Tuesday, 21 July 2009

European Union Prize for Literature to Paulus Hochgatterer

Things are rather slow around here; the city's train system has collapsed and everyone's on holiday. I keep getting replies to emails that say: 'I'll be away from my desk until the end of September. My emails will not be forwarded.'

My reactions are equally sluggish, so it may be no news to you that Paulus Hochgatterer's Die Süße des Lebens won one of twelve newly created awards under the title of the European Union Prize for Literature. Funnily enough, one of the members of the Austrian jury is the book's publisher.

Maybe they should pit the twelve books against each other in a huge Eurovision-style extravaganza, inevitably to be won by Ireland, which then has to host next year's very expensive gala and so submits a weaker number next year. In fact, the Irish winner Karen Gillece has already been described as "no one-hit wonder", unlike good old Jonny Logan. Of course they'd have to get all twelve books translated into eleven different languages first though, which would be a great way to "put the spotlight on the creativity and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature in the field of fiction, to promote the circulation of literature within Europe and encourage greater interest in non-national literary works", as is the award's objective.

You can get Jamie Bulloch's translation of the Austrian winner, The Sweetness of Life, from MacLehose Press. It's a psychological thriller set in the Alps, written by a psychologist and writer.


Harvey Morrell said...

Of course, if it were to follow the Eurovision format, wouldn't most books just be translated into English?

kjd said...

Spoilsport! Don't you remember the olden days when every country had to sing in its own language? And then they'd sneak in an English chorus if they won - Diggi Loo, diggi ley, and I'm going my way, and I'm walking in my golden shoooooeees - and you'd suddenly realise it was all a load of utter tosh they'd been singing, just like the songs you did understand.