Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Literary Roundup: Translating world voices

From Literalab

The PEN World Voices festival is underway in New York, running from April 29 to May 5. There are a lot of great events, including Mikhail Shishkin speaking on a panel about book reviewers, a conversation with Polish author of Russians in Warsaw Agata Tuszyńska, a Literary Safari including Hungarian Noémi Szécsi and Czech Michal Ajvaz, who also are taking part in a cool-sounding panel on May 4 titled Invisible Cities, Visible Cities.

Then there are two giants of Central European writing in Claudio Magris and Norman Manea on a panel dealing with multilinguality as well as in conversation with one another on May 2. Not to scare anyone, but these two were scheduled to hold a NYC conversation last fall but were prevented by higher forces in the form of Hurricane Sandy. If this year’s event is cancelled as well because of a tornado or an unexpected snowstorm or an earthquake then I suggest not rescheduling but having them write out what they were going to say and just publishing the conversation as an essay.

The PEN World Voices program can be seen here.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hosted by Hans G. Ruprecht in collaboration with Carleton’s multicultural community and numerous correspondents, the show is bringing news items, features and interviews about the considerable range of debate LITERATURE  is generating in Europe, as it always has and continues to do in many countries. 


Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 Best Translated Book Award Finalists Announced

best translated book award
The finalists for the Best Translated Book Award in fiction and poetry have been announced. The award, founded in 2007 by the Three Percent weblog and underwritten with $25,000 in prize money from Amazon.com, exists to help bring attention to great works of international literature published in the previous year.
BTBA Fiction Finalists 2013:
  • The Planets by Sergio Chejfec, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary (Open Letter Books, Argentina)
  • Prehistoric Times by Eric Chevillard, translated from the French by Alyson Waters (Archipelago Books, France)
  • The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, translated from the Persian by Tom Patterdale (Melville House, Iran)
  • Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes (New Directions, Hungary)
  • Autoportrait by Edouard Levetranslated from the French by Lorin Stein (Dalkey Archive Press, France)
  • A Breath of Life: Pulsations by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz (New Directions, Brazil)
  • The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller, translated from the German by Philip Boehm (Metropolitan Books, Romania)
  • Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz (Open Letter Books, Russia)
  • Transit by Abdourahman A. Waberi, translated from the French by David Ball and Nicole Ball (Indiana University Press, Djibouti)
  • My Father’s Book by Urs Widmer, translated from the German by Donal McLaughlin (Seagull Books, Switzerland)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Writing before Literature: Later Latin Scriptures and the Memory of Rome"

From www.bris.ac.uk

Blackwell-Bristol Lectures 2013: European Literature and Latin Late Antiquity


The annual Blackwell-Bristol Lectures 2013 will this year be given by Mark Vessey, Professor of English at University of British Columbia. Professor Vessey's research interests include Jerome, Augustine and Latin late antiquity; Erasmus and the literary Renaissance; classical and Christian traditions in European literature.

No other city has written its name across time, space, language and culture like Rome. Configured in the late republican and Augustan eras and updated as required in the early Empire, the signifying codes of an assimilative and multi-ethnic Romanity were comprehensively revised by emperors, artists and ideologues of late antiquity in both East and West.  At the same time, they were converted to the ends of a Christian universalism that transcended the limits of Rome's empire. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Announcing The James H. Ottaway Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature

Contact Information
Contact: Joshua Mandelbaum, Executive Director
Organization Name: Words without Borders
E-mail Address: joshua@wordswithoutborders.org
Web site Address: wordswithoutborders.org
New York City, New York, March 25, 2013—Words without Borders announces the creation of the James H. Ottaway, Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature
Words without Borders, a nonprofit and online magazine, has announced the creation of the James H. Ottaway, Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature (aka The Ottaway). The Ottaway is named in honor of the organization’s first chair and current Chair Emeritus, James H. Ottaway, Jr., in recognition of his leadership during the organization’s formative years. It will be first presented  at WWB’s 10th anniversary  dinner in October of this year  and thereafter at the organization’s annual benefit dinner to an individual whose work and activism have supported the mission of Words without Borders, of promoting cultural understanding through the publication and promotion of international literature.
"With this award, we are recognizing Jim's critical support during the formative years of WWB.  It is no exaggeration to say that without his leadership and dedication, WWB would not be what it is today.  As we celebrate our tenth anniversary this year, we also celebrate Jim's commitment, which has been a boon to WWB and serves as an inspiration to the publishing and philanthropic communities as well."
Nominees for The Ottaway will be solicited from the large community of translators, authors, publishers, agents, editors, and activists, and the final honoree chosen by a select jury. The Ottaway will not honor a translated work or body of work, but instead honor individuals who have succeeded in furthering literature in translation in the United States.
For additional information, please contact:

Contact: Joshua Mandelbaum, Executive Director
Organization Name: Words without Borders
Email Address: joshua@wordswithoutborders.org
Web site Address: wordswithoutborders.org

Founded in 2003, Words without Borders is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of global understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of international literature. To date WWB has translated over 1,600 pieces of literature and poetry representing 92 languages by writers from 119 countries. WWB has been featured in the New York Times, the New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, the Guardian (UK), Vanity Fair, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as in various foreign-language papers and numerous literary blogs. Our most recent print anthology is Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Amélie Nothomb’s “Life Form”

Reviewed by Emma Garman

Image of Amélie Nothomb’s “Life Form”
Translated from the French by Alison Anderson
Europa Editions, 2013

“I need to be very hungry all the time,” celebrated Belgian novelist and disordered eater Amélie Nothomb once admitted. “I need to be very hungry to write.” For her nineteenth book, Life Form, Nothomb has applied her preternaturally original mind to those two favorite subjects—writing and “superhunger”—to create a story that, even by her standards, is astonishing in its wit and grace. As usual, we meet a narrator named Amélie, who’s almost indistinguishable from the author. But in a new departure for Nothomb, this partly epistolary novel also includes the perspective of a character with whom she has little in common—an American man—thus creating an extra challenge for her longtime translator, Alison Anderson.

Read more: http://wordswithoutborders.org/book-review/amelie-nothombs-life-form#ixzz2RFg0UiRu

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spanish theatres and artists find creative solutions to austerity measures

From culture360.org
By Judith Staines 

Photo: culture360.org

The ever-inventive theatre sector in Spain is developing original strategies to confront economic austerity and arts budget cuts. These currently include selling carrots as theatre tickets (a VAT reduction measure) and creating an audience buzz around pop-up microtheatres in private apartments.

Carrot rebellion

A theatre near Barcelona found a radical solution to protest against new VAT taxes imposed on theatre tickets – instead of selling theatre tickets, it sold carrots to audience members. Vegetables are subject to just 4% VAT instead of the 21% rate introduced for theatre tickets (a rise of 13% from the previous rate of 8%).
This so-called ‘carrot rebellion’ caught the public imagination and received plenty of international press. The ‘carrot formula’ which was first applied in the small theatre of Bescanó, has now been extended to a concert hall in Zaragoza and to the Festival Còmic de Figueres.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Journey to Iceland’s cultural miracle

From www.presseurop.eu

The "Sonar 2013" festival of new music and technology in Reykjavik's Harpa centre
The "Sonar 2013" festival of new music and technology in Reykjavik's Harpa centre, www.presseurop.eu

Iceland escaped the grip of austerity and has turned Icelandic culture into the country’s second largest contributor to GDP, with an impact of around €1bn per year. Unemployment is at 5.7 per cent, growth at 3 per cent – and the island is alive to the sound of music and movie shoots.

If the financial collapse Iceland went through in 2008 is viewed as a laboratory of questions and answers about the current crisis, taking notes on some of the solutions the Icelanders have come up with might be wise.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013

From booktrust

The Independent Foreign Prize honours the best work of fiction by a living author, which has been translated into English from any other language and published in the United Kingdom. Uniquely, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize gives the winning author and translator equal status: each receives £5,000.

About the shortlist

Andrés Neuman adds some fire to this year's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist with his epic novel Traveller of the Century, which explores an affair between the hearts, minds and bodies of two literary translators. Together they build a language of understanding as they work to translate European poetry, whilst continuing a secret sexual relationship, leading them to ask if translation itself is an act of love. The full shortlist sees diverse themes of history, war and love battling it out for the £10,000 Prize, to be announced on 20 May.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Writer Jordi Puntí to participate at the European Literature Night

From www.llull.cat

Photo: www.llull.cat

8 European writers have been selected amongst the 70 entries nominated by Cultural Institutes, Embassies, Publishers and Cultural Organisations. Jordi Puntí’s first novel Lost Luggage will be published in English by Short Books in April. 
Sarah Sanders, organiser of the ELN said:  ‘Speaking Volumes is delighted to be working with Institut Ramon Llull and author Jordi Puntí at London’s European Literature Night event at the British Library in May. In an incredible year for Catalan literature with 10 new titles being published in the UK, Lost Luggage is an outstanding work and an extraordinary pan-European story that UK readers will find both moving and deeply funny. With additional events around translation being programmed this year, Jordi’s contribution as an author and accomplished translator will bring his work to a wider audience and potential UK readership.
The full list of writers for the European Literature Night Norbert Gstrein (Austria), Erwin Mortier (Belgium), Jordi Puntí, Jachym Topol (Czech Republic ), Brigit Vanderbeke (Germany), Frank Westerman (Netherlands), Miha Mazzini (Slovenia) and Ece Temelkuran (Turkey).

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Does the Ludwig Museum have a contemporary future?

From beyondeast.wordpress.com

The announcement that Ludwig Museum Budapest director Barnabas Bencsik’s contract was allowed to run out today rather than, as was expected, temporarily extended – leaving the institution without professional leadership while a belated competition for this key post is organised, does not bode well for the future of the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art and the many excellent people who work there. On the past record of the government in previous competitions for directorships of cultural institutions, the successful candidate is likely to be politically and aesthetically aligned with the nationalist ideology of the regime and its creature, the constitutionally-embedded Hungarian Academy of Arts (MMA): curators with a progressive, internationalist outlook, or even moderate-conservative fellow travellers, need not apply.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Call for Papers

From the Postgraduate Forum: Environment, Literature, Culture
Logo Ecocriticism and Globalization, Photo (c) Hanna Straß
Photo: docforumelc.wordpress.com

June 21-22, 2013, Frankfurt a. M.

The first ELC workshop thematically focuses on “ecocriticism and globalization”. In a panel discussion and a reading session we want to explore the ways in which disciplinary paradigms of ‘ecocriticism’ change through its contact with globalization theories.
We would like to close in on concepts that try to move beyond the opposition of the ‘local’ as site of environmental affect and attachment and ‘the global’ as site of deterritorialized detachment.  Efforts to interpret human environmental experiences with respect to their embeddedness in ecological, economic and political networks of global reach have given rise to eco-global concepts that transcend local determination, such as Ursula Heise’s “eco-cosmopolitanism” (2008) or Joni Adamson’s “eco-global perspectives” characteristic of “third wave ecocriticism” (2010). We are interested in ways in which an engagement with these terms can be made fruitful for literary and cultural studies.
This shift towards a ‘planetary’ perspective in ecocriticism registers contemporary processes, conditions, and consequences of globalization. Amongst those belong issues of environmental in/justice, global environmental risk, and postcolonial perspectives on environmental issues.
Furthermore, this shift of focus also means to engage with the representational challenges of thinking in unfamiliar scales of space and time. The slow violence of environmental injustice, for instance, very often lacks the dramatic spectacle that would be necessary to grip public attention in the fast-paced globalized world (Nixon 2011). We plan to take such considerations as a starting point for our discussions of how literary texts and other forms of cultural production manage to negotiate the experience of globalization processes in creative and imaginative ways. In order to do so, we will collectively discuss theoretical texts, thesis projects or parts and chapters of dissertations that deal with topics related to ‘ecocriticism and globalization’.
Some of the key questions to guide our discussion might be:
  • How do the disciplinary paradigms of ‘ecocriticism’ change through its contact with globalization theories?
  • How does the discipline itself become globalized? Is ecocriticism eventually moving away from its US-bias?
  • In how far does a more global perspective force us to re-think terms such as ‘the global’, ‘globality’, ‘planetarity’ in ecocritical discourse? And what other terminology might be useful to discuss environmental literature from an eco-global perspective?
  • How are concepts of place, space and locality transformed by globalizing processes?
  • How do temporal conceptions change (e.g. in concepts like space-time-compression, global risk and slow violence)?
  • In which ways is ecocriticism increasingly concerned with topics of global relevance (e.g. climate change)?
  • Which (new?) narrative strategies are used to imagine notions of the global/ globality? Are we witnessing the engendering of new genres?
  • How are categories of difference, such as identity, ethnicity, human and non-human, gender, or class reshaped and what kind of new power constellations and knowledge systems are being formed?
  • How does migration change the experience of the environment?
Of course, this list is not exhaustive and contributions for discussion do not have to be limited to these topics.
If you are interested in participating, please send us an email until March 31st , 2013. We’d be happy if you could include a short biographical note and let us know what the topic of your current project is. If you want to actively contribute to the workshop, please send us either a text or a chapter of your dissertation (max. 30 pages, including bibliography!) or poster until May 19th (poster templates are available on request).
Please note: In order to finalize our preparations in time, we need to receive a final and binding registration by May 15th, 2013. Workshop space will be limited to 15 participants.
Download the Call for Papers as pdf.
Learn more about the Workshop Format, the Program and Logistics.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bulgarian Fiction NYghts

22 – 25 April, New York
Open Letter Books & The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation are pleased to mark the publication of two new books:

ANGEL IGOV’s A Short Tale Of Shame (Open Letter Books, 2013)
ZACHARY KARABASHLIEV’s 18% Gray (Open Letter Books, 2013)

Meet the two authors and the translator, Angela Rodel, at the following events:

  • Monday, April 22, 6PM
    Hunter College (695 Park Ave, NY 10065)

  • Wednesday, April 24, 7PM
    Bulgarian Consulate (121 E 62nd St, New York, NY 10065)

  • Thursday, April 25, 7PM
    192 Books (192 Tenth Avenue at 21st Street New York, NY 10011)


    Free admission to all events

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    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Holy Light

    Photo: kristina-sretkova.com

    The transnational artist Kristina Sretkova is pleased to announce a solo exhibition at Galerie De L'Europe, 55 Rue de Seine  75006 Paris, France.

    The exhibition is dedicated to St. Constantine-Cyril the Philosopher - creator of the Slavic alphabet, and will open on Friday, May 3rd, 2013.

    For more information visit www.kristina-setkova.com

    “…when writers engage in the art of literary translation and collaborate on the translation of each other's work, the experience will broaden and enrich their linguistic imaginations.” I found this sentence in the foreword of Wort Für Wort//Word for Word 2013, a publication by the Ugly Duckling Press. The book launch took place at Columbia University yesterday to be followed by a dramatic reading today. Wort Für Wort//Word for Word 2013 is the result of a collaboration of Columbia University’s School of the Arts/Writing and its Literary Translation Program, now directly by the gifted translator Susan Bernofsky, and the Deutsches Literatur Institut Leipzig, represented by the Austrian writer Josef Haslinger, the professor for Literary Aesthetics since 1996. The translation exchange program was started two years ago. Columbia students spend a week in Leipzig and the Literatur Institut students spend a week in New York. They get to know each other and embark on the tasks of translating each other's work. Yesterday, eight student writers read from their works and their translations. Fiction, nonfiction writers and playwrights were represented. In the ensuing discussion all of the students said that translating had been much harder than they had anticipated. Some stumbled over the title. There is no “Blue Moon” in the German language, only a blaue Stunde. But blaue Stunde is not the same as a blue moon. Others had trouble understanding the references. What was that particular smell unique to East Germany that Ellen Wesemüller wrote about? Did it still exist in Leipzig? Could Ellen take her translator Rachel Sur to a place where she could experience it? The students worked hard trying to get the tone, the rhythm, and cadence right. They had to work in a style alien to them. After translating, they felt a deeper appreciation for their mother tongue. They had become better writers, for they had studied each word intensely until they found the best, if not right, equivalent in their language. The short readings made me curious. I am looking forward to getting to know eight young writers. Wort Für Wort//Word for Word 2013 Ursula Kirchenmayer - Kevin Magruber Juliane Stadelmann – Bryan Quick David Frühauf – Michael Makowski Ellen Wesemüller – Rachel Sur Ugly Duckling Press. 2013

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    European Literature Night 2013

     From European Union National Institutes for Culture - London

    European Literature Night will present for its 5th edition some of the brightest literary talent from Europe to audiences and readers across the UK. 
    15 May 2013, British Library, London.

    European Literature Night 2013 features a wealth of prose that is as wide as the continent itself. There are the personal family stories, from the comedic Catalonian tale of four brothers who have never known each other to an Austrian exposure of generational estrangement, from an ancient Belgian family mystery to a homely portrait of German domestic bliss which is masking deep divides. There are the political tales – a Czech writer’s troubling portrait of a society dealing with its ghosts of times past, the Dutch writer whose examination of pedigree horse breeding reflects the ugliness of our own prejudices, the Slovenian novel which satirises the brainwashing effects of totalitarianism. And between them sits an acclaimed journalist and fiction writer from Turkey, whose work joins these two worlds. 
    Come and enjoy an evening of readings where the personal and the political sit side by side, shift places and remind us all of the joy and pain of being alive.

    Supported and initiated by EUNIC London and the European Commission Representation in the UK, facilitated by the Czech Centre London and produced by Speaking Volumes, with the participation of Foyles.

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