Weekly News Update

By David Varno

Keret in Chicago and Boston:

Keret will close Columbia College's annual Story Week festival with a discussion on March 20 at the Hokin Annex in the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave. More information about the festival in the Columbia Chronicle.

This Is One Story You've Got to Hear!: An Evening with Etgar Keret

Sponsored by Zeek, Makom: The Israel Engagement Network, and Hebrew College

Saturday, March 21, 2009, 8:30 p.m. This event is open to the public. Registration and tickets here.

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Beginning this week and heading into April, there are a number of interesting events related to French literature in New York, and we'll be covering as many as we can. Last week we ran a preview of the Oulipo series, which begins on April 1st and will include a reading from the collective's writers at the New School's Tishman Auditorium, a roundtable discussion at Columbia, a reading and reception for Jacques Roubaud at Idlewild, a writing workshop with Marcel Bénabou, and more readings at Pierogi in Williamsburg and at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Complete details here.

Other upcoming French literature events:

Ananda Devi presents an evening of discussion on the exploration of identities and their formation through language, moderated by Thomas C. Spear, Professor of French at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Details here.

Toni Morrison's Margaret Garner & Assia Djebar's The Daughters of Ishmael. Tickets here, or by visiting the TIC box office in the lobby of Lerner Hall on the Columbia University campus at 2920 Broadway at 115th St. Columbia University's Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, 212 854 1633

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Dubai's first International Poetry Festival, hosted last week and representing over 45 countries, has received a fair amount of coverage, with a nice piece on the Huffington Post that mentions a reading of Mahmoud Darwish by Breyten Breytenbach

Post writer John Lundberg links to his obituary of Darwish, in which he cites that many consider him to be the national poet of Palestine. Read our tribute to the poet, whose work we have published since WWB's beginning, and his diaries, translated by John Berger and Tania Tamari Nasir, published in 2006.

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The National Book Critics Circle awarded Roberto Bolaño's 2666 with their fiction honor for the publishing year 2008. It was the second time in this decade that the award went to a translated novel (Sebald's Austerlitz won in 2001). See the NBCC blog, Critical Mass, for video of translator Natasha Wimmer's accceptance speech, and fiction award chair Marcela Valdes's post in the "30 Books in 30 Days" series leading up to the awards.

Also see our 2006 translation of Aura Estrada's essay, "Borges, Bolaño and the Return of the Epic" (Translated from the Spanish by T.G. Huntington), and Francisco Goldman's essay on 2666 that preceded his discussion with Wimmer as part of our Conversations on Great Contemporary Literature.

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Spirits are also up in the Polish literary scene, according to lit blog Bacacay; book sales are increasing in a way that reflects trends in western Europe, news they cite from yesterday's Times. While book sales have slightly declined in the states since the recession, they've increased at a monthly rate of 2% in continental Europe.


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