A celebration of 25 years of Banipal Magazine translating and publishing contemporary Arab literature in English is being held at 7pm on Wednesday 18 January 2023 at the Irish Cultural Centre 5 Black’s Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DT.
Lack of time has meant that mastering the TBR&R pile has been a frustrating challenge this year. Many fantastic books have been published in 2022 by independent trade publishers championed via The BookBlast Diary over the years. The intermittent support is mightily appreciated of a couple of donors who stepped into the breach when official funding organizations turned us down not once but three times – apparently due to form filling-errors on our part, and our being based in London as opposed to the regions. Titles which caught the eye in 2022, listed in order of publication month, include:
LES FUGITIVES | The Child Who, Jeanne Benameur. Translated by Bill Johnston | 136pp May 2022 ISBN 978-1838490423
“In your head of a child there are sudden bright skies wrested from a low, lingering, unfathomable sadness. Your mother has disappeared. Never mind that she was never entirely present, it was her smell, her warmth, her silent hands, that you relied on to feel that you truly existed.”
What an odd post-pandemic year 2022 has been, deranged in so many ways, over and beyond the realities of Brexit hitting home, and the depressing normalization of exploitation by the Government and giant corporates across the board, as we enter “a different kind of recession where there are still lots of jobs but the recession is around our wages,” according to James Reed.
It was a delight to return, in person, to European Literature Days (ELit) a three-day literary festival, held in Krems, lower Austria. This year the theme was ‘Comedy and Crisis’. As Walter Grond, the festival’s founder and artistic director suggests: “Black humour often prevails where sheer hopelessness prevails, it is a fundamental human approach.”
Ukrainian writer, translator and journalist, Natalka Sniadanko opened the festival with a stirring address. Her debut novel, Collection of Passions, was published in 2001, and in 2013, her novel Frau Muller isn’t Disposed to Pay More was shortlisted for the BBC Ukrainian Book of the Year award. Essays and stories of hers have appeared in English in publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Republic, Brooklyn Rail, and Two Lines, translated by Jennifer Croft. Continue reading Guest Feature | Lucy Popescu @lucyjpop | European Literature Days 2022
“My name is Fatima Daas. The name of a girl from Clichy who crosses the tracks to get to school.”
An autobiographical first novel, The Last One tells the story of Fatima and her family. The confusing polarities between different worlds and cultures that are portrayed sparked an intense Media debate in France. Although based on true events and experiences, Fatima Daas changed certain aspects in order to be free to write what she wanted, and convey her feelings about specific events. Continue reading Review | The Last One, Fatima Daas, trs. Lara Vergnaud | HopeRoad Publishing