Posts filed under 'nobel prize'

“Thirst for a Deeper Understanding”: An Interview with the Founders of Absynt

Perhaps the fact that we were amateurs was an advantage: we were willing to take on the risk.

In 2015, two friends, a Pole and a Slovak, took a gamble and ventured into the overcrowded book market in Slovakia. And as if starting a new publishing house wasn’t risky enough, they chose to focus on literary reportage, a genre that was not well-known in Slovakia at the time. Since then, Absynt has published eighty titles and in late 2017 launched a Czech branch. At this year’s London Book Fair, the founders of Absynt, Filip Ostrowski and Juraj Koudela, shared their remarkable success story with Asymptote’s editor-at-large for Slovakia, Julia Sherwood.

Julia Sherwood (JS): Reportage is increasingly being recognized as a bona fide literary genre and gaining popularity around the world. What is it about reportage that attracts you and that distinguishes it from ordinary journalism? Why do you think it resonates with readers?

Filip Ostrowski (FO): There is this general thirst for a deeper understanding of events and their context. We get coverage of the whole world from the media and the internet, but what is missing is a detached view, a kind of more universal commentary. For such a text to emerge, some time has to elapse. We feel that online coverage doesn’t respond to this need, but literary reportage can.

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Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

Our weekly roundup of the world's literary news brings us to Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, and Iran.

This week, we bring you news of literary festivities in Romania and Moldova, a resurgence of female writing in Slovakia, and the tragic loss of a promising young translator in Iran. As always, watch this space for the latest in literary news the world over!

MARGENTO, Editor-at-Large, reporting from Romania and Moldova:

A book of interviews with Romanian-German writer and past Asymptote contributor Herta Müller came out in French translation from Gallimard just a few days ago (on Feb 15). The book has already been praised for the lucidity showed by the Nobel-prize winner in combining the personal and the historical or the political.

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Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

Our weekly roundup of the world's literary news brings us to Albania, Kosovo, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

We wrap up an exciting week for the Asymptote team—and for the book club in particular—with our weekly roundup of world literature. This week, Barbara Halla gives us the latest on authors and festivals in Albania and Kosovo, including Ismail Kadare, who was featured in the Winter 2018 issue. Cassie Lawrence explores the latest in British publishing, including an exciting diversity endeavor from Jacaranda Books. Finally, Kate Garrett shares the latest literary award winners in Australia. Enjoy a reading-filled weekend!

Barbara Halla, Editor-at-Large, reporting from Albania and Kosovo

Kadare might have been snubbed for the Nobel Prize once more last year, but 2018 is going well for him already. We are barely two months in and Kadare is collecting prizes. In January, he won the Italian Nonino International Prize, whose previous winners include Claude Lévi-Strauss and V. S. Naipaul. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development launched its first literary prize as well, with Kadare’s The Traitor’s Niche making the inaugural shortlist. As if this weren’t enough, the English-speaking public will receive two new books by Kadare, both published in early 2018. A Girl in Exile (translated by John Hodgson) is both an adaptation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and a nostalgic look at Tirana during Communism. Restless Books, on the other hand, is issuing for the first time in English a collection of Kadare’s essays aptly titled Essays on World Literature: Aeschylus, Dante, and Shakespeare, translated by Ani Kokobobo. For those interested, an excerpt can be read in Asymptote’s latest issue.

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Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

Your weekly literary news from around the world.

Our team is always keen to keep you up to speed on the most recent prizes, festivals, and publications regarding the most important writers around the world. With this in mind,  we are excited to bring you the latest news from our editors-at-large in Mexico, Central America and Indonesia. Stay tuned for next week! 

Paul Worley and Kelsey Woodburn, Editors-at-Large, reporting from Mexico: 

The Tsotsil Maya poetry and book arts collective Snichimal Vayuchil held a book presentation for its latest publication, Uni tsebetik, on November 30 at the La Cosecha Bookstore in San Cristobal de las Casa, Chiapas, Mexico. A collection of works by the group’s female members, the volume was introduced by the Tsotsil sculptor and multimedia artist Maruch Méndez and anthropologist Diane Rus. The event is part of a big month for the group, which includes the publication of their selected works translated into English, and a reading of works from Uni tsebetik at the Tomb of the Red Queen in the Maya archeological site of Palenque.

The same night, the State Center for Indigenous Languages, Arts, and Literature (CELALI) held a book presentation for its latest publication, Xch’ulel osil balamil, by poet and artist María Concepción Bautista Vázquez. The anthology Chiapas Maya Awakening contained her work in an English translation by Sean S. Sell, who was interviewed in Asymptote in April.

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Weekly News Roundup, 9th October 2015: Noble Nobel!

This week's literary highlights from across the world.

Happy Friday, Asymptote pals! Unless your habitation is rock-like, you’ve probably heard this week’s biggest, most high-stakes literary news: the Nobel Prize in Literature has been announced, and this year’s honors go to Belarusian Svetlana Alexievich, journalist and prose writer recognized for her meticulous, “polyphonic literature of witness.” Alexievich was at the top of the betting pools, but for those not in-the-know, the Nobel Prize is again an excellent opportunity to discover another author (often through translation!). Voices from Chernobyl, translated by Keith Gessen, is of particular interest. But much of her work—which voices the unvoiced—remains as-of-yet untranslated. Here’s a helpful primer to her work. READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 19th December 2015: Noble/Nobel Buzz, University Navelgazing

This week's literary highlights from across the world

To most Americans, the announcement of most recent literary Nobel laureate French author Patrick Modiano spurred a collective reaction: “who?” But (thanks to translation!), readers are warming up to his noteworthy oeuvre, and he’s gotten a significant boost since the prestigious win. And if you’re heading vers la France in the next few weeks—Christmas in Paris does sound romantic—be sure to check out this walkable guide to the City of LIghts à la Modiano.  READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 10th October 2014: The Nobel Prize, Pick-and-Choose Grammar

This week's literary highlights from across the world

First things first: here at the Roundup, we’ve been speculating about the Nobel Prize in literature for weeks—at one point or another, we had pitted Japanese surrealist Haruki Murakami and Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o as the two heaviest hitters—but the 2014 Nobel Prize is an upset (isn’t it always?), going to French writer Patrick Modiano. The committee cited Modiano’s “art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

Not even in the discussion this year was American standby Philip Roth, who seems to have resigned himself to perennial snubbing: “I wonder if I had called ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ ‘The Orgasm Under Rapacious Capitalism,’ I would thereby have earned the favor of the Swedish Academy.” Hah. This sort of snub comes as no surprise, as a famous Nobel judge claims that Western literature is being laid to waste by the big business of creative writing courses and the general tendency toward “professionalization” in literature. 

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Weekly News Roundup, 3rd October 2014: Bad Beginnings, But Is this the Year for Murakami?

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Beginning the weekly roundup is often, well, awkward. But I’d like to think my overtures are not quite as cringe-inducing as these ten worst openers in (English-language) literature.

On that note, if you feel like clicking away from this post to go do something more “productive,” don’t abandon your procrastination so quickly—it turns out the oft-reviled quality of procrastination isn’t so bad for you after all. Speaking of putting things off, while I personally didn’t study for the math portion of my GRE, I passed with (relatively) flying colors. Wonder why, but habits of polyglottism may have something to do with itREAD MORE…