The author of The Witcher recently had another one of his books translated for English-reading consumers. So if you've finished inhaling The Witcher series, why not take a look at this historical fantasy?
On this day in 1890, one of the world's best selling authors was born, Agatha Christie. In honor of her, we've compiled twenty of her most enlightening, comical, and mind-bending quotes.
The International Booker Prize, for those who don’t know, is an annual award presented in the UK. The award was originally biannual and available to writers of English and foreign authors with English translated books; however, since 2016, the award has become exclusive to translated texts.
The longlist for this year’s award, though, seems to be something quite special. Generally, most nominees for the prize come from big-shot publishers or were simply big-shot writers. This year, the focus is on the little guys. According to Dr. Richard Mansell, the number of nominated books translated by the “Big Five” of publishing has dropped significantly over the years.
So, what does this mean? It means that publishers are losing their “holier than thou” grip on translated fiction. Mansell says that “[the] power of publishers [is] not as stable as [it was].” While big publishers were once responsible for over half (55%) of the award’s titles, in 2016 they were only responsible for 36%. This decline has allowed a larger variety of translated fiction to make its way to English-speaker readers, displaying a unique set of stories. In this list alone, thirteen stories have been listed, representing eight languages.
The shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize is set to be released on April 2, 2020, but in the meantime, you can check out all the nominated texts and see which one you like the best. Fair warning, a few of these texts have not yet been released, but are available for pre-order.
- Red Dog by Willem Anker (Afrikaans – South Africa). Translated by Michiel Heyns
- The Enlightenment of The Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Farsi – Iran).
- The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (Spanish – Argentina). Translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh
- The Other Name: Septology I – II by Jon Fosse (Norwegian – Norway). Translated by Damion Searls
- The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili (German – Georgia). Translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin
- Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq (French – France). Translated by Shaun Whiteside.
- Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (German – Germany). Translated by Ross Benjamin
- Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Spanish – Mexico). Translated by Sophie Hughes
- The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese – Japan). Translated by Stephen Snyder
- Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano (French – France). Translated by Sophie Lewis and Jennifer Higgins
- Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin (Spanish – Argentina). Translated by Megan McDowell
- The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Dutch – Netherlands). Translated by Michele Hutchison
- Mac and His Problem by Enrique Vila-Matas (Spanish – Spain). Translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Sophie Hughes.
Featured Image via Man Booker Prize.
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Founded in 2016, The Man Booker International Prize exists to spread fiction in translation to worldwide audience. The Man Booker Prize itself, established several decades earlier in 1969, “guarantees a worldwide readership” and an enormous spike in book sales; the international version aims to offer the same visibility to an international author whose work may otherwise remain lodged behind the language barrier—tragically inaccessible to the general populace. The Man Booker International Prize aims to change that.
Given the nature of the award, its winners are inherently diverse: drawn from throughout the world and writing in languages that may be less accessible to a Western audience. While some nominees are from Western Europe and South America, many are also from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, regions whose languages are not taught as frequently in Western schools. The publicity surrounding this prestigious award typically grants its winner an international readership whose value cannot be understated—for instance, a novel written in Polish, a less widely-spoken language, may have an incredibly limited audience regardless of the quality of writing. Poland also has a lower population density than a larger country like China, further limiting the market of possible buyers.
This year in particular, the award’s diversity is more than a matter of geography. Women comprise eight of thirteen longlisted nominees, and all but two books are small press publications. In the age of self-publishing and indie bookstores—an age of increasing ability to shirk the confines of tradition—these nominations are deeply reflective of the increasingly diverse (and increasingly individualized!) nature of publishing. Of course, it’s a matter of geography as well—translated languages include Polish, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Swedish, and Dutch.
This year, the group of five judges is comprised entirely of women and people of color (though no women of color), each a respected academic or writer. The full list of nominees is now available; the shortlist is anticipated for April 9th. In the award’s tradition of respecting translation as an art form, both the author and translator will receive an even half of the £50,000 prize.
One author to watch out for is Olga Tokarczuk, whose Polish-language novel Flights won the prize in 2018. She’s up for a second consecutive nomination: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, has made the list for 2019.
All In-text Images Via Man Booker Prize Twitter.
Featured Image Via Penguin Books.
A fixture of the literary world since 1950, the National Book award honors the strongest writing in America. Qualifications necessary to win the award are simple: the book has to have been published no earlier than December 1st of the previous year, and the author must be a U.S. citizen by any possible means. Then there’s the most important rule of all—it has to be the best. Judges have now announced this year’s five winners across five categories.
Fiction: The Friend
Sigrid Nunez has always been a literary heavy-hitter. A winner of the Whiting Writer’s Award, Berlin Prize Fellowship, and the Rome Prize in literature, Nunez has also been a professor at a veritable collection of top institutions—Columbia, Princeton, and The New School. The Friend was one of the most-anticipated releases of 2018, topping Buzzfeed, Bustle, BookRiot, and PopSugar’s lists.
After a woman loses her closest friend, she’s left with only two things: the burden of her grief… and his massive, traumatized dog. In her self-imposed isolation, the woman spirals into obsession over the dog’s care—the one thing that she can still control. It’s possible this could heal her… it’s possible it could tear her apart. Enter the realm of magical thinking. Nunez writes: “what we miss – what we lose and what we mourn – isn’t it this that makes us who, deep down, we truly are? To say nothing of what we wanted in life but never got to have.”
Nonfiction: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
Jeffrey C. Stewart‘s groundbreaking biography chronicles the life and influence of black intellectual Alain Locke, the oft-cited originator of the Harlem Renaissance. Locke’s achievements are innumerable, but historians can list more than a few—he became the first black Rhodes Scholar in 1907, earned a PhD from Harvard University, and quickly became the philosophy chair at Howard University. As a member of the homosexual community, Locke also embraced the progressive and avant-garde.
His anthology The New Negro, a collection of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction, remains a landmark historical work. Biographer Stewart is also an impressive character—a Yale PhD recipient currently serving as a professor at University of California at Santa Barbara. He has also taught at Harvard University and Howard University. Stewart’s The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke uses newly-available primary sources and oral interviews to pay tribute to one of history’s greatest minds. Stewart also draws attention to thinkers academia often neglects—the gay and gender-nonconforming activists of the Harlem Renaissance.
Justin Phillip Reed‘s collection, Indecency, is as intimate as it is confrontational. Reed blends the political and personal in his exploration of sexuality, masculinity, and the prison-industrial complex. A graduate of the top-10 MFA program at the Washington University in St. Louis, Reed considers “any kind of history—especially concerning Black folks—to always be on the edge of being obliterated” in cities like his own St. Louis, with ‘progress’ often dismantling already-thriving communities of color.
A “most indecent black queer poet” himself, he probes topics ranging from race to sex in poems titled “Performing a Warped Masculinity En Route to the Metro” and other biting things. According to Reed, the cover art is, in fact, a photo of bird sh!t.
Translation: The Emissary
The first winner of the Book Award’s newest category of Translated Literature, American-born Margaret Mitsutani has been living in Japan since the late 1970s. Mitsutani won the National Book Award for her translation of Yoko Tadawa‘s The Emissary, a satirical depiction of an isolationist Japan in the aftermath of unspecified nuclear catastrophe. Tokyo is a radioactive no-man’s-land, and society moves to outer cities like Osaka and Hokkaido, where the robust elderly occupy all government positions—a clear commentary on Japan’s declining birthrate.
Japan’s sealed borders further serve to comment on the sweeping populist and nationalist movements of recent years. Critics describe Mitsutani’s translation as “playful, powerful, and wise.”
Young Adult People’s Literature: The Poet X
Winning a National Book Award for her debut novel is hardly Elizabeth Acevedo‘s only significant accomplishment. As a National Poetry Slam Champion, Acevedo clearly conveys her passion and expert knowledge in prizewinning novel The Poet X. Xiomara Batista is an anomaly in her Harlem community, born to seriously advanced-in-years parents who tout her birth as the kind of miracle their religious devotion incurs—the kind of miracle Xiomara has never believed in. When the rules of religion silence Xiomara, she uses slam poetry to regain her voice.
The novel has a true poet’s touch: it contains three sections of verse, all with Biblical titles juxtaposing the structure of religion with Xiomara’s disbelief. Acevedo says that her experience as an eighth-grade teacher inspired her to write the novel. One Latina student said of contemporary literature: “These books aren’t about us. [These characters] don’t look like us… they don’t walk through the world like us. These ain’t our books.” Now, Acevedo has created a book that is.
Featured Image Via Vulture.com / Images Via Amazon.com