Literary roundup: Prague writers + a peasant Don Juan

PEN has announced its 2014 Translation Fund Winners and there are some cool and unusual writers that will be coming into English from this part of the world, and by this part of the world I mean in this case from a few blocks away from where I’m sitting writing this.

One of the grants goes to David Burnett for his translation of The American Stories by Prague Circle writer Johannes Urzidil. Besides being a friend and associate of Kafka, Urzidil wrote a story about him in his Prager Triptychon (Prague Triptych, 1960) in which the writer survives his illness (unbeknownst to the world) and is an octogenarian gardener on Long Island.


Johannes Urzidil

Johannes Urzidil

Another grant goes to Benjamin Paloff for The Game for Real by Richard Weiner. Unlike the Prague Circle writers, Weiner was a Jewish writer who was Czech and has yet to be translated into English at all.

Richard Weiner

Richard Weiner

One other regional grant of interest here was awarded to Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev for the poetry of Russian Arseny Tarkovsky in I Burned at the Feast, a writer (and translators) who have been in these pages a few times before.

Congratulations to all the translators and writers (even if they’re dead) and good luck getting your work published.

Zsigmond Móricz

At Hungarian Literature Online there is an article about the new translation of Hungarian writer Zsigmond Móricz’s 1910 novel Sárarany as Gold in the Mud in a translation by Virginia L. Lewis (Incidentally, either they gave it a different title in English or Hungarian has a single word for “gold in the mud”, which would be so awesome that it’s the alternative I have chosen to believe).



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