Alfred A. Knopf

4 of Our Books Shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award

The 10 finalists for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award have been announced, the shortlist including 4 authors and their books published in the U.S. by Penguin Random House imprints. Sponsored by the Dublin City Council and managed by Dublin City Libraries, the international competition receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the world and recognizes both writers and translators.

expand
The Dublin Literary Award, now in its 23rd year, is one of the richest literary prizes in the world, worth €100,000 to the winner. If the book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator €25,000. A five-member international judging panel, chaired by Eugene R. Sullivan, will select one winner, which will be announced by Lord Mayor, Ardmhéara, Mícheál Mac Donncha, Patron of the Award, on June 13 in Dublin, Ireland. Our shortlisters: HUMAN ACTS by Han Kang; translated from Korean by Deborah Smith (Hogarth) THE LESSER BOHEMIANS by Eimear McBride (Hogarth) LADIVINE by Marie Ndiaye; translated from French by Jordan Stump (Alfred A. Knopf)   MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON by Elizabeth Strout (Random House) To view the complete list of 2018 International Dublin Literary Award finalists, click here. To read an Irish Times article by Hogarth author John Boyne about this year’s shortlist, click here.

Poets & Writers Gala Honors Knopf Authors Adichie, Russo, Riverhead Editorial Director Rebecca Saletan

The annual spring gala benefit dinner for Poets & Writers—America’s largest nonprofit service organization dedicated to fostering the professional development of poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers—is always an enjoyably memorable occasion to celebrate one of its core missions:   “to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.” This objective was thrillingly achieved at this year’s event, held in Manhattan on March 28, at which Riverhead Books Vice President and Editorial Director Rebecca Saletan and Knopf authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Richard Russo were honored for their exceptional contributions to the writing and publishing community. 

expand
[caption id="attachment_10503" align="alignright" width="447"] The 2018 Editor’s Award winner Rebecca Saletan (front left) with several of the authors she has edited.[/caption] Rebecca Saletan is the recipient of “The Editor’s Award” for 2018 from the group, which recognizes “a book editor who has made an outstanding contribution to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time.” It was presented to her by Masha Gessen, whose THE FUTURE IS HISTORY won the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Before offering eloquent tributes from authors also edited by the nominee, many of whom were in attendance, Ms. Gessen said: “Becky has been my editor for the last 14 years and six books. She has given my books names and shape. She has made me feel that it was safe to take writing risks. That’s what an editor does: she enables the writer to dare by showing that she will not let them make a fool of themselves. She is both the safety net and the tightrope walk that is writing (or that writing can be).” Ms. Saletan then spoke reflectively and movingly about being an editor. One highlight of many: “When I think about the writers and books I have worked with, it’s the dialogue about shape that I most remember. A draft of a story in which a kind of sonic boom goes off. The beginning demands an answering boom on the end. Rather than trying to launch six complicated characters at the outset, how about introducing them one by one, like a juggler putting balls in the air? Perhaps not surprisingly, all my career I have been drawn to writing and writers who are structurally innovative and do not fit into easy categories—fiction/nonfiction, narrative essay, poets AND  writers. I love that the very name of this organization allows for the reading that they are one and the same.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Richard Russo each received “The Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award,” which celebrates “authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community.” Ms. Adichie, a fiction and nonfiction author whose acclaimed books include AMERICANAH, effusively paid tribute to the Poets & Writers bi-monthly magazine—considered to be a bible in the writing community for its extensive presentation of available writer prizes and grants, and for its authoritative interviews—as the first magazine she ever subscribed to. Mr. Russo, whose more than a dozen published works of fiction and nonfiction include EMPIRE FALLS and NOBODY’S FOOL, aptly expressed the spirit of the evening and singularity of its hosts, remarking: “Even the most solitary writers accrue debts—to agents, editors, publicists…Literary debts, like so many others, can only be paid forward. Helping emerging writers find an audience is one important way of doing that, and it’s particularly important now, when there aren’t nearly as many opportunities for young writers as there were when I myself was emerging … I offer what help I can to emerging authors because doing so, frankly, is fun …”

#1 New York Times and Internationally Bestselling Author of THE BOOK THIEF, Markus Zusak, to Publish His Eagerly Awaited Next Novel, BRIDGE OF CLAY, This Fall

BRIDGE OF CLAY, the highly anticipated novel by internationally bestselling and award-winning author Markus Zusak, will be published this Fall, it was announced globally today. On sale October 9, 2018, the book will release with a first printing of 500,000 copies in the U.S., and be published by Alfred A. Knopf, home of Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF. It will publish simultaneously in Zusak’s native Australia, and in the U.K. two days later. BRIDGE OF CLAY will be edited in the U.S. by Zusak’s longtime editor Erin Clarke. Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Management represents Zusak. 

expand
[caption id="attachment_9944" align="alignright" width="422"] Markus Zusak, in a surprise visit from Australia, presents BRIDGE OF CLAY in-person to the Random House Children’s Books Sales Force[/caption] From the author whose beloved novel THE BOOK THIEF has spent over 500 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list comes BRIDGE OF CLAY, a sweeping family saga chronicling the lives of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run on their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. A major marketing and publicity campaign will support this landmark publication, featuring a 12-city U.S. author tour and an extensive book club promotion connecting Zusak to groups nationwide selected from a special sweepstakes launching this summer. Zusak will sign a portion of the first print run, and the signed editions will be available for purchase from participating retailers, while supplies last. “Thirteen years is probably long enough between books, but BRIDGE OF CLAY was never meant to be easy. It’s a boy in search of a miracle, and that’s how I feel about finishing,” says Zusak. “Every book we write means something to us, but sometimes it comes to mean everything—and BRIDGE OF CLAY, for me, is that latter type: the book you have to fight for, but is all the more rewarding. I hope readers will enjoy spending time with the Dunbar boys, and all their raucous habits—but it’s Clay I feel for most, and his attempt to build that bridge of his, and find a way back home.” “Like its predecessor THE BOOK THIEF, Markus’s new book has a broad literary appeal that defies categorization,” says Clarke. “An epic family saga, told in beautifully inventive language and bursting with heart, BRIDGE OF CLAY is signature Zusak.” BRIDGE OF CLAY will be published in hardcover and ebook, and will be available as an audiobook from Listening Library in both download and CD formats. [caption id="attachment_9943" align="alignright" width="422"] (left to right) Judith Haut, SVP & Associate Publisher, RHCB; Barbara Marcus, President & Publisher, RHCB; Markus Zusak; Erin Clarke, Executive Editor, Knopf BFYR[/caption] Zusak is best known for his extraordinarily novel THE BOOK THIEF, which has sold 16 million copies worldwide, is published in 42 foreign language territories, and has spent over 500 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Originally published in March 2006, the novel received glowing praise and numerous awards, including a Michael L. Printz Honor from the American Library Association and the Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. THE BOOK THIEF has since gone on to become a book selection of community reads programs across the country and was released as a major motion picture in 2013. Zusak’s other internationally bestselling works include I Am the Messenger, a Printz Honor Book and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist; The Underdog; Fighting Ruben Wolfe; and Getting the Girl. Zusak lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and children. Markus is available for select appearances via the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. Follow Markus on Facebook/MarkusZusak and Instagram @markuszusak.

Our 8 Winners of IACP 2018 Awards

The International Association of Culinary Professionals  announced the winners of its 2018 Awards at the annual IACP conference on February 25  in New York, recognizing the very best food writing and publishing of the year, from cookbooks and journalism to photography and digital media.

Our  8  IACP 2018 Award winners include books and authors from Crown Publishing Group imprints Clarkson Potter, Ten Speed Press and Lorena Jones Books, as well as Alfred A. Knopf.

expand
Cookbooks Baking CANDY IS MAGIC: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes by Jami Curl (Ten Speed Press) Chefs & Restaurants CHEERS TO THE PUBLICAN, REPAST AND PRESENT: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall by Paul Kahan with Rachel Holtzman (Lorena Jones Books) Health & Special Diet THE BOOK OF GREENS: A Cook's Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More than 175 Recipes by Jenn Louis; Kathleen Squires (Ten Speed Press) International KING SOLOMON'S TABLE: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan (Alfred A. Knopf) Reference & Technical PEPPERS OF THE AMERICAS: The Remarkable Capsicums That Forever Changed Flavor by Maricel E. Presilla (Lorena Jones Books) Single Subject HELLO, MY NAME IS ICE CREAM: The Art and Science of the Scoop by Dana Cree (Clarkson Potter) Wine, Beer & Spirits CHAMPAGNE: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region by Peter Liem (Ten Speed Press) Beverage-Focused Column Jon Bonné “Jon Bonné on Wine” PUNCH   View the complete list of award winners here.

Our 15 L.A. Times Book Prize Finalists

The Los Angeles Times  has announced the finalists for its 2017 Book Prize Awards, which annually honors outstanding books in 10 categories. Below are our 15 Penguin Random House imprint nominations, and our winners of two of their non-competitive prizes. The winners in the literary categories will revealed on April 20.

expand
Art Seidenbaum Award For First Fiction THE IDIOT by Elif Batuman (Penguin Books) MY ABSOLUTE DARLING by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead Books) SOUR HEART by Jenny Zhang (Lenny) Biography GRANT by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press) RICHARD NIXON: THE LIFE by John A. Farrell (Vintage) 2017 Innovator’s Award - Winner WELL-READ BLACK GIRL by Glory Edim (Ballantine Books) 2017 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose - Winner THE HUE AND CRY AT OUR HOUSE: A YEAR REMEMBERED by Benjamin Taylor (Penguin Books) Current Interest WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY  by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World) DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: THE DEEP HISTORY OF THE RADICAL RIGHT'S STEALTH PLAN FOR AMERICA By Nancy MacLean (Viking) THE FAR AWAY BROTHERS: TWO YOUNG MIGRANTS AND THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN LIFE by Lauren Markham (Crown) Fiction EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books) THE CHANGELING by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau) GHACHAR GHOCHAR Vivek Shanbhag (Penguin Books)

Mystery / Thriller

THE NIGHT OCEAN by Paul La Farge (Penguin Press) Science & Technology BEHAVE: THE BIOLOGY OF HUMANS AT OUR BEST AND WORST by Robert M. Sapolsky (Penguin Press) LIFE 3.0: BEING HUMAN IN THE AGE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE by Max Tegmark (Knopf) Young Adult Literature GENUINE FRAUD by E. Lockhart (Delacorte Press)    
Load more

Our 23 Finalists for IACP 2018 Awards

The International Association of Culinary Professionals announced the finalists for its 2018 Awards, recognizing the very best food writing and publishing of the year, from cookbooks and journalism to photography and digital media.  We received 23 nominations for books, authors and editors from Crown Publishing Group imprints Clarkson Potter, Ten Speed Press and Lorena Jones Books, as well as Alfred A. Knopf and America’s Test Kitchen (a PRHPS publisher client). The winners will be selected at the annual IACP conference on February 25 in New York.  

expand
  Our IACP 2018 Awards finalists: Cookbooks Baking CANDY IS MAGIC: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes by Jami Curl (Ten Speed Press) SWEET: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh (Ten Speed Press) Chefs & Restaurants CHEERS TO THE PUBLICAN, REPAST AND PRESENT: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall by Paul Kahan with Rachel Holtzman (Lorena Jones Books) Compilations CHERRY BOMBE: The Cookbook by Kerry Diamond; Claudia Wu (Clarkson Potter) THE GRAND CENTRAL MARKET COOKBOOK: Cuisine and Culture from Downtown Los Angeles by Adele Yellin; Kevin West (Clarkson Potter) Culinary Travel KING SOLOMON"S TABLE: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan (Alfred A. Knopf) Julia Child First Book Award BREAD TOAST CRUMBS: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves & Meals to Savor Every Slice by Alexandra Stafford with Elizabeth Lowery (Clarkson Potter) General DINNER: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter) Health & Special Diet THE BOOK OF GREENS: A Cook's Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More than 175 Recipes by Jenn Louis; Kathleen Squires (Ten Speed Press) VEGAN FOR EVERYBODY: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between by The Editors at America's Test Kitchen (America's Test Kitchen, PRHPS Client Publisher) International KING SOLOMON'S TABLE: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan (Alfred A. Knopf) NOPALITO: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo Guzmán with Stacy Adimando (Ten Speed Press) Reference & Technical PEPPERS OF THE AMERICAS: The Remarkable Capsicums That Forever Changed Flavor by Maricel E. Presilla (Lorena Jones Books) Single Subject HELLO, MY NAME IS ICE CREAM: The Art and Science of the Scoop by Dana Cree (Clarkson Potter) THE PHO COOKBOOK: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam's Favorite Soup and Noodles by Andrea Nguyen (Ten Speed Press) Wine, Beer & Spirits THE BLOODY MARY: The Lore and Legend of a Cocktail Classic, with Recipes for Brunch and Beyond by Brian Bartels (Ten Speed Press) CHAMPAGNE: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region by Peter Liem (Ten Speed Press) MEEHAN'S BARTENDER MANUAL by Jim Meehan (Ten Speed Press) Beverage-Focused Column Jon Bonné “Jon Bonné on Wine” PUNCH Food-Focused Column Scott Hocker “A Kitchen in New Orleans” TASTE Narrative Beverage Writing Garrett Snyder “How an LA Bar Built One of the World’s Greatest Stockpiles of Rare Spirits” PUNCH March 28, 2017 Culinary Travel Writing Francis Lam “In Good Hands” AFAR May/June 2017 Podcast or Radio Show The Splendid Table, American Public Media The Splendid Table Host, Francis Lam View the complete list of finalists here.

A Book about Coffee? Dave Eggers and Mokhtar Alkhanshali Spill the Beans

Our latest Igloo Book Buzz selection is THE MONK OF MOKHA by bestselling author Dave Eggers. Published by Knopf, this book tells  the remarkable true story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war. 

expand
Mokhtar is 24 years old and working as a doorman when he discovers the astonishing history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves the Bay Area and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains and meet beleaguered but determined farmers. But when war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen without sacrificing his dreams or abandoning his people. Here is a conversation with Dave Eggers and Mokhtar Alkhanshali revolving around coffee, research for THE MONK OF MOKHA, and the road trip of a lifetime. This book is about coffee, but I understand that neither of you were longtime coffee drinkers? [caption id="attachment_9336" align="alignright" width="400"] Dave Eggers and Mokhtar Alkhanshali
     Credit: Jeremy Stern[/caption] DE: I had my first cup of coffee when I was 35. My wife and I were new parents and sleep was elusive, so to stay awake and have even a little acuity, I needed a new source of caffeine—Diet Mountain Dew wasn’t working anymore. I will say that when you come to coffee relatively late in life, it has an otherworldly kick. But Mokhtar taught me how to appreciate coffee as more than a caffeine-delivery tool. MA: I didn’t drink coffee much, mainly because the only coffee I was exposed to was cheap diner coffee that tasted like burnt popcorn. I thought coffee was too dark and bitter. One day I walked into a specialty coffee shop and had a cup of naturally processed coffee from Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region. I tasted blueberries, honeysuckle and it had a sweet lingering after taste. The barista spoke to me about where it was grown, the elevation, varietal, how it was processed— but most of all, how their direct relationship to these growers make it possible for the farmers to make more money and live a better life. That part of it really became my entry point to the world of coffee. Mokhtar, you discovered your family’s connection to coffee, and the Yemeni connection to coffee, when you were in your early twenties. What possessed you to actually go to Yemen and re-invent yourself as a coffee importer?  MA: That’s a question that a lot of people ask me. In many ways, I’m still trying to figure it out myself. To be honest, I didn’t have a master plan, I just felt there was a disconnect between Yemen and the world of coffee and I believed I could be that bridge. Looking back, I don’t know if I would have gone on this journey knowing all of the things I’d have to learn and go through. I was naïvely arrogant. Dave, as a relative newcomer to the coffee world, what was the research like for THE MONK OF MOKHA? DE: Mokhtar and I had met before, but the first time we saw each other after he returned from Yemen was at the Blue Bottle headquarters in Oakland. James Freeman, the founder, happened to be there that day, so between Mokhtar telling me much of his story, and the setting, it was a really immersive first step. But I was still skeptical. My impression was that there was a lot of pretension in the specialty coffee world. But I learned that the obsessive care that goes into one cup of coffee is coming from the same place much of the slow-food movement is coming from. It’s a reversal of the dehumanizing effects of industrial food consumption. When it comes to coffee, listening to Mokhtar’s enthusiasm—and utter lack of pretension—really made me a convert. With any comestible, if you care about its quality, and if the people making it care, too, it will take longer and cost more. Otherwise, the research took place on many levels, because the story has so many facets. There’s Mokhtar’s personal story—his upbringing and ambitions as a young man in San Francisco. There’s the Tenderloin neighborhood and, in contrast, the high-rise world of the Infinity, where Mokhtar worked as a doorman. There’s his extended family in the Central Valley, where we went early in the research process. Then there’s the world of coffee, from plant to cup. There’s Boot Coffee in Mill Valley, where Mokhtar learned about roasting and grading. I had to get familiar with all these worlds before we even went to Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen. Mokhtar, you’ve done a fair amount of public speaking, and you’d given presentations many times to various audience before meeting Dave. How was that kind of storytelling different than what you did with Dave for the book? MA: What I went through with Dave was a very intimate road trip. Dave was incredibly warm and someone I felt comfortable being vulnerable with. Some of those memories were hilarious and others required lots of tissues. Dave’s caring and loving personality were what made this book possible because I know I wouldn’t have been able to do this with anyone else. Dave, what drew you most to Mokhtar’s story? DE: For me it was first of all a story of towering will and imagination. For a guy as young as Mokhtar to simply reinvent himself, to risk so much to re-create his life, it’s astonishing. The more I learned, the more remarkable his story became. I think it was about 18 months into our interviews when he told me that he sometimes had to carry a grenade on his jacket in Yemen, just to imply he was not to be trifled with—in the pursuit of coffee beans. When I met Mokhtar, he was a doorman, so to see what he’s built in these last five years, is just awe-inspiring. Mokhtar and Dave, you two traveled to Ethiopia, Abu Dhabi, Djibouti and Yemen together. Do you have favorite stories from your travels?  MA: Hmm that’s a hard one. Besides those international trips, the local ones here were a lot of fun. Going down to visit my grandmother in southern California and hearing her tell her story, visiting my friend Jay Ruskey’s farm in Santa Barbara, probably the most impactful trip for me was Djibouti. I didn’t tell Dave this but at the time I was terrified about going. Part of my therapy was to go into these places where I had a negative association because of past trauma. I wanted to go to Djibouti and face my fears. Experiencing 130-degree weather and getting stuck in a sandstorm didn’t help, but when I left I felt a huge weight lift off of my shoulders and I’m always going to thank Dave for being there with me. DE: I have a story. We spent a few years trying to get into Sana’a together, but when the war broke out, it was impossible for me to safely get into the capital. So we went to a more remote part of Yemen, and there we encountered an Italian man who was on a quest to visit every country on earth. He was very cynical, with a mordant humor that seemed at odds with a man so curious about the world. When he heard that Mokhtar imported high-end coffee from Yemen, and that Mokhtar was a Q grader—the equivalent of a sommelier in the wine world—he scoffed. He thought this was a pretentious affectation, a sign of the world’s decadence. “A coffee sommelier? What’s next?” he asked. But then, Mokhtar told his story, and explained the world of coffee to this man—how Q graders can improve the lives of farmers, and how caring about where coffee, or any crop, comes from is actually a deeply humanistic thing. Mokhtar did all this while grinding and brewing fresh Yemeni coffee. By the time Mokhtar was pouring him a cup, the Italian wanted to know how he could invest in Mokhtar’s company. No joke, that all happened in about 15 minutes—this guy went from cynic to believer. The same thing happened to me, I guess.

Sarah Jessica Parker Selects Ayobami Adebayo’s STAY WITH ME for ALA Book Club Central Pick

The latest American Library Association (ALA) Book Club Central SJP pick, chosen by Honorary Book Club Central Chair Sarah Jessica Parker, is STAY WITH ME by Ayobami Adebayo, published by Knopf.  Shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and named a Notable Book by the New York Times, STAY WITH ME is Ms. Adebayo’s debut novel. Set in Nigeria, this book gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage – and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.  

expand
“Libraries have always been places of comfort and discovery for me, so I'm especially delighted that STAY WITH ME is Sarah Jessica Parker's pick for this American Library Association initiative,” said Ms. Adebayo. “STAY WITH ME is a wise and deeply humane debut novel that unpeels the layers of politics in a marriage from the inside,” says Ms. Parker. “Ayobami Adebayo tells the story of Akin, Yejide, and their families – a powerfully affecting tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal – with both savagery and heart. I can’t wait for readers everywhere to read and enjoy this novel as our third selection for Book Club Central.” In addition to being honorary chair of Book Club Central, Ms. Parker is an Honorary Lifetime Board Member of United for Libraries, a division of ALA, a role she is using to raise awareness about the integral role of Friends groups in the library.  Ms. Parker’s SJP Book Club is thrilled to announce a limited-edition tote bag to help support libraries, now available exclusively for the holiday season from Out of Print.  A portion of  the proceeds will be donated to United for Libraries. Book Club Central (www.bookclubcentral.org), designed in consultation with expert librarians, provides the public with the very best in reading. Book Club Central debuted this past summer and since that time has become a place for engaging content and information for book clubs and readers everywhere. Ms. Parker’s previous picks for Book Club Central have been No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts, and EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid. Ms. Parker recently launched SJP for Hogarth, which will selectively publish high-quality works of fiction by both established writers and distinctive emerging voice with critical and commercial promise. SJP for Hogarth’s first acquisition is A PLACE FOR US, a debut novel by Fatima Mirza to be published in 2018. Ms. Parker is the star and executive producer of Divorce, which will return for a second season in January 2018.

Behind the New Translations of Federico García Lorca’s Poetry with Knopf’s Deb Garrison and Sarah Arvio

For the first time in a quarter century, a major new volume of translations of the beloved poetry by Federico García Lorca, considered Spain’s most famous poet and dramatist of all time, was published by Alfred A. Knopf. POET IN SPAIN, presented in a stunning bilingual edition and heralded as a literary landmark, was edited by Deb Garrison, Senior Editor, Alfred A. Knopf.  Here she shares fascinating personal insights into how this collection was created and the editorial process involved while working closely with Knopf poet, author and translator Sarah Arvio

expand
“Several years ago, Sarah let me know that she was translating some of Federico García Lorca’s work. The eminent Mark Strand, before he died, had encouraged her in this project, suggesting she seek the blessing of Lorca’s estate to publish her versions. I was intrigued. It had been a quarter century since a major new volume of Lorca translations had appeared, and the poet’s work presents unique issues for readers and translators. Some of his greatest work was unpublished at the time of his death—a brutal political murder on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, in 1936, when Lorca was just thirty-eight. Arvio, a lifelong professional translator and a poet of vivid colors, complex dream life, and pained love, seemed a great match for FGL. [caption id="attachment_8676" align="alignright" width="258"] Deb Garrison[/caption] “As Arvio reminds us in her introduction to POET IN SPAIN, Lorca was celebrated in his lifetime as a playwright and poet of the Spanish people; he wrote about their inner lives amidst the ‘poplars, rivers, low hills and high sierra’ of his native land, with a freedom and daring that has caused his work to remain beloved and canonical in Spain, though it was banned there throughout Franco’s reign, into the 1970s. Lorca’s haunted and beautiful Dark Love Sonnets, which he was writing to a homosexual lover at the time of his death, and seem almost to anticipate that tragedy, survived only in a handwritten copy. These amazing poems waited nearly half a century to come to light, remaining unpublished until the 1980s. In our time, Sarah had the whole of the poet’s oeuvre to consider, and had definite feelings about what to include in her selection. Many of us are aware of Lorca’s surrealist-influenced work, Poet in New York, which grew out of his time spent in the United States in 1929. Sarah believed that the Spanish poems—poems of love and death, of lemon groves and bandits on black horses, which have what she calls a “wild, innate, local surrealism”—form the genuine core of the poet’s work. She discussed this with Laura García Lorca, the poet’s niece and Sarah’s contact at the estate, and Laura suggested she call her book “Poet in Spain”— setting up a contrast between the earthy Spanish poems and the more mannered, abstract New York work. [caption id="attachment_8677" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sarah Arivo
(c) Rigel Garcia de la Cabada[/caption] “As Sarah observes, poems like the iconic Gypsy Ballads were ‘full of radical iconoclasm: homosexual, feminist, anti-State, anti-religion. The descriptions of human desire, oppression and suffering are cloaked in a language so lovely you hardly notice the social criticism, the compassion for oppressed people, the belief in sexual liberty.’ In our age of gender fluidity, I was especially moved by Sarah’s freedom to enter the male love poems—bringing a feminine understanding into the work without missing a heartbeat. Sarah has composed the poems in English with her own style and sound, according to her personal sense of the powerful underground currents and bold wishes at the center of even the shortest songs Lorca penned. Also very exciting to me was that Sarah had found a few poems never formally published and never before seen in English, among them a love poem written on the back of a bill and saved for decades by a younger lover of Lorca’s, and the fragment of an unfinished sonnet that was probably connected to the Dark Love series. There is too much from this beautiful volume that I could quote—truly an embarrassment of riches, including a new translation of the play Blood Wedding, which Sarah calls a tragic poem in its own right—but I’ll share the Dark Love fragment. These eight lines of an incomplete sonnet, written on the thin, grayish paper he used for rough drafts, poignantly express the imaginative process and living energy of the poet, which Sarah Arvio has tried to breathe into every line of her book: [Oh hotel bed  oh this sweet bed] Oh hotel bed  oh this sweet bed Oh sheet of whitenesses and dew Hum of your body with my body Cave of cotton flame and shadow   Oh double lyre that my love branches around your thighs of fire and cold white nard Oh tipping raft—oh bright river— now a branch and now a nightingale

Two Books by Astronaut Scott Kelly on His Year in Space Published Simultaneously

Scott Kelly was the first NASA astronaut ever to spend a year in space. He writes about his record-breaking experience in two books, ENDURANCE: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery (Knopf) and MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS (Crown Books for Young Readers), both published on Tuesday, October 17. While it is not uncommon for an author to write books on the same subject for both adult and young readers, it is extremely rare when the two titles are published simultaneously.

expand
ENDURANCE is a stunning, personal memoir from the veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space. He offers a candid account of his remarkable voyage aboard the International Space Station, of the journeys that preceded it, and of his colorful and inspirational formative years. Watch and hear Scott talk about ENDURANCE in this Knopf book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bcYFc1qXnU&feature=youtu.be Speaking about his book for young readers, Scott said, “MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS is a story about when I was a kid; I wasn’t the best student – I couldn’t pay attention in class or do my homework – and, eventually, wound up spending a year in space.” He added, “I think it’s critically important to get little kids to become the future scientists and engineers of tomorrow.” Watch and hear Scott talk about MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS in this Random House Children’s Books video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1esxSAlJ6dk&feature=youtu.be Scott was at our distribution center in Westminster recently and signed 13,000 copies of MY JOURNEY TO THE STARS. “Scott was a work-horse and was relentless in the work of signing so many copies of his book in such a short timeframe,” said Customer Service’s Holly Fetting, who was on hand and took photos. “Scott also made sure the team took short breaks on the hour so everyone remained fresh and focused on the task at hand.” Scott even asked to sign some copies of ENDURANCE while he was in Westminster. Joyce Slaughter, VP, Director, Customer Service, didn’t hesitate in fulfilling Scott’s request and had some stock brought right up from the warehouse. scottwestm