At the admirable Global Literature in Libraries Initiative Heather Inwood offers a nice historical overview and introduction to Popular Genre Fiction in China. From some real classics — The Story of the Stone! — to very contemporary fare. Worth checking out.
Suggested-reading lists abound on the internet, including some focused on foreign fiction. Here are two regional ones you might want to check out:
- Balkan literature: the best contemporary fiction to add to your reading list, by Hannah Weber, at The Calvert Journal
- The always-worth-keeping-up-with The Modern Novel sets about tackling Mexican literature, and that’s certainly a good starter-list.
PEN America has announced the 2017 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants, awarded to 15 projects covering 13 different languages, each now subsidized with a $3,870. Several works of fiction are among them, and while some are still looking for publishers we can hope to see them all available in English eventually.
They’ve announced the winner of the 2016 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation (Jonathan Wright for his translation of The Bamboo Stalk, by Saud Alsanousi), and while the prize is useful in pointing to what is judged to be a superior translation, what’s great about this prize is that they list all the titles that were considered — nineteen of them (of which two were poetry and the rest fiction); scroll down on the announcement page. This makes for a handy quick reference of recent translations-from-the-Arabic, with quite a few titles that may be of interest to you. Continue reading
There have been a lot of year-end ‘best books’-lists, but only a few focused specifically on translations. Among the limited offerings: Continue reading
In the Times Literary Supplement (2 December 2016) Michael LaPointe reviews several titles dealing with transnational literature — including my very own The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction.
A great review, in which he notes:
Orthofer’s Guide, which one can hardly believe was written by a single individual, traces almost every nation’s literature since 1945, with a particular emphasis on the past two decades.
And he suggests it is:
(T)he most complete resource for readers of a transnational bent, interested in further expanding their horizons.
Especially impressive are the chapters on Chinese and Iranian fiction, and adventurous readers will make good on the inclusion of sub-genres
The Jan Michalski Prize for Literature is a CHF50,000 book prize that’s unusual for several reasons. First, it doesn’t differentiate between fiction and non-fiction. Second, it’s willing to consider any title, “irrespective of the language in which it is written”. (In reality, it is somewhat limited, with books generally having to at least be available in a French, German, or English translation, but that’s still much farther-ranging than the International Dublin Literary Award or the Man Booker International Prize, for example.
They’ve now announced this year’s winner: The Physics of Sorrow (by Georgi Gospodinov) — another fine choice (but you already knew that, since both author and book are mentioned in The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction).
The International DUBLIN Literary Award is among the more interesting English-language international book prizes. Books are nominated by participating libraries from many (though, alas, far from all) parts of the world — 109 cities in 40 countries for the 2017 prize, apparently — and these nominated titles make up the just-announced 147-title longlist, from which a jury will now select a still-huge shortlist (to be announced 17 April 2017) and then a winning title (21 June 2017). Continue reading
They’re announcing the major French literary prizes this week, and today they named the winners of the two biggest book prizes:
- The prix Goncourt goes to Chanson douce, by Leila Slimani (Gallimard)
- The prix Renaudot goes to Babylone, by Yasmina Reza (Flammarion)
Reza may be better known for her plays (‘Art’, etc.) but has lso written several acclaimed works of fiction.