THAT OTHER WORD | Episode 8 | January 2013 | Nick Barley

“That Other Word,” a collaborative podcast between the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris and Two Lines Press in San Francisco, offers discussions on classic and contemporary literature in translation, along with engaging interviews with writers, translators, and publishers.

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Hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito return in the new year enthralled by the “absolutely insane” game of literary telephone in the latest issue of McSweeney’s, in which texts are translated in and out of English and by, among others, J.M. Coetzee, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Lydia Davis. They look forward to games of a slightly different nature in several forthcoming Oulipian works: the 65th anniversary edition of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style; Georges Perec’s La Boutique Obscure, the dream journal that inspired much of his fiction; and Scott Esposito’s own The End of Oulipo?, a critical examination of the movement co-written with Lauren Elkin. Pierre Michon’s The Eleven promises to be one of the author’s best since his widely-respected Small Lives; Yasutaka Tsutsui’s Paprika is story of clinical dream-invaders from one of Japan’s premier science fiction writers. Daniel Medin also announces the launch of the eighteenth volume in The Cahiers Series, Elfriede Jelinek’s Her Not All Her, next month at the Goethe-Institut in Paris.

Nick Barley is the director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the largest and perhaps best-known literary festival in the world. He gives a lively account of Edinburgh’s literary heritage and the influence it still exerts on the atmosphere of the festival, and testifies to the continuing importance of such festivals for both authors and readers. He explains the origins of 2012’s International Writers Conference, at which authors from around the world were asked questions about the relationship between art and politics and the future of the novel. He reflects on the surprising appetite last year’s audiences showed for for translation-related events, and shares several of his own favorite works, of both Scottish and foreign origin, from 2012.


INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito

1:00 McSweeney’s Issue 42: “Multiples”
5:43 Oulipian works: Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style; Georges Perec’s La Boutique Obscure: 124 Dreams; Scott Esposito and Lauren Elkin’s The End of Oulipo?: An Attempt to Exhaust a Movement
9:25 Pierre Michon’s The Eleven
11:21 Yasutaka Tsutsui’s Paprika
12:00 Launch of Her Not All Her
13:43 Daniel Medin introduces Nick Barley

FEATURE: Daniel Medin interviews Nick Barley

15:40 Introducing the Edinburgh International Book Festival
22:09 The continuing importance of festivals and the International Writer’s Conference
28:56 How Nick Barley came to be involved with the festival
31:20 Reaching beyond the Anglosphere
36:28 Highlights of 2012 and translation-related events at the festival
40:05 Some of Nick Barley’s favorite books from 2012, including Herta Müller’s The Hunger Angel, Alasdair Gray’s Every Short Story, and Kirsty Gunn’s The Big Music

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