paper trail

Feb 9, 2011 @ 9:00:00 am

Mima Simic, photo © Jelena Topcic

Croatian author Mima Simić was thrilled when she heard that her story “My Girlfriend” (translated into English by the author) was selected for Dalkey Archive Press’s Best European Fiction 2011 anthology. However, she was “shocked, appalled and flabbergasted” when she received the book and found egregious errors introduced by an editor of the story (one character, whose gender is intentionally ambiguous in the original, becomes a man in the edited version). So Simić did what any angry author looking to start a tempest in the literature-in-translation world would do: She wrote an open letter to Dalkey rival publisher Open Letter’s Three Percent blog (run by ex-Dalkey Archiver Chad Post). The Literary Saloon has a roundup of the fallout, including a response from Dalkey, Post’s explanation of why he published Simić’s letter, and Maitresse blogger (and Bookforum contributor) Lauren Elkin’s smart take on the “Politics of Translation.”

Author Jeffrey Eugenides publishes a novel only about once a decade, and they’re always worth the wait. The nineties brought us the mesmerizing The Virgin Suicides (later made into a film by Sophia Coppola), the aughts saw the Pulitzer-prize winning (and Oprah book club pick) Middlesex, and (mark your calendars) his new novel, The Marriage Plot, will be released by FSG in October. No word yet on what the book is about, but the title suggests a Phillip Roth-Curtis Sittenfeld mash-up.

Non-fiction authors afflicted with writer’s block need look no further than The Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator, which, as The Observer wryly notes, has already reached the tipping point.

More on the VIDA survey, from Poetry magazine, one of the publications counted. They confirm what many have been saying: Men pitch to editors more often than women (last year, Poetry’s submission rate was 65% men and 35% women). Still, Poetry isn’t making excuses, writing “it’s not equal, and it ought to be. The VIDA results seem to us a useful and necessary warning. For our part, we’re going to begin trying even harder.”

Tonight at the New School, Jennifer Egan—author of the novel of music and bad memories, A Visit from the Goon Squadwill appear as the guest of University’s Fiction Forum.