Thu 24 Jun


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Fitzcarraldo Editions and Bold Tendencies celebrate the release of In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale, Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton and Batlava Lake by Adam Mars-Jones.

The evening will present readings from In Memory of Memory by Dugdale - originally published in Russian in 2017 - and from Barton and Mars-Jones’ new publications. Copies of each publication will be available to purchase on the night.

The event will take place in our unique covered spaces. The downstairs concert bar will be open for ticket holders from 6pm and after the event has finished.

Sasha Dugdale is a poet, writer and translator. She has published five collections of poems with Carcanet Press, most recently Deformations in 2020. She won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016 and in 2017 she was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for Poetry. She is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation and is poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge (2018-2021).

‘You can sense the decades of contemplation Ms. Stepanova has dedicated to these questions in the sparkle and density of her prose, which Sasha Dugdale has carried into English so naturally that it’s possible to forget you are reading a translation. This is an erudite, challenging book, but also fundamentally a humble one, as it recognises that a force works on even the most cherished family possessions that no amount of devotion can gainsay.’ — Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

Polly Barton is a Japanese literary translator. Her translations include Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura, and Spring Garden by Tomoka Shibasaki. She won the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize for Fifty Sounds.

‘Polly Barton is a brilliant, learned and daring writer and Fifty Sounds is a magnificent book. Through her eddying philosophical vignettes, Barton creates a unified work of extraordinary wisdom and vitality.’ — Joanna Kavenna, author of Zed

Adam Mars-Jones’ first collection of stories, Lantern Lecture, won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1982, and he appeared on Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists’ lists in 1983 and 1993. His debut novel, The Waters of Thirst, was published in 1993 by Faber & Faber. It was followed by Pilcrow (2008) and Cedilla (2011), which form the first two parts of a semi-infinite novel series. His essay, Noriko Smiling (Notting Hill Editions, 2011), is a book-length study of a classic of Japanese cinema. His memoir, Kid Gloves, was published by Particular Books in 2015. His selected film writing, Second Sight, was published by Reaktion Books in September 2019. Box Hill appeared with Fitzcarraldo Editions in March 2020. He writes book reviews for the Observer and the LRB, and about film for the TLS.

‘No one inhabits character as intensely and subtly as Mars-Jones. Batlava Lake is therefore completely convincing as an everyman narrative - we know people exactly like Barry Ashton, and may even be exactly like him - but there’s a larger truth here too, about clashes of cultures and history, that make this an important and highly recommended book.’ — Lee Child

In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale

With the death of her aunt, Maria Stepanova is left to sift through an apartment full of faded photographs, old postcards, letters, diaries, and heaps of souvenirs: a withered repository of a century of life in Russia. Carefully reassembled with calm, steady hands, these shards tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary Jewish family somehow managed to survive the myriad persecutions and repressions of the last century. In dialogue with writers like Roland Barthes, W. G. Sebald, Susan Sontag and Osip Mandelstam, In Memory of Memory is imbued with rare intellectual curiosity and a wonderfully soft-spoken, poetic voice. Dipping into various forms – essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue and historical documents – Stepanova assembles a vast panorama of ideas and personalities and offers an entirely new and bold exploration of cultural and personal memory.

Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton

Why Japan? In Fifty Sounds, winner of the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, Polly Barton attempts to exhaust her obsession with the country she moved to at the age of 21, before eventually becoming a literary translator. From minmin, the sound of air screaming, to jin-jin, the sound of being touched for the very first time, from hi’sori, the sound of harbouring masochist tendencies, to mote-mote, the sound of becoming a small-town movie star, Fifty Sounds is a personal dictionary of the Japanese language, recounting her life as an outsider in Japan. Irreverent, humane, witty and wise, Fifty Sounds is an exceptional debut about the quietly revolutionary act of learning, speaking, and living in another language.

Batlava Lake by Adam Mars-Jones

Pristina, Kosovo, 1999. Barry Ashton, recently divorced, has been deployed as a civil engineer attached to the Royal Engineers corps in the British Army. In an extraordinary feat of ventriloquism, Adam Mars-Jones constructs a literary story with a thoroughly unliterary narrator, and a narrative that is anything but comic through the medium of a character who, essentially, is. Exploring masculinity, class and identity, Batlava Lake is a brilliant story of men and war by one of Britain’s most accomplished writers.

Presented by Bold Tendencies.

This is an all ages event.

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Doors open6:00 PM

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