Time for an update on the Bob Dylan-Nobel Prize beat: While Dylan still won’t attend the award ceremony in Stockholm this weekend, he has submitted a speech to be read on his behalf, reports The New York Times. Patti Smith will also be on hand to perform one of Dylan’s songs. We bet Brian Burlage would say that suits him perfectly.
"Between 2008 and 2014 there were 2,471 fiction translations published in the U.S. for the first time ever. Of those, 1,775 were written by men, compared to 657 by women, and 39 by men & women. In terms of percentages, female authors make up 26.6% of all the fiction translations published over the past seven years. I suspected going into this that there would be significantly more male authors published in translation than women, but I figured it would be more like a 60-40 split, not 71-27. That’s brutal." Chad Post on the gender gap in literary translation.
In The Guardian, Year in Reading alum Joshua Ferris writes a tribute to the novelist Jim Shepard, who taught him at UC Irvine when Ferris was a student there in the early aughts. Ferris makes a case that Shepard single-handedly settles a modern debate: “A lot of critics dislike the professionalisation of creative writing. They have never had Shepard in a workshop.”
In spite of the title of her blog post, Lily Meyer doesn’t think Ann Patchett is really an enemy of Zadie Smith. Instead, she thinks the two authors play opposing roles in her life, thanks largely to the different effects their books have on her perceptions. At the Ploughshares blog, she contrasts their novels, using excerpts from White Teeth and Bel Canto. Related: Kevin Charles Redmon’s review of Patchett's novel State of Wonder.
We celebrated Canada Day a bit early here yesterday with the news that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and our review of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam. So what is Canadian literature exactly? Atwood offered her definition for The Daily Beast: "It’s too multiple [to give a concise definition], but let us say that the point of view (if the writer is not pretending to be American, which they often are) is never that of someone who feels that their country is an imperial power. Because, in fact, Canada is not an imperial power." You can also see The Handmaid's Tale at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet next week.
"Are things getting worse for women in publishing?" The Guardian asks, and while the article focuses on the UK, it also touches on the state of affairs in the U.S. What both situations share is a lack of female representation at the executive level, based partly on "a generation of women retiring and the amalgamation of publishing houses, which has left fewer c-circle jobs to compete for." Oh, and sexism.