see the ...

NEA Translation Fellowships (Follow-Up)

I know E.J. posted about this last week, but I wanted to give my own personal shout-out to a few of the recipients of this year’s NEA Translation Fellowships. Complete descriptions of all sixteen funded projects can be found here, but in addition to the projects E.J. mentioned—Charlotte Mandell’s ...

Yoko Tawada on Ideograms and Dostoevsky

For all its noise, Facebook can still be a great way of keeping up with what your friends are working on. For instance, over the weekend, Susan Bernofsky posted about a Yoko Tawada she recently translated for the “Japan Focus” issue of the“Asian-Pacific Journal.”:http://japanfocus.org/ The article ...

Center for the Art of Translation Blog

The Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco has (finally?) started a weblog. It’s called Two Words, and Scott Esposito, who, you know, has some experience in the field, is running it. According to an e-mail they sent out yesterday: We’re eager to make the blog a resource for people who love ...

Mathias Enard in Le Monde

Next fall we’ll be bringing out Zone, a 517-page, one-sentence book by Matias Enard that was all the rage in France last fall and, at least from the sample I’ve read, is utterly amazing. (Here’s a Chicago Tribune article about the book, and here’s a thoughtful review that ran at Quarterly ...

Latest Review: Landscape in Concrete by Jakov Lind

The latest addition to our review section is a piece by Nigel Beale on Jakov Lind’s Landscape in Concrete. Usually we don’t run reviews of our own books (which initially seemed like a good idea, but sort of doesn’t make sense, since Open Letter books are as interesting as a lot of the titles we do review, ...

Selçuk Altun

Total broken record moment, but if you haven’t subscribed to the Publishing Perspectives daily newsletter, you definitely should. The pieces are always interesting, and very well done. Anyway, a couple months back I was planning on writing a long piece on Turkish fiction coming out this year, including Ahmet Hamdi ...

Retranslated Classics

Sticking with PW for another post, Lynn Andriani has a great piece about three “iconic 20th-century novels being released in new translations” this fall: Solzhenitsyn’s In the First Circle (translated by Harry T. Willetts, and which restores nine chapters missing from the “lightened version” ...

BEA + The Public?

From Publishers Weekly: Adding a public component to BookExpo America has been one of the most hotly debated topics regarding possible changes to the annual event. BEA officials have discussed it internally and with their customers, and the concept has now received a major boost from Penguin, whose CEO, David Shanks, and ...

I Think I'm Going to Like the New NEA Chairman

From the NY Times article after he was confirmed: But in his first sit-down interview since his nomination by President Obama, Mr. Landesman’s comments suggested that he may nevertheless raise hackles on Capitol Hill after he is sworn in in the next few days. Speaking recently in his office above the St. James Theater ...

E-Readers: The Good, Bad, and Flexible

Today’s Publishing Perspectives piece is a great editorial by editor Ed Nawotka on e-books, specifically in relation to kids books: My daughter loves to read. “Book, ook, ook,” she’ll say, trying to form the right word that will get my attention to plop onto a beanbag chair, pull her into my lap, and read to ...

Let's Get Stupid Like It's 1995

From Ocala.com: U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, joined by 50 fellow congressional Republicans, has fired off a scathing letter to the head of a federal arts agency, expressing outrage that taxpayer money went to groups that produce “objectionable and obscene movies, plays and exhibitions.” Moreover, the ...

Pessoa archive declared 'national treasure' in Portugal

L’héritage documentaire de Fernando Pessoa, considéré comme le plus grand poète portugais du XXe siècle, a été classé “trésor national”, a annoncé jeudi le gouvernement portugais. This looks to put an end to some controversy that was started last summer, when Pessoa’s heirs planned to ...

Attila Bartis and Brian Evenson

Thanks to Bud Parr for posting this amazing video featuring Attila Bartis, whose Tranquility won the 2009 Best Translated Book Award. The footage is mostly taken from a conversation between Brian Evenson and Bartis that took place at Idlewild Books that took a couple months ago. Very cool. Very, very cool. ...

Cursor

The new issue of PW, has a lengthy article by Richard Nash about his new venture (in collaboration with Dedi Felman), which is called Cursor: After months of work, with Dedi’s help I outlined my vision for a new venture at this year’s BookExpo America. Then called Round Table, now tentatively called Cursor, ...

Nicolson Baker on the Kindle

The new issue of The New Yorker has a really interesting piece by print-advocate Nicholson Baker about the Kindle. It’s worth reading the whole article—I haven’t read a review of the Kindle quite like this one—but here are a few of the highlights: It came, via UPS, in a big cardboard box. Inside ...

Predatory Pricing, or, What Happens in a Country Without a Fixed Book Price Agreement

Following on last week’s post about the benefits (or in the eyes of Kim Heijdenrijk, the non-benefits) of a Fixed Book Price Agreement, I found this article by Stacy Mitchell about the shift in book sales from B&N and Borders to Costco, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. It’s a pretty interesting piece about the impact ...

Review of Bolano's The Skating Rink

The Abu Dhabi-based The National has one of the first reviews of Bolano’s The Skating Rink, which is coming out from New Directions later this year. Giles Harvey’s raview spends a lot of time on Borges and Poe, detective fiction, and the creation of the reader of detective fiction, which is all quite ...

This Should Be a Facebook/iPhone App

It would be cool to visually share one’s own recommendations of world literature like Richard Whitehead does in The National. His recommendations are interesting, but it’s too bad he doesn’t include more books from more places . . ...

B&N to Amazon: It Is So On

Yesterday afternoon, Barnes & Noble sent a strong message to Amazon that it’s not about to give up the ghost, no matter how many Kindle accessory ads show up in the New York subway. As reported at Digital Daily, B&N has launched a 700,000 title ebook store (there are only 300,000 titles available for the Kindle, ...

Scandinavian Crime Novels

Although I’m personally not a reader of Scandinavian crime fiction (unless you can somehow count Jan Kjaerstad’s trilogy in that group, which is closer to a leap than a stretch), I find the debate between Nathaniel Rich and Larissa Kyzer about why these books are so popular pretty fascinating. First off, ...

Spain's Digital Initiatives and Price Fixing

Yesterday’s Publishing Perspectives (which you should really subscribe to if you haven’t already—it is that consistently good) had an interesting piece about a digital distribution company for ebooks that is being set up by Planeta, Random House Mondadori, and Santillana (the three biggest publishers in ...

The Wall in My Head Blog

Back a few weeks ago when The Guardian was running its series of short stories from Eastern Europe, I mentioned our forthcoming anthology, The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain, which releases on November 9th, marking the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Well, to build ...

Paper-Over-Board Follow-Up

So a couple weeks ago I caused a little bit of a stir by announcing via an article in Publishing Perspectives that we were abandoning the paper-over-board format in favor of all paperbacks. We got a lot of responses about this, ranging from people who were disappointed and love paper-over-board, to booksellers explaining that ...

A Translation Roundtable

The Observer Translation Project, which we’ve mentioned here before, posted a really cool translation roundtable/interview that they conducted recently: World-famous novelist Norman Manea, two premier experts in the realm of literature in translation—Susan Harris of Words Without Borders and Chad Post of Three ...

The Private Lives of Trees

We wanted to post this article about Alejandro Zambra in The Nation when it came out a few weeks ago, but we were in the middle of trying to sign Zambra up, so we wanted to wait until it was official. Readers who consider Roberto Bolano the pole star of contemporary Chilean fiction will be jolted by Zambra’s ...

Paper-Over-Board and a Bit of an Announcement

My first article for Publishing Perspectives went live this morning and is all about the advantages (and disadvantages) of the paper-over-board format. I have a visceral hatred for dust jackets – I strip them off, I crinkle them, I lose them. So in 2007, when in the process of launching Open Letter (a new ...

Good News for Detroit Arts and for Cultural Orgs in General

Not sure when the last time the words “good news” and “Detroit” were used in the same sentence, but according to the Detroit Free Press, the Erb Family Foundation of Birmingham has recently announced $1.6 million in grants to 35 local arts organizations, “ranging from $100,000 to the Detroit ...

The German Donald Duck, or, The Power of a Translator

This is a couple weeks old now, but star translator Susan Bernofsky wrote an excellent article for the Wall Street Journal about the immense popularity of the German version of the Donald Duck comic book: Comics featuring Donald are available at most German newsstands and the national weekly “Micky Maus”—which ...

A Manifesto for Scholarly Publishing

The recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education has a really interesting piece by Peter J. Dougherty—director of Princeton University Press—on the future of academic publishing. Rather than lament the slow, never-ending death of print, he takes a different approach: And while university presses grapple ...

The Latest Publishing Casualty

I’m just chock full of good news today: Arcade Publishing, the independent literary house founded by the late publishing legend Richard Seaver, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A petition for relief was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York on June 4 by Jeannette ...

Here's the Future? (Random BEA Thoughts, Part V)

Follow these links for Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV. If you’ve read the first four parts of this post (or this piece I wrote a few months ago), you pretty much know where this is headed. After X years of keeping BEA confined to the “trade,” I think things have to open up to the ...

"Bookishness Goes Marginal": A Report from the Bookishness Symposium

A few weeks back we mentioned the then upcoming symposium at the University of Michigan on the “future of reading.” Well, the amazing Karl Pohrt was able to attend and wrote this comprehensive piece on the somewhat bleak gathering. Bookishness: The New Fate of Reading in the Digital Age is the title of a ...

New Bookforum Website

Late last week, Bookforum launched their new website, which has all of the great features of the previous one (the daily round up blog, articles from the print version, etc.), but has also added a couple of cool things, like a daily review section and a syllabi section containing lists of recommendations within a particular ...

Rocco Landesman to Head the National Endowment for the Arts

It still has to be approved by Congress, but Rocco Landesman has been appointed to serve as the next chairman of the NEA, a post most recently held by poet Dana Gioia. I’m not much of a theatre-goer, so Landesman is new to me. Based on the info in the New York Times article, he sounds like a lot of fun: Mr. ...

Fail, Fail Again

Just when you thought the Times had figured out how to correctly pair writers with appropriate topics . . . Kidding—the Times will never get that straight. Here’s some clips from today’s review of Lost‘s season finale: [. . .] the producers of “Lost,” who have devoted the show’s fourth and ...

A Tribute to the Chinese Earthquake Victims

My friend Wen Huang — translator of Liao Yiwu’s The Corpse Walker and Xianhui Yang’s Woman from Shanghai — contacted me this morning about the article below that Liao Yiwu wrote in remembrance of the one year anniversary of the devastating Beichuan earthquake. As referenced in passing in the piece ...

Video of Jan Kjærstad & Mark Binelli

Last week we hosted another Reading the World Conversation Series event at the University of Rochester (co-sponsored by PEN World Voices). This time we brought together the internationally renown Norwegian author Jan Kjærstad and fab American author and Rolling Stone contributing editor Mark Binelli. For your reference, ...

Interview with Rakesh Kumar of Blaft

Following up on the earlier post on Indian publishing at the ADIBF and LBF, it seems like as good a time as ever to post this interview with Rakesh Kumar of Blaft Publications that I conducted a few months back when I was researching the article on Indian publishing that I wrote for the Frankfurt Book Fair newsletter. ...

Indian Literature and Publishing in Abu Dhabi and London

As pointed out at the Literary Saloon, the new issue of the Literary Review at The Hindu has a couple of articles about India’s presence at the recent London and Abu Dhabi book fairs. It’s interesting how different these two articles are—the one on the ADIBF is more focused on India’s entrance into ...

"In Walks the Translator"

Thankfully, Paul Verhaeghen just posted the opening statement he gave at the “Writers as Translators” panel that he was during the PEN World Voices Festival. All of the opening statements from the panelists were really interesting, but this one stood out to me: Allow me to open with a simple statement of ...

TODAY: Reading the World Conversation Series w/ Jan Kjærstad & Mark Binelli

To all of you in the Rochester area, be sure to come to the University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel today at 6 p.m. for the newest installment of our ongoing Reading the World Conversation Series. This time we’re proud to bring to town Jan Kjærstad (an internationally renown author from Norway) and Mark Binelli (an ...

Hermano Cerdo: Issue 23

As mentioned on Conversational Reading, the new issue of Hermano Cerdo is now available. Included in this issue are articles on Juan Jose Millas’s El Mundo, on Sergio Chejfec’s Los incompletos y Mis dos mundos, and on Daniel Sada’s Casi nunca, which will be published by Graywolf. ...

English vs. The World

There is so much wrong with Philip Jones’s “English writers outperform rivals” post on The Bookseller.com, that I’m not even sure where to start . . . I’ll get to the actual content of the article in a minute, but first off, what is up with this title? Since when did English writers have ...

Books from Finland Now Online

Although I’m going to miss receiving hard copies of Books from Finland, in the end, I think the move to make the magazine an online only publication is a really smart one. The site officially launched last Monday, at the start of the London Book Fair, marking the end of a long transition from being a quarterly print ...

2009 Blue Metropolis Festival

Montreal’s 11th annual Blue Metropolis (or rather, Metropolis Bleu) took place this last weekend, featuring a huge number of international writers, events, readings, and languages. According to an article in the Montreal Gazette, the Metropolis Bleu Festival was the “world’s first multilingual literary ...

Rex

It a more perfect world, I would have enough time to read this book at least one more time before even attempting to write this review. Rex is a novel that’s filthy with references to other novels, plays, essays, TV shows, works of art, etc. Even from the opening line—“I’ve been reading it for years, ...

Espresso Book Machine–Live!

So right before leaving for the London Book Fair (and Free the Word! festival), I talked to a class at the University of Rochester about e-books, print on demand, and the digital future of publishing. Of course, during this discussion the Espresso Book Machine came up, and I made everyone watch this video, which we posted ...

Pluriverse

Readers of English, thank your gods: the breadth of Ernesto Cardenal’s amazing poetic career is now available for your consumption thanks to New Directions and the recently published Pluriverse. Spanning fifty-six years, the book presents Cardenal in all his guises: revolutionary, spiritualist, chronicler of man’s ...

Latest Review: Pluriverse by Ernesto Cardenal

In honor of today’s Ernesto Cardenal event in Ann Arbor, we thought we’d post a review of Pluriverse that Vincent Francone wrote for us. The collection—which came out from New Directions earlier this year—covers Cardenal’s entire career, and Vincent has nothing but positive things to say about ...

Didn't We Read This Story Just a Few Months Ago?

Yesterday it was announced that Moody’s has downgraded Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s rating, which sounds sort of familiar . . . probably because they did the same thing last December. This isn’t good news for the Education Media & Publishing Group—which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands and ...

Academic Publishing Woes

Although universities are supposed to be “recession proof” (something we’re all finding out isn’t quite true in relation to this particular recession—again, thanks investment bankers!), university presses obviously aren’t. University presses face a lot of the same challenges as trade ...

Harvard Crimson on Three — Yes, Three — Open Letter Titles

Last Thursday was “Open Letter Day” at the Harvard Crimson, as the university daily newspaper covered three new Open Letter books: The Mighty Angel by Jerzy Pilch, Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda, and Landscape in Concrete by Jakov Lind. (Typically, these links would be to our Indie Bookstore of the Month, but ...

Another Anniversary

As stated in the opening editorial of the new issue, Pratilipi is celebrating its first anniversary. A bilingual quarterly, Pratilipi is one of the best online magazines featuring contemporary Indian authors. They cram a lot into each issue (see this issue’s table of contents and staggering list of contributors), ...

I Don't Think This Was an April Fools Joke

But maybe Borders wishes it was . . . From PW A series of one-time charges and lower sales lead to a loss from continuing operations of $184.7 million at Borders Group for the year ended January 31 compared to a loss of $19.9 million in the previous year. Total revenue declined 8.9%, to $3.27 billion. Sales fell 9.4% at ...

Jeremy Davies on Roubaud's The Loop

Over at the always interesting Front Table, editor Jeremy Davies has a nice piece about the forthcoming release of Jacques Roubaud’s The Loop, (click to pre-order from Seminary Co-op) the second “branch” in his “Great Fire of London cycle.” At some point I’d become aware that The Great ...

Neuman wins Alfaguara Prize

Argentina’s Andres Neuman on Monday was awarded Spain’s Alfaguara Novel Prize – considered among the most prestigious of its kind in the Spanish language – for “El viajero del siglo” (The Traveler of the Century). Neuman, a novelist, poet and short story writer who was born in 1977 in Buenos Aires but ...

March Issue of the Frankfurt Book Fair Newsletter

The new issue of the Frankfurt Book Fair is now available online, and includes: Information about Argentina’s new translation subsidy program; An interview with Akshay Pathak about the GBO New Delhi and the Indian book market; and, An article I wrote on the future of publishing in India. ...

Thoughts on the Abu Dhabi Book Fair: Context

As I mentioned earlier I’m in Abu Dhabi, writing a blog for the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair blog. It’s all going pretty well—I have a few posts up, a few more interesting ones on the way—but since trips like this generate a lot of thoughts, comments, and ideas, and since the book fair blog ...

Zoetrope Latin American Fiction Issue

The latest Zoetrope: All Story is out now, and it’s dedicated to Latin American Fiction and was edited by Daniel Alarcón and Diego Trelles Paz. The Spring 2009 edition is a special release dedicated to the best emerging writers in Latin America—all under the age of forty and most previously untranslated. We’re ...

Pamuk's Translator

Maureen Freely has an absolutely fascinating piece in the Washington Post, where she discusses translating Orhan Pamuk into English: The details proved to be all-consuming, as the distance between Turkish and English is great. Turkish has no verb “to be” and no verb “to have.” It prefers the ...

Save Shaman Drum

We posted Karl Pohrt’s letter about the state of Shaman Drum last month, and it looks like his call for help is being answered. According to PW: In response to two open letters from bookseller Karl Pohrt to the Ann Arbor community, a loose coalition of booklovers is coming together to save Shaman Drum bookstore ...

This Week

Things might be a little slow here at Three Percent this week. I’m going to be in Abu Dhabi attending—and writing about—the book fair. I’m not sure where exactly my articles/reports will appear, but as soon as I have the link, I’ll post it here. As a mini-preview of things to come, after I get ...

Fuentes's Recommendations

Since Mexico is the guest of honor at the Salon du Livre 2009, Le Monde has a piece by Carlos Fuentes about five Mexican authors/books he thinks should be more well known. The list includes works by Ignacio Padilla (Shadow without a Name is a really cool book), Pedro Angel Palou (not translated into English), Cristina ...

Congrats to Carmichael's

It’s great when one of my favorite stores wins PW‘s Bookseller of the Year award: Founded in 1978 in Louisville, Ky., by Carol Besse and Michael Boggs, Carmichael’s is still owned by the couple and employs seven other full-time employees plus 13 part-timers. The Besse-Boggs team owns two stores in ...

April/May Bookforum

The new issue of Bookforum is now available online, and, as always, has some interesting pieces about some interesting works of international literature, including: William Giraldi’s review of Aharon Appelfeld’s Laish: “Being labeled a Holocaust writer might indeed irritate Appelfeld, but no living ...

Manual Labor

Continuing my series of posts about the Salzburg Global Seminar on Translation (earlier posts available here) I wanted to share the most depressing study about translation I’ve ever heard about—the CEATL Survey of Translator Working Conditions. CEATL—the Conseil Européen des Associations de Traducteurs ...

Observer Translation Project

The Observer Translation Project is a relatively new website featuring news, reviews, and samples from and about Romanian authors. From the About Us page: We highlight a “pilot” author each month. This is the place to learn about Romanian writers, find updates on Romanian writing abroad, read CV’s, take a look at ...

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 ...

Pictures from the Best Translated Book Party

It feels like the award party for the 2009 Best Translated Book Award took place ages ago, and although we posted about the two winners (Hiraide’s For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut and Bartis’s Tranquility), we never actually put up any photos of the event . . . Monica Carter actually recorded the entire ...

You Can Take the Man Out of Publishing, But . . .

He may have resigned from Soft Skull, but as evidenced in a recent post, at his personal blog—always a source of great erudition and entertainment—Richard Nash still has a lot to say about the business of publishing, the so-called “death of the book,” etc.: People, the book will live on with the ...

Five Against One

Continuing my random recollections of last week’s Salzburg Global Seminar on Translation in a Global Culture, I thought that today I’d write about Anuvela, a really interesting “translation collective” that I learned about at the seminar. In brief, Anuvela is a collective of seven translators (six ...

E-books and justification

If:book has a really cool article on something that I hadn’t yet noticed (not having a kindle, a sony reader, or an iphone): all of the text on these devices is fully justified. if a computer is going to hyphenate something, it needs to know what language the text is in. This is a job for metadata: electronic books ...

Sunday's NY Times Book Review is Filthy with Translations

Hard to say that the New York Times doesn’t review translations after this week . . . In addition to Kakutani’s possibly insane review of The Kindly Ones, this weekend’s Book Review includes articles on four works of literature in translation. First off, Liesl Schillinger reviews the Melville House ...

Life at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Following on his hilarious (and spot-on) piece on the MLA convention, Gideon Lewis-Kraus has an article in the new Harper’s on life and the Frankfurt Book Fair. As is evident from the title—“The Last Book Party”—Gideon’s piece is more about the people, the social aspects, the scene of ...

Not a Typical Reading

Also in today’s N.Y. Times is a story about the newspaper reporter Xu Lai, who was stabbed at a recent reading: Mr. Xu was accosted in a restroom by two men who stabbed him in the stomach and then threatened to cut off his hand before fleeing, according to the friends and fellow bloggers who posted the news on the ...

Mabanckou review

Laila Lalami reviews Alain Mabanckou’s Broken Glass in The National “In Africa, when an old person dies, a library burns.” When the Malian writer and ethnologist Amadou Hampâté Bâ uttered these words at a Unesco assembly in 1960, he was attempting to draw attention to Africa’s tradition of oral ...

…you are also a consumer.

In The New Atlantis, Christine Rosen has a great article about reading and ‘digital literacy’. The Kindle will only serve to worsen that concentration deficit, for when you use a Kindle, you are not merely a reader—you are also a consumer. Indeed, everything about the device is intended to keep you in a ...

The Future of BEA

Today’s Publishers Weekly Daily included a pretty big announcement about the future of BookExpo America, which includes some significant changes, and some interesting/disturbing implications. First off, the specific changes: The annual meeting, set for New York May 29-31, will now also be held at New York’s ...

Machine

Although Danish author Peter Adolphsen has made a name for himself as a formalist for whom economy is a virtue (to date his five novels and short story collections are less than 300 pages combined), “as a reader,” one reviewer writes, “you feel you have covered a huge distance with him.” Drawing comparisons to Borges ...

Richard Nash on Publishing in a Recession

The latest entry in Scott Esposito’s fascinating series of interviews with independent publishers about publishing during a recession is now available online. This time he talks with Richard Nash, publisher of Soft Skull, and one of the smartest (and most articulate) people in the field when it comes to talking about ...

Eating a Translated Burrito

The source of this somewhat odd post title is Aviya Kushner’s article in the new issue of the Wilson Quaterly. Entitled McCulture Aviya writes about the strange relationship of American readers to other cultures, including the way in which readers resist translations, but love bicultural writers: It’s not that ...

Best Valentine's Day Gift

This is a pretty self-promotional post, but we really appreciated Karen Vanuska’s comment on her blog about The Sailor from Gibraltar: received my copy of The Sailor from Gibraltar from Open Letter Books today. For a blissful half hour, I stopped grading papers, working on articles and reviews and working on ...

Oh Boy, Here We Go Again

Today’s Boston Globe has one of the most upsetting articles I’ve read in a long while. Entitled “Stimulus Funding for Arts Hits Nerve,” it’s about the furor over the $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts that was included in the stimulus package that passed the House, but is absent ...

Yet Another Bad Publishing Idea

When HarperCollins announced their latest innovation—“video books”—earlier this week, thousands of people around the country came up with the same joke: “yeah, video books . . . they’re called movies.” But honestly, that’s just the tip of the stupidity iceberg. First off, ...

The latest wave of e-book discussion

One of the best technology websites around, Ars Technica, takes a look at e-books. What’s most interesting to me about this particular article is that it was written by someone, John Siracusa, who was there at the very beginning of e-books. I honestly can’t remember the first e-book I read on its ...

Recent Findings . . .

First, from the L.A. Times: Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School looked at the media habits of 4,142 healthy adolescents and calculated that each additional hour of TV watched per day boosted the odds of becoming depressed by 8%. [. . .] The researchers described several possible ...

Unfortunately My Lithuanian Is a Bit Rusty

Otherwise I’d translate this article from Lyrtas about Ricardas Gavelis’s Vilnius Poker. (The one part I can pick out is the fantastic translation of my name: “Chadas W. Postas.” Very cool.) Elizabeth Novickas—who has a great introduction to the novel that will appear in the next issue of ...

E-Books and Indie Presses

This article in the Christian Science Monitor about e-books and indie presses is fantastic for showing how smaller presses are more proactive when it comes to e-anything. But it’s not the bigger houses, such as Macmillan or HarperCollins, that are moving the fastest. Instead, some of the most extensive ...

I Will Not Make a Coherent Argument

Rob Walker brought my attention to this article about the author as brand: Paradoxically, the proliferation of digital media that is arguably the biggest threat to traditional publishing also offers authors more opportunities than ever to distribute and promote their work. The catch: In order to do that effectively, ...

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 ...

Future of Publishing, Again

It’s probably not the best strategy to wait until things start to implode to talk about flaws in a particular business model (*cough* investment banking cough auto industry cough), but now that the publishing industry is falling apart it seems like there has been an enormous number of articles about what’s wrong ...

Best Translated Books of 2008: University Presses

Admittedly, books from university presses are under-represented on this year’s Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, a situation that will hopefully change next year. But for now, I thought that before announcing the finalists for fiction and poetry (and yes, I do know what they are, but that post ...

Is Anyone Translating this Book?

Flammarion released Ennemis Publics—a series of letters between French “bad boys” Bernard-Henri Lévy and Michel Houellebecq—last fall, and based on the recent review in the Times Literary Supplement, this sounds like it would be a lot of fun to read, even if it’s not as over-the-top and ...

Template for an e-Book Only Publishing House

Over at Urban Elitist, David Nygren has put together a description of what a e-book only publishing house could look like. I think David would be the first to admit that this model is neither fully complete or the only possible model, but it’s an interesting scheme, and one that ties into the world view that Lev ...

Best Translated Book 2008 Longlist: Yalo by Elias Khoury

We’re into the home stretch now . . . Over the next five days we’ll be highlighting a book-a-day from the 25-title Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, leading up to the announcement of the 10 finalists. Click here for all previous write-ups. Yalo by Elias Khoury, translated from the Arabic ...

Gregg Nations: The Chronicler of Lost

Long term readers of this blog already know that in addition to international literature, another thing we’re very passionate about is the TV show Lost. (Which should come as no surprise—_Lost_ is the best, and most literary, show on network TV. Any show that puts together a special promo video to talk about how a ...

Best Translated Book 2008 Longlist: Detective Story by Imre Kertesz

We’re into the home stretch now . . . Through next Friday we’ll be highlighting a book-a-day from the 25-title Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, leading up to the announcement of the 10 finalists. Click here for all previous write-ups. Detective Story by Imre Kertesz, translated from the ...

Cortazar Play "In Translation"

What a find! In Translation, put out by the Brooklyn Rail, and run by Donald Breckenridge, started publishing new translations online a couple years ago. (The site is sort of like a scaled-down Words Without Borders) and their latest “issue” includes The Kings by Julio Cortazar. “The Kings” (Los ...

The Life and Times of Cody's Bookstore

Stacy Perman of Business Week wrote an excellent article about the downfall of Cody’s Books in San Francisco. Cody’s was always one of Dalkey’s greatest accounts (and probably would’ve been for Open Letter had they been around when we started selling our books), in part because of a bookseller name ...

Fair and Balanced

In contrast to the news from the NEA about adult reading, here’s some more sobering info from Publishers Weekly: November bookstore sales were as bad as people thought they were. Preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that sales dropped 13% in the month, falling to $1.05 billion. Sales for all of ...

Some Good News about Reading from the NEA

This past Monday, the National Endowment for the Arts released some promising findings about the reading habits of Americans, showing that for the first time in 25 years, the percentage of adults reading literature increased over the previous study. (Studies have been done five times since 1982, which is why this phrasing is ...

Best Translated Book 2008 Longlist: Tranquility by Attila Bartis

We’re into the home stretch now . . . Through next Friday we’ll be highlighting a book-a-day from the 25-title Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, leading up to the announcement of the 10 finalists. Click here for all previous write-ups. Tranquility by Attila Bartis, translated from the ...

E-Publishing Is Still Totally 1.0

From PW: On December 23 ScrollMotion released the first batch of its widely anticipated e-book apps for the iPhone, starting with titles such as Twilight and Eragon. Within 24 hours the company had pulled them from the iTunes store due to security issues. “Security issues”? I sure hope they mean something ...

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 ...

News of Open Letter Reaches Batavia!

I feel bad laughing at this, but we just found out that on Saturday, the Daily News published this article about the release of our first title . . . which came out last September. Dubbed the “break-out” book for fall 2008 by Publishers Weekly, Nobody’s Home, by Croation author Dubravka Ugresic, is the ...

Some Glorious Publishing News for Your Friday Reading

Man, every article in my Google Reader seems to be filled with doom and gloom . . . Here are just a few: “Store sales fell 5.2% at Barnes & Noble in the nine week holiday period ended Jan. 3, dropping to $1.1 billion. Same store sales at the nation’s largest bookstore chain fell 7.7%; B&N had predicted that comp ...

Obituary: Inger Christensen

Reclusive writer Inger Christensen who “built experimental poems, essays and novels around systematized and mathematical structures” passed away at the age of 73. One of the books of 2009 that I’m most looking forward to is her novel Azorno, which New Directions is bringing out this summer. But after ...

CALQUE's Interview with Absinthe's Dwayne Hayes

It’s great to see two of the best translation journals in conversation . . . Just yesterday, Steve Dolph of CALQUE published this interview with Dwayne Hayes, editor and founder of Absinthe. There’s a lot of great stuff in here, including Dwayne’s comments about wanting to become the biggest-selling ...

The Blockbuster Model: A Reader's Response

Yesterday morning, I got all bent out of shape about Anita Elberse’s “Blockbuster or Bust” article in the Wall Street Journal. I wasn’t the only one—GalleyCat has a few nice responses, including this quote from a senior editor at a major house: “many of the bestsellers that keep us afloat ...

Robert Giroux and Publishing

The recent issue of New York magazine has a great article by Boris Kachka about Robert Giroux that includes these choice bits: Consider what brought Giroux to FSG in the first place: The same frustration with bottom-line publishing that drives literary editors to drink today. Giroux had spent the decade after World War ...

The Business of Blockbusters: Good?

I’ve been internally fuming ever since I read this Blockbuster or Bust article in the Wall Street Journal by business school professor Anita Elberse. Elberse is most famous for her take-down in the Harvard Business Journal of the long tail theory. Now she’s back, ready to defend the “blockbuster model” ...

Best Translated Book 2008 Longlist: I'd Like by Amanda Michalopoulou

For the next several weeks we’ll be highlighting a book-a-day from the 25-title Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, leading up to the announcement of the 10 finalists. Click here for all previous write-ups. I’d Like by Amanda Michalopoulou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich. ...

Best Translated Book 2008 Longlist: Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago

For the next several weeks we’ll be highlighting a book-a-day from the 25-title Best Translated Book of 2008 fiction longlist, leading up to the announcement of the 10 finalists. Click here for all previous write-ups. Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull ...

MLA

For the uninitiated, this article from an old issue of The Believer is a great description of MLA. Especially this bit about publishing and tenure: The upshot: university presses, once institutions of gentlemanly loss in the service of niche scholarship, have been forced to reorient themselves toward the bottom line. ...

Bulgakov the Ukrainian?

The Ukrainians and the Russians both claim Bulgakov as one of their own: The identity crisis arises it seems because although Bulgakov was born in what is now Ukraine’s capital, a city he immortalized in his first novel The White Guard, the playwright and novelist was ethnically Russian, wrote in Russian and moved ...

New CONTEXT

The new issue of CONTEXT Magazine is now available online. (And I assume in print. For some reason, we don’t get copies in Rochester, but this is usually available at bookstores like St. Mark’s.) Almost all of the readings, interviews, etc., are about recent Dalkey titles, such as the interesting excerpt from ...

The Future of Reading is Fine, Move Along, Nothing to See Here

The Guardian—which has self-admittedly entered the season of the “crap survey”—has an article today about a recent study on what reading material most attracts the other sex. A survey commissioned by the National Year of Reading has found the top 10 reads to impress a woman. Top of the list is ...

Urban Elitist on the Future of Publishing

The future of publishing is a hobby-horse of mine, and I’m always excited to find someone else — like David Nygren at Urban Elitist — writing long, intelligent articles about this topic. A lot of his ideas will be familiar to frequent readers of this blog, but the way he describes the situation is ...

2009: The Year of Translations?

At the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Bob Hoover has an article about the troubled publishing industry—specifically Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and their “acquisitions freeze . . . err wait, no, we’re not going out of buisness, please agents, keep sending us submissions” situation—that has an interesting ...

"It has a lot of commas."

The french novel Zone by Mathias Énard has been receiving some early press for a few reasons. 1. We’re publishing it (with an English translation by Charlotte Mandell) in spring 2010. 2. It’s about 500 pages. 3. It’s about 1 sentence. The Chicago Tribune just ran an article, including some helpful ...

"It has a lot of commas."

The french novel Zone by Mathias Énard has been receiving some early press for a few reasons. 1. We’re publishing it (with an English translation by Charlotte Mandell) in spring 2010. 2. It’s about 500 pages. 3. It’s about 1 sentence. The Chicago Tribune just ran an article, including some helpful ...

December Frankfurt Book Fair Newsletter

The December Issue of the Frankfurt Book Fair Newsletter is now available online and includes a number of interesting pieces. The article on the 10th Anniversary of the German Book Office, which highlights the difficulties of getting German titles published in English translation and the job the GBO is doing to make this ...

Le Clezio's Nobel Prize Lecture

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio’s Nobel Prize lecture, In the Forest of Paradoxes, (also available as a pdf file) was released last night. It takes its title and starting point from a provocative passage from Stig Dagerman’s Essaer och texter: How is it possible on the one hand, for example, to behave as if ...

Kafka's Office Writings

Recently released by Princeton University Press, Kafka’s Office Writings may well be the last of the last of the Kafka texts to appear in English. Kafka’s writings as a professional lawyer with the Workmen’s Accident Insurance Institute, may not seem to hold a lot of promise, but the description of the ...

And on the Negative Side of Things . . .

On the same day that we try and celebrate literature in translation, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (still trying to bring their website into the 1990s) fired Drenka Willen one of the most influential editors of international literature of the past half-century. She’s responsible for Harcourt’s string of great foreign ...

Banipal #33