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International Literature News

By David Varno

We're all saddened by the death of past contributor Mario Benedetti, though it is amazing to see the immediate, creative responses to his work from around the world. Don't miss A.M. Correa's report from yesterday.


This past Tuesday at the CUNY Graduate Center, the PEN American Center Awards honored Natasha Wimmer for her translation of Roberto Bolaño's 2666, as well as Marilyn Hacker for her translation of King of a Hundred Horsemen by Marie Étienne. See Jane Ciabattari's account of the event at Critical Mass.


Fiction from Syria: Robin Yassin-Kassab’s Guardian review of The Dark Side of Love, by Rafik Schami and translated from the German by Anthea Bell, emphasizes the novel as a benchmark for Syrian fiction at a time when Syria is known mostly for poetry.


There’s a fascinating article on “Bulgaria’s underworld of letters” in the Nation, focusing on Georgi Stoev’s life and death in organized crime, and his novels, which, according to Dimiter Kenarov, demythologize gangsters and render them as ordinary people. His books look pulpy—real pulpy—and are not available in English.


Israel 21c has a video piece on Etgar Keret, his new film adaptation ($9.99, which reaches the US in June), and how living in Israel shapes his writing.


Event reminders:

Next Wednesday, "Literary Reportage: The Forensics Of Crisis," presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and the Polish Book Institute (Krakow, Poland), with Wojciech Tochman, Francisco Goldman (who has contributed here), and Jonathan Brent.

Also on Wednesday, Gabriel García Márquez: A Life, a presentation by biographer Gerald Martin on his eponymous book at the Americas Society, 7pm.

Published May 22, 2009   Copyright 2009 David Varno

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