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Wellcome Book Prize shortlist

The six-title-strong shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize -- open to both fiction and non, as long as it has: "a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness" -- has been announced. Two novels made the shortlist, but, rather unsurprisingly, none of the titles are under review at the complete review.

Israel Prize in literature

One prize for which there won't be a long- or short-list, or a winner this year is the Israel Prize in literature. A month ago I mentioned how Israeli PM -- and then-Education Minister -- Benjamin Netanyahu got the ball rolling hereShow More Summary

Translation from ... Indonesian

Indonesia is the Frankfurt Book Fair 'guest of honour;' this year, and in The Jakarta Post they report that Indonesian literati demand a translation center [via] -- maybe a bit late in the day, but it would still be good to see. SadShow More Summary

Newspaper review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Edouard Levé's Newspaper, the fourth Levé title from Dalkey Archive Press. Not quite Kenneth Goldsmith's The Weather, but certainly an interesting (and pretty successful) concept-work.

What More?: The Contrarian Poetics of Daniel Brown

  Not to set up an unnecessary straw man, but a few assumptions about the Nature of Poetry seem current in our moment: That irrationality is inherently more poetic than rationality—that poetry works by leaps of “intuition” that are inaccessible… Continue reading ?

The Man Who Made The Apple Watch

Today, Apple is holding a special press event focussed on the Apple Watch. Last month, Ian Parker Profiled Jony Ive, the industrial designer behind the watch. (A book called “100 Superlative Rolex Watches,” Parker points out, is in Ive’s...Show More Summary

Indian Magic by Balraj Khanna

Lately I’ve been reading quite a few books with complex structures and experimental elements. In the middle of all that, it was good to read Indian Magic, a simple enough story told in a traditional, chronological narrative. We start with Ravi arriving in England from India in the early 1960s, and follow him through various […]

Patience in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Patience, Hard Thing!” and HBO’s Enlightened

Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “Patience, hard thing!” is challenging to read, but offers a persuasive argument as to why patience is a virtue. In the first four lines, though, we see the dark side of Patience — how it demands… Continue reading ?

Red Bull giving publishing wings ?

'Energy'-drinks company Red Bull® is already active in a wide variety of entertainment-fields -- mainly of the (more or less) athletic sort, but in 2013 they bought publishing house ecowin and they're now working on setting up a literary (of sorts ?) imprint, Benevento. The offical site is... Show More Summary

Dispelling Ya?ar Kemal/Nobel rumors

The Swedish Academy's Nobel Prize-point man (for a few more weeks -- Sara Danius is taking over shortly) Peter Englund doesn't often comment about Nobel-related gossip but apparently he's concerned about the Academy's honor being besmirched...Show More Summary

The Crimson Thread of Abandon review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of a collection of stories by Terayama Sh?ji, The Crimson Thread of Abandon, recently published by Merwin Asia.

Links & Reviews

- Gérard Lhéritier of Aristophil was taken into custody this week and placed under formal investigation for fraud, on suspicion that he'd been running a very extensive pyramid scheme. He's been released on bail.- The Digital Humanities...Show More Summary

Solaris, the opera

Dai Fujikura's opera Solaris, based on the Stanis?aw Lem novel, premiered on Thursday in a production at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées; see, for example, Marie-Pierre Ferey's AFP article, Opera of sci-fi classic 'Solaris' creates strange...Show More Summary

Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Okot p'Bitek's Acoli classic(s), Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol.

Top Chinese fiction since 1900 ?

Via Paper Republic I'm pointed to Time Out (Beijing)'s The best Chinese fiction books of the last century, where: "24 Chinese literature experts, novelists, literary agents, publishers, editors, critics and journalists" voted for their...Show More Summary

Knausgaard Q & A

With the fourth volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle-series just out in the UK (I'll get to it -- meanwhile, pre-order your copy at, or get your copy at the media blitz continues. In The Independent they at least take the straightforward Q & A approach, offering a few odds and ends of interest.

Maken Melodye on Whan That Aprille Day 2015

Friendes, Yt doth fill my litel herte wyth gret happinesse to invyte yow to the seconde yeare of a moost blisful and plesinge event. On the first daye of Aprille, lat us make tyme to take joye yn alle langages that are yclept ‘old,’Show More Summary

China’s Arthur C. Clarke

Last week, a team of astronomers at Peking University announced the discovery of a gigantic black hole with a mass equivalent to twelve billion suns. The black hole formed near the beginning of time, just nine hundred million years after the Big Bang. Show More Summary

The Problem of Extreme Elation: Remembering Spalding Gray

It is difficult to be delicate regarding the death of Spalding Gray. Tomorrow, March 7th, marks eleven years since he was found floating in the East River, two months after he had gone missing. After the discovery of his body, the actor… Continue reading ?

Orhan Pamuk Q & A

Orhan Pamuk (The Museum of Innocence, etc.) was at the Cairo Literary Festival a couple of weeks ago, and in Al-Ahram Weekly they have a Q & A Mona Anis and Youssef Rakha conducted with him there, Ottoman culture in disguise. Lots of...Show More Summary

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