Posts filed under 'roundup'

Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

If you're wondering what's happening in the world of literature, you've come to the right place

This week brings us the latest, most exciting news from Austria, Taiwan and the United States. Contributor Flora Brandl gives us a taste of what Austria’s literary festivals have in store for us; Editor-at-Large Vivian Szu-Chin Chih shares the wonderful news about same-sex marriage in Taiwan and its connection with literature; Educational Arm Assistant Reverie Powell serves up some fantastic and diverse performances taking place in the United States. 

Contributor Flora Brandl reporting from Austria: 

In Salzburg, the city’s annual literature festival took place this May. Among its most renowned guests were the actor Bruno Ganz, who read excerpts from the deceased Swiss author Robert Walser, and the Salzburg-based, Georg Büchner Preis-winning author Walter Kappacher, who read some of his own unpublished fragments. Other authors featured in the five-day festival were Kirsten Fuchs, Nico Bleutge and Franz Schuh.

In Vienna, the multicultural and interdisciplinary art festival Wiener Festwochen is currently showcasing a number of performances, theatre productions, installations and exhibitions. With this year’s overarching theme of diversity, most works dedicate themselves to pertinent contemporary issues such as postcolonialism and global conflict. The play Während ich wartete (‘While I Was Waiting’, performed in Arabic with English subtitles), by the Syrian director Omar Abusaada and dramatist Mohammad Al Attar, portrays the story of a family as it comes to reflect larger military, political, cultural and generational conflict in Syria. The production has been touring Europe for a year, albeit with a heavily alternating cast: some actors had not yet completed their own asylum processes and were lacking the necessary papers to perform.

The 48-hour performance by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra was also showcased at the Wiener Festwochen. Bearing one of Sierra’s characteristically self-revealing titles, his performance The Names of those Killed in the Syrian Conflict, between 15th of March 2011 and 31st of December 2016 aims to attach individual identities to the many nameless war victims of those images that circulate in our media. Researched by a team of Brazilian academics, Sierra’s reading of names (accompanied by images projected to a wall) toured Tel Aviv, Vienna, London and Buenos Aires. The performance was accessible not only to a number of local spectators, but also to virtual audiences around the globe who were following it online, ensuring that the humanitarian toll taken on the Syrian population is neither overlooked nor forgotten.

Vivian Szu-Chin Chih, Editor-at-Large, reports from Taiwan:

May 24 marked a milestone in Taiwan: the Constitutional Court ruled that the constitution should serve to protect the rights for same-sex marriage. This unprecedented and long-awaited decision has made Taiwan the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. Taiwan’s fight for the legalization of same-sex marriage has lasted for decades and has taken an arduous journey, one which has been reflected through the country’s literature. Last Words from Montmartre, a novel composed by the notable Taiwanese lesbian writer, Chiu Miao-Jin, who took her own life at the age of twenty-six, as well as Pai Hsien-Yung’s fiction depicting the condition of gays in Taipei in the 1960s, Crystal Boys, are again being widely reread and discussed.

From the last Saturday of May until early July, Prof. Li-Chuan Ou of the Department of Chinese Literature in National Taiwan University will be speaking about Chinese Tang poets and classical Chinese poetry at Kishu An. On June 17, the two Taiwanese doctors under forty will give a joint talk on how they have been striking a balance between their vocations and passion towards writing, together with the everyday realities they face in hospital that have been recorded through their writing. Kishu An will also host an exhibition and a series of related talks to pay tribute to the great Chinese writer, publisher, and translator, Ba Jin, starting from mid-June.

From mid-May to July, the winners of 2016 Taiwan Literature Award are touring around the island to share their experiences of writing. The themes of their speeches span from restoring Taiwanese history through historical novels, to aboriginal poetry about the natural landscapes of Taiwan to the world, to silencing and violence in theatre.

Reverie Powell, Educational Arm Assistant, reports from the United States:

Wordspace in conjunction with the South Dallas Cultural Center, presented poet, performer, and librettist, Douglas Kearney on May 25 in the third season of the reading series, African Diaspora: New Dialogues . Much like the Sankofa, a bird that simultaneously looks backward and forward, Kearney embeds the past, present, and future of African Americans into his work exploring themes important to African Americans such as the reality of being threatened and being ‘threatening’ as well as the historical pressure to ‘signify’ one’s identity. Kearney samples hip hop lyrics, rewrites the myth of Stagger Lee, who kills Bill Lyons for stomping on his sometimes magical, sometimes expensive hat, and sentences him to twelve Herakles-like labors.

Additionally, Dallas’s Mark David Noble is “listening to the arts community” with his new podcast, Wordwire, which broadcasts local performances and interviews giving listeners inside peeks at various authors’ creative processes from inception to delivery.

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Weekly News Roundup, 1 July 2016: Among Other Things

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy first-of-July Friday, Asymptote! This week, annoyingly talented polyglot Vladimir Nabokov’s letters reveal—what, exactly? Marital discord and a whole lot of influence from his wife, Véra (among other things).

And the novel may be changing, but that’s a good thing. A dystopian novel written during the  protests in the Ukraine—on Facebook, no less—will be translated into English (and published as a book). Good thing it’ll be published—and translated—by actual human beings, as computer-driven writers and translators aren’t quite up to the task just yet. And Palestinian and Israeli poets protest the house arrest of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, who is punished for an “inflammatory” poem. READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 24 June 2016: Canon Great Once More

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote. Translation lets us read to challenge our canon. And the Millions (satirically) wills us (Americans) to make the canon great again. And Taiwanese literature may be growing in its global presence, thanks to the National Museum of Taiwanese Literature’s translation initiative, which will sponsor literary translations into sixteen languages. Speaking of industry insiders wheeling-and-dealing, here’s Eida Rotor, Penguin Classics’ Filipino publisherREAD MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 17 June 2016: A Cloudy Complex Mirror

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, friends! This week witnessed the unfortunate passing of one of the best translators into English: Gregory Rabassa has passed away at age 94. He famously translated epic Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez and Argentine novelist Julio Cortázar, whose works defined what we think of as the Latin American “boom” in literature. And his mastery underlined the importance of translators in creating a “world literature.”  READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 10 June 2016: It’s Always Prize Season

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote pals! This week may not be “prize season” per se, but literary prizes abound this and every week, as usual. The United Kingdom‘s former Orange Prize for Fiction—then the Bailey’s Prize—and now titled the “Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction”—has been awarded to The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. In France, the Prix du Livre Inter has been awarded to Tristan Garcia for his 500-page novel, 7 (fitting: the shortlist was seven titles long). And the British Commonwealth Short Story Prize (judged by Man-Booker-award-winner Marlon James) was awarded to Indian writer Parashar Kulkani, for the short story “Cow and Company.” Finally,  Akhil Sharma beat out 160 other contenders to win the International Dublin Literary Award for his novel, A Family Life READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 3 June 2016: Superstar Contributorstars

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote!

All translation is approximate, but we don’t always like to think so. “Approximate Translation” is a performance that grapples with intelligibility, performing sections of Ouyang Jianghe’s poem Between Chinese and English. And speaking of canny approximation, the Los Angeles Review of Books‘ “Multilingual Wordsmiths” series continues with Ann Goldstein, past journal interviewee and translator of Italian fever-phenom Elena Ferrante. READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 27 May 2016: Scrabble Champs

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote readers! Nearly a year ago, the Asymptote blog published an interview with book artist Katie Holten, who “translated books into trees” with her Broken Dimanche Press book, About Trees Now that very same book is in its second printing—a feat that is seriously nothing to sniff at in independent, artist-book publishing! And famed translator-slash-friend-of-Asymptote-anniversaries Edith Grossman is featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books‘ “Multilingual Wordsmiths” series, in an interview by Liesl SchillingerREAD MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 20 May 2016: Oh Man, Book!

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Hey Asymptote, happy Friday! This week’s big news is big for everyone in lit, not just translation—but we translators are extra chuffed. The Man Booker International Prize is one that’s raised the visibility of books in translation (perhaps contributing to the last week’s reported overall increase in translation sales?), and this year’s winner—Korean author Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, translated by Deborah Smith—is no exception. Pore through the journal for an essay by Smith, on “Translating Human Acts,” Kang’s latest translated tome, an altogether difficult translatorial endeavor.

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Weekly News Roundup, 13 May 2016: My Niece, Johanna Bach

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy lucky Friday, Asymptote friends! If you’re feeling unlucky, Google might suggest otherwise. But translators (and their authors, if they aren’t Anglophone) are certainly feeling lucky—or at least relieved, as the Guardian dropped the spectacular news this week that translated titles sell better than their untranslated counterparts. And publishing in translation has grown overall—while the rest of the literary industry struggles (perhaps it’s all this IKEA writing)… READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 6 May 2016: The Best. Translated. Book.

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote! The biggest news this week is that of the official announcement of Three Percent‘s Best Translated Book Award winners, so we won’t keep you waiting: in the fiction category, Mexican novelist Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, translated by Lisa Dillman, took home top honors (you can read a review the blog published preceding the award here—we totally called it). And in the poetry category, Rilke Shake by Brazilian author Angélica Freitas and translated by Hilary Kaplan snagged top honors. Big congratulations to the winning writers, translators, publishers, editors, and readers! READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 29th April 2016: 400 Years Without Cervantespeare

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Hey, happy Friday, Asymptote! This week marks two extra-special, European four-hundred-year anniversaries: it’s the week of Spanish literary icon Miguel de Cervantes’ death, and there’s all sorts of commemoration: Spain celebrated the Don Quixote author with national celebrations and literary awards, but if you’re unable to make it in person, take a virtual trip to La Mancha. And English poet/thespian/legend William Shakespeare, too, died four hundred years ago (1616 was a killer year, huh?), so the commemorations are similarly virtual and literal (in case you’re curious, here’s a Proust Questionnaire with the Bard). And lest you forget (as much of Shakespeare and Cervantes can be found in the open domain) April 23 was also the UNESCO’s world book copyright day.

READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 22 April 2016: NEWruda, Pulitzer,

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote friends! Our new issue is all of a week old, but if you haven’t dived in yet, be sure to start with the blog’s issue highlights—which features the Close Approximations Prize-winning piece by translator-poets Kelsi Vanada and Marie Silkeberg, who are also featured this week in an interview on the blog.

We’ve been promised more work from Chilean poet-diplomat Pablo Neruda for longer than I can remember, but it looks like new work of his might finally see the light of (published) day. Also from Chile: artist Cecilia Viduña is featured on the Poetry Foundation’s “Harriet” blogREAD MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 15th April 2015: So. Many. Shortlists.

This week's highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptoters! This Friday’s an especially good one, because if we’ve timed the post correctly, because it means a new issue is totally live! There are so, so many gems in this issue, (as per usual). But this one also features the winners of our Close Approximations contest—be sure to check out the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry winners (and runners-up)!

This week, our very own Megan Bradshaw reported from the (frightening) field at the 2016 London Book Fair. Other notes from the (not-so) Fair: translators champion books in underrepresented languages and literatures. And the Book Fair announces its International Excellence Award winners: Words Without Borders is this year’s winner of the Publishers Weekly Literary Translation Initiative Award—the very same prize we won last year!—big congrats, WWB!

Speaking of prizes: the Man Booker International Prize has announced its shortlist, which includes Italian anonymon Elena Ferrante, South Korean trendsetter Han Kang (for The Vegetarian, translated by Deborah Smith), among others. The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction has similarly announced its shortlist. And yet another shortlist, this time for the 100,000-pound International Dublin Literary Award: featuring Jenny Erpenbeck, Marilynne Robinson, and many others. And shortly after the American PEN awarded its prizes this week, English PEN reflects on the notion of “reputation” with regard to non-Anglophone writers.

Also,  at the Rumpus, a look behind-the-scenes: here’s an interview with writer and translator (from the Korean) Minsoo Kang, translator most recently of The Story of Hong Gildong. If you’re interested in what goes on in one of the biggest (or perhaps *the* biggest, full stop) powerhouse publications, read this interview with the editor of the New York Times Book Review, Pamela Paul.  And if you’re still thinking about the Close Approximations prizewinners—don’t worry, we won’t judge you—read about our poetry judge, Michael Hofmann, here portrayed as a kind of literary daredevil of sorts.

Weekly News Roundup, 8th April 2016:

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Happy Friday, Asymptote pals! This week, something different: you might be used to reading reports about book prizes, but the Guardian spectacularly announced the end of its First Book Prize. Womp. And we often report on vanishing languages (ones we often represent—through translation!—in our journal’s digital pages), but we hardly try to preserve them through song.

We know books are important—in Afghanistan, new libraries across the country nourish hungry minds with books. Meanwhile, in the United States, we have the self-loathing book critic.

READ MORE…