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1. A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman, illustrated by Corey R. Tabor


A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman with illustrations by Corey R. Tabor has the feel of an instant classic. Hoffman's rhyming journey of imagination is paired perfectly with Tabor's layered, playful watercolor illustrations and pencil drawings that have a hint of magic to them. Best of all, A Dark, Dark Cave has one of my favorite things to do with kids at the center of the story!

As the "pale moon glows," a sister and brother go spelunking. Hoffman repeats the refrain, "a dark, dark cave," throughout the text, creating a gentle suspense that builds with each page turn while Tabor's illustrations blend the real with the imaginary in a satisfying way that keeps readers guessing - are these two REALLY in a dark, dark cave all by themselves?

A light appears in the darkness, revealing that, in fact, the sister and brother are in a blanket cave! As a kid and a parent, building blanket forts is definitely one of my all-time favorite things to do. We even build blanket forts on rainy days in my library. But, sadly, for this sister and brother, the bright light means Dad coming in and asking them to find a more quiet game because the baby is sleeping. This could easily have been the end to A Dark, Dark Cave. Happily, it is not. There is one more imaginary adventure in store for these siblings, and more marvelous illustrations (and a change in palette) from Tabor!

I hope you will seek out A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman, who worked with preschoolers for over 35 years before writing this book, and Corey R. Tabor, making his picture book debut. I read hundreds of new picture books a year (and almost as many old ones) and it is truly rare to find a book of this kind!



 Look for Fox and the Jumping Contest 
illustrated AND written by Corey R. Tabor 
Coming October 2016!





Source: Review Copy

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2. Lydia Davis Q & A

       At the Los Angeles Review of Books Liesl Schillinger inaugurates what sounds like a promising series of conversations with literary translators which, she explains: "reflect my desire to learn as much as I could about these masters, and to share with you some of the secrets of their art: I wanted to translate the translators".
       First up in this series of/on 'Multilingual Wordsmiths' is Lydia Davis and Translationese.

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3. The Bulgarian Truck review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dumitru Tsepeneag's A Building Site Beneath the Open Sky, The Bulgarian Truck, recently published by Dalkey Archive Press.

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4. Frédéric Dard

       Good to see some Frédéric Dard anticipation-excitement building, as Pushkin Press are set to publish a couple by the prolific (and super-best-selling) French master -- even if it comes with horrific headlines such as 'Unknown' French author's noir crime novels set for UK, as Dalya Alberge writes in The Observer.
       'Unknown' in quotation marks indeed -- Dard has sold ... more than most (literally hundreds of millions of copies). But, yes, he's not well-represented in English (but I did slip him in my The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction because ... Frédéric Dard ! come on !).
       And, yes, Pushkin's commissioning editor Daniel Seton is correct in noting that one reason so little has been translated into English is because especially the San-Antonio books (the bulk of his output) rely on language-play that's hard to translate, while these 'novels of the night' (that Pushkin is focusing on): "are less reliant on that kind of wordplay". Nevertheless, the translator of the first title they're publishing is none other than master word-playing translator David Bellos. It's already under review at the complete review, too: Bird in a Cage.
       Reviews of the other ones will follow just as soon as I can get my hands on them.

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5. horizon

mixed media on paper and digital arrangement.

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6. ACF Translation Prize open for submissions

       The Austrian Cultural Forum has opened its call for the 2017 prize -- and while you have until 10 October to submit (a sample translation (ca. 4000 words/10 pages), of prose or poetry by a living Austrian author first published in the original German after 1945) it's never too early ..... Read the rest of this post

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7. Cinderella cupboard



It's funny what lurks in sheds. Brian-next-door was showing me a pair of old oil lamps and I spotted this. I squealed. I really did squeal. He was a little confused at my delight as it was 'just some old shelves' which he uses to store oil and paint cans. The back has rotted and was replaced with paste board, which is also rotting. 


Although my lovely neighbours have become accustomed to my love of what they consider to be junk, I think this one had Brian stumped. But bless him, he removed the cans, levered it from the dirt floor, chased away a colossal fat, black spider and together we dragged it out into the sun. 


It must be about seven feet long and quite low. I think it was probably once the base to a huge farm dresser. The cupboard space is deep, however the doors are long gone. I can't remember the exact story Brian related, but it seems to have lived in a few local places, including an uncle,  before being entombed in the damp old privy.


Look, I know, it's a bit shafted. Apparently it's been used as a workbench in previous lives. Hence the paint blobs, the oil spills and the gouges.



But imagine if it were cleaned up and restored. It's a good, honest chunk of country pine, crying out for some attention and a good dollop of beeswax.


Brian did his best to dissuade my enthusiasm, seeing nothing but a knackered old unit which would otherwise serve it's purpose and eventually fall apart. And the surface damage  bothered him. I said repeatedly that I liked that and would probably leave some remains of it, if I sanded it down, to show the history. I think I lost him there; he would replace it with a new bit of wood. 


He was convinced that the top might be an add-on, as it appeared to be screwed down and maybe underneath there would be a better, original slab of wood. So he got his screwdriver out. I held my breath and tried not to wince. 


But no, it was part of the piece. So, having convinced Brian that I really did love it, warts and all, it is now mine. But it has gone back into the shed, for the time being. The cottage is still in a state of partial renovation, and walls need plastering before anything else goes in. It is going to look amazing though. 

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8. Bottom's Dream anticipation

       The weightiest translation in recent memory -- Zibaldone may have a greater page-count, but it doesn't come close, measured in words or in kilos --, Arno Schmidt's monumental Bottom's Dream, is due out in John E. Wood's career-culminating translation from Dalkey Archive Press in September, and via I see now that it is closer than ever to reality: the Arno Schmidt Stiftung (who I suspect subsidized this volume most generously) have posted a picture of an actual copy -- a 'Vorabexemplar' -- at their blog:

Bottom's Dream a reality

       Oh, yes !
       Oh, very much yes !

       Meanwhile, of course, you can prepare for the reading ... pleasure ? adventure ? experience ? ... all that and more, with my introductory Arno Schmidt: a centennial colloquy -- or, for a more direct taste of what Schmidt is up to, the also-John E. Woods-translated The School for Atheists.
       And you can always already take the plunge and pre-order your copy of Bottom's Dream -- as quite surprisingly many brave (would-be, hopeful) readers have done -- at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. (Don't hold out for the Kindle- (or any e-book-)edition -- that's not coming anytime soon, for reasons that will be obvious when you take a look at the print edition.)

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9. Surveying Stories: The risks of rage in Robin Stevens' Wells & Wong mysteries

Literature trends toward patterns or themes which repeat -- sometimes because that's just what happens to hit the market at a given time, and other times it's the current zeitgeist and an active interest which people are seeking to promote.... Read the rest of this post

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10. PalFest

       The Palestine Festival of Literature started yesterday, and runs through the 26th.
       Nobel laureate J.M.Coetzee is probably the most prominent participant, but that's quite a group they've gathered, and I look forward to the festival reports.

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11. walking outta the shadows

charcoal on paper. 30x50 cm approx. 2016

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12. José Eduardo Agualusa Q & A

       José Eduardo Agualusa's A General Theory of Oblivion was a finalist this year for both the Best Translated Book Award and the Man Booker International Prize -- it didn't win the BTBA, but still has a chance to take the MBIP next week -- and at the PEN Atlas Tasja Dorkofikis has a Q & A with the author.
       As he admits, the novel is not based on a true story: "Ludo is me, or was me, during a certain period when I was living in Luanda, in that very building."
       Interesting also to hear:

How do you think Angolan writing is influenced by Brazilian and Portuguese writing and vice versa ?

Brazilian literature was -- at least until the late 1970s -- very important for the development of Angola's writers. Essential, even. It doesn't seem so important now. All the same, it does still have more impact than Portuguese literature.

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13. Science fiction from.in ... China

       Via Paper Republic I'm pointed to Yin Lu's Global Times report, claiming As Chinese sci-fi picks up steam, it's finding fans around the world.
       Certainly, Liu Cixin, with his trilogy beginning with The Three-Body Problem has helped generate some interest -- but there is still quite a way to go, both regarding foreign interest as well as Chinese science fiction itself.

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14. don't look at us

mixed media on coloured  paper..20x20 cm approx 2016.

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15. RSL Ondaatje Prize

       They've announced that Nothing is True and Everything is Possible (by Peter Pomerantsev) has won this year's Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, an: "annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place" (in this case, as the sub-title has it: "The Surreal Heart of the New Russia").
       See also the publicity pages at Faber & Faber and PublicAffairs, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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16. Prize: Sunday Times Fiction Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's (South African) Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize
       The winner will be announced 25 June.

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17. 'The Sound of Translation' panel

       On Tuesday 17 May, at 19:30, there will be a panel on The Sound of Translation at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York, moderated by Liesl Schillinger (who is obviously prepped and ready for some serious translation discussion; see above), with Tess Lewis, Rüdiger Wischenbart, Ross Ufberg, and yours truly.
       As if that weren't exciting enough, it's a three-for-one event, as this year's ACFNY Translation Prize will also be launched, and the Diversity Report 2016 will be introduced.

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18. Salchows and Semicolons by Isabel Bandeira

YA Novelist Isabel Bandeira shares what she learned about writing and the publishing process from ice skating.

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19. Sophie Kerr Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Sophie Kerr Prize at Washington College, "the largest undergraduate literary award" in the US, worth US$65,770 this year (the total varies year to year, depending on the performance of the endowment).
       "Reilly D. Cox, a double major in English and theatre with a minor in creative writing" takes this year's prize,
       "See the page on all the finalists to see who he beat out -- and samples of all the finalists' work.

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20. let's have a cup of light and shadow

rough sketch on wood. chalk and charcoal.

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21. Caine Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for the Caine Prize for African Writing -- selected from 166 stories by writers from 23 African countries.
       You can read the shortlisted stories at the official site; the winner will be announced 4 July, in Oxford (yes, the Oxford in the UK, because ... it's a prize for African writing, so ... of course ...).

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22. Prize: Dylan Thomas Prize

       The International Dylan Thomas Prize is only limitedly international -- "The £30,000 Prize is awarded to the best published or produced literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under", but I guess 'international' sounds better than 'monolingual' ... -- but is otherwise a nice idea, and they've announced that this year's winner is Grief is the Thing with Feathers (by Max Porter).
       The US edition is due out shortly, from Graywolf Press -- pre-order your copy at Amazon.com -- or get your copy from Amazon.co.uk.

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23. Spiritual awakening in Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous has provided millions of people with a chance at recovery from addiction. There is one aspect of membership for some members that most people, even addiction specialists, are not aware of, namely, the remarkable transformation that many AA members call a spiritual awakening. It’s a remarkable phenomenon for anyone interested in social science on the addictions.

The post Spiritual awakening in Alcoholics Anonymous appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Chart Korbjitti's Facebook novel

       In the Bangkok Post Kaona Pongpipat reports on Time-author Chart Korbjitti's latest 'novel', an experimental work based on his social media musings' titled facebook: โลกอันซ้อนกันอยู่, in Chart-ing Facebook.
       Naturally, there is also a Facebook-page for the book .....
       Yes, he does consider it a novel:

It's an experimental work in terms of the platform. Issues I raised in my posts, if we are to consider this a novel, are the characters. The book has every element a novel needs, the emotions, the subplots, the atmosphere, the ups and downs, and the climax.
       Okay ..... Read the rest of this post

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25. Norway 2019 Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair

       Planning ahead, they've announced that Norway is the Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 2019.
       This year's guest of honour will be Flanders and the Netherlands, followed by France (2017) and Georgia (2018)
       Norway "boasts some of Europe's leading contemporary writers" I note in my The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction (sorry -- no shame here re. plugs and reminders why you need this book) -- indeed, it might be one of the few countries which doesn't even really need that Frankfurt-boost (though of course the same could be said for juggernaut-in-translation France ...); still, this should be good.

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