Good old London town for IFFP NIGHT

Well as I said on last post I went to london on thursday ,so mid morning on Thurs I caught train to St Pancres ,I arrived just after on and was met by Simon from the blog inside books but also a good friend I speak to every day on twitter ,We went and had a coffee and I check in my hotel ,whilst Simon return to work .I planned to meet again at London review book shop to have a look at books and grab a coffee .

This is former poet laureate Sir John Betjeman he is in st Pancres station ,he led a campaign to keep its wonderful Victorian facade ,the pub is also called after him .So after checking in and changing into my suit I decide to head towards the LRB sim had said just head down and across from where I was so I did ,but I must not silly me I forgot to bring an umbrella and was caught in to huge down pours on route but as I stumbled turn here and there on my way to LRB  I noticed I was near Lamb Conduit street which is where Persephone books are .

This was near by a nice blue plague ,so I went and visit Persephone books whose books I ve really enjoyed ,I knew I d like to get the Irene Nemirovsky book they published last year ,the short story collection Dimanche .I brought it and some lovely postcards ,the lady that served me was very helpful ,if a little surprised it was a man buying the book for himself .so avoiding another rain shower I hit the british museum and turn down Bury Place home of the LRB ,I went in and started scanning the huge shelves of books ,almost dribbling at the titles ,I saw as I went up and down twice but had promised my self to limit my self to three books whilst away .So i found two I wanted the first was waiting for the wild beasts to vote by Ahmadou Korouma ,the Ivorian writer that Frank Wynne said was his best translation ,the second book was Juan the Landless by Juan Goytisolo the highly acclaimed spanish writer the older Helen lane translation .So book brought

I got a coffee and was meet by Simon again and Rob of Rob around books and his wife ,this was a real thrill the two people who got me into blogging via their blogs ,we all chatted away for a good 45 mins,I did notice they had a display of Peirene books in the cafe which was great ,before Rob his wife and myself decided to make a move to the RIBA headquarters on Portland place where the Independent foreign fiction prize was being held we arrived and grab a glass of the tattinger champagne that was there as they’d sponsored the event a little nervous I sat and after a bit we heard the art council tell us how important the prize was and introduced  Boyd Tonkin the chair of judges and as we were told a man with untouchable knowledge on fiction in translation ,Boyd told us how strong genre translation was at moment mainly due to Nordic crime ,but still need our support for more literary fiction in translation to see the light of day ,he then ran through the books up for prize then the moment came ,I want Kamchatka ,Rob loved Visitation ,but no it was Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo the Peruvian was the youngest ever winner he came up .

He read from the opening of the book in wonderful English ,he then thanked people ,I was struck by one phrase he said ,this win is for the 70.000 people that died in Peru during the troubles .Then it was back to the drinks after during the prize I tweeted and got a tweet from the ladies of Peirene ask where I was so I found Meike and Maddy and spoke to them this was lovely although I trod on Maddy’s foot twice with my huge feet ,I also meet Rosie Goldsmith from BBC but she has also started the European literature network as a follow-up all year round to the yearly European literature night A site and idea worth following she has real passion for literature in translation .It was  a great day I walk back to my hotel with Mr & Mrs rob ,I made some great friends got to take part in a great event and got some great books ,Thanks to Nikesh at booktrust who set this up and to Rob Simon Meike and Maddy who made it a wonderful day there .

May 2011


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