Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guestblogger Kyle Semmel: 5 Quick Links "Out of Denmark"

One of the most vital aspects of Washington DC's literary scene is its international flavor. After all, the city is home to embassies from almost every nation on earth, many multinational agencies, from the IDB to the World Bank, not to mention the many universities with their language and international relations programs and so much more. I write about Mexico and translate Mexican writing, so I've long been a big fan of Washington DC's Mexican Cultural Institute, and I salute the community of Spanish language writers and Spanish translators. But many other embassies offer cultural programs in DC, and many other translators work with untold numbers of languages. That said, it is rare to find an event of such quality as one coming up tomorrow -- Thursday September 23, 2010-- at the nearby Writers Center (just over the border) in Bethesda MD. I asked the organizer, my amigo the writer and literary translator Kyle Semmel, to provide details. Over to you, Kyle!

It’s a good time to be a translator (as I am) of Scandinavian literature. But it’s an even better time to be a reader of Scandinavian fiction.

Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (translated by Reg Keeland) holds the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list, and his two previous novels still place first and second on the NYT's paperback bestsellers list. Larsson and a handful of other Scandinavian crime novelists —- Henning Mankell, Camilla Läckberg, and Karin Fossum, among them -— have won so many fans worldwide that readers might be surprised to learn that the literature of the far North isn't all dark nights and darker passions, serial killers and sinister plot twists.

For several years I've translated a number of Danish authors. And I'm pleased to say that three of Denmark’s leading authors—- Pia Tafdrup (whose travel essays I've translated a few of), Simon Fruelund (whose work I translate regularly), and Naja Marie Aidt—- will appear at The Writer’s Center, where I work as the communications and publications manager and interim director, as part of the 2010 Fall for the Book Festival. The event is made possible by a grant from the Danish Arts Council’s Committee for Literature and support from the Embassy of Denmark.

Come on out to The Writer's Center for this one-of-a-kind event. It's free, and you'll have the opportunity to see some of Denmark's finest authors-- before they're household names here in the States. Here are some quick links:

1. For the event at The Writer's Center
2. For Naja Marie Aidt (with English text)
3. For Pia Tafdrup (with English text)
4. For Simon Fruelund (a short story, my translation) at A River & Sound Review
5. For Danish literature in general: Danish Literary Magazine

-- Kyle Semmel

P.S. Check out Kyle Semmel's interviews with Danish writers Naja Marie Aidt and Pia Tafdrup for FIRST PERSON PLURAL.

---> For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blog posts, click here.