The UL’s Tall Tales exhibition has opened up to public view some of the treasures held in the seventeen floors of the library tower. One of the cases, to which I contributed, concentrates on literary prizewinners, a topic with which regular readers of this blog will be familiar. When selecting items to go on display, the challenge was to pick half a dozen titles that could somehow reflect the astonishing diversity of material to be found in the tower collections: the serious and the intellectual sit alongside works that are altogether less highbrow. Similarly, the range of literary prizes that are out there to be won is mind-boggling: could I include the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards? (There are eight categories each year.) The Waverton Good Read Award, handed out annually by the residents of Waverton (a village in Cheshire) to the best debut novel published in the past twelve months? (It was set up in 2003, inspired by Le Prix de la Cadière, a similar prize given out by the Provençal town of La Cadière D’Azur.) The Bad Sex in Fiction Award? (It goes to some unlikely recipients: in 2016, it was awarded to the Italian novelist Erri De Luca, for his novel The Day Before Happiness (Il giorno prima della felicità). A less illustrious prize, perhaps, than the others he has collected during his career, which include the Prix Fémina Étranger.) Continue reading
The French collections at Cambridge University Library aim to capture a broad range of Francophone literature. Though quite a few Francophone writers have contracts with French publishing houses, we also buy publications from North Africa, the Caribbean, and Québec (readers’ recommendations for Cambridge University library, especially for Francophone material, are always welcome).
In July the most prestigious of the Italian literary prizes was won by Helena Janeczek, for her work La ragazza con la Leica (C213.c.6240). Although many female authors have been nominated for the prize in the past, there has not been a female winner since Melania Mazzucco in 2003. La ragazza con la Leica is about Gerda Taro, a war photographer who died during the Spanish Civil war, and it had already won the Bagutta prize earlier this year. Continue reading
In 2015 we wrote about books shortlisted for the 2014 Libris Geschiedenis Prijs, showing that we selectively buy Dutch books on major Dutch historical topics or those with a strong interdisciplinary appeal. In this post we look at a few books acquired in the intervening years which have been shortlisted for the same prize:
First, from the 2015 shortlist, is Cees Fasseur’s Eigen meester, niemands knecht: het leven van Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy, Minister-president van Nederland in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (C214.c.2469). This substantial work is the first major biography of the man who held the important position of Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945 in exile in London.
Nominated for the 2016 prize was De roofkoning: Prins Willem III en de invasie van Engeland by Machiel Bosman (C213.c.3769). Books about William of Orange and his connections with England hold obvious appeal for us. This well-researched but concise account is a combination of history book and novel, telling the story of William’s invasion of England from the different perspectives of the main protagonists. William of Orange is a main player too in the book featured from last year’s shortlist, Oranje tegen de Zonnekoning: de strijd tussen Willem III en Lodewijk XIV om Europa by Luc Panhuysen (C212.c.6787), a comprehensive description of the intense rivalry between Louis XIV and William of Orange who were 17th century contemporaries. Continue reading
Last August’s Slavonic blog post looked at new literature from Ukraine. A year on, particularly with the centenary this month of the foundation of the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, it feels appropriate to look at some of this summer’s most recent Ukrainian-language arrivals.