Man Booker International Prize finalist Marie NDiaye will be in the UK next week for the Prize Announcement Dinner on 22 May; and, apropos, she will also be taking part in her first UK literary events.
The official reading for the prize will take place at the South Bank Centre on Monday 20 May. NDiaye will be joined by fellow finalists UR Ananthamurthy (India), Lydia Davis (USA), Intizar Husain (Pakistan), Yan Lianke (China), Josip Novakovich (Canada), and Peter Stamm (Switzerland). Tickets to the reading are still available, priced at £10-£12.
And on Friday 24 May, she will take part in a reading at the Hay Festival with two fellow finalists, Lydia Davis and Intizar Husain. This is free but ticketed event. For details see the Hay Festival website. The Hay Festival winner’s event is the following day, so fingers crossed for that.
If should be stressed that if you have the slightest curiosity about the youngest finalist for the prize yet you are strongly advised to seek out tickets — it took a major shortlist to tempt her to London and she might not be back for a while! And if you have not read Three Strong Women, you are equally strongly advised to invest in the new paperback edition . . .
Best of luck to Madame Ndiaye, and indeed to all the finalists.
The shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was announced this morning, and Daša Drndić is on it. Here is the list in full:
Bundu by Chris Barnard, translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns
The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean
The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson
Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia
Trieste by Daša Drndić, translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursać
Frank Wynne, literary translator and one this year’s judges said:
At the heart of this audacious, fractured tale, the poignant search of a mother for the son abducted as part of the Lebensborn programme shimmers liked a flawed jewel. Ellen Elias-Bursac’s luminous translation brings both pathos and veracity to the often disorienting blizzard of facts, of names and voices in Daša Drndić’s documentary novel. Sprawling, terrifying and meticulously detailed, Trieste captures the true horror and confusion of war.
Daša will be in the U.K. next week for two public readings. Details below, but do try to make one of them. Hearing her read from Trieste is a truly unforgettable experience. For now, many congratulations and best of luck to Daša. The winner will be announced on 20th May.
Tuesday 16th April
“Meet the voices of modern Croatian Literature”
18.30-20.30 @ The Nightingale Room, Keats House (library),
Keats Grove, Hampstead, London, NW3 2RR
Wednesday 17th April
“Contemporary Croatian Literature: Inside and Out”
Chaired by Josip Novakovich, and Roman Simić-Bodrožić
18:30 – 20:30 @ Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU
Both our new originals this month are Russian in flavour, though one comes with a distinctly French twist. The sublime Brief Loves that Live Forever (translated byGeoffrey Strachan) is the latest novel by Francophone Russian author Andreï Makine. Makine’s deliriously beautiful prose and matchless talent for allowing his readers to share in and experience his characters’ epiphanies come to the fore in the story of an orphan whose life is defined by a handful of lucid visions and episodes that can never be forgotten. Though only just published today, there have already been admiring murmurs on Twitter:
1990: Russians Remember a Turning Point (translated by Arch Tait) is the English translation of a mammoth project of social and historical anthropology undertaken by Irina Prokhorova, editor of the Russian journal New Literary Observer. 1990 was a year of unresolved tensions and embryonic change, coming between the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, and the August 1991 coup that precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union. The book brings together articles, photographs, interviews with journalists and perceptive critical analyses in charting the key developments of the year.
We were lucky enough to have both Makine and Prokhorova (alongside Mikhail Shishkin from the Quercus list) visit the U.K. last week for a series of events that took in London’s South Bank Centre, The Oxford Literary Festival and an evening at Hardy’s Brasserie around the corner, where a Russian feast was spiced up by readings and vignettes from the authors. A whirlwind tour in what turned out to be somewhat Siberian weather . . .
Brief Loves that Live Forever and 1990: Russians Remember are both available in hardback, at £12.00 and £25.oo respectively.
We are are very happy to note (note clearly being too feeble a verb) that Trieste by Daša Drndić has been long-listed for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
The long-list, unveiled last Friday, is one of the strongest, if not the strongest to date, with veteran writers-in-English-translation such as Orhan Pamuk, Ismail Kadare and Gerbrand Bakker lining up against acclaimed newcomers including Laurent Binet, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Drndić herself.
And when you consider that the bestselling non-crime translation of the last year (The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared) is not listed, it is tempting to look back at the last year as a phenomenal one for literary fiction in translation. Let’s hope 2o13 is a phenomenal year for Daša Drndić.
The Longlist in full:
Gerbrand Bakker: The Detour (translated by David Colmer from the Dutch), and published by Harvill Secker
Chris Barnard: Bundu (Michiel Heyns; Afrikaans), Alma Books
Laurent Binet: HHhH (Sam Taylor; French), Harvill Secker
Dasa Drndic: Trieste (Ellen Elias-Bursac; Croatian), MacLehose Press
Pawel Huelle: Cold Sea Stories (Antonia Lloyd-Jones; Polish), Comma Press
Pia Juul: The Murder of Halland (Martin Aitken; Danish), Peirene Press
Ismail Kadare: The Fall of the Stone City (John Hodgson; Albanian), Canongate
Khaled Khalifa: In Praise of Hatred (Leri Price; Arabic), Doubleday
Karl Ove Knausgaard: A Death in the Family (Don Bartlett; Norwegian), Harvill Secker
Laszlo Krasznahorkai: Satantango (George Szirtes; Hungarian), Tuskar Rock
Alain Mabanckou: Black Bazaar (Sarah Ardizzone; French), Serpent’s Tail
Diego Marani: The Last of the Vostyachs (Judith Landry; Italian), Dedalus
Andrés Neuman, Traveller of the Century (Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia; Spanish), Pushkin Press
Orhan Pamuk: Silent House (Robert Finn; Turkish), Faber
Juan Gabriel Vásquez: The Sound of Things Falling (Anne McLean; Spanish), Bloomsbury
Enrique Vila-Matas: Dublinesque (Rosalind Harvey & Anne McLean; Spanish), Harvill Secker
Trieste is available in paperback.
“How to canonise Eileen Battersby?” asked Christopher MacLehose when he saw the stunning Irish Times spread on Otto de Kat’s Julia, which, making a mockery of the trend towards minimising review space, also took in de Kat’s previous novels in translation, Man on the Move and The Figure in the Distance . . .
“Julia is de Kat’s fourth novel, his third to be translated into English. It acquires an increasingly subtle and relentless power. Formerly a leading publisher and critic in the Netherlands, de Kat (real name Jan Geurt Gaarlandt, born in 1946) began his writing life as a poet. His first novel, The Figure in the Distance (2002), took restlessness as its central theme. States of mind dominate his work. In Man on the Move (2004, translated 2009), the central character realises that, despite his endless travel, life is something that happens to other people. Comparisons with Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea (1938) are obvious and have been made by reviewers across Europe. It is an ode not to friendship but to the idea of friendship. In common with Julia, it is as much a poem as it is a novel.
* * *
Julia is another of those deceptively ‘little’ novels, just under 200 pages, that say so much more than many narratives twice the length. Included among the longlisted nominations for the forthcoming International Impac Dublin Literary Award, Julia is extraordinary. In Chris Dudok, de Kat has created a portrait of a passive son, lover, husband and dreamer who lives in a state of quiet lamentation. He is not a hero, only a man. His story is one of regret, a life lost in so many ways. It is as chilling as it is sad and familiar. Anyone who read Man on the Move will probably have already reached for Julia, or will want to. These are novels of subtle emotional distance that compel a reader into a cohesive response that it as physical as a blow to the heart.”
You can read the full, much, much longer review here.
Both Julia and Man on the Move are available in paperback.