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Week in Review: July 27, 2018

by Shannon Sullivan

No Nobel? No Problem

Ah yes, awards season is still upon us! In the wake of the postponement of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, Sweden’s New Academy has created an international literary prize that seeks to reward an author who has “given people stories about the humans of our world.” The authors, nominated by Swedish librarians, include French favorites Édouard Louis, Maryse Condé, and Nina Bouraoui. To be eligible, authors need to have at least two published works, including one released in the past ten years. The winners, three of whom will be chosen through a reader vote and the fourth chosen by the librarians, will include two male and two female authors. It’s now up to readers to determine the winners-- vote here until August 14.

NTA Longlists Announced

Speaking of longlists-- and when are we not?-- the American Literary Translators Association announced the longlists for the twentieth annual 2018 National Translation Awards. Nominees include 2018 Albertine Prize nominee Mathias Énard’s Compass (New Directions, translated by Charlotte Mandell), Stendhal’s Italian Chronicles (University of Minnesota Press, translated by Raymond N. MacKenzie), and Charif Majdalani’s Moving the Palace (New Vessel Press, translated by Edward Gauvin). Compass, winner of the 2015 Prix Goncourt, follows musicologist Franz Ritter during as sleepless night in Vienna as he drifts between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life. Primarily based on historical events, Italian Chronicles is a collection of nine tales that feature passionate, transgressive characters on their quest for happiness. A modern-day Odyssey, Moving the Palace tells of a young Lebanese explorer who meets an eccentric English colonel and enlists in his service, taking charge of transporting a dismantled palace through Sudan, Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula. The association will be featuring each longlisted book in the meantime on their blog.

Hubert Haddad Wins Prix Tour Montparnasse 2018

Hubert Haddad’s Casting sauvage (in English, Street Casting), published by Éditions Zulma, is the recipient of the 2018 Prix Tour Montparnasse. The book follows wounded dancer Damya who wanders Paris searching for one hundred extras for a film, hoping against hope that she will come across a boy with whom she had a date on a tragic night in November 2015. Haddad’s beautiful and intense portrait of Paris is “luminous,” showing a city that is brought back to life by those who dream of it. The author’s latest English translation, Desirable Body (translated by Alyson Waters), will be published by Yale University Press in August. Haddad will be on tour in the United States from October 1-25.

Coming Soon to Bookstores

We hope you’re not tired of lists yet! Words Without Borders published their July watchlist, which includes French author Agnès Desarthe’s Hunting Party (The Unnamed Press). Translated from the French by Christiana Hills, Hunting Party follows gentle Tristan as he unwittingly joins a hunting party in the French countryside and ends up striking up a conversation with an inadvertently wounded rabbit. In other eagerly awaited releases, The Millions put out their most anticipated book preview for the second half of 2018. Figuring onto the list are Thomas Clerc’s Interior (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman), Virginie Despentes’ Pretty Things (Feminist Press, translated by Emma Ramadan), Mathias Énard’s Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants (New Directions, translated by Charlotte Mandell), and Éric Vuillard’s Prix Goncourt-winning The Order of the Day (Other Press, translated by Mark Polizzotti). Vuillard will be on tour in the United States this fall following the book’s September publication.