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Swedish romance ?

After the Nordic crime wave comes... Swedish romance novels ? Francis Hoch suggests that terrifying prospect in Publishers Weekly, in Swedish Romance -- the Next Hot Trend ? as a novel by the 'Swedish queen of of romance' (yes, Sveriges...Show More Summary

The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tendai Huchu's The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician. This came out from Zimbabwean publisher amaBooks last year, and is now being published abroad by Welsh Parthian. Just last week The New York Times Book Review covered his debut, The Hairdresser of Harare (now out in a US edition).

Korean fiction

In The Korea Times Nam Hyun-woo writes about Kim Jin-myung's (???) latest novel, ???? ('Letter Wars'), which has apparently been very successful in South Korea. The premise has a predictably nationalistically-pleasing twist -- Chinese...Show More Summary

Q & A: Yevgeny Yevtushenko

At Russia Beyond the Headlines they have an English version of Igor Virabov and Pavel Basinsky's ?????????? ?????? Q & A with Yevgeny Yevtushenko (original). Among the take-aways: he's coming to Brooklyn next month (really). There'sShow More Summary

Q & A: K.E.Semmel

At the Asymptote blog Katrine Øgaard Jensen has a Q & A with translator-from-the-Danish K.E.Semmel -- whose translation of Naja Marie Aidt's Rock, Paper, Scissors, just out from Open Letter, I recently reviewed. (Another Semmel-translation...Show More Summary

Mountain Echoes literary festival

Bhutan's literary festival, Mountain Echoes, runs through tomorrow -- sounds like a nice place to have a literary festival. See also the PTI report -- here in the Business Standard -- Mountain Echoes: A literary fest with a royal to...

Etgar Keret Q & A

At Guernica Meakin Armstrong has a Q & A with Etgar Keret, We Can Try to Be Human. Among his observations: In America, where writers are preoccupied with the craft of writing, I always try to introduce this concept of the badly written...Show More Summary

Vondel Translation Prize shortlist

They've announced the shortlist for the biennial Vondel Translation Prize, given: "for the best English translation of a Dutch literary novel or cultural-historical book". Two of the shortlisted titles are under review at the complete review : Tirza (Sam Garrett's translation of Arnon Grunberg's novel) and The King (Nancy Forest-Flier's translation of Kader Abdolah's novel).

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Octave Mirbeau's 1901 novel, Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic, now available in a translation from Dalkey Archive Press. Now somebody just has to translate La 628-E8..... (Meanwhile, read the French here (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), for example.)

Reading (or Singing) the collections, week 28: A performance from the Gradual

Last Monday (10th August) Gillian Hurst, who is in the final stages of an MLitt in Mediaeval Studies, delighted an audience at St Leonards’ Chapel with a recital from the […]

German Book Prize

Generally -- no, overwhelmingly -- the Germans prefer author- to book-prizes: they'd rather honor a life's work over specific works. But seeing the success of the Man Booker Prize they launched an imitation-Man Booker a decade ago, the...Show More Summary


As noted above, the Germans really go for author- over book-prizes, and they've now announced that Herta Müller -- yes, the one with the Nobel under her belt -- has won this year's Friedrich-Hölderlin-Preis. That would be the biennial,...Show More Summary

New Website

It was time I had a website under my own name, and not just this here Mumpsimus. After all, I am more than a mumpsimus! Or so I tell myself.Thus:!Because my book of short stories is coming out in January, the focus of the site is my fiction more than anything else. Show More Summary

Drama in translation

The Three Percent Translation Databases are an invaluable resource -- but list only (previously untranslated) works of fiction and poetry, i.e. don't cover much else that appears in English translation. Admirably David Sledge (on Twitter...Show More Summary

James Wood Q & A

At Slate Isaac Chotiner has A Conversation With James Wood, The New Yorker book critic and author of The Book Against God. Wood's most recent book is The Nearest Thing to Life; get your copy at or

Rock, Paper, Scissors review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Naja Marie Aidt's Rock, Paper, Scissors, just out from Open Letter.

James Tait Black Prizes

They've announced the winners of the James Tait Black Prizes, and In the Light of What We Know, by Zia Haider Rahman, has taken the fiction prize. (I can't help but note one of my pet peeves here: this is a book prize, so it should be...Show More Summary

Mao Dun Literature Prize

The Mao Dun Literature Prize (?????) -- awarded only every four years -- is one of the most prestigious (and controversial) Chinese literary prizes, and they've now announced this year's five winning titles, selected from 252 qualifying...Show More Summary

St. Francis College Literary Prize short list

They've announced the shortlist for the $50,000 St. Francis College Literary Prize -- awarded biennially 'for a 3rd to 5th published work of fiction'. I'm afraid none of the shortlisted titles are under review at the complete review (and I don't expect to get to any of them anytime soon). The winner will be announced 19 September.

Max’s “Render” Anticipated by NY Times

Friday was a super-sad day. But one really nice thing: at the airport on the way to our friend’s memorial, we got to pick up a copy of The New York Times with a mention of Max’s latest. “The Brooklyn artist Maximus Clarke addresses a surveillance society in ‘Render,’ three panels with human figures that have […]

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