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Today in International Lit

By David Varno

International Stage at Brooklyn Book Festival

No matter where you're coming from, a trip to the Brooklyn Book Festival, now in its fourth year, is sure to be worthwhile. It's distinctly local flavor adds greater value to the large scope of readings and panels, and our only wish is that it could be held over an entire weekend rather than just one day, so that less of the events overlap. But we'll be there to cover as much as we can; stay tuned for reports early next week.

Now in its fourth year, the festival has a great International Stage, with seven events from 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday, including:

The International Graphic Novel, featuring Guy Delisle (The Burma Chronicles), Peter Kuper (Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico) and Sarah Glidden (How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less). Moderated by Matt Madden.

Mahmoud Darwish: A Conversation, featuring Russell Banks, Michael Palmer, Breyten Breytenbach, Sinan Antoon and Fady Joudah.

Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia, Featuring readings by Francine Prose (Goldengrove), Dale Peck (Sprout), Anya Ulinich (Petropolis) and Vadim Yarmolinets (Led Zeppelin èJericho 86-89'). Presented by Pen American Center and Tin House.

The Naked City: Urban Realism and the Global City in Fiction & Non-Fiction, featuring David Lida (First Stop in the New World), Meera Nair (Video) and Hirsh Sawhney (editor, Delhi Noir). Moderated by Cheryl Harris Sharman (Nightshift NYC).

Secrets & Lies, with Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances), Siri Hustvedt (The Sorrows of an American) and Valeria Parrella (For Grace Received, finalist for Italy's Strega Prize).

Africa in the Age of Obama, with Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenyan author and Director of the Chinua Achebe Center), Mohammed Naseehu Ali (Ghanaian musician and author of The Prophet of Zongo Street) and Breyten Breytenbach (South African poet, painter, author). Moderated by Rob Spillman, editor of Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing.

Rawi Hage, and Claire Messud in Conversation. Claire Messud (The Emperor's Children) and Rawi Hage, Impac award-winning author of DeNiro's Game and Cockroach.


Bahaa Taher Poised for English Readers

This past Sunday, The National profiled Egyptian novelist Bahaa Taher during a publicity tour in London. His new novel, Sunset Oasis, won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2008, and the English translation is by Humphrey Davis.

Writer John O'Connell noted that Taher has been held up next to well-known fellow Egyptian authors Naguib Mahfouz and Youseff Idriss in Egypt, and predicted his new novel "should secure him the international readership he deserves."


Three New Titles from Archipelago Books

When it comes to organizations like Archipelago, we're unafraid to blend advertisement and editorial. I can hardly wait to read Gérard de Nerval's The Salt Smugglers, translated by Richard Sieburth. The book's conceit is a challenge to contemporary postmodern writers: to conceal a work of fiction under the guise of reportage. Also of note are Intimate Stranger by Breyten Breytenbach and A River Dies of Thirst: journals by Mahmoud Darwish, translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham.


Dalkey Archive Receives International Grants for Translation

In addition to an NEA fellowship for literary translation, Dalkey Archive has received a substantial grant from Arts Council England in support of research into the state of literary translation throughout the English-speaking world. From Kate Griffin, international literature officer for Arts Council England:

íWe are delighted to be working with Dalkey Archive Press on this survey. Unless barriers to translation are overcome, freedom of artistic expression suffers and many of the finest intellects—and greatest stories—are prevented from being heard around the world, and particularly in Anglophone countries. And that is our loss. An international literary environment is essential to enrich readers' lives, to keep writing dynamic and world-class, and to enable readers and writers to place contemporary literature in a global context.ë


Fall Issue of Quarterly Conversation Out Now

Table of contents links on Conversational Reading. Highlights include serializations from Witold Gombrowicz and Suzanne Jill Levine (on translating Latin American fiction), plus features on Dubravka Ugre…ić and limits of memory in Proust and Javier Marías.

Valerie Parrella's For Grace Received Serialized Here

See this month's issue of WWB for "Run," the first installment of Parella's novel, translated by Antony Shugaar.

Published Sep 8, 2009   Copyright 2009 David Varno

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