Summer is reading season! And leaving the damp impressions of your sweaty little fingerprints on the delicate pages of a book…ah, that’s what summer is all about.
In honor of the 4th of July celebrations over the weekend, our friends at The Literary Hub compiled an interesting list of nearly 50 foreign authors’ three favorite quintessential American novels, including three Deep Vellum authors’ recommendations: Mikhail Shishkin (Bradbury, Salinger, Vonnegut), Carmen Boullosa (Twain, Faulkner, McCullers), and Alisa Ganieva (Franklin, Twain, Fitzgerald). Click here for the full list of author recommendations (a seriously amazing list of authors recommending a seriously amazing list of books!).
TRANSLATORS! Especially Texan translators, a note from our friends down in Houston: Gulf Coast’s 2015 Prize in Translation is now open:
Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts is now accepting entries for the Gulf Coast Prize in Translation. In 2015, the contest is open to prose (fiction and nonfiction) in translation. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in the journal. Two honorable mentions will each receive $250. All entries will be considered for paid publication on our website as Online Exclusives. Entry to the contest also includes a one-year subscription to Gulf Coast, beginning with the issue in which the corresponding prize winners are published.
This year’s contest will be judged by the poet, novelist, translator, critic, and scholar, Ammiel Alcalay. His books include A Little History (2013), from the warring factions, 2nd edition (2012), “neither wit nor gold” (from then) (2011), Islanders (2010), Scrapmetal (2007), Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays, 1982-1999 (1999), and After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (1993). He is founder and general editor, under the auspices of the Center for the Humanities and the PhD program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.
The Gulf Coast Prize in Translation was founded by the Editors in 2014. Kristin Dykstra won for her translations of Marcelo Morales. Yvette Siegert and Derick Mattern were given Honorable Mentions for their translations of Ana Gorría and Haydar Ergülen. Jen Hofer, social justice interpreter, urban cyclist, and founder of the language-collective Antena, was the inaugural judge.
Submissions are accepted online, through postal mail, and full guidelines can be found online here.
Long, complex sentences, resistance to straightforward answers, and a keen intellectualism visible in topical and stylistic choices make this an esoteric reading choice . . .
The end of this essay exemplifies one of those points in Pitol’s work where the reader isn’t quite sure what the author thinks the future of novels is, or what he even thinks of today’s novel. Because he never wrestles anything head-on he makes the reader do due diligence.
That’s one of the qualities that will make readers return to one or more pieces—to figure out what they missed the first few times or to enjoy those things again.
Anne Garréta‘s remarkable Sphinx landed on the bestseller list at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn this week alongside some remarkable company (and three other women writers, our kind of bookstore)!
Also, we received our first Kirkus Review for Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut, Tram 83, forthcoming September 15 in Roland Glasser‘s translation:
Stylistically quirky and unorthodox fiction from Africa . . . Tram 83 is the locus of those driven by ambition, desire, greed, or pleasure—and in this underworld we meet quite a cast of characters.
Fiston & Roland will be touring the US September 20-October 10 with the generous support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, including stops at the Brooklyn Book Festival; a week in the Northeast; a week in Texas (Houston, Austin, Dallas); and a week in California, with stops in Los Angeles, culminating in a reading at Litquake in San Francisco!
For further reading on Fiston and the literary history of the Congo, both Republic of Congo (or Congo-Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (or Congo-Kinshasa), from where Fiston hails (he’s originally from Lubumbashi, DRC), check out Siddhartha Mitter‘s 2013 New Yorker article, “Terror Across the River: Letter from a Congo Literary Festival“:
One afternoon during the festival, Bissila told some of this story from a stage in the gardens of the Palais des Congrès, where a makeshift restaurant dispensed cold drinks against the sweltering heat. Beside him were two young writers from across the river in the D.R.C., Papy Maurice Mbwiti A Bwanga and Fiston Nasser Mwanza. Their conversation was titled “New Congolese Voices,” but the panelists repudiated this designation, and so did some young Congolese writers in the audience—including several who had come over from Kinshasa—who grumbled that these three, having achieved a foothold in Europe, were now among the anointed and no longer new. Still, all three shared experiences that the crowd could identify with, and when they read from their works—brash, angry, sardonic, hilarious texts about daily life in the face of power and its perversions—each earned a lusty, knowing round of applause.
Update on Intern Eilidh: Intern Eilidh is doing a good job. She works hard and still likes YA books. I told her to start a blog and to start reviewing YA books. So if you have books you want reviewed by soon-to-be-no-longer-an-intern Eilidh, let me know and I’ll put you in touch!