Weekly News Roundup, 25th July 2014: Bookin’ it, Icy lit

This week's literary highlights from across the world

The Man Booker Prize decision to include all English-language pieces of fiction (not just those in the Commonwealth or Ireland) caused quite a stir last year. Since the longlist has been announced, take a look at what it means to include writers from the United States among the Bookish. That being said, the English novel as we know it is dying, or dead already (for better or for worse: doesn’t this mean new opportunities for translated lit)? And another English-language prize, longlisted: the so-called “International” Dylan Thomas Prize has announced those in the running for the 30,000-pound award.

Iceland may be small, but it is fierce: the country of 320,000 packs a serious literary punch. Why is this country so devastatingly bookish? In the spirit of undying readership: Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle has been rumored to cause fights, burn bookstores, and spur companies to institute “Knausgaard-free days” to encourage continued productivity. But are these reports of readerly obsessiveness true? Tim Parks disputes the media’s inclination to make a sensation out of a literary figure.

In case you’re sick of these translation-phobic literary previews that have been crawling around the Internet (they know who they are), at Three Percent, Chad Post has assembled a great anticipatory translated-lit piece. In Japan, government programs valiantly crusade to encourage Japanese literature in English translation: ¥80 million will go to translators boosting the country’s image in foreign markets (yay!). Another Japanese import worth watching: an animated, 20-minute version of Kafka’s short story, “A Country Doctor.” And another kind of translation is underway at Marvel Comics, where the latest issue in the Avengers series is written in sign language (providing insight for a character who has undergone severe ear damage).

Now there’s even more reason to spend time on the Internet. This summer only, the New Yorker has opened up a significant amount of its archives to the online public, as has the acerbic publication, The Baffler. And if all that wasn’t enough, the Paris Review showcases one of Asymptote’s favorite past contributors, Ottilie Mulzet, in a great interview. Take a look, but remember to eat, sleep, and stretch your legs.