Celebrating International Translation Day

Tomorrow is International Translation Day! According to Three Percent, a brilliant resource for international literature, less than 1% of all books published each year in the United States are literary fiction and poetry in translation. This seems a great shame—we’re missing out on a wealth of wonderful reading and, as Three Percent points out, we’re also neglecting the opportunity to learn about other cultures:

Reading literature from other countries is vital to maintaining a vibrant book culture and to increasing the exchange of ideas among cultures. In this age of globalization, one of the best ways to preserve the uniqueness of cultures is through the translation and appreciation of international literary works.

If you’re keen to discover more contemporary international literature and learn about the wonderful work of literary translators, we’ve got a treat in store (and in the store) for you—we’re celebrating International Translation Day with a special event and a very special offer:

  • At 7pm tomorrow, renowned translators Kurt Heinzelman, Liliana Valenzuela, and Jamey Gambrell will give readings from their work—and we’re told that Kurt will also talk about the practice of translating from languages he doesn’t know… that should be interesting!
  • And we’re also offering a whopping 20% off all books in translation on International Translation Day!

If you think you might have trouble deciding what to choose from our fantastic selection, let us spotlight a few recent releases—originally written in languages as diverse as Slovenian, Hindi, Italian, Norwegian, and Japanese—to whet your appetite for a global literary adventure!

  • HippodromeHippodrome by Miklavž Komelj; translated by Boris Gregoric and Dan Rosenberg (Zephyr Press)

In Hippodrome, his first collection of poems in English translation, Slovenian poet Komelj references Futurist operas, NATO military action, personal friends, and literary and artistic heroes. His view is wide and deep, but throughout this book, and despite all these shifts in attention and approach, he builds a compelling and unique vision.

  • This Number Does Not ExistThis Number Does Not Exist by Mangalesh Dabral (BOA Editions)

An attentive critique on contemporary reality, this first US publication of Mangalesh Dabral, presented in bilingual English and Hindi, speaks for the dislocated, disillusioned people of our time. These compassionate poems depict the reality of diaspora among ordinary people and the middle class, underlining the disillusionments of post-Independence India.

  • The Temple of IconoclastsThe Temple of Iconoclasts by J. Rodolfo Wilcock; translated by Lawrence Venuti (David R. Godine)

Wilcock’s charming fiction in the form of a biographical dictionary features a cast of eccentrics, visionaries, and downright crackpots. Temple’s brief portraits blend mordant satire and profound imaginative sympathy, taking in the whole dazzling spectrum of human folly—including a handful of colors that only Wilcock’s Swiftian eye could possibly have perceived.

  • Don't Leave MeDon’t Leave Me by Stig Saeterbakken; translated by Sean Kinsella (Dalkey Archive Press)

When seventeen-year-old Aksel Morander encounters Amalie, it proves a turning point in his life—not only does he fall in love for the first time, but he is introduced to an unfamiliar world that reveals everything around him in a new light. This is an intense novel about loneliness and agonizing passion, by one of Norway’s most acclaimed contemporary writers.

  • Collected Haiku of Yosa BusonCollected Haiku of Yosa Buson; translated by W. S. Merwin and Takako Lento (Copper Canyon Press)

This is the first complete bilingual translation of the entire Buson Kushu, a comprehensive collection of the haiku of Yosa Buson (1716–83), originally published in Japan in the mid-eighteenth century. W.S. Merwin and Takako Lento worked for nearly a decade to co-translate these poems, filled with resonant philosophical inquiry and wisdom about the natural world.

Introducing Fantastical Fictions

You might already be familiar with some of Malvern’s regular reading series, like Novel Night (it’s tomorrow!), I Scream Social, and our Malvern Books’ Club: Reading Classics from New York Review Books (there’s still time to join us for April). Well, we’ve another sensational series to add to the mix: Fantastical Fictions!

FF PosterFantastical Fictions is an odd-monthly event focusing on the literary fantastic across genres and cultures. Hosted by Rebecca Schwarz and Chris Brown, the series features published writers reading from new works, as well as an open mic for works in progress. Q&A sessions and discussions based on the fantastic literature available on our shelves round out a fun evening that’s sure to appeal to anyone who fancies some fanciful fiction. If you’d like to sign up for the FF mailing list, please do email us. We send out occasional newsletters to let you know about upcoming events and new works of fantastic literature in the store.

Our next Fantastical Fictions event will be on Thursday, May 5th. In the meantime, why not catch up on some footage from past Fantastical evenings? The videos from our first event, featuring legendary Austin-based science fiction writer Howard Waldrop, are shown below, and we also have a YouTube playlist that’s well worth a watch.

Autumnal Action At Malvern Books

Fall is on its way (thank goodness), bringing with it that lovely back-to-school feeling of new beginnings—and a packed-to-the rafters Events Calendar! Here’s a recap of three very eventful days…

On Friday we hosted something rather special: poet and scholar Wendy Barker joined us to discuss Emily Dickinson’s use of metaphor to challenge nineteenth-century restrictions on women. Her talk was part of “The Poet Sings: Emily Dickinson,” a series of events based around a wonderful recital by the Conspirare virtuoso choir. Wendy’s talk was fascinating, and I enjoyed hearing about how she came to love a writer whose poems she’d once viewed as “silly little things.” (Check out our YouTube channel for extra footage from Wendy’s talk, including an audience Q & A.)

The weekend continued in fine style on Saturday night with a talented trifecta of young poets: our old pal Tyler Gobble, plus Ben Kopel and Emily Bludworth de Barrios, who shared some poems from her brilliant first collection, Splendor.

And last but not least, we rounded out a happily hectic few days with a Sunday afternoon reading featuring three acclaimed poets: Taisia Kitaiskaia, Kurt Heinzelman, and Fani Papageorgiou. If you want to meet a Harp Queen and hear some Not So Ill poems, check out the footage below…

Haiku & Selfies at Malvern Books

Grant and StephanieLast Friday night we played host to a rather dynamic duo: writers Grant Cross and Stephanie Goehring. Grant shared a mixture of haiku (he’s a 5-7-5 wizard!) and longer verse, and also proved that a gourd can provide excellent accompaniment, while Stephanie read a beautiful lyric essay as well as new poems from a series excellently titled “Who Took This Selfie?” Enjoy the footage from their reading, and then check out our Events Calendar; we have oodles of upcoming literary larks you’re sure to enjoy!

Old Green World at Malvern Books

Last Saturday night we welcomed a talented trio of writers to the Malvern stage to celebrate the launch of a wonderful Old Green novel. First up was author Susan Schorn, who read from a thriller-in-progress. Susan is a self-defense instructor, black belt, and memoirist—and she also writes “Bitchslap,” a kick-ass McSweeney’s column about women and fighting.

Next we heard from Paige Britt. Earlier this year Paige released a children’s book, The Lost Track of Time, but on this occasion she was introducing us all to a lyrical, philosophical postapocalyptic sci-fi romance set 4000 years in the future, aka the evening’s laudable launch, Old Green World by Jason Craft.

And then we welcomed the man of the hour, Jason Craft / Walter Basho. In case you’re a little confused, Basho is the pseudonym Craft chose when he first self-published Old Green World, as there is already a Jason Craft writing sci-fi; however, he has since decided to use his own name—and explore his options vis-à-vis traditional publishing—so capturing this appearance from “Mr. Basho” was quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Jason/Walter very kindly encouraged the audience to purchase some of the lovely titles on our shelves, and then treated us to a little more from Old Green World