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Friedrich Ulfers Prize

The Friedrich Ulfers Prize "honors individuals who have championed the advancement of German-language literature in the United States", and they've announced that the 2016 prize will go to translator Burton Pike; see also the official...Show More Summary

Best and most overrated of 2015

As the end of the year approaches (but, hey, it's still like almost seven weeks away...) the 'best of the year'-lists begin to proliferate. More fun than the institutional ones (Publishers Weekly, Amazon, etc.) are the ones where individual...Show More Summary

Rochester Knockings review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Novel of the Fox Sisters, Hubert Haddad's Rochester Knockings -- a French novel, much of which takes place in Rochester NY, now published in English by Rochester-based Open Letter (and a welcome dose of the prolific but grievously under-translated Haddad's work in English).

Dybbuk or Ibbur: Midnight Dances with Isaac Bashevis Singer

Ghosts and all these things which people call today superstition are the very sparks which we are ignoring in our day. —Isaac Bashevis Singer in The Paris Review   In an interview with The Paris Review, Harold Flender remarked to… Continue reading ?

Prize: Premio Cervantes

The Premio Cervantes is the leading Spanish-language author prize, and they've announced that Fernando del Paso has won the 2015 prize. As you can see from that list of previous winners, they do a pretty good job of selecting the most...Show More Summary

Prize: ECI Literatuurprijs

What used to be the AKO Literatuurprijs is now the ECI Literatuurprijs; regardless, the €50,000 prize remains one of the biggest Dutch fiction prizes -- and they've announced that Het hout, by Jeroen Brouwers, takes this year's prize. See...Show More Summary

Prize: Taiwan Literature Awards

They've announced the winners of the 2015 Taiwan Literature Awards (???????), with The Man with the Compound Eyes-author Wu Ming-yi taking the fiction prize; see also the Taiwan Today report, NMTL unveils Taiwan literature award winners.

Etisalat Prize longlist

They've announced the nine-title longlist for the Etisalat Prize for Literature -- which is: he first pan-African prize that is open solely to debut fiction writers of African citizenship and has now established itself as the most prestigious...Show More Summary

The book market in ... the Arab world

At Amira Elmasry reports on: 'the current limitations of the Arab book market and possible means of promoting its expansion', in (Not) an unlimited book market ?

Death by Water review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate ?e Kenzabur?'s just-translated Death by Water. Good to see this in English, though it's a bit disappointing that far from all of ?e's books have made it into...Show More Summary

What Houellebecq Learned from Huysmans

Joris-Karl Huysmans’s 1884 handbook of decadence, “À Rebours,” tells the story of a nature-hating aesthete named Jean des Esseintes. Subtitled “A Novel Without a Plot,” the narrative concerns des Esseintes’s attempts to furnish and decorate a country home where he will be able to live without ever again having to deal with the outside world. Show More Summary

Prize: Goldsmiths Prize

The Goldsmiths Prize -- £10,000 awarded to: "a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best" -- has announced that the 2015 prize goes to Beatlebone, by Kevin...Show More Summary

Prize: Oceanos finalists

The Oceanos - Prêmio de Literatura em Língua Portuguesa is Brazil-based but open to any Portuguese-language literature. Really open: admirably, and like every literary prize should (but far too few do...), it reveals all the books in...Show More Summary

Some Thoughts on Polish Literature [1]

I was recently a guest of the Polish Book Institute in Kraków, Poland, where I saw the wonderful Conrad Festival that is conducted in that city every year, as well as a lot of Polish publishers doing very interesting work. Some of this I wrote about for a recent piece in Literary Hub, and some Continue Reading

A Veteran of the World

What's it like to be a pacifist on Veteran's Day? Well, I can only tell you what it's like to be a pacifist with a father who is a Korean War-era veteran who helped to turn me into a pacifist... on Veteran's Day. These are some pictures of my Dad, who later found his calling as the cartoonist Eli Stein, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Show More Summary

Reading the Collections, Week 36: The Govan Album

Alexander Govan was a chemist and druggist in St Andrews during the 1840s and 1850s. With the new art of photography then in its infancy, he supplied chemicals to the […]

Let's Do the Twist: How to Be Both by Ali Smith

I've been meaning to catch up with Ali Smith's novels for a while now, having previously only read Hotel World, and so when it came time this summer to formulate reading lists for my PhD qualifying exams, I stuck How to Be Both on the fiction section for the Queer Studies list. Show More Summary

Prize: Jan Michalski finalists

The Jan Michalski Prize for Literature honors (with CHF 50,000) a work: "of fiction or non fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written" annually; Mahmoud Dowlatabadi's The Colonel won in 2013. They are unfortunatelyShow More Summary

Prize: Giller Prize

They've announced that the C$100,000 (Canadian) Giller Prize goes to Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis; see the Coach House Books publicity page, or get your copy at or It does sound quite fun; I will try to have a look at it.

Prize: Warwick Prize for Writing

The biennial £25,000 Warwick Prize for Writing, awarded: "for an excellent and substantial piece of writing in the English language" -- this year on the theme of "'instinct', the unspoken and deep-lying motivation for good deeds and evil acts" --, has announced that the 2015 winner is Redeployment, a story-collection by Phil Klay.

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