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Archive for the ‘Literary News’ Category

Leslie Chang takes a peek at Chinese Bookshelves

What, BLF alumnus Leslie T. Chang, asks in the latest issue of The New Yorker, do the most industrious people on earth read when they’re not working?

The answer as it turns out: novels about, what else, work.

In the piece, the Factory Girls author mines Chinese bestsellers like The Diary of Government Official Hou Weidong, Du Lala’s Promotion Diary and The Get-Rich Diary of China’s Poorest Guy for insights into Chinese society and some practical career advice (see below) for would-be cubicle kings (and queens).

“Socialize with rich people. They know more than the poor.”

“Hire subordinates who are barely adequate or they’ll make you look bad.”

“When bribing an official, have your business partner deliver the money so your hands stay clean.”


New Yorker subscribers can access the article here.

For non-subscribers, a completely non-inclusive list of workplace books.

Tom Rachman’s The Impressionists 

Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End 

Studs Terkel’s Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do 

Joseph Heller’s Something Happened

Tim Clissold’s Mr. China

‘Sense of an Ending’ wins Man Booker 2011 Prize

On Tuesday, Julian’s Barnes’ Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape) was awarded the 2011 Man Booker Prize. This year saw many debut novelist make it on to the prestigious Man Booker Shortlist but Barnes, a literary vetren and heavy-weight as long been the favorite.

London-based Barnes has been the bookies’ favourite to win since the shortlist announcement on 6 September. The source of the description of the prize as ‘posh bingo’, Barnes has been shortlisted three times in the past for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert’s Parrot (1984).

The Man Booker Prize provides the winner £50,000.

The Ultimate X-Man: The Beijinger, CityWeekend on Douglas Coupland

In preparation for Canadian artists and writer Douglas Coupland’s event here at The Bookworm Tuesday, October 18th 7:30pm, check out a great interview with Coupland on The Beijinger and CityWeekend.

The Art of Translation

With Google translate easily at everyone’s fingertips, is the art and trade of translation on it’s way out?
David Bellos’ new book, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? takes the debate of robot v human translation head on – and comes out firmly on team human.

Will automation completely replace human translation? Are we about to see the end of multilingualism? According to David Bellos, a professor of French and comparative literature at Princeton and Booker Prize-winning translator, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. In his new book, “Is That a Fish in Your Ear?,” about process and social meaning of translation, he persuasively argues that human translators are as crucial as ever. At a time when the world seems more globalized and small than ever, they play a central role helping us understand each other and bring art to a broader audience. (Salon)

For all of your bookworms and word-nerds interested in translation and transcreation, don’t miss our Translation Slam on Wednesday, October 16th. Two (human) translators tackle blogger/race car driver/social critic/heartthrob Han Han’s short essay on the state of culture in China.

Translation Slam: Han Han, Wednesday, October 19 7:30pm, 20 rmb (members), 30rmb (non-members).
Brought to you by English Trackers. 

2011 National Book Award Finalists Announced

The 2011 National Book Award Finalists were announced this week. Each of the four categories – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young adult – long lists five books. Winner to be announced November 16th. We’ll thrilled that a lot of our favorite reads, including The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht, made it on the list this year.

Here is the complete list of finalists:


The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak
The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

The Convert by Deborah Baker
Love and Capital by Mary Gabriel
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
Malcolm X by Manning Marable
Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie by Lauren Redniss

Head Off and Split by Nikky Finney
The Chameleon Couch by Yusef Komunyakaa
Double Shadow by Carl Phillips
Tonight No Poetry Will Serve by Adrienne Rich
Devotions by Bruce Smith

Young People’s Literature
Chime by Franny Billingsley
My Name Is not Easy Debbie Dahl Edwardson
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Flesh and Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Okay for Now Gary D. Schmidt

Interesting in joining the BLF 2012 team?

The Bookworm International Literary Festival is a unique celebration of literature and ideas in China, programming 100 events across three cities, connecting over 70 Chinese and international writers and thinkers, running March 9-23.

We are now accepting applicants for the following positions:

Logistics Coordinator
Volunteers Coordinator
Junior Designer
Secondary Venues Coordinator

If you are interested in any of these positions, please contact [email protected] for more information.


Lev Grossman’s The Magicians coming to tv

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians is one of our favorite novels from the past few years. Fox has bought the rights and is currently developing the novel and its sequels into a tv series. Often described as ‘a grown-up Harry Potter,” The Magicians follows its young protagonists from Brooklyn to an elite university of magic to the gritty post-collegiate years in New York and then to a pseudo-Narnia. A fast and fun read, Grossman’s novel ties together the worlds of magic, drugs, sex, teenage angst and mythical creatures.

While you may need to wait for the tv adaptation, you can continue the story of The Magicians with Grossman’s sequel, The Magician King.



2011 Nobel Prize for Literature

Congratulations to Swedish poet  Tomas Tranströmer who was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel Prize committee made this decision “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”. (Nobel Prize)

Peter Hessler – MacArthur Genius

Congratulations to BLF author Peter Hessler on being awarded a MacArthur Fellow. The New Yorker has posted a list of Hessler’s articles for the magazine. Or stop by The Bookworm for a read of Country Driving, Oracle Bones or River Town.

Man Booker Shortlist Announced

The Man Booker Short list was announced this week. The following six writers have made the cut from the longlist:

Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape – Random House)

Carol Birch Jamrach’s Menagerie (Canongate Books)

Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (Granta)

Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues (Serpent’s Tail)

Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)

A.D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic)

From more info on the prize visit the Man Booker website. Or stop by The Bookworm to pick up one of these great novels.

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