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They've announced the six-title strong for this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
It includes works by Ibrahim Nasrallah and Amir Tag Elsir -- as well as one that's been translated and is due out in English shortly, Shahad Al Rawi's ; see the Oneworld , or pre-order your copy at or
The winner will be announced 24 April.

They've the finalists for this year's LA Times Book Prizes -- awarded in ten categories.
Neat to see Vivek Shanbhag's -- a book in translation, and a paperback original at that -- as one of five fiction finalists.
(That is the only one of the finalists under review at the .)

In the Aviya Kushner wonders
Apparently: "Israeli readers are reading less Israeli literature in favor of work in translation" -- and:
(See also the under review at the .)

The most recent addition to the is my review of Ismail Kadare's : .
This came out in 2016 in the UK, but it's taken until now for a US edition to come out (from Counterpoint).

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But Tolkien goes further than Milton in subcreation. On a more artistic level, Tolkien thought God also gives humans the opportunity to participate in creative imagination. We can design, build, or imagine our own designs and artwork. That artwork--if it is beautiful and true--can echo, enhance, mimic, or even go beyond the beauty of the natural world--thus expanding God's creation and pleasing the Creator that we imitate His activities. For Tolkien, humans had a moral and artistic duty to use their imaginations and to create fictional worlds, following the divine example. In particular, Tolkien thought writers, poets, and artists had a moral obligation to provide an "inner consistency of reality," i.e., that they must take the time to fill out the world and inhabit it--to give it a history, depth of detail, and sufficient scope for it to be a complete world where readers or viewers can lose themselves (see Duriez 191-92). Subcreators could craft their art to make it self-consistent and large enough to evoke wonder, a sense of what Tolkien calls "" or what David Sandners calls the . Just as the rational mind desires "a unified theory to explain or cover all phenomena in the universe, the imagination also seeks a unity of meaning appropriate to itself," as Duriez puts it (192). Such world-building would be a moral good, per se, regardless of any didactic teaching or moral message tacked on top of it. In this regard, Tolkien often heavily criticized C.S. Lewis's Narnian books. He felt Lewis was too focused on allegory and didacticism, and that misfocus caused the "inner consistency of reality" (Duriez 192) in his tales to suffer.

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Claude Leví-Strauss and other structuralists proved especially influential in cultural studies, literary theory, and interpretation of mythology. A common approach to understanding narrative structure in folklore and stories is to use structuralism. We might, for instance, apply it to Tolkien's Silmarillion, noting the connections of the Valar and the Maiar in relationship to Ilúvatar, and how Melkor is defined completely by his rebellion against Ilúvatar while the Valar are defined completely by their obedience to him, and so forth. Oppositional binaries in the creation account there rely on opposites for contrast (hot versus cold) just as in the Old Testament creation story, oppositional binaries between light/dark or land/sea or male/female only have existence because they appear in contrasting pairs, and so forth.

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STRUCTURALISM: The idea in sociology, anthropology, literary theory, or linguistics that the best way to understand a cultural artifact (like family units, religious rites, or human language) is not to define each component individually, as its own unique element, but rather to define each component by its relationship to other parts of the same structure. To give a rough example, consider a concept like "father" in American society. If we were attempting to define this concept and how the role functions in American society or in a traditional family from the 1950s, a nonstructuralist might define a father as "a male adult figure who provides income for the family and who serves as an authority figure or protector." Such a definition seeks to define the role based on what it does or what it is, per se. In contrast, a structuralist might instead seek to define a "father" by showing the relationship that figure would have in the larger structure of the family, i.e., a "father corresponds to a mother, but is of opposite gender, and the two together may have children, forming a larger structure called a family, and within that family the father traditionally protects the children and labors outside the household while the mother nutures them within the home." For the structuralist, it makes no sense to define a father without considering the other parts of the family structure and explaining the father's role in relationship to those other parts. The role of father cannot exist if the roles of mother and children do not exist. They are interdependent in ontology.

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SLEEPING HERO MOTIF: A motif common in Celtic folklore and Arthurian literature in which the heroes or mythological beings of old are not dead, but rather sleeping, waiting in heaven, or stored in alternative worlds like Fairyland. At some future time, they will awake or be called forth to fulfill some important function. In the legends of King Arthur, for instance, Malory recounts him as "Rex quandam et rex futurus," the once and future king who will return to Britain in the hour of its greatest need. We see 20th-century versions of this recreated in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. For instance, in Prince Caspian, Caspian's forces re-summon High King Peter and the other Pevensie children to save them from the Telmarine usurpers. More apocalyptically, in The Last Battle, we read of how a giant named Time sleeps in a cavern under the earth, waiting for Aslan to wake him so he can blow his horn to summon the stars from the sky before he plucks the sun of Narnia and destroys the world. Anthropologists might argue that, in the Christian tradition, the idea that Christ will have a second coming and return to earth is another example of the motif.

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They've the recipients of the 2018 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants -- and the winner of the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature, for good measure.
Thirteen project were selected for translation fund grants -- from 177 applications -- in thirteen different languages, no less, and they include Srinath Perur's translation of -author Vivek Shanbhag's , Michael Gluck's translation of Alexander Ilichevsky's Russian Booker Prize-winning , and Jamie Lee Searle's translation of Valerie Fritsch's (see also the Suhrkamp ).
"Publishers and editors who wish to express an interest in any of these projects are invited to contact PEN Literary Awards" -- and I certainly hope they do, there's some very promising stuff here.

"The was established in the summer of 2003 by an endowed gift of $730,000 from Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim" -- and you can read more about translator Heim in the Open Letter volume, .

The most recent addition to the is my review of : , by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (i.e. its "current representatives [...] Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond").

Several Drummond/KLF and related titles are under review at the -- including the , which would appear to be the review copy that has most appreciated in value of all those I have received over the many years of running this site (though given its limited availability -- a single ridiculous offer at , and only two at -- the market is not exactly liquid ...). . Which reminds me of publisher ellipsis, several of whose titles I covered (kindly provided by them, back in the day) -- now long gone, but see for example, an Internet Archive . (Which in turn reminds me of other lost and much-missed UK publishers, like Codex (), publishers of Martin Millar, Steve Aylett, Jeff Noon's (and remember that site ? ), Stewart Home .....)

Meanwhile, was published by ... Faber & Faber. (But the novel has the distinction of making both of my favorite site-indexes: .)