What’s happening in Translation

tapas_platter from spain for uk web site

I often come across some great bits via twitter ,internet and sent to me via e-mail .I decide that recently there had been enough to do a post so here we go here is a tapas of translation news from around the web –

A call to arms to publishers to translate more –

The lovely ladies at Stork press have written a wonderful piece over at Publishing perspectives about people translating more to English ,but also making these books seem more accessible to the everyday reader .This is similar to my angry post the other week .Here is the piece .I feel if we all make an effort to promote books in translation demand will grow .But I will yet again point out that publishers have to try and work with readers not against them !!

A modern Ukraine classic comes to english for the first time –

Kaylna Language press is publishing the book Black Raven by the Ukraine writer Vasyl Shkliar .Set in the 1920 about an uprising against the soviets in Ukraine this book sold 100,000 copies in Ukraine .Here is an interview with the writer .A link to the publishing site .

New site for Pushkin Press

The publisher Pushkin press who recently got new owners have revamped their website it’s not quite finished but it looks rather impressive so far .I ve reviewed a number of their books so it is great to see their new site looking so good and new style looks very eye-catching .

A new publisher seeking help

Anomalous press has had a journal about translation for a while now . But is now looking to start publish books so have run a kick-start project so if you live in the us you could maybe help a publisher in translation start !!!!!

That was the month that was January 2013 – a quarter million milestone

snowy treeWell the nights are starting to lighten its been a busy month here at Winston’s tower ,some how shocked how I managed to get 14 books read this month but a number where rather short .I had a number of night shifts and was off for the last five days of the month .I managed to have a little more time than normal to read .Any way favourite book of the month Train to Budapest by Dacia Marani ,which I shall review early next month ,other honorable mentions go to The eleven by Pierre Michon and the two Donald Antrim reissues I read .A good book finding month as many of you may know I tend to have tight book finances ,when it comes to what is available to spend sad to say I had to return to Amazon after nearly a year just because of cost and availability of the books I want for three books ,I hope in summer trips out to cities with Amanda will mean I can buy books in shops I want .But the other side of this is I am a huge second-hand buyer and this month saw me hit gold with a number of penguins a Roman Gary ,Andre Gide ,Henrich Boll and a Samuel Beckett novel .Which eased my conscious re using amazon as some of  these books  are out of print and will be reviewed on here which I hope will get people to find them all out as they are   all writers I feel the need to read and think other people should these are the ones that explain modern literature in France and Germany as they tend to inspire or have been read by most modern writers in these countries .So the month ahead well here at Winston towers two dates spring to mind ,the first is valentines day as a romantic at heart I’ve my book ready for the day and will be spending time myself with the darling Amanda .The other date in my diary is Amanda’s birthday which may not be so bookish as she isn’t a huge reader but sure we will have a lovely time and I ll get her some great gifts .For the blog I sit on the verge of a quarter million views in my stats sometime today or tomorrow I will pass that total so thanks to every one who visits on a regular or just once all welcome  great that you all come and visit the blog .The picture at the top was taken in the middle of the month out with Winston in the middle of the snow .

What was your favourite book last month ?

Plans for next ?

 

Maclehose is five years old lets celebrate by reading their books

The Maclehose Press  is five week 20th – 27th January 2012

Maclehose Press is five years old this year .Christopher Maclehose set the press up after he left Harvil when they were sold to random house .Together with his wife he has brought us a wonderful  mix of well-known writers from the world many of those in translation , established names  Cees Nooteboom to  newer names Marie N’diaye ,many of which have won the big prizes around the world .Here is an interview from the guardian with Christopher Maclehose about setting up Maclehose press and how they choose books . To find a book you may like here is a link to their web site which is really easy to get round .So at the end of this month 21-25 January they will spend time celebrating their five wonderful years and hopefully to many more .so I ask you to join me and  post a review of one or more of their books .sign in here  I’ve add the custom WordPress form .

 

Nobel literature prize 2012 who’s going to win ?

Nobel literature prize 2012 who’s going to win ?

Well its that time of year again when people start asking who is going to win the Nobel prize for literature .In the last two days there has been posts on Complete review  where Michael discusses the betting . I must admit in recent years the winner has jumped in the betting last day .The Guardian also picked up on the betting and the fact that Haurki Murkami is favourite at the moment .So who do I think they’ll pick well it is like shooting fish in a barrel there are maybe 50 plus writers that could be in a position to win the prize .I always feel the prize is like a golden gong to say well done on being a great writer ,so the writers in the mix tend to be middle to end of their  writing life writers .Well I ll throw a few names in the mix as I have done previous years I ll go round the continents and say a few names and briefly why my feeling is it may be a Asian or African writer this year but I think I said that last year  –

Asia –

Haruki Murkami – ok 1q84 wasn’t quite the masterpiece we had all hoped it would be but has any writer such a good collection of novel,short stories and non fiction  ?

Salman Rushdie – counting that his best books are set in India and he grew up there I putting him down as Indian for this lots of good books and one great book midnight’s children is wonderful insight into India after british rule .(you could also include Rohinton Mistry and Vikram Seth both great writers .

Mo Yan – I don’t know a lot about but is called the chinese Franz Kafka ,but is only 57 .I think Chinese writers will win the Nobel but the problem is they have only in the last 15 -20 years grown in popularity in the west .But their time is coming .

Middle east –

Adonis – the Syrian poet is a Nobel speculation favourite he has been mention for years and years .I had him as one of my favourites last year with the Arab spring and with recent events in his homeland maybe this year is his .

Amos Oz – the voice of Israeli in many ways Oz has chronicle his homeland for more than 50 years ,he has won every major prize round the world bar this one .

Aharon Appelfeld – another Israeli writer Appelfeld has kept the horrors of the second world war alive in his fiction and made people think of what happened ?

Europe

 

Peter Nadas /Lazslo Krasznahorkai – I ve read books by both these Hungarian modernist in the last year they are shoulder to shoulder in my mind and the last Hungarian Nobel winner was ten years ago but for a country with such a rich heritage I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these two win .

Juan Goytisolo – the Spaniard has long experimented with his fiction recent talk of english fiction being experimental makes me laugh Goytisolo has been doing it for decades .(Enrique Vila-Matas may also be a contender from spain )

Ulrich Holbein another writer that is always in the betting and one I ve mention a lot of times here on winstonsdad as one that needs to be translated into english .If he won how long would it take not long I ‘d say !!

Cees Nooteboom – I had an interview with Cees on the blog last year ,he is such a  talent writer poet ,novelist and travel writer  .He is too  many the voice of holland .Another writer I d like to win

Africa –

Ngugi wa thong – the Kenyan is another name that has been mention in recent years .He also recently published his first novel for twenty years the wizard which I ve on my tbr pile .

Chinua Achebe – Nigeria’s most famous writer best known for things fall apart one of the first modern african novels .

Assia Dejbar – rose high on  last year betting ,the Algerian is a member of the French academy and she is one of the  most respected writers from north Africa

Americas –

Philip Roth – I ll say same as I did last year neither Mailer or Updike won the nobel so maybe Roth should ,only concern for me is the recent books not been his best.

Alice Munro /Lorrie Moore – two great short story writers ,both have chronicle contemporary america life in their own ways .

Isabel Allende – She has long been the best female writer in latin america and not enough women from latin america have won .

Cesar Aira – The  major writer I ve missed covering and reading from Argentina ,but he has written over thirty novels .

So who do you think ?

here is the latest betting  

Dickens 2012 how far did the ripple go round the world

Well today is the 200th  anniversary of Charles Dickens birth .I ve tossed and turned in my head how to cover this and involve the main focus of Winstonsdad that of fiction in translation and I decide that is to see how in my view he has had an effect outside the UK on writers .At the time Dickens wrote he was along side a couple of great French writers Zola and earlier Balzac these where all social realist writers .so lets see how in my view dickens has effected writers from round the world .

THE CITY –

Now London is Dickens city the sooty dirty back streets dark alleys and cobbles inhabit his london make the city a central character in a lot of his books .Now Orhan Pamuk in a lecture in 2009 acknowledge how both Dickens and Joyce had shown him how important making the city feel right can be to the book ,I read his last book last year the Museum of innocence and this book has loads of dickens links the city Pamuk’s is Istanbul ,class this book is all about classes and love always crops up in Dickens .Although he said he wasn’t a huge fan the great chronicler of Cairo Naguib Mafhouz said Dickens had made cities important to the novel .Joyce also would have read dickens and how many of the scenes in Ulysses wouldn’t have been possible if Dickens hadn’t written so much about working people  and the streets they live in .

CHILDREN AS A NARRATOR 

Whether it is Pip ,David Copperfield or Oliver twist ,Dickens wrote great children as Narrators but also children facing great struggles and meeting the most awful characters along the way from Magwitch and Bill Sikes as evil ,to school or workplace as a horrific situations .Now last year I read two great child Narrators heir to Dickens great Narrator and both from the spanish speaking world Tochtti from down the rabbit hole lives in a nightmares world of the modern criminal class Fagin and Sikes look tame compared to this world but if Dickens lived now this would be his world .The other book is Kamchatka and Harry and his family on the run  face a terrifying world  and danger at every turn .I interview the writer and he had read a lot of english fiction although he didn’t mention Dickens I m sure he would have read him .

SOCIAL JUSTICE 

Now there is one name jumps out for this Leo Tolstoy who was known to be a huge Dickens fan and like Dickens his books have a lot of social realism in them .Tolstoy called Dickens the greatest 19th century writer ,even have pictures of Dickens on his wall .Elsewhere I noticed Heinrich boll mention Dickens in his book the Irish journal  and the recent German short story collection from Clemens Meyer a rough edged book is the heir to Dickens in its view of people on the edge is the rough parts of east german that much different to the Victorian London of Dickens I wonder .

So there is just a few people from round the world that could be called the children of dickens but I like to point out Sarah’s post and the fact that I love dickens but as Sarah says there are lots of over looked writers like Henry Green and Lawrence Durrell would be another this year is his 100th anniversary .The top image is one I took recently at the dickens museum which is at his home .


Bookish deeds a film and lend

well last night I had a great night at home with the Amanda but had two great bookish moments away from reading books the first was a film that was new to me that was on the sky premier film channel so a newish film it was called Eleanors secret ,a French Animation with english language soundtrack .We follow Natanael a seven year old boy that is afraid to read aloud and this is effecting his school work ,so on the way to his late aunts house where he spent many happy summers with her reading to him from her library of first editions fairy tales and classics .She left him this library and the secret that goes with it .I don’t have kids but I fell this is a film to inspire kids to read and to a book junkie like me was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours with my darling wife .I m sorry I picked german trailer first as it much better than the english one I found gives better idea of the book .But have include the english one as well .

My second bookish event last night was minor but to me a thrill I borrowed my first e-book from our library system I didn’t know Derbyshire even  had a e library well we do it’s not terribly big but there is a number of books there I wanted to read but most were out on loan so I choose Arctic chill by Arnaldur Indridason as I have it on my shelves if I don’t finish it on my I pad in time .

Have you borrowed a e-book ?

What bookish things your discovered recently ?

books ,booker ,literature prize ?

Well I stuck my nose in a conversation about the booker prize and the new prize announced this week as a counter to the booker ,now I view the new prize as a positive move the booker has been around unchallenged as the premier prize for literary fiction in the english speaking world for a long time ,so like most things that have had control of a market for a long time maybe it has got a little flabby at the waist and let its self go a bit and standards have dropped  .The new prize is in part a reaction to this years jury which in literary terms is a little lightweight and the choices of long list and shortlist have sparked much discussion on what the booker means in people’s eyes ,also a comment by the judge Chris Mullins in regards readability of the books he choose .I had long been a fan of the booker and have read many shortlisted booker books over years .

So what does the booker mean to me as a prize well I look at literary fiction a like Everest we maybe have to be like sir Edmund Hilary reach the peak  but then climbing didn’t stop and give up ,no but like all climbers we look for the new unclimbed peaks however hard ,or the new route up the mountain via a new path ,or a new way of climbing that maybe dangerous or innovative  and I think this metaphor works for the booker and reading for me in general I like to challenge myself . This is what reading  as the climbing metaphor  is ,not for climbing the same route or going to Ben Nevis and making out it is a hard as climbing Everest ! So that said what does this reader look for in his booker shortlists and winners well I ve a few things, and will use previous winners and shortlisters to show what I look for and why I think the prize has drifted of late as most of the books mention are pre 2003  –

 

Language 

I like a book that shows the bounds of the english languages and what can be done with it I perfect example would be James Kelman how late it was ,how late a book that showed the ability of language and regional accents a book wrote in a clear broad Glaswegian accent was it readable well if you were from Glasgow yes but otherwise it was a wonderful insight into how broken english can be shattered and remade in Scotland into a brutal but effective language that suits its setting .

Genre expanding  

Now I m going pick two books both works of magic realism the are Midnights children by Salman Rushdie  and Famished road by Ben Okri both winners in the 80’s They both approached the Magic realism genre in different ways Rushdie use it as a blueprint for the tale of modern India ,Okri as a way to open village life in Africa and Africa myths to the reader .Keneally Schindler’s ark also did same for biographical novels .#

sets a new mark 

I like books that when you read you can say that will be cited for years after as a turning point in fiction .I ve got a recent winner in mind Wolf hall I think even thou I didn’t really enjoy it ,I can see it being a book that has raised the bar on historic fiction and  will be the one the people say was a game changer and will be the one people read to get inspired to write historic fiction .

just talent 

Now some writers just oozes talent now around booker shortlist it is obvious who has influenced english literary fiction for years people like Beryl Bainbridge and William Trevor although neither won a booker both have had multiple short-listed books  over 20 plus years why because the constantly show the bounds of the English language Peter Carey and J M Coetzee have both won on more than one occasion and this  is due to there talent as writers both try to set a new path to follow  with each new  book and usually succeed in showing how you can be different even in the same field of fiction .

There are the things I look for in a winner books that try to climb Everest set new marks and leave me as a reader want more ,I think the rot set in with the booker in 2003 the short lists since then have been weaker that earlier ones so a new prize is welcome and well all be able to judge what difference it has made to the booker and what direction the new prize is set in .Although I must note it is a missed chance for a general prize for  literary fiction that also including translations   published within in a year .I personally think this hasn’t happened because it would show how much great fiction is coming to readers from outside the English speaking world !! that does all of what I state in the qualities of a booker winner and usually far better

What do you think ?

Roll up Roll up and chat books at book talk

The scottish version of Booktrust Scottish booktrust has a new reading club on line called  book talk that will be reviewing a new book every month ,There site is also worth visiting for the numerous blog posts ,links and children book piece ( for my many nephews and nieces ,I need to know what the kids find cool) so roll up and take a look as book talk went live today .So please go have a look and support them as they do a lot for Childrens literacy .

BBAW 2011

Well I am a funny soul only last week ,I said I didn’t want to do much with book blogger appreciation weeK on twitter ,but must say who ever runs bbaw twitter needs to reply to people numerous mentions and no reply !! that does annoy  but as they say a week is a long time in politics in my mind its a lifetime now I want to take full part I may not want to be a part of a certain type of blogging but want meet new bloggers and learn about blogging more and BBAW can help with that  .so if you like my little blog nominate me if not don’t lol .I hope to maybe find some new blogs and also get some fresh ideas for the blog of late I ve seem to have got stuck in the mud in my head I need something to spark the blog of again so maybe BBAW will help me get some spark back in the blog .That and the return of my favourite blogger rob of robaround books should see the old dog rise again .I ve nominated already I ve told people I’ve nominate already .

so have fun and as a publicist said on twitter today #ilovereading  and I do

good luck all and hi to any new people I meet ,

stu and Winston the dog .

 

 

 

 

World book night top 100 lets make it a fresh list !!!

Beside the sea world book night

This years world book night giveaways are to be decided by us the public by choosing our  top ten books .I looked at the current top 100 and have to agree with Meike from Peirene it is a bit bland and from the perspective of winstonsdad the translation choices which there are at this moment ten book are what I would call the ones people think they should read or put in a list even if they’ve not read to look good (sorry needs to be said) .I love Murakami and Marquez but some diffeernt book here would be great open peoples eyes.Well Meike has suggest if we could all choose Beside the sea by Veronique Olmi  it is a lovely french gem and is one of my all time favourite reads any way ,at moment 35 votes will get it in the top 100 I ve vote so 34 would do it come on lets help the nymph and the lovely ladies of Peirene make the list ,all of us bloggers and tweeters know how much effort this publisher puts into social media and interaction with its readers more than any major publisher does .So put your hand up and say yes I want the small guy to win for once because we all love the underdogs in this country lets for once get them there  ,Meike has written a blog post about this too here ,thanks stu .I will be put up for giving away this time as I was too shy to volunteer last year .

My top ten –

Beside the sea by Veronique Olmi – reason a french gem touching and it will make you gasp if you’ve not read it !

Rings of saturn  by W G Sebald reason started my love of translation and it is a book that can be reread and still make you think .

Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes – reason the first novel it has all in it that has followed since a true master piece .

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges reason he was a genius flash fiction avant grade fiction all look at this as a starting point

If on a winters night a traveller by Italo Calvino reason I love it and I know many people hate it but who can’t love a book that talks to you ?

My century by Gunter grass  – reason  short interlocking pieces covering the 20thcentury from the German master not his best but it is a good insight into Germany .

Cities of red night by William S Burroughs  – reason he was a one off writer this book has all a young guy could want from a book and men shou,ld read more !

The last brother by Nathacha Appananah – reason a unheard corner of post ww2 history jewish refugees stuck on a tropical island told touchingly through two young boys tale .

Goodbye to all that by Robert Graves – reason  my favourite memoir war is bad and read this you know it is ,a poets eye goes to war .

Walden by Henry David Thoreau – reason if more people had read this would the world be the way it is the simple life as he spent time in nature thinking whilst living in a wooden hut .

What are your choices ?

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