Fiston Mwanza Mujila on Tour + Leila Chudori in AAWW
September 28, 2015 § Leave a comment
Fiston Mwanza Mujila & Roland Glasser have taken America by storm!
Check out video of Fiston Mwanza Mujila performing at the Brooklyn Book Festival last Sunday, September 20th, after recounting how he always wanted to be a jazz musician growing up in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, but how he could never afford the saxophone he so desperately wanted, so be became a poet, and uses his voice as his saxophone—which is exactly what gives Tram 83 the jazz rhythms & musicality that make this novel stand apart from anything else:
Tram 83 is taking over (!), and has so far received rave reviews in Publishers Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, Kirkus Reviews, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Rumpus, Three Percent, The Quarterly Conversation, Library Journal, Foreword Reviews, and more. Fiston & Roland were also interviewed by Sofia Samatar for BOMB Magazine. Booksellers love this book, you can read their recommendations here. It’s never too late to get into it, order a copy from us or from your favorite local indie bookstore!!
And now they’re in Texas! Join us this week in Houston, Austin, and Dallas before the Tram 83 boys head out to conquer the West Coast to conclude this remarkable, in-depth tour of the US arranged with the considerable support and direction of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Consulate in Houston:
Fri. Oct. 2 – Alliance Francaise Dallas presents Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading & discussion at Richland College (Richland Library, Building L [Parking X, Y, Z]) – Dallas, TX – 11am
Fri. Oct. 2 – SMU’s World Languages & Literatures & Dedman College presents Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading & discussion at SMU (Hyer Hall, Room 100) – Dallas, TX – 2pm
Thu. Oct. 8 – UC-Berkeley’s French Dept. presents Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading & discussion at the University of California, Berkeley (Dwinelle Hall) – Berkeley, California – 5pm
Sat. Oct. 10 – Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading at Litquake at Green Apple Books on the Park (9th Ave.) – San Francisco, CA – 7:30pm
Leila S. Chudori has an excerpt from her novel Home (out from us October 27th) up at the Asian American Writer’s Workshop (AAWW) magazine, The Margins, who are running a series on Indonesian Literature in Translation around Indonesia’s turn as the Guest of Honor (which they’re branding as “17,000 Islands of Imagination“) at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Here’s a piece of the excerpt from Home posted in The Margins:
We drank our coffee on the back terrace of the house. Tante Surti now seemed to be ready to give her testimony. She positioned herself on a chair facing the camera, a sign that we could begin.
Before starting, I told Tante Surti that if at any point she began to feel uncomfortable, she was to tell me so, and I would stop the camera. But with only one question from me to start, she began speaking to the camera as if it were a long lost friend, someone she had waited for years to meet again….
“I decided to marry Hananto Prawiro in Jakarta in 1953 for reasons of love and conviction. Hananto was a responsible man and I knew that he would love and take care of his family. I knew little about his political aspirations or activities. He worked as a journalist at the Nusantara News Agency where he ran the foreign desk. I knew that, of course, but I knew little of his activities outside office hours. In the numerous times that I was interrogated during the three years that Hananto was on the run, it was always that information my interrogators wanted: what it is that Mas Hananto did, whether he was a member of LEKRA, what meetings he had ever attended; who was present at the meetings, and so on and so forth. These questions were asked repeatedly by different interrogators, and with different tones of voice…”
Tante Surti paused for a moment to take a breath and a sip of coffee.
“Perhaps you could tell me why they detained the entire family…” I said to her.
“It’s not true that they detained our entire family—or at least that hadn’t been their original intent. It was my fault that happened. It was just that, with Mas Hananto gone, the kids and I were all so afraid of being separated from each other. But let me go back a bit…
The Margins also published an essay by Chudori, “Why I Wrote a Novel About Indonesian Political Exiles” describing how she came to write this remarkable, historical epic novel. It’s out in stores officially on Oct. 27th, but go ahead and read the excerpt, fall in love, order your copy (or subscribe!) & we’ll ship it out to you right away! Here’s an excerpt from Chudori’s essay:
I wanted to tell the story of political exiles who could not return home. Those who lived far from their homeland but still felt they were a part of Indonesia, no matter what kind of passports they were issued and no matter how the government treated them.
I became better acquainted with Oemar Said, Sobron Aidit and their friends who had established the restaurant Indonésia in Paris as a part of their resistance as political exiles. I used them, and especially Oemar Said, as the ‘model’ in the novel for a group of political exiles consisting of Dimas Suryo, Nugroho Dewantoro, Tjai Sin Soe, and Mohammad Risjaf. InPulang, the story goes that while they were on a trip as reporters to Santiago, Chile, the bloody September 30, 1965 incident took place back home. Their passports were revoked, after which they had to move from country to country, until they finally settled in Paris.
Pulang is a work of fiction, not a history book, a memoir, or a biography. Even so, I’ve spent six years researching and writing—in the midst of my work as a journalist at Tempo and as a mother. The exiles and prisoners I spoke to agreed to and supported my desire to write a novel.
Reviews of the first two books in Sergio Pitol‘s “Trilogy of Memory“: The Art of Flight and The Journey are popping up, and they’re revelatory, check out West Camel‘s take on the two books in 3:AM Magazine, “Labyrinths of Astonishment: Sergio Pitol’s Literary Journeys,” and Jeffrey Zuckerman‘s in-depth analysis in The Quarterly Conversation, “Pitol’s Wounds.” We’re proud to publish Pitol in English for the first time, and even more proud to publish the concluding book in the “Trilogy of Memory,” The Magician of Vienna, next winter, and then to follow that up with a short story collection (Spring 2017) and Pitol’s groundbreaking “Carnaval Trilogy” of novels: El desfile del amor (1984, winner of the Herralde Prize, the inspiration & creation of which is recounted in The Art of Flight), Domar a la divina garza (1988, the inspiration & creation of which is recounted in The Journey), and La vida conyugal (1991)—we’ll publish all three novels in Fall/Winter 2017, which will continue to develop our understanding and appreciation in English of one of the world’s most influential living authors. All of these Pitol works will be translated by Dr. George Henson, who did such an unbelievable job translating The Art of Flight and The Journey, and who recently left Dallas for a wonderful position as a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he is working with the university’s Spanish Department and Center for Translation Studies.
And I know I’ve been hinting over and over and over again that our new website is almost ready, but really, it is, it is, and it’s beautiful:
Bear with us, we’re still painting walls in the new office, printing the second edition of Sphinx (!), getting Gnarr’s The Pirate off to the printers, signing books for 2017 & beyond, and gearing up for a fall fundraising campaign so that we can continue to bring the world to Dallas from right here in Deep Ellum. We need your support now more than ever. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation or subscribing or ordering a book or three from us right here on this old (but soon to be new) website! We do this for you, and can’t do it without you!
P.S. Listen to NPR’s Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross today!