International News Sampler
by LANA POPOVIC
While trolling the Web for intriguing, Appazoogle-relevant tidbits, I often stumble across more interesting international stories than I could hope to comment on. So, for your convenience—and my carpal tunnel—I’ll be providing you with petit-four samplers of my favorite stories instead.
- Random House of Canada recently took over McClellan & Stewart, one of Canada’s oldest and most eminent publishing houses. Although RH has owned shares of M&S since 2000, providing services like sales, production, human resources, and accounting, the takeover has disgruntled the Association of Canadian Publishers, who feel “that Canada’s most storied book publisher, McClelland & Stewart, will be downgraded to an imprint of a foreign-owned multinational corporation. Today’s announcement marks the end of a long and illustrious history of a Canadian cultural institution.”
- Scholastic has acquired Learners Publishing, a Singapore-based publisher of supplemental learning materials for students of English. Learners has published more than 400 titles since its launch in 2000, and with this acquisition, Scholastic hopes to enhance its offering of products in its English Language Learning segment, as well as foster its growth in the international market.
- The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is announcing an exciting new prize category: The BolognaRagazzi Digital Award, intended to honor excellence and innovation in the category of children’s story apps.
- The Etonnants Voyageurs Haiti literary festival will bring 40 authors to the island for the first time since the 2010 earthquake. Writers include Jean-Marie Le Clézio, Régis Debray, Alain Mabanckou, and Léonora Miano, as well as Haitian authors Frankétienne, Rodney St. Eloi, Anthony Phelps and Evelyne Trouillot. They will meet with 2,000 high school students from different schools around the country, and run workshops, roundtable discussions and readings. The festival will be honoring Haitian poet Georges Castra, will also hold public debates on subjects such as the importance of poetry in times of crisis, the Arab Spring, and the power of myths. Painters and musicians such as Ernest Pignon Ernest and Arthur H will also travel to Haiti and will take part in film projections and public performances.
- Sometimes it’s cool and helpful to be foreign; sometimes it isn’t. Edward Nawotka takes a look at the contrast between Ayad Akhtar and Diana Abu-Jaber, questioning whether American writers with foreign names meet with reader prejudice and preconceptions (for those who can’t stand the suspense, the secret answer is “totally yes they do”). Akhtar is the author of the upcoming American Dervish, a coming-of-age story of a Muslim-American boy growing up in Milwaukee, while Abu-Jaber writes mainstream American fiction—but is an idly browsing reader not in the mood for a Kite Runner escapade likely to differentiate between the two?
- Sometimes we love to hate international literature, and sometimes we hate to love it. Alane Salierno Mason, vice president and senior editor at W. W. Norton & Company, continues to “nourish our foreignness” by publishing books of challenging, international scope, and serving as a “godmother” to Words Without Borders, an online magazine for international literature launched in 2003—which has since introduced authors from more than 114 countries, writing in ninety languages.