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The French influence in Viet Nam

Via I'm pointed to a Vi?t Nam News piece on Scholars debate role of French language in Viet Nam -- an interesting look at the colonial legacy. Interesting to see them consider the consequences of changed circumstances: "It makes sense that young students have decided to focus on English due to globalisation," he said. Show More Summary

Kafka, Angry Poet

Pascale Casanova's The World Republic of Letters impressed me greatly, and I was very pleased to see and now read a copy of her Kafka, Angry Poet (see the Seagull publicity page, or get your copy at or -- but...Show More Summary

Interviews & Influences: Please Excuse This Poem & Rescue Press

Following up on earlier posts about the new anthology Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, the editors Lynn Melnick and Brett Fletcher Lauer recently announced that all 100 (!) author interviews are now up on the book’s… Continue reading ?

109 entries, no winner

The US$100,000 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates through (four) genres, and this year it was the turn of children's literature. They got 109 entries, but, as Evelyn Osagie reports in The Nation, No winner for 2015 NLNG's Literature...Show More Summary

Sigit Susanto Q & A

At Birgit Lattenkamp has a Q & A with Indonesian author Sigit Susanto (as Indonesia-as-guest-of-honour-time at the Frankfurt Book Fair approaches, in a couple of weeks). He is a bit concerned that Indonesia isn't fully prepared for Frankfurt, and suggests: Maybe Indonesia will be guest of honour again in 2025, and can be better prepared to present itself then.

Sony Labou Tansi, poet

Sony Labou Tansi, from what is now the Congo (DRC), died in 1995 but a couple of years ago I hoped the English translation of his Life and a Half would make for a bit of a revival, at least in the English-speaking world. (Several ofShow More Summary

Is Paris Still Paris?

“In a beautiful turn of phrase, Hugo von Hofmannsthal called [this city] ‘a landscape built of pure life.’ And at work in the attraction it exercises on people is the kind of beauty that is proper to great landscapes–more precisely,… Continue reading ?

Hamid Ismailov Q & A

At Electric Lit Melody Nixon has The Peripheral Writer: An Interview With Hamid Ismailov -- a rare Central Asian author whose works are available in English, including The Underground, just out from Restless Books (see their publicity...Show More Summary

Royal Society Winton Prize

They've announced that the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books goes to Adventures in the Anthropocene, by Gaia Vince. See the publicity pages from Chatto & Windus and Milkweed, or get your copy from (it's conveniently just out in paperback in the US) or

William Hill Sports Book of the Year longlist

They've announced the longlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award --: he world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £27,000 cash prize, the winning author will receive aShow More Summary

She Who Was No More review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Boileau-Narcejac's classic She Who Was No More -- on which the Diabolique-films were based -- just re-issued by Pushkin in their new Pushkin Vertigo imprint. I've oftenShow More Summary

Special Collections Visiting Scholars – Commonplace Books, Scrapbooks and Other Albums

Back in June, we received our first Visiting Scholar for 2015 – Professor Kevin James of the University of Guelph. Since delivering a workshop based on his research on 11 […]

Swiss Book Prize shortlist

The Schweizer Buchpreis -- which is, in fact, only the German-language Swiss Book Prize -- has announced its five-title shortlist, selected from 90 entries. The winner will be announced 8 November.

Arno Schmidt exhibit

The exhibit Arno Schmidt: Eine Ausstellung in 100 Stationen ('an exhibit in 100 stations') opened at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin yesterday (it runs through 10 January), and it sounds pretty awesome -- see early (German) coverage...Show More Summary

Göteborg Book Fair

The Göteborg Book Fair starts today, and runs through the 27th. Hungary is the foreign focus, but there's a lot else going on -- 780 writers and lecturers from 31 countries !

On the Discomfort of Talking About Meditation

It’s strange to talk to friends, especially old friends, about meditation, even when they ask about it. It’s been so helpful to me, and I’m glad to share my experience when it might help someone else, but I’m also by nature averse to proselytizing. I really don’t ever want to hearken back to the fundamentalist kid […]

Prize: "Welt"-Literaturpreis

The €10,000 "Welt"-Literaturpreis is a leading German international author prize, with a decent list of winners (including Murakami Haruki last year and Jonathan Franzen in 2013) -- albeit tending to the more 'popular'/bestselling-part...Show More Summary

Prize: Constantijn Huygens-prijs

The €10,000 Constantijn Huygens-prijs is the leading Dutch 'lifetime achievement' author-award, with a solid record (and a few notable misses...); winners include Cheese-author Willem Elsschot (1951), Louis Paul Boon (1966), Harry Mulisch (1977), The Sorrow of Belgium-author Hugo Claus (1979), Hella S. Show More Summary

Shortlist: FT & McK Business Book award

They've announced the shortlist for this year's £30,000 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award; since the page at the site listing the titles is, at this time, registration-requiring see nstead, for example, Sarah Shaffi's report in The Bookseller, Business Book of the Year 2015 shortlist revealed. The winner will be announced 17 November.

Shortlist: Cundill Prize in historical literature

They've announced the shortlist for the Cundill Prize in historical literature, a US$75,000 (!) prize. Three finalists will be named 5 October, and the winner will be announced 2 November.

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