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Today in International Lit

By David Varno

Spain's Prince of Asturias Awards

Cultural exchange continues in Europe among prestigious prize-givers, with Albanian writer Ismail Kadaré cinching the Prince of Asurias Award for literature. The awards are in eight categories, and according to Euro News they are the Spanish equivalent of the Nobels.

Kadaré's speech must have given goosebumps to Eastern Euorpeans and Spaniards alike:

“During that glacial age when no-one travelled between my country and Spain, a solitary gentleman crossed the impassable frontier as often as he wished, spurning the world’s laws. You know who I am referring to: Don Quixote."

Read Kadaré's "The Abolition of the Profession of Curser," translated from the Albanian by John K. Cox, here at WWB.


Russian Lit on the Horizon?

As Hannah Davies notes in the Guardian today, there seems to have been a reluctance or inability in recent years for English readers to access contemporary Russian literature. In pointing out that there has been virtually no coverage of the Russian Booker Prize in the English press, but that Russia gave steady attention to "regular" Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, she asks whether there is a one-way literary cold war in effect, arguing that though the literary scene in Russia may have been stagnant in the early '90s, it's vibrant now, and she outlines a number of resources on new translations.

Russia is slated to be guest of honor at the 2011 London Book Fair, which should yield more opportunities for exchange. Hopefully we won't have to wait until then.


Event Reminders


Ira Glass & Etgar Keret: Is Reality Overrated?

This American Life host Ira Glass talks with writer Etgar Keret about his short fiction and films (with special clips), runaway piggy banks, bus drivers and other, lesser gods. Etgar Keret will mark this occasion with the world premiere of a special short story he has written and will read on October 28th at LIVE from the NYPL.
7:00pm in the Celeste Bartos Forum


NYRB Classics, Tenth Anniversary

Writing Hell: Curzio Malaparte & Vasily Grossman, bearing witness on opposite sides of the Eastern Front. With film screening of Frederick Wiseman's "The Last Letter," drawn from Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate (6pm), and discussion moderated by Edwin Frank (7:30pm), editor of NYRB Classics, with filmmaker Frederick Wiseman; film and sound editor, and translator of Malaparte stories, Walter Murch; author and former war correspondent Chris Hedges; Yale historian and New York Review of Books contributor Timothy Snyder; and Chair of Italian Studies at NYU, Ruth Ben-Ghiat.

Presented by The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU & The Transregional Center for Democratic Studies of The New School, at Tishman Auditorium of the New School, 66 West 12th Street, New York City

Also Thursday:

Peter Cole will talk about the poetry in the materiality of daily life, such as the objects in Margrieta’s inventory or those mentioned in letters of medieval Jewish traders found in the Cairo Geniza, and how these odds and ends helped him to shape his book Things On Which I’ve Stumbled published in 2008 by New Directions. Bard Graduate Center, 38 W. 86th St., 6-8pm. $25 general / $17 seniors

Published Oct 28, 2009   Copyright 2009 David Varno

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