Sunetra Gupta: the portrait

July 24th, 2013

03gupta_182358Lovely to hear that a portrait of Sunetra Gupta was included in the “Women in Science Portrait Exhibition” at the Royal Society in London, alongside portraits of such luminaries as Marie Curie. Gupta is an award-winning theoretical epidemiologist, professor at Oxford University, as well as the acclaimed author of five novels, including our own So Good in Black.

See write-ups in the Calcutta Telegraph and the Business Standard.

You can also check out Gupta’s most recent science writing, her Kindle Single Pandemics: Our Fears and the Facts.

Benjamin Hollander to read in Chicago

July 6th, 2013

If you’re in Chicago, July 9th would be a great day to go to the Book Cellar: at 7 pm Ben Hollander will be reading from his just-out In the House Un-American, along with the writer and translator Todd Hasak-Lowy. Come by!

Benjamin Hollander to read in San Francisco, Berkeley, and New York

May 9th, 2013

Layout 1Come see Benjamin Hollander, author of the just-out In the House Un-American, read on one or both coasts!

On May 15th Hollander will read with George Albon at Bird and Beckett Books in San Francisco.

On May 22nd Hollander and Susan Gevirtz will read at Moe’s Books in Berkeley.

On May 28th St. Marks Bookshop in New York will host Hollander and the poet David Shapiro.

Hope to see you there!

Adania Shibli at the PEN World Voices Festival

April 4th, 2013

We’re excited to share that Adania Shibli will join Randa Jarrar and Najwan Darwish for “All That’s Left to You: Palestinian Writers in Conversation,” as part of the PEN World Voices Festival:

Saturday, May 04, 2013, 3:00pm

For the first time in the Festival’s history, PEN brings together a panel of leading Palestinian writers to take their place in the global literary community. From Palestine and from the diaspora, they will share their work, experiences, and visions, revealing how a literature is both imagined and created under occupation, siege, and exile.

Moderated by Judith Butler

Co-sponsored by ArteEast, The Lannan Foundation, The New School, and the Open Society Foundation.

“Even in Paradise, Someone Will Be Bluffing”: New Ersi Sotiropoulos

March 29th, 2013

There’s a fantastic new story by Ersi Sotiropoulos, translated by Chris Markham, up in the spring 2013 issue of Kenyon Review Online. Check out the audio feature to hear Ersi read some of the original Greek.

And if you enjoy that, of course we recommend Landscape with Dog, Ersi’s stunning collection of stories, translated by Karen Emmerich and published by us!

Keep an eye out this spring for the paperback release of the extraordinary Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees (trans. Peter Green), the first work of Ersi’s to appear in English, and truly a contemporary classic, a novel I’m still thinking about six, seven years after first reading it. It’s been our enormous honor to get to publish Ersi Sotiropoulos in English.

Alex Epstein at the KGB Bar!

February 22nd, 2013

lunarsavingstimeforwebFor all you New Yorkers or near-enough-to-New Yorkers, we’re thrilled to say that our own Alex Epstein, author of Blue Has No South and Lunar Savings Time, will be reading, with Christine Sneed, at the KGB Bar on March 3, as part of their Sunday Night Fiction series.

Uzma Aslam Khan featured in Dawn

January 27th, 2013

A review of Uzma Aslam Khan’s wonderful Thinner than Skin is the cover story today at Dawn.com and is accompanied by an interview with the author. A taste:

Thinner than Skin could be a story about love and the search for identity. But it could as easily be a story about the impact of militancy on nomadic communities in northern Pakistan. How did you bring all this together? Nadir and Farhana travel to Kaghan but then it all unravels and there’s a moment at the end when the conflict becomes unimportant.

I’ve never mapped out a novel. I don’t really trust maps, because the lines change as soon you find them. As if the form of a novel itself demands that you stay open to change, open to surprises. All my novels have begun either with an image and/or a voice. With Thinner than Skin, the spark was an Ansel Adams photograph of a waterfall. The force of the torrent inspired a line that has stayed in the book. All the threads of a novel, at least for me, come together through sensory cues, through acts of faith. There is no plan except to feel my way through it.

You write about glacier mating. There’s an ice-bride and ice-groom which to me sounds magical but in some ways is reflective of Nadir and Farhana’s relationship, blowing hot and cold. How did you come up with this strange use of a metaphor that you play with throughout the book?

My first encounter with a glacier was on a visit to northern Pakistan years ago, and it was the same glacier that the characters in my book trek across to get to Lake Saiful Maluk. At the time, what struck me was the sheer physicality of it — the size, the slipperiness, the muddiness of footprints and jeep tracks, the crevices and knuckles and slopes. Things can live inside us a long time before we know they’re even there. It wasn’t till another visit that I learned the glaciers are named, and even given a personality, a gender and a wedding. The ceremony is mysterious and sacred. Naturally, this fascinated me. But even then I never thought to include it in a book. That process — from learning something amazing to finding it a home in my own small way — is also mysterious. I never know how one becomes the other.

Ersi Sotiropoulous on literature and the crisis in Greece

December 26th, 2012

At the PBS Newshour arts blog, Jeffrey Brown interviews Ersi Sotiropoulos, author of Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees and Landscape with Dog and Other Stories. An excerpt:

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: … What was astonishing for me was to see was a middle-aged woman like me, well dressed, with a certain dignity, with a small stick looking through the garbage. Also hiding, in a way. Feeling ashamed. Looking behind her back to make sure nobody was observing her.

JEFFREY BROWN: Because she was formerly well off, middle class?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Yes, yes of course.

JEFFREY BROWN: How is what’s happening come into your writing?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: First, it comes into my life because I have to move from this apartment.

JEFFREY BROWN: Move because of economic reasons?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Because we cannot afford the rent any more. To my writing, I think I am writing the way I was always writing throughout my life. But it’s more difficult to concentrate now.

JEFFREY BROWN: Because?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Because I have this feeling of almost physical oppression, sometimes suddenly during the day, like an earthquake is approaching. When you go out, you see people begging. Now beggars usually don’t ask for money. They usually ask “Please can you buy me something to eat?” After awhile, I’ve found I’ve stopped giving things. I’ve become selfish. Sometimes I pretend I’m talking on the phone. It’s not that I don’t have the money. It is opening up the purse and knowing there will be another, and then another and another who approaches me.

JEFFREY BROWN: Do you see it having an effect on society, the cohesion?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. At the beginning I thought the crisis could be beneficial, in a way. That it would get rid of many silly things. The idiotic consumerism, the fast lifestyles. I thought it would be a chance to rediscover things like friendship. But I was wrong. It was an illusion. I mean the crisis empties the wallets as well as the souls.

Read in full here.

Thinner than Skin long-listed for the Man Asian Prize

December 4th, 2012

Just out this morning: the Man Asian Literary Prize’s long-list, and Uzma Aslam Khan’s newly released Thinner than Skin is on it! Congratulations to Uzma! and to all the writers listed. Press release below:

2012 Man Asian Literary Prize longlist displays the literary rise of Asia 

December 4, 2012

Novels showcasing the power of the writing emerging across the whole breadth of Asia were put on display today as the fifteen books longlisted for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize were unveiled.

Nine different Asian countries are represented, many of them seen afresh through the eyes of women, migrants and story-tellers on the margins. The list also includes an early intricate and stunning book by Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, now appearing in English for the first time.

2012 LONGLIST

Goat Days – Benyamin (India)

Between Clay and Dust – Musharraf Ali Farooqi (Pakistan)

Another Country – Anjali Joseph (India)

The Briefcase – Hiromi Kawakami (Japan)

Thinner Than Skin – Uzma Aslam Khan (Pakistan)

Ru – Kim Thúy (Vietnam / Canada*)

Black Flower – Young-Ha Kim (South Korea)

Island of a Thousand Mirrors – Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka)

Silent House – Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)

Honour – Elif Shafak (Turkey)

Northern Girls – Sheng Keyi (China)

The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia)

The Road To Urbino – Roma Tearne (Sri Lanka / U.K.*)

Narcopolis – Jeet Thayil (India)

The Bathing Women – Tie Ning (China)

Plato in New York

November 22nd, 2012

Vicki James Yiannias has written a wonderful piece in Greek News on Ersi Sotiropoulos and her “Plato in New York” and her recent doings.

“… [A]n unusual, riveting, and groundbreaking presentation in the Living Room at the Gershwin Hotel on October 11 was described by Sotiropoulos as a “hybrid of a novel that uses fictional narrative, dialogue, and visual poetry”.  “Plato in New York” was perhaps a “first” such hybrid by a Greek author.  But it was not the only “first” from this acclaimed Greek author.  Zigzag through the Bitter Orange Trees, one of her twelve books of fiction, was the first novel ever to receive Greece’s two most important literary awards, the Greek State Prize for Literature and Greece’s preeminent Book Critics Award (2000).  More professional tributes to Sotiropoulos’ work: her last novel, “Eva”, a young woman’s odyssey through the backstreets of Athens on Christmas Eve, won the Athens Academy prize for best novel in 2011, and her book of stories “Feel blue, dress in red” has just been short-listed for Greece’s National Book Award.

Sotiropoulos, who lives in Athens and was Artist in Residence at the Gershwin Hotel from September 6- October 18 (and Director’s Guest there in 2010), explained to the GN that “Plato in New York” used fictional narrative, dialogue and visual poetry, was a way of exploring the identity of the city through analogies between two distinct and very different times and cultures, New York now and Plato’s Athens.  “The idea is to portray New York as Plato’s cave, a complex place where it is almost impossible to separate the real from the virtual”, she says, “Plato wrote, ‘How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?’  It seems like the eruption of the past in the present, but it is not so simple.  With the virtual devouring big chunks of the real, apparent these days in the financial world and the media, Plato’s questions seem as relevant as ever.” Read more

Also, for a Greek perspective on the current European economic crisis, see these excerpts of Ersi’s piece for the BBC.