Breyte Breytenbach, a South African poet, writer and artist who opposed apartheid and was a political prisoner for many years, has been awarded the 2017 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award. The Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award is a global literary honor, largely in the field of poetry, granted annually for outstanding artistic and intellectual achievements linked to the ideas that prevailed throughout the output of Polish writer, poet and moralist Zbigniew Herbert.
The judges, a panel consisting of international poets, writers and essayists, stressed that Breytenbach’s oeuvre recalls Herbert’s words: “Let the anger of the powerless be like the sea / whenever you hear the voice of the humiliated and beaten.”
Breytenbach accepted the award, saying, “I am profoundly humbled by this recognition and accept it with the knowledge that it carries the name of a brave and wise poet and essayist. I hope I can live up to the example he gave us, particularly in this very dark season of anger and disarray. I am proud to be among those who believe that there is, in each of us, a part of humanity and a strive for values worth fighting for – in the example of and inspired by Herbert.”
To read more about the Zbigniew Herbert International Award and Breyten Breytenbach, click here.
You can read the first chapter of Dance on the Volcano by Marie Vieux-Chauvet and translated from the French by Kaiama L. Glover thanks to our friends at The Culture Trip. You can read the whole chapter here.
“On that June day, all of Port-au-Prince was at the harbor, joyously anticipating the arrival of the new Governor.
For the past two hours, armed soldiers had been keeping order among an immense crowd of men, women, and children of all sorts. The mulatto and Negro women were gathered a certain distance away, as was the custom; they had pulled out all the stops to rival the elegance of the white Creole and European ladies…”
The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) has revealed the long list of 16 novels in contention for the 2017 prize, including among others Elias Khoury with his new novel The Children of the Ghetto. My Name is Adam. The novels selected were chosen from 186 entries from 19 countries, all published within the last 12 months. Each of the six shortlisted finalists receives U$ 10,000, with a further U$ 50,000 going to the winner. The longlist was chosen by a panel of five judges chaired by Palestinian novelist Sahar Khalifa.
Homero Aridjis, poet, environmentalist and author of The Child Poet, proposes a border of solar panels between the U.S. and Mexican border as a symbol of unity in the battle against climate change and against Donald Trump’s xenophobic initiatives.
” President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly called for Mexico to build a wall between our countries. There is indeed a way that Mexico could create a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, one constructed exclusively on the Mexican side, with substantial benefits for both countries and the planet: a solar border.”
You can read the full article on Huffington Post here.
Co-authored with James Ramey.
Both Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from the French by Jordan Stump, and The Child Poet by Homero Aridjis and translated from the Spanish by Chloe Aridjis, have been named to a Best of 2016 list by The Irish Times.
Literary correspondent Eileen Battersby writes about Cockroaches that it’s “[b]eautifully written in graceful, lilting prose” but is also “harrowing reading, made all the more shocking by the way life later went on, as if the genocide had never happened. Mukasonga’s life remains dominated by her ghosts.”
Of The Child Poet, she writes that it is a “[g]lorious memoir explaining how a childhood accident created a major Mexican writer.”
You can read the rest of the list here.
Translator Donald Nicholson-Smith, who just translated In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi from the French, recently gave a presentation on Laâbi and his work in San Francisco and was in conversation with Scott Esposito of Two Lines Press.
Listen to the entire audio here.
Three of our titles have been longlisted for the 2017 PEN Translation Award for two different categories. Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap and translated from the German by Tess Lewis is longlisted for the PEN Translation Award for a book length work of translated prose. Absolute Solitude by Dulce María Loynaz and translated from the Spanish by James O’Connor, as well as In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi and translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith, are both nominated for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.
You can take a look at the full list here.
Chloe Garcia Roberts, the translator of our forthcoming Feather, a children’s book by Cao Wenxuan, interviews Chloe Aridjis, the translator of The Child Poet by Homero Aridjis for the column, The Critical Flame Conversations.
“I sometimes wonder how different the result would have been had I finished the translation when I first started it in 1993, rather than over twenty years later, once I’d written two novels of my own. I tried to remain as unintrusive as possible and not succumb to certain writerly instincts that have inevitably developed since then. Spanish is the language of my own childhood and especially adolescence; English is more associated with my adult life (my studies were in the US and UK, I live in England, write in English), so there was a kind of translation taking place at other levels too, and I had to reach into my own past and reinhabit a world that existed purely in Spanish—and of course the vanished world of my father’s childhood, since Mexican villages have undergone all sorts of transformations too. Donkeys have been replaced by cars, every home has a television, every family has someone who’s gone off to seek fortune in Mexico City or the US.”
You can read the full interview here.
Our friends at Europe Now have published an extract from Scholastique Mukasonga’s recently released Cockroaches, translated from the French by Jordan Stump.
“I was born in the southwest of Rwanda, in Gikongoro province, at the edge of Nyungwe forest, a large high-altitude rainforest, supposedly home—but has anyone ever seen them?—to the last African forest elephants. My parents’ enclosure was in Cyanika, by the river Rukarara.
Of my birthplace I have no memory but the homesick stories my mother told all through our exile in Nyamata. She missed the wheat she could grow at that altitude, and the gruel she could make with it. She told us of her battles with the aggressive monkeys that ravaged the fields she farmed with her mattock. ‘Sometimes, when I was young,” she would say, “I joined the little shepherds tending the cows at the edge of the forest. Often the monkeys attacked us. They walked on two feet, just like men. They wouldn’t put up with my little friends’ insolence. They attacked them. They wanted to show them that monkeys are stronger than men.'”
You can read the full excerpt here.
Our friends at Menage Magazine have published two poems from Mahmoud Darwish‘s A River Dies of Thirst: Journals, translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham as part of their “Pair of the Week” feature.
You can read the poems here.