diumenge, 29 de novembre del 2009

The August Prize goes to The Destitutes of Lodz!

Last November 23rd we were delighted know that Steve Sem-Sandberg’s much-praised novel De fattiga i Lodz (The Destitutes of Lodz), published in Sweden by Albert Bonniers, won the August Prize, awarded by the Swedish Booksellers Association. 

The jury's motivation was as follows:

"With this collective novel, Steve Sem-Sandberg attends to a specific chapter in the annals of World War II: the Jewish ghetto in the Polish city of Lodz (west of Warsaw), its origin, organisation and heartbreaking conditions under Nazi supervision. It is a story that is told after all the tears have dried, depicted in an almost dry and unsentimental style, a balancing act between fact and fiction that with a basis in the (authentic) Ghetto Chronicles 1941-44, portrays a series of individual destinies with strong integrity, also when they waver or fail".

Despite there being many well-written novels in the category, The Destitutes of Lodz was accorded 17 out of 21 first placements by this years electorates, a landslide victory pure and simple.

SalmaiaLit handles Spanish, Portuguese (Portugal & Brazil) and Catalan Languages rights. All other rights are handled from Sweden by Joakim Hansson at Nordin Agency. Up to now, the following publishers have already acquired rights:

Brazil (Companhia das Letras), Canada (Anansi), Catalonia (La Campana), Czech Republic (Paseka), Denmark (Gyldendal), Finland (Like) France (Robert Laffont), Germany (Klett-Cotta), Greece (Patakis), Israel (Kinneret), Italy (Marsilio Editore), The Netherlands (Ambo Anthos), Norway (Aschehoug), Poland (Wydawnictwo Literackie), Russia (Corpus), Spain (Literatura Mondadori), UK (Faber & Faber), USA (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux).

Here you have a few quotes from the press about this novel:

"This is the best book I’ve read so far […] it’s definitely worth five out of five and a little more".
Yukiko Duke, SvT God morgon Sverige

"This is real literature. A great work of fiction. Steve Sem-Sandberg steps forward as a worthy and completed successor to, shall we say, a PO Enquist – with whom he shares not only the ability to make poetry out of prose but also a fascination for treachery’s and betrayal’s lowest sediment". Per Svensson, Dagens Nyheter

"Perhaps the very first holocaust account that dares to step away from the black and white perspective. In the hands of Sweden’s foremost European storyteller, the truth is not always what it seems". Daniel Sjölin, Babel

"Steve Sem-Sandberg’s latest novel “The Destitutes of Łódź” – massive in size but polished to a light conciseness in every last detail – is also a majestic portrayal where documented facts create the foundation for fictions insight into historical fate". Mikael van Ries, Svenska Dagbladet.