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Translated Lit

Bi Feiyu Wins the 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize

Chinese novelist Bi Feiyu (pictured, via) has won the 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize for his novel, Three Sisters. The author accepted the award and $30,000 in prize money during a ceremony held in Hong Kong.

The novel’s translators, Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin, split a $5,000 award. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published an English translation of Three Sisters last August.

Here’s more from the press release: “The Man Asian Literary Prize was founded in 2007. It is an annual literary award given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English, and published in the previous calendar year. The judges choose a longlist of 10 to 15 titles announced in December, followed by a shortlist of 5 to 6 titles announced in February, and a winner is awarded in March.” (via Shelf Awareness)

Indian Comic Writer & Illustrator Uncle Pai Has Died

Indian comic writer and illustrator Anant Pai (known fondly as Uncle Pai) passed away this week at 81-years-old.

According to the Associated Press, Pai would’ve been presented with a lifetime achievement award at India’s first-ever Comic Con this weekend. The video embedded above features a tribute from a fan.

Uncle Pai began the popular Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) series in 1967 to teach Indian children about their culture and heritage. The series has spawned more than 400 titles and sold more than 100 million comics.

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Fan Translates 139,000-Word Russian Rewrite of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

In 1999, Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov wrote The Last Ring-Bearer, a 139,000-word novel that re-wrote The Lord of the Rings trilogy–re-imagining J.R.R. Tolkien‘s heroic epic as a bloody war with unrecorded consequences. Now Yisroel Markov has released a translation of the novel (with Yeskov’s help).

The translator explained his his labor of love (published for non-commercial distribution only): “Several publishing houses have considered a commercial translation of this book, which had been published in several major European languages, but abandoned the idea out of fear of the Tolkien estate, which rigidly controls all derivative works, especially in English.”

In the 15-year-old book, Yeskov re-wrote Tolkien’s masterpiece from the point of view of  Mordor, a region defeated in the war to control Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings. It focused on a single question: “what was that war really about?”

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Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 Coming 10/25 in Single Volume

Knopf publicity director Paul Bogaards revealed that Haruki Murakami‘s highly anticipated three-volume novel will come out October 25 in a single volume.

Here’s the tweet: “Haruki Murakami’s long-awaited magnum opus, 1Q84, out from Knopf 10/25. In one volume. Booyah! Midnight store openings for this one?”

In an interview last year, translator Jay Rubin shared thoughts about working with the novelist–revealing the impending deadlines for the English translation of Murakami’s three-volume novel. (Via Michael Orthofer)

Carlos Fuentes Explores His ‘Dickensian’ Novel

A New York Times review once described Carlos Fuentes’ work as “Joycean in Christopher Unborn, Jamesian in Aura, Faulknerian in The Death of Artemio Cruz.” Now we can add “Dickensian” to that list of influences.

Before his 92Y reading tonight, the novelist explored the influence of Charles Dickens in his new novel. Fuentes (pictured, via) recently published the English version of his novel, Destiny and Desire (La Voluntad y la Fortuna in Spanish, translated by Edith Grossman).

Q: What can you tell me about your new book?

A: It’s called Destiny and Desire. It’s basically a Cain and Abel story; that is the larger frame of the book. It’s two brothers who love each other and hate each other in the end. They’re called Jericó and Josué. That is the larger frame of the book.

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Sacha Baron Cohen to Star in Adaptation of Saddam Hussein’s Romance Novel

Golden Globe-winner Sacha Baron Cohen (pictured, via) will star in an adaptation of Zabibah and the King, a novel that may have been written by Saddam Hussein. The film will be called The Dictator, and release is set for May 2012.

The book spotlights Zabibah, an Iraqi peasant in an abusive marriage who falls in love with the country’s head monarch. The Guardian explained: “It was intended to be read as an allegory for Iraq in the years following the first Gulf war, with the king representing Saddam, Zabibah embodying the Iraqi people and her husband standing in for the cruel and evil US forces.”

There is some debate about whether or not Hussein actually wrote the book. According to a New York Times article, the  C.I.A. believes that ghostwriters wrote it–directed by the late Iraqi leader.

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Federico Garcia Lorca Poem Manuscript Surfaces

A new manuscript for Federico Garcia Lorca‘s “Oficina y denuncia” (“Office and Denunciation”) has been uncovered. Professor Christopher Maurer discovered the draft in the Library of Congress’ music division.

The Guardian reports: “‘Oficina y denuncia’ captures an important moment in Lorca’s career, as the poet turns away from brief lyrical poetry towards an engagement with broad social issues, and begins to write more openly about his love of men.”

The published version of Lorca’s poem appeared in his collection, Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York). Lorca had traveled to New York in 1929 to take an English course at Columbia University and wrote about Great Depresssion-era America. Currently, Maurer is working with Andrew Anderson on a book about Lorca’s time spent in America and Cuba.

‘China’s J.K. Rowling’ Finds English-Speaking Readers

Hongying Yang (pictured, via) has been dubbed “China’s J.K. Rowling,” selling 40 million books in China. In the past few years, HarperCollins has found an audience for her work in the English-speaking world.

Harper Collins China Business Development managing director Stella Chou told the Beijing Review: “The performance of Yang’s books is the best among the books we’ve introduced from China to the English-speaking world … Yang’s books offer insight into contemporary society through a typical Chinese child, and a typical Chinese cat.”

The article called Yang the first Chinese kidlit writer to find a place in the mainstream English market. A former elementary school teacher, Yang primarily writes for the 6-to-12-year-old age group. Her titles include: Girl’s Diary, the Mo’s Mischief series and the Diary of a Smiling Cat series.

Seven Stories Press Acquires Memoir by Stieg Larsson’s Partner

Eva Gabrielsson spent 30 years as novelist Stieg Larsson‘s life partner. Now Seven Stories Press has acquired the North American rights to her memoir about their lives together. Linda Coverdale will translate.

Here’s more from the release: “Gabrielsson describes their activism and deep political passion, their struggle to keep Stieg’s magazine Expo going, their early lives, as well as the seemingly mundane details that make a life: their love of coffee and Stockholm cafes, etc. … The book also includes never-before-seen photographs and letters.”

The book is currently untitled. While Swedish, French, and Norwegian editions will arrive in January 2011, the English market will have to wait until June 2011. In a 2009 interview with Publishing Perspectives, Gabrielsson mentioned a memoir tentatively titled The Year After Stieg.

Graywolf Press to Publish Liu Xiaobo Poetry Collection

Graywolf Press has acquired the world rights (excluding Chinese languages) to a poetry collection by imprisoned Chinese poet,  Liu Xiaobo. Today the poet received the Nobel Peace Prize, but could not accept the award in person.

Here’s more from the release: “June Fourth Elegies is divided into twenty sections, each section an ‘anniversary offering’ for the June 4, 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square. Xiaobo was one of the leading activists of the non-violent protest at Tiananmen, and was one of the architects of the Charter 08 manifesto. Much of Liu’s writing has been confiscated due to his many imprisonments for his public criticism of the Chinese government; he has not been able to publish June Fourth Elegies in China.”

Poet Jeffrey Yang will translate the collection. Literary agent Peter Bernstein negotiated the deal with Jeffrey Shotts and publisher Fiona McCrae. The press plans to release the collection in 2012.

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