November 25th, 2010 § § permalink
Since this post will be an array of topics I couldn’t decide on what to call it. So I made it up.
My prize book packet has arrived. I was not to be kept in suspense for long, even though it stated that it could take up to 4 weeks after the draft to receive the books. They came on Tuesday already. And so, with no further delay, may I present to you:
Book packet from Lindhardt & Ringhof
The lucky three to have entered my domicile
What we have here is Michael Katz Krefeld’s ‘Protokollen’ (The Protocol), Charlotte Weitze’s Sværmeri (Romance) and Martin Hall’s Kinoplex. Now, I don’t like to sound ungrateful, but I highly doubt I will be reading the second one, and most certaintly not the first (with a text on the back introducing the plot like so: A car bomb kills twenty three at a fashionable restaurant in Copenhagen center. Everything hints at a terrorist attack, but no one has yet to take responsibility. It just reeks to much of tabloid literature for me to want to use time analysing it), so if you are in the neighborhood or want all of a sudden to spend 80,- on coffee at Ricco’s downtown on me (and you) in order to get your hands on them, you know where to buzz. But the third one intrigues me. So not getting that one, I will however be happy to share what it’s like when I’ve read it.
In other happy news I have finally submitted my translation of a youth novel from English to Faroese to the publishers. I am looking forward to seeing the bloodbath (or as a Faroese would say: grindadráp) that will or will not come hailing down on paper when they look through it. Joke aside, it is really nice to have it off my shoulders, and there is something to be said about completing one task before going on with the next. So I gave myself a well deserved time off consisting of a bubble bath, candles, a book, some tea and chocolate, I mean I went all girly on myself. And now it’s back to business, this time cramming my brain in exam mode, steering towards the best 15-pages internship assignment that has ever entered KUA’s premises. It will change the meaning of assignments, people after me are going to go: “You did what? Nooo man, where have you been, that’s not how you write internship assignments, that is such a B.J. entry.”
Anyhoo, I have also been contemplating a blog challenge for myself. It has nagged my that my entries are so sporadic, even though I told myself I would never let the blog run my day, and only write when I felt I had something to share. This will still be the case, but I have been toying with the idea of structuring myself a little more. So I’m thinking of making a booklist to follow and hence write about. I have been around different lists, you know the classic ’100 titles you must have read otherwise you are the most ignorant person on the face of the earth’ and ’80 titles that are so fantastic, the content must be so too’. But most of them are constructed by someone who is either totally eurocentric (aka – French, English, German literature, with a hint of colonial travel to the darkest pits of Africa or the most erotic parts of the Middle East – also know as the Orient of that genre) or americentric (with a very high emphasis on the individual struggle with…. drumroll please…. the individual! – in national settings). So I am going on a literary voyage across the world, trying not to leave any stone unturned (with the slight downside that I only speak so many languages, so original works in Aramaic and Russian are out unless translated). Aaaand, I will not only be reading novels, but would love to broaden the field with poetry, biographies, comics, etc. If you have any good suggestions, wether heard through the grapevine or read yourself, I would love to hear about it. I am hoping to compile this list so that come the turn of the year, I can go right onboard project “Read and blog your way through the world”.
November 17th, 2010 § § permalink
I am now on day 3 A.B. (After Book fair), and up until today I haven’t had the strength to do anything other than bike home from work, eat and go straight to bed. Yeah, yeah, I know; ‘Stop your whining!’ And I will… after this post. Le reason: I have been totally consumed by this years book fair event in Copenhagen, BogForum 2010, as part of my internship. It has been hard, and my feet are pretty much revenging themselves times 10, but it was also tons of fun. Last year I went there as a ‘reporter’ and book magazine distributor, so I had ample time to browse around the stands and look at books, readings by authors and people. But this year I was pretty much at one with stand 96, for all but forty five minutes on the last day at the last hour of the book fair (and I still managed to blow of some cool hard cash on must-have books bought at the speed of light – no fuzz, just do!).
I have met every person and type under the sun and talked to people who are passionate about books and publishing. And best of all: I got to be a part of the book fair in a wholly different fashion than last year, which was incredibly rewarding. Firstly, I got to be in charge of e-reader/e-book communications, which basically meant that I was the go-to-person if people had further questions regarding our offer to make e-books, and how the readers function and such. And secondly, I really noticed a progression in accumulated knowledge and ease with the whole question of self-publishing, business procedures and customer relations, which in return kicked up my confidence meter a notch or two. I got to meet a lot of the people who publish their own books, who all do it for different reasons. I don’t know really how to explain it all in words, I am just left now these past days with a buzz. Immensely tired, but with an unmistakable buzz.
So for lack of words (since I spent my quota for the year on those three days), I will just do the lazy-woman’s version and let the pictures do the talking.
November 10th, 2010 § § permalink
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if you wanna win the lottery, buy a ticket!! (ok, confession, that’s not true, I don’t say that, but Julia Roberts says it in ‘Eat, Prey, Love’, so soon everybody is gonna say it, so I might as well start the first wave in Denmark).
Anywayyyy: I’ve won a bookpacket in MEGA litt’s booklottery!!!
The thing is, I don’t know which one, because I guess they randomly select between the names and packets, plus they won’t say or be more specific than just ‘you won, congrats’ (very secretive indeed, wonder why) but I am keeping my fingers crossed for some of the packets, and very uncrossed for others.
My winning number is 18 – you can see it here – yey, big smiles, applause, a-thanka-you, bow, exit – and the bookpackets are here.
November 9th, 2010 § § permalink
The event I was blogging about the last time has now come and gone, and yes, Per Stig Møller was quoted for saying that somehow the ministry had ‘found’ (I am not shitting you, this is the wording I read on Politiken.dk) the money before, and now all of a sudden they had yet again found them. So clap, literati, clap for the fact that your whopping 16 million DKK got saved from the big bad corporate hyena and his big bad no-nonsense-gross-expenditure-flashdance-pack.
I was of course an hour late for the event, because me and hubby had some more urgent affairs finding webbings for our old and battered sofa. But when I got there, boy oh boy, the library was bustling with people. Old, young, hipsters, non-hipsters, people who actually had to use the library that day to study, a swarm of people hiding behind cameras, and of course, writers.
All in all it was a very quick experience. There was so much going on (over 200 writers reading from their works on 25 stages in a period of 2 hours) that I felt like a headless chicken, and thought I saw many with the same syndrome. But then again, it was a staged event to make a point, and the point came out loud and clear – there is diversity and a plurality of voices among the Danish writers (and this was just an itty-bitty fraction of what DK has to offer). MEGA litt was, in my opinion, not about enjoying the arts in a laid back fashion, letting the words sink in and mellowing out. It was about fighting for literature as a right in itself and standing up for themselves in a loud, cacophonous unison.
Let’s just hope this pugnacious attitude can bring some more debate about who and what and why.
November 1st, 2010 § § permalink
In the past couple of weeks, there has been an uproar within the ranks of and about the creators, exponents and critics of literature in Denmark. The reason? Why, money of course. Well, no I am sorry, I didn’t mean that. In all actuality it is about money, but since the government announced its 100 million DKK budget cuts in the arts, of which about 16 million DKK go to literature and author grants, it means that this particular pool of money is getting cut 75 % over the next four years. 75 percent!!
Now, I could go the very constructive way, and say that it makes sense that there should be some cuts in these areas, as all other areas are affected by The Financial Crisis and too must face difficult times up ahead. I could go as far as to say, yes, this should take the cut and deal with it. But somewhere between the lines there is that little mad person, that is not going to take it no more!!
I mean, 75%! Why not the whole lot? It is obvious that this administration does not prioritize the arts, nor see it as an investment in further development and cultivation of the arts. Why patronize a whole branch of society by giving out minor scraps, crumbs of the table of life sciences and pharmaceuticals?
Fortunately, being the creative and resourceful bunch that they are, they are mad as hell too (well, most of them, some just like to shit where they eat, but I’ll get to that). And so Dansk Forfatterforening (The Danish Writers Association) has set up an event that will say goodbye to this pool with a bang. More that 200 writers and translators will, in the course of two hours on Saturday, November 6th, between 13.00 and 15.00, read from their works on 25 stages at Copenhagen Main Library. MEGA Litt: The largest literature reading in Danish history. Aarhus (because, yes, they have legally changed their name, for strategic and marketing reasons, back to double A… sorry, sidetracked) will also host a slightly smaller event at the same time.
However, this whole mess has sparked of a new war. This time between some critics of the current distribution of said grants for literature and authors and the allocators who dish out these grants. The reason? Why, money of course. In the book section of Weekendavisen # 43, Leonora Christina Skov, literary critic and author, makes her contribution to the debate, and might I add, thank heavens! I do adore getting all sides of the story, and her piece has revealed a, not at all surprising, but bias relationship between the grants pool and recipients – and does so with a personal interest and stake in the matter. Her critique is based on the fact that the grant money should help broaden and better the field of literature, incite diversity and spur authors. And, might I be so bold to add in my own reading of some of her points, to give literature a leg up in the publics’ knowledge. The problem is that some of the more popular writers, are almost given a continuous grant, year out and year in, which goes against the Skov’s notion of giving grants as an aid, where it is most needed. And while I am almost all the way in agreement with her, this is also where I would like to clear my throat a couple of times. I do solemnly swear by giving literature of all flavors a boost, to help growth and to avoid stagnation in a genre or style. But I am also an advocate for rewarding good penmanship, and have sympathy for the fact that many times, the grants are well given. The main problem, I feel, is that there is so damn little money to go around. And with a reduction of 75 % (I will say it again 75% goddammit!!) there will be a slim to none chance that the pool will be giving money out to experimental literature. Some people are of the notion that literature is to serve a specific purpose, others that it should avoid being locked down and so on and so on.
The funny thing is that, in all of this debate about the money and the distribution and the people who benefit or not, there is something uncanny rearing its ugly head every once in a while. And it is called the little green angry monster. You know the one: he doesn’t really like himself, or is not really that confident, and yet, he persistently bashes people on the head with how inadequate they themselves are. Example: while the debate has very understandably awoken the legitimate question of why grants are given to whom and how much is enough, some tend to go a little overboard in playing the victimized party of an overlooked genre OR the beneficiary who really only applies for money because he CAN get it (!!!). There is a righteous and pious attitude that tries to downgrade other styles or institutions on a not very factual base that really is not becoming. I think it is possible to be very critical and mad as hell at the system, the people, the situation and still have a pretty strong argument without resorting to snide comments.
And while I feel that the grant pool should become subject to scrutiny and perhaps some structural changes if it is found to perform inadequately, I will still gladly give my support right now to the event on Saturday, with the hope that money for literature will not be seen as a handout to money-grubbing, sucking-on-the-state’s-tits-without-giving-anything-concrete-back recipients, but an investment in members of the nation who provide mobility, give voice to areas that need given a voice, and someone to be proud of.