Don’t worry, I won’t go on and on about the Salon du Livre in Geneva, but browsing the stand of one of the publishers there gave me some ideas…
Actes Sud is one of my favourite French publishers, founded in Arles in 1978 – a revolutionary step at the time, as most publishers are firmly ensconced in Paris. They not only publish more experimental and unusual French language authors, but also translate high quality literary fiction (plus they also have a crime fiction imprint, graphic novels, children’s literature and much more). Just to give you an example of some of their authors: Svetlana Alexeyevich, Matthias Enard, Kamel Daoud, Imre Kertesz, Jerome Ferrari, even a lesser-known work by one of Romania’s classical novelists of the early 20th century, Liviu Rebreanu.
So, partly inspired by authors on their list, and partly as a result of researching other sources, I’ve set up a tentative plan of writers whom I would like to explore further.
Irina Teodorescu – young Romanian writer, moved to Paris at the age of 19 and started writing in French, but is still inspired by the folk tales of her childhood – also a graphic artist, as demonstrated in her debut La Malédiction du bandit moustachu (The Curse of the Bandit with a Moustache)
Dan Lungu – Romanian literary theorist and professor of literature, as well as a multi-talented writer (short stories, novels, plays, poetry).
Andrzej Stasiuk – one of the best known contemporary Polish writers
Imre Kertesz – Hungarian Nobel Prize winner, author of a celebrated Holocaust trilogy, controversial in his home country for his outspoken views and critique
Noémi Szécsi – younger Hungarian writer, whose irreverent debut novel The Finno-Ugrian Vampire sounds very funny (she has written several others since)
Georgi Gospodinov – Bulgarian writer – finding a way to live with sadness, loss of meaning
Matei Visniec – Romanian author, fled to France in 1987, when all but his poetic work was banned in Romania. Playwright (apparently one of the most performed in Romania) and journalist for Radio France Internationale.
Javier Cercas – Spanish writer, focusing particularly on recent history (Civil War and the Franco dictatorship)
Christos Chrissopoulos – contemporary Greek writer, involved in multiple multimedia and multicultural projects, as well as depicting Athenian life during the austerity years
Jerome Ferrari – French writer, who has lived in Corsica, Algiers, Abu Dhabi
Maria Ernestam – Swedish writer, dramatic psychological relationship novels
Janice Galloway – Scottish novelist, short story writers, poetry and librettos(i)
Anna Enquist – pen name of Dutch poet and novelist, music and secrets play a large part in her work
Nina Berberova – the life of Russian exiles in Paris in the 1920-30s
Isaac Babel – I’ve read a few short stories by this author, but it’s been such a long time ag;, I want to read the full Odessa Tales
Other Parts of the World
Chi Li – young Chinese novelist and TV writer, chronicles young people’s everyday lives in modern China
Nancy Huston – Canadian-born writer, writes predominantly in French and translates her own work into English
Mieko Kawakami – Japanese singer/songwriter before she turned to poetry and fiction about the confused younger generation
Yu Miri – Japanese-Korean writer of fiction, memoir and plays, as well as acting and founding a theatre troupe
Milton Hatoum – Brazilian writer and translator – Ashes of the Amazon and The Brothers – a critique of the military regime, political and family destruction
Michel Tremblay – Quebecois novelist and playwright, Plateau Mont-Royal chronicler – a working-class neighbourhood
In Koli Jean Bofane – Mathématiques congolaises – from the Democratic Republic of Congo, lives in Belgium, children’s fiction initially
Aki Shimazaki – Japanese but moved to Canada and writes in French
Yu Hua- Chinese author known for his rather detailed descriptions of the brutalities of the Chinese Revolution and often direct critical comment of a society undergoing major social upheavals
Have you read any of the above and whom would you recommend? Obviously, I won’t get to all of them immediately (especially after my recent book splurges), but are there any I should prioritise?