Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

The latest in literary news around the globe, all in one place.

If, like us, you can’t start the weekend without knowing what the literary world’s been up to this past week, we’ve got your back. We have dispatches from Central America, the United States and Indonesia with a real tasting board of talks, events and new publications. Wherever you’re based, we’re here to provide you with news that stays news. 

Editor-At-Large for Guatemala, José García, reports on events in Central America: 

Today Costa Rica’s book fair, the twentieth Feria del Libro 2017, kicked off in San José. During its nine days, CR’s fair will offer concerts, book readings, release events, and seminars. This year’s Feria will have the participation of writers like Juan Villoro (Mexico), Carlos Fonseca (Costa Rica), Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner Rita Dove (United States), Horacio Castellanos Moya (El Salvador), and Mayra Santos-Febres (Puerto Rico), among others.

Some of the books to be presented or discussed during the fair are Larisa Quesada’s En Piel de Cuervos, Alfonso Chase’s Piélagos, Carlos Francisco Monge’s Nada de todo aquello, Isidora Chacón’s Yo Bruja, and Luis ChávesVamos a tocar el agua. Also, the renown Costa Rican writer Carlos Fonseca, famous for his first novel Coronel Lágrimas that was translated into English by Megan McDowell and published by Restless Books, will talk about his sophomore book, Museo Animal on September 2.

In Guatemala, the indie press Magna Terra continued the promotion of many of its titles released during this year’s Guatemalan Book Fair. On August 17 they officially presented Pablo Sigüenza Ramírez’s Ana es la luna y otros cuentos cotidianos. Also, they continue to push Pedro Pablo Palma’s Habana Hilton, about the most personal side of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, during his time in Guatemala and his early years in Cuba.

Fellow Guatemalan indie press, Catafixia Editorial recently finished a local tour that included their participation in FILGUA, the international poetry festival of Quetzaltenango FIPQ, and a quick visit to Comalapa, for the presentation of Oyonïk, by the twenty-two-year-old poet, Julio Cúmez. Additionally, Catafixia is preparing for their participation in the IV Encuentro de Pensamiento y Creación Joven en las Américas in Habana Cuba next month. And recently they announced the inclusion of writer, poet, and guerrilla leader Mario Payeras to their already impressive roster; they have yet to share which of Mario’s books they will republish.

Finally, Guatemalan writer, Eduardo Halfon, has a new book coming out August 28 titled Duelo (Libros Asteroide).

Asymptote Copy Editor Noah Ross with the latest from the United States: 

New York City celebrated Women in Translation month with a reading and discussion on August 17 co-presented by the PEN America Translation Committee and Brooklyn’s WORD Bookstore. The event, moderated by Madhu Kaza, featured Bonnie Huie, Elisabeth Jaquette, and Julia Sanches.

On August 24th , Brooklyn’s Greenlight Bookstore presented An Evening with the Women of Color Writers’ Workshop, a night of readings that anticipates the publication of the collective’s forthcoming anthology, Boundaries & Borders.

On the West Coast, Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA) will host a Planned Parenthood Literary Fundraiser on August 27 where authors Jonathan Franzen, Karen Joy Fowler, and Elizabeth McKenzie will take a break from writing and reading to act as your bartender for the night.

In San Francisco, on August 30 , environmentalists and writers Ken Brower, Susan Freinkel, and Mary Ellen Hannibal will speak at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library on the threat of climate change and a president who deems global warming “an expensive hoax.”

Across the Bay in Oakland, Transit Books publishes Wioletta Greg’s highly anticipated debut in English, Swallowing Mercury, on September 12. The text is translated by Eliza Marciniak and longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. Greg will be reading at San Francisco’s Green St Apple Books on September 21, at an event sponsored by the Center for the Art of Translation, who release the Fall 2017 issue of their journal of literature in translation, Two Lines, on September 12.

Both coasts are gearing up for a busy next few months: the 17th Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held on Saturday, September 2 at the Washington Convention Center; the Brooklyn Book Festival will run from September 11 to 17; the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland is happening the weekend of September 16-17; and San Francisco’s acclaimed Lit Crawl is on the books for the night of October 14.

Editor-At-Large for Indonesia, Norman Erikson Pasaribu, reporting from Indonesia: 

ASEAN Literary Festival was held from 3-6 August. One of the most interesting batches of session was ASEAN: Beyond Imagination, which included a session with Hilmar Farid about uniting ASEAN through literature. The festival was held at the same time of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.

The Margins, a magazine of Asian American Writers’ Workshop, also celebrated the festivity by posting an article, “ ASEAN at 50: Poems from Across Southeast Asia.” Asymptote’s past contributor Khairani Barokka’s poem ‘Money for your English’ was included. Khairaini Barokka will publish her first debut full-length book of poems entitled Rope with Nine Arches Press in October 2017.

The respected Australian magazine Kill Your Darlings presented a showcase of emerging Indonesian writers who are all previous artists of Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The showcase included Bonni Rambatan’s essay about comics as a social change in Indonesia and Asymptote‘s past contributor Eliza Vitri Handayani’s essay about faith.

The Khatulistiwa-award-winning novelist Leila S. Chudori announced that the title of her next novel, which will be published later this year by Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, is Laut Bercerita [The Sea Speaks His Name].

Some interesting books published recently include a new book poems Buku Latihan Tidur [The Book of Sleep Exercises] by the multiple-award-winning poet Joko Pinurbo, a short story collection Manifesto Flora [Flora’s Manifest] by Cyntha Hariadi , and Macramé a debut book of stories by the emerging writer, Dias Novita Wuri. Putih , the Indonesian translation of the award-winning book of essays Seeing Beauty, Sensing Race in Transnational Indonesia from Indonesian scholar L. Ayu Saraswati published by Marjin Kiri.

At the end of this month, the Jakarta Arts Council will announce the winner of their 2017 Literary Criticism Competition. The past winners include the renowned literary critics Katrin Bandel and Bramantio.

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