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And The Moon Is the only Kindness We See

  Dear Diane, Every time it rains, I think of you biking across Queens, and I pray you’ve already made it to work at Rikers. Often you arrive only to… Continue reading ?

Granta's Best of Young American Novelists

Another decade, another Granta 'Best of Young American Novelists'-list. Sigrid Rausing introduces the issue/list (with a couple of good titbits, such as: "NoViolet Bulawayo, a marvellous writer, unfortunately turned out not to be eligible,...Show More Summary

The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award

The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award is given for an unpublished manuscript by a young Australian writer, and this year, as Stephen Romei reports, Vogel prize goes to novel reimagining Kafka's relationship with friend. Yes, Marija Pericic's...Show More Summary

Enigmas of Spring review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of João Almino's recent novel, Enigmas of Spring. Wide-ranging, it does include the nice quote: The world has too many images, words, and too much information, don't you think ? I want to sell silence.

International Prize for Arabic Fiction

They've announced that this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction went to ???? ???? ('A Small Death'), a: "fictional account of the life of Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi", by Saudi (but now living in Canada...) author Mohammed Hasan Alwan;...Show More Summary

The Gray House review-overview

The most recent addition to the complete review is a review-overview of Mariam Petrosyan's The Gray House, just out in English from AmazonCrossing. Russian prize-winning, this is an impressive, big read -- though with its disabled adolescent...Show More Summary


I’m writing this blog post minutes after dragging myself out of bed, where I hit the snooze alarm twice. I can see pink in the sky out the window over… Continue reading ?

Austrian State Prize for European Literature

It is limited to European authors, but the Österreichischer Staatspreis für Europäische Literatur does have one of the more impressive winners-lists for a literary award -- and they've now announced (though not yet at the official site,...Show More Summary

Wellcome Book Prize

They've announced that The Heart (UK title: Mend the Living), by Maylis de Kerangal, has won this year's Wellcome Book Prize, "which celebrates exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction that engage with the topics of health and medicine and the many ways they touch our lives".

Positive Negation: Saying No in Poetry

The old creative writing class imperative to “write what you know” may have its place, but lately I’ve been thinking of the power of poetry not to “know,” but to… Continue reading ?

Recent Acquisitions: Long Essays, Bolivian Literature, an Italian Discovery, Paz’s Poetry

While I was traveling in Texas, and then upon my return home, I picked up many books, as I tend to do generally, regardless of where I am or why I’m there. Here’s a rundown of the latest. The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz — having long been a fan of the essays of this Nobel Continue Reading

Ng?g? wa Thiong'o Q & A

At the Los Angeles Review of Books Nanda Dyssou has An Interview with Ng?g? wa Thiong'o. Among Ng?g?'s observations: Getting published is one of the most infuriating challenges of writing in African languages. There are hardly any publishing...Show More Summary

Three Envelopes review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nir Hezroni's recent thriller, Three Envelopes, just out in English. For those not interested in the book/review itself, I nevertheless offer the Google/author/editor-fail...Show More Summary

Reading in ... Iran

An interesting piece at the TLS' weblog, as Pardis Mahdavi writes about Iran's literary sexual revolution, focusing on how: a different genre occupies today's literary love landscape: the romance novel-cum-self-help book. But Mahdavi...Show More Summary

Eduardo Mendoza receives picks up Cervantes Prize

The awards ceremony for the Cervantes Prize, the leading Spanish-language author prize, was a couple of days ago, with Eduardo Mendoza (An Englishman in Madrid, etc.) finally able to pick up his prize; see, for example, the Deutsche Welle report. His acceptance speech is now up (in Spanish), too.

The Snow Kimono review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mark Henshaw's The Snow Kimono. This is one of those rejected-then-acclaimed works -- Rejected 32 times, The Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw wins NSW Premier's Literary Award,...Show More Summary

European Union Prize for Literature

They've announced the 'winners' of this year's European Union Prize for Literature -- the very peculiar EU 'prize' that rotates through all the member states, twelve or thirteen each year (including, for the last time ever this year,...Show More Summary

Cullman Center fellows

The New York Public Library has announced the fifteen fellows (selected from 357 applicants from 38 countries) who will be Cullman Center Fellows from September 2017 through May 2018. Among them are The Physics of Sorrow-author Georgi...Show More Summary

Prelude to Chemistry: Images from the Alchemy Collection

In order to write four influential books on the history of chemistry, St Andrews’ Professor John Read (1884-1963) assembled a remarkable collection of primary sources. Read, a brilliant organic chemist […]

Man Booker International Prize shortlist

They've announced the shortlist for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, and the six remaining titles are: Compass by Mathias Énard, tr. Charlotte Mandell Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, tr. Megan McDowell A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman, tr. Show More Summary

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