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.”
Not that you needed reminding, but translation—especially from the Arabic—is a murky business. Translation into the Arabic is equally difficult. Meanwhile, the International Prize for Arabic Fiction aims to make Arabic literature more accessible—and visible—to an English-speaking audience.
In Spain, American author Richard Ford has won the Asturias Prize for Literature. And International Man Booker cowinner Deborah Smith (who won top honors for her translation of Korean writer Han Kang’s stunning The Vegetarian) says “prizes are just prizes.” Easy for you to say.
And the “Poets translating Poets” project, conducted between German and South Asian poets working in 20 different languages, confirms that there is “more to poetry than art ” Interesting…
All’s fair in love and war, or it isn’t. Forthcoming nonfiction book The Feud, written by Alex Beam, chronicles the life and death of the literary friendship between Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson. While one newspaper this week wonders how writers make magic through literature, the other delves into the magic of magic in literature itself.
Even in Paris, France, things change: a famous bookstore is revising its chain of workflow toward books printed on demand. And you may not have heard of it, but the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica may be one of the best in the world.