Since 2013 we’ve been bringing you the latest news in the literary world, and we’re not about to stop anytime soon! This week our Executive Assistant, Cassie Lawrence, showcases the latest exciting books being published and prizes being awarded in the UK; our new Editor-at-Large from Brazil, Lara Norgaard, focuses on racial and gender diversity in festivals across the country, as well as newly published work that had been previously lost; finally, our Editor-at-Large for Taiwan, Vivian Szu-Chin Chih, fills us in on the latest prizes as well as film festivals happening right now!
Cassie Lawrence, Executive Assistant at Asymptote, reports from the UK:
An unpublished manuscript from the late author Maurice Sendak (known for Where the Wild Things Are) has been discovered. The manuscript is complete with illustrations and is said to date from twenty years ago, according to Publishers Weekly. A publisher for the new title has not yet been announced.
June 20-23 saw twenty British writers and over fifty literature professionals from around the world gather in Norwich as part of the International Literature Showcase. An online platform that allows the showcasing and collaboration of international literature organisations, the live event included panel discussions and readings from Elif Shafak, Graeme Macrae Burnet, David Szalay, and more.
Good news for libraries finally! Following the cuts that have taken place across the country in recent years, The Bookseller brings news that 14 libraries across Lancashire are set to reopen later this year and early next year. These will be partly run by community groups, but with the majority still being run by the council.
Amy Liptrot’s memoir The Outrun (Canongate) has been awarded the PEN Ackerley Prize 2017 . The book was up against All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead (4th Estate) and This Is the Place to Be by Lara Pawson (CB Editions). Liptrot also took home the Wainwright Prize in 2016 for the “best writing on the outdoors, nature and UK-based travel writing.”
Zed Books are to release the first anthology of Russian contemporary art writing to be published outside of Russia. The book, entitled Cosmic Shift: Russian Contemporary Art Writing, will be published on the October 5, with contributors including artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, e-flux founder Anton Vidokle, critic and theorist Boris Groys and avant-garde artist and writer Dmitri Prigov.
Lara Norgaard, Editor-at-Large, covers the latest in Brazil:
The much-awaited 15th annual Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty (Flip) will take place in Paraty, RJ from July 26-30, gathering authors to discuss topics ranging from theater and film to politics and science.
Women now constitute over half of the forty-six invited authors. Black authors, though still underrepresented, now make up 30 percent. This year’s honored author is Lima Barreto, a black writer from Rio de Janeiro whose work 100 years ago engaged social critique on topics of race and class.
Writers invited to participate include Jamaican 2015 Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James, Angolan rapper and activist Luaty Beirão, and Brazilian poet and translator Josely Vianna Baptista. New this year, each discussion will open with a performance art series, “Fruto estranho”. The research organization Intelectuais Negras UFRJ will release a catalogue/portfolio hybrid at the conference entitled Intelectuais Negras, containing information on contemporary black women writers in Brazil.
Despite Flip’s progress on inclusion, more can be done. On the horizon: the first-ever national conference for women writers in Brazil, Mulherio das Letras (October 10-15 in João Pessoa, PB), brings together a diverse group of over 400 women writers to discuss writing in the male-dominated Brazilian literary world. The events are being organized collectively and without hierarchy. For information or to get involved, message the group’s Facebook page.
A black female author will also be commemorated in São Paulo this month. On July 10-14 journalists and writers will meet for the Ciclo Carolina Maria de Jesus and host discussions about author Carolina Maria de Jesus (1914-1977), a black woman from Minas Gerais who lived in Sao Paulo’s Candidé favela. In 1960 she published a collection of her journals, Quarto de Despejo – Diário de uma Favelada, which explores the everyday of the favela. The journal has been translated in forty-two countries.
In publishing news, June yielded the posthumous release of two famous Brazilian writers’ works. On June 22 researcher Milena Wanderly found a poem by Hilda Hilst (1930-2004) in an archived issue of the magazine Tentativa, published when the poet was 19 years old.
Two years ago, a professor at the Federal University of São Carlos, Dr. Wilton Marques, made a similar discovery when he found eight stories written by young José de Alencar in the Correio Mercantil newspaper from 1854 and 1855. On June 27, the Editora da Universidade Federal de São Carlos published this collection, with a critical introduction by Marques.
Vivian Szu-Chin Chih, Editor-at-Large, reporting from Taiwan:
The Taiwanese literary translator and English literature professor at National Taiwan University, Ping-Ta Ku, received the second English Presents award granted by English PEN at the end of June, with his English translation of the well-respected contemporary Taiwanese fiction writer, Yijun Luo’s novel published by INK in 2008, Tangut Inn (Xi Xia Lu Guan).
Luo’s Tangut Inn depicts the condition of Taiwan’s society by comparing it to the Xi Xia Empire (Tangut Empire) that existed through the 11th century in northwestern China and some parts of Inner and Outer Mongolia. By drawing an analogy between an Empire conquered by an unidentified political force (some historians attribute it to the Mongolians led by Genghis Khan) and Taiwan in the 20th century, the novel transcends the past and present, contrasting the protagonist’s psychological world and the realities in the society. The translator employs Renaissance English to cross the barrier posed by the author, who composed in complex traditional Chinese.
Shifting our focus from the literary scene to films, the 19th Taipei Film Festival is currently happening in several major movie theaters in the capital, introducing most up-to-date film works from local and pan-Asian areas, including northeastern and southeastern Asian countries. One noteworthy program of the film festival this year showcased the Taiwanese film music composer, Lim Giong, who was the winner of the Cannes Soundtrack Award for his work in Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s “The Assassin” in 2015. The Taipei Film Festival invited Lim to cooperate with a few new directors and rank the seven selected films directed by these directors. The audience was enabled to enjoy the luxury of peeking into Lim’s composing process at Zhongshan Hall, with all the required equipment for sound composing set up by the festival crew.
From this week until the end of July, Taipei will be remembering one of the greatest Taiwanese directors from the “New Wave Cinema” in the 1980s, Edward Yang, who passed away a decade ago. With three of his digitally restored films screened, “That Day, on the Beach,” “Taipei Story,” and “Yi Yi: a One and a Two,” once again, the audience will be reviewing the director’s legendary life and re-understanding the city through the beloved director’s eyes and camera.
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