Literary translations in the library tower

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

Princess of Asturias award: Fred Vargas

1024px-Fred_Vargas

By Marcello Casal via Wikimedia Commons

Fred Vargas (pseudonym of Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau) has recently been awarded the Princess of Asturias award in its literary category. Cambridge Professor of  Classics, Mary Beard, received the corresponding award for Social sciences in 2016.

Although Fred Vargas is a historian and archaeologist, she is also known for being a successful crime novel writer. In fact, she started writing thrillers for fun, as an escape from her academic occupation. Her novelist career began with the publication of Les jeux de l’amour et de la mort (C205.d.7969) which won the Festival de Cognac novel prize. Continue reading

Québécois literature and the first London edition of “Festival America”

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).

Continue reading

Strega prize 2018 – goes to a woman, for the first time in 15 years

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

French and German prizewinners 2017

Following on from the recent post on Italian prizewinners, we now turn our attentions to the latest winners of major French (last covered in May 2017) and German (last covered in March 2017) prizes.

The Prix Goncourt was awarded to L’ordre du jour by Éric Vuillard (C205.d.4186).

The Prix Interallié went to Jean-René Van der Plaetsen for Nostalgie de l’honneur       (C205.d.4224).

Daniel Rondeau won the Grand prix du roman de l’Académie française for Mécaniques du chaos (C205.d.4223).

The Prix Médicis was awarded to Yannick Hanenel’s Tiens ferme ta couronne (C205.d.4222). Continue reading