Thursday, October 29, 2015

Subimal Misra's anti-stories in English translation

Good news for Subimal Misra fans and enthusiasts: the second volume of Subimal Misra's anti-stories translated by V. Ramaswamy is out at last. 

Misra is Bengal's anti-establishment and underground writer with a cult status.

The second volume titled Wild Animals Prohibited was released yesterday at Max Mueller Bhaban, Kolkata to an auditorium-packed audience amid great enthusiasm and cheers.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fiction in Pakistan: Is Pakistani Cannon still evolving?

"Poetics, in terms of modern Pakistani fiction, still seeks maturity and authenticity; the modern Pakistani Author is caught between the memory of its colonial past and a subliminal aspiration towards the colonist’s ideals.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dubravka Ugrešić wins Neustadt International Prize for Literature 2016

“Dubravka’s win is a double win for me because she is a non-[native] English speaker and a woman.

Friday, October 23, 2015

George Saunders on Writing Teachers

Why do we love our writing teachers so much? Why, years later, do we think of them with such gratitude?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Three Svetlana Alexievich quotes

1. Information rules the world and means nothing. I just don’t believe that ‘new facts’ can help us understand anything.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lydia Davis on the rise of best writers

I have always had faith that the best writers will rise to the top, like cream, sooner or later, and will become exactly as well known as they should be—their work talked about, quoted, taught, performed, filmed, set to music, anthologized. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Joshua Cohen on PCKWCK, his real-time novel

For me, this is an exercise in increasing ego by destroying ego. And satisfying my vanity by shattering it

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Frank Witgel gets German Book Prize for his "The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969."

Ever seen such a long title for a book?  I like it though because the title tells exactly what you can expect to get out of the book.

The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969 weighs one kilo and has 99 chapters that mix all kind of genres.

Yes, this is the German-book of the year. Witgel took fifteen years to write this book.

The German Book Prize honors a brilliant linguistic work of art that is a vast quarry of words and ideas - a hybrid compendium of pop, politics and paranoia

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Man Booker Prize 2015 goes to Marlon James

SO it's Marlon James finally: a Jamaican who lives now in Minneapolis (Can you call him American?).

I don't say I'm unhappy. But the Booker Prize gets a new focus with this selection. Whatever the hype, A Brief History of Seven Killings is not exactly what we call literary fiction. As I've read it, it's not even a remarkable novel - either in terms of language or treatment with the theme which though is an ambitious one.

Michael wood, Chair of the judges, comments:

It is a crime novel that moves beyond the world of crime and takes us deep into a recent history we know far too little about. It moves at a terrific pace and will come to be seen as a classic of our times.’

What's your takeaway?

*Crime novels are okay.

*Terrific pace is an important quality for Booker Prize.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Live Novel writing

Since last night I have been watching Joshua Cohen, the novelist, write a serial novel in real time.

 I like Cohen - you can call me a fan - for his candid and insightful writing. 

The left sidebar is kind of stat counter: how many readers watching, a clock ticking, and a call to participate in a survey( damn it).

The right sidebar is for a live chat presumably by the readers but as you note, most of those out there are trolls out to spoil the writing.

But the writing goes on ....words, then one full sentence, then another sentence, and finally a paragraph, short and eminently readable.

I can't imagine a writer can write under such circumstances ---- in full view of the internet with people distracting him every possible way.

Cohen can because he is different and  knows the nitty-gritty of fiction.

Not that he is writing great stuff or has a well thought-out premise, but it's okay given the circumstances.

For me, it's a unique experience, and I love it. 

"I don't have all that many years"/ Jonathan Franzen

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Question that worries Svetlana Alexievich

Both on scene or when I am writing I wish to have a feeling of talking to nearest friends. I wish to tell them what I realised in this life. I never accept the role of a judge, I am not a cool chronicler. My heart is always there. The question that worries me is how long we can walk this road of horror, how much a human being can bear. That's why the poetics of tragedy are important for me. It is important when somebody says that he or she has read such horrible books and feels better, that a reader got tears and these were purifying tears. You should have all this things in mind and not just overwhelm people with horror.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Recommended reading:Interview George Saunders and Ben Marcus

Ben Marcus
When I read Deborah Eisenberg, then Rachel B. Glaser, then Yiyun Li, then Lydia Davis, these writers seem apprenticed on entirely separate planets, with unique machinery, operating according to deeply individual private missions. And, honestly, that’s what I love about short stories, how artistically pliant they are, and how much room there still seems to be to make something distinct and – can we still say this word? – original.
George Saunders
I’ve been thinking lately that the literary world seems, to my taste, to be trending toward a model of art that is too far skewed toward the analytic and the reductive, and I loved the way that your intro refused to give into that – was articulate and precise about the need to respect mystery. And also because, as the semester looms, I find myself again wondering what the relation is between all of the discussing and pontificating I’m about to start doing in class, and the wonderful summer I’ve just had, which was all just me working, in the most intuitive and silent way possible.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 goes to Svetlana Alexievich

Congratulations, Svetlana!

Svetlana Alexievich is the first non-fiction author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

She is basically an investigative journalist, but invents a new genre where journalism elevates to literature without any active effort from the writer. She practically does not write anything off her head. She simply gets her real-life characters  - mostly victims of man-made catastrophes -to share their horrifying experiences in their authentic voices. Her role as a writer is to transcribe them accurately without altering anything in the text.

Read her Voices from Chernobyl.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nobel Prize in Literature 2015: Tomorrow is the day

Stevlana Alexivich is down to 3/1 at Ladbrokes.  But I doubt she's going to win it. But if she wins, she would be the first non-fiction writer to ever win it. 

Jon Fosse is stuck at 10/1. I don't see him winning.

Ngugi at 6/1. This is the last year for Ngugi. 

Murakami, though at 6/1, has no chance.

Two big moves by Don DeLillo (from 50 to 20) and Nuruddin Farah( from 50 to 20).

I see a new name - both at Ladbrokes and Nicerodds --Maryse Conde. I don't know about her. Who is she?

I'm hoping for a news leak to happen at the last moment. Like last year when Patrick Modiano's name figured in the list all of a sudden.

Will it also be a surprise winner this year?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nobel Prize in literature 2015 to be announced on Oct 8

The Swedish Academy will announce this year’s Nobel Laureate in literature at 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 8 in the Grand Hall in the Exchange.

With just three days away, is there any buzz/excitement around the Nobel Prize? Where is that speculation stuff and the fun that accompanies it?  Interest in the Nobel Prize seems to have dwindled in this digital age where literature is categorized as entertainment which it is really not.

You see the same contenders this year also: Stevlana Alexivitj, Haruki Murakami, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Philip Roth, Adunis...

For the first time in many years, I'm not rooting for anybody.

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o  seems to be the most deserving candidate this year. Black Africa has not had a Nobel Laureate since Wole Soyinka who received it about thirty years ago.

 Ladbrokes has just moved him from 7 to 6.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

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