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Believing in literature


ismael kadare, originally uploaded by lotsofbigideas.

Ismael Kadaré accepted the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in Edinburgh last night with an inspiring speech full of huge ideas about life and writing:

'Believing in literature means believing in a reality above that which is. Believing in literature means saying that the ghastly regime holding sway over your country is altogether insipid, compared to literature in all its funereal majesty. Believing in that art means being convinced that the regime to which you are subjected, with its policemen who spy on you, its top leaders and its functionaries — in sum, that the entire edifice of tyranny is but a passing nightmare, something dead in comparison to the Supreme order whose disciple you now are.'

Meanwhile, Chair of Judges, John Carey, sparked off a well overdue debate in the press on the question of translation which is beautifully summarized at The Literary Saloon.

I couldn't agree with Carey more. I'm always hearing about things I want to read and then looking in vain for (good) translations...

And I don't believe that the British public are just not interested in reading literature in translation. In fact, it's my experience that people are hungry for new writing from far-flung places; writing that opens up a world beyond their own experience.

Come on, British publishers... Stop being so lazy or you might just wake up one morning to a world where everyone's selling their translations online...

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