Monthly Archives: November 2013

DISPATCH: Zagreb Translators Meeting

An Exchange of Values

“Next stop… Ban Josip Jelačić Square”.

I stepped out of the number 17 tram—overcrowded as usual—into what would prove one of the most enjoyable and illuminating Friday mornings I have had in a long while. I made my way toward my destination past the square’s two most familiar inhabitants—the statue of Ban Jelačić on horseback, and the ubiquitous Golden Mummy, a living statue street performer who has become a true symbol of Zagreb’s main square.


Neustadt Prize Winner Mia Couto’s “Serpent’s Embrace”

2014 Neustadt Prize Winner Mia Couto

The latest winner of the Neustadt Prize, Mozambican writer Mia Couto, stands as one of the preeminent writers working in Portuguese today. Couto, 58, counts poems, short stories, novels, and essays among his output of 25 books. The Neustadt honor comes on the heels of the 2013 Prêmio Camões, awarded to Couto in May. Much as the Neustadt is often called the “American Nobel,” the Camões is likewise nicknamed the Portuguese-language Nobel.

Weekly News Round-Up, 3rd November 2013: Amazon, Neustadt, and PEN Myanmar

International literary news
October 28–November 3, 2013

It’s a tale of two Amazons. The Internet behemoth takes consistent steps in the right direction for literature’s longevity: the Kindle is an admittedly practical e-reader, and Kindle Direct Publishing makes it stupidly easy for emerging writers to make things happen. Even at Asymptote, we begrudgingly accept Amazon’s eminence as its imprint AmazonCrossing published the most literature in translation in 2012, thereby besting many publishing houses we’d feel far more comfortable endorsing. However, the mega-corporation’s ubiquity makes independent bibliophiles (understandably) uneasy. This week’s developments underline the lit community’s love-hate sentiment: on one hand, Amazon Publishing has launched Day One, a digital literary magazine showcasing emerging authors and poets. Given its gargantuan scope (and an annual subscription cost of just $9.99!) the corporation’s foray into literary journalism might just rekindle the tradition in a digital age (pun intended). In France, however, the government staunchly defends its independent bookstores by restricting Amazon’s discount pricing.


Pop Around the World: Alle Morgens Helden

Lou Reed's deathless cool

In the movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the gorgeous, tortured teenagers who’ve been guiding the film’s young protagonist  another gorgeous, tortured teenager  in matters of love, identity, and music, decide to take the boy on a special trip through a Pittsburgh tunnel. A song comes on the radio, and the girl climbs out through the back window to emerge standing on the back of the flatbed truck in Leo’s “king of the world” pose at the end of the tunnel. Whereas the book can leave the actual song unnamed and universal, the film has to be specific and actually play the song. In a rare false note for the otherwise entirely truthy film, finding the mysterious song that prompted this liberating escapade becomes a matter of serious concern for our serious young protagonist, even though everybody born before 1990 will have immediately guessed it: David Bowie’s deathlessly cool “Heroes”. READ MORE…