Where is 21st century Latin American fiction heading?

A screenshot of the collaborative online translation project “Palabras errantes” presented at the seminar.

A screenshot of the collaborative online translation project “palabras errantes” presented at the seminar.

What are the new trends in Latin American fiction? Can we go beyond the general conviction that, after the ‘60s “boom”, Latin American fiction experienced a steady decline both in the quality and quantity of literary works produced? How are researchers, librarians and publishers reacting to this in the UK? These and many more questions were answered at the seminar 21st Century Fiction from Latin America  held on Wednesday 12th of February 2014 at Senate House, London.

The panorama of 21st Latin American fiction is hugely vast and exciting, as was evidenced by the very stimulating contributions presented at the Seminar. Here we mention some of them. Continue reading

Inspector Montalbano

Many of us will have been hooked by Luca Zingarelli’s portrayal of Inspector Montalbano in RAI TV’s recent adaptations. Set in Sicily, excellently cast and scripted, these detective stories have been one of the highlights of BBC 4’s foreign language drama series, cleverly broadcast with subtitles rather than dubbed, thus retaining the magic of the original.

Andrea Camilleri, born in Porto Empedocle, Sicily, in 1925, wrote his first in a long series of novels featuring the character of Inspector Montalbano, in 1994. Hugely popular, these novels and short stories, set in Vigata, a thinly disguised version of his birthplace, have captured the public’s imagination and have graduated from being popular bestsellers to being part of the canon of contemporary Italian literature. Continue reading

‘A Poet and Bin Laden’, or Islamic militancy in Central Asia and Afghanistan

The latest set of CamCREES bibliographical notes look at Hamid Ismailov’s talk on 21 January 2014 about his novel Doroga k smerti bol’she, chem smert’ which has recently been published in translation (as A poet and Bin-Laden).  They look at some confusion for cataloguers caused by the book, and end on the subject of otherness.

The title page and cover of the Russian original (kindly donated by Mr Ismailov) and the English translation

The title page and cover of the Russian original (kindly donated by Mr Ismailov) and the English translation

The first CamCREES seminar of 2014 saw the return of a very popular speaker, Hamid Ismailov, the Uzbek poet and novelist.  Mr Ismailov had previously come to speak in 2011 on Soviet novels and Soviet reality, which included discussion of his own novel Zheleznaia doroga (9008.c.7320; the 2007 English translation (as The railway) is at C202.c.5616).

The 2014 seminar revolved around another work by Mr Ismailov which has recently been published in translation.  The Russian original was published in the UK in 2005, as Doroga k smerti bol’she, chem smert’ (The road to death is greater than death, C202.d.3553).  The novel tells the story of Belgi, an Uzbek poet who is radicalised by the Uzbek government crackdown in response to the 1999 bombings, and who ends up meeting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan (the title of the translation is A poet and Bin-Laden).

  Continue reading

German prizewinners 2013

The end of the year is a good time to do a round-up of winners of this year’s major German literary prizes.  We have featured these in the last two years on “In the spotlight” pages on our website (2011 and 2012) and continue to use them to guide our acquisitions policy for modern literature.

Georg-Büchner-Preis, awarded by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung in Darmstadt, a prestigious prize with a long history of recognising important German language authors for their contribution to German cultural life, has been won by Sibylle Lewitscharoff.  Please see here for our holdings of her works. See here for further information.


Winners of Deutscher Buchpreis

Deutscher Buchpreis, awarded by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels in Frankfurt am Main, is a relatively new prize, first awarded in 2005 and regarded as the German equivalent of the Man Booker prize.  It has been won this year by Terezia Mora for her novel Das Ungeheuer  (C207.c.7548).

Continue reading

Clemens Brentano at Newnham College Library


Page from the manuscript of Romanzen von Rosenkranz. By kind permission of The Principal and Fellows of Newnham College Cambridge.

Back in November 2007, an exhibition celebrating European Languages special collections in Newnham College Library brought to attention the Library’s significant collection of material relating to the German Romantic writer, Clemens Brentano (1778-1842). This collection was given to the college by Miss Edith Renouf (NC 1881), whose grandfather was Christian Brentano, brother of Clemens. The collection contains a number of early editions of the works of Brentano and his circle, including works by Achim von Arnim,  Bettina von Arnim (née Brentano), Joseph von Görres and Ludwig Tieck, as well as several  books by the eighteenth-century writer Sophie von La Roche (1730-1807), the grandmother of Clemens, Christian and Bettina Brentano. Continue reading