Apr 6


Via Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica and the contributing editor for MONKEY BUSINESS:  New Voices from Japan:

A Letter from A Public Space (Brooklyn-based literary publication):

A Public Space Literary Projects announces the debut issue of MONKEY BUSINESS: New Voices from Japan, with April/May launch events in New York City.

New York City, New York, April 4, 2011—A Public Space (APS) announces publication of the first annual English language edition of Monkey Business: New Voices from Japan (MB), supported by a generous grant from the Nippon Foundation. Three launch programs in New York City in late April and early May will bring together authors, translators and editors from Japan and the US for this first-of-its-kind trans-cultural literary event. Twenty-five percent of all MB sales will go toward the Nippon Foundation/CANPAN Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

Monkey Business is a Tokyo-based Japanese literary magazine founded in 2008 by award-winning translator, scholar, editor and author Motoyuki Shibata. One of Japan’s best known and most highly regarded translators of American fiction, Shibata has won numerous accolades, most recently the 2010 Japan Translation Cultural Prize for his translation of Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon, and has introduced to Japanese readers works by Paul Auster, Steven Millhauser, Rebecca Brown, Stuart Dybek and Steve Erickson, among others.

Shibata, who was interviewed in the first issue of APS, modeled MB in part on the Brooklyn literary journal. Founded in 2006 by editor Brigid Hughes, A Public Space is devoted to cutting-edge literature—not just from American contributors, but by writers and artists spanning the globe. Each issue presents a portfolio that explores an international literary scene. The debut issue of APS featured a portfolio from Japan, curated and edited by author Roland Kelts (Japanamerica) and MB founder Shibata, and featuring contributions from Haruki Murakami, Yoko Ogawa, Kazushige Abe and others. Issue 1 was praised by readers in the US and Japan and has long been sold out.”

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with our Japanese friends on this 21st Century meeting of East and West through art,” says Hughes.

The debut English language edition of MB culls the best writing from the first ten issues published in Japan.  It was edited by Shibata and Ted Goossen, a professor at York University in Toronto and general editor of the Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories who has translated work by Murakami, Naoya Shiga, Masuji Ibuse and others. Hughes and Kelts contributed to the English language editing. Stories, poetry, interviews and even a manga, or Japanese comic, reimagining Franz Kafka’s The Country Doctor, grace its pages.

“Our inspiration for the name Monkey Business is the immortal Chuck Berry tune,” Shibata writes. “No other work of art that I know of deals with the aggravations we face every day so straightforwardly and with such liberating humor. That is the guiding star we follow on this journey.”

Generous support for this trans-cultural literary project is provided by The Nippon Foundation, the Asia Society, the Japan Foundation and the Japan Society, and has led to the hosting of three launch events in New York City—Japanese contributors Hiromi Kawakami, Hideo Furukawa, Minoru Ozawa and Shibata will join Americans Steve Erickson, Rebecca Brown, Joshua Beckman, Kelts and Canadian Goossen on April 30 at the Asia Society, May 1 at BookCourt, and May 3 at the Japan Society.

As Stuart Dybek writes in a letter introducing the issue: “The books and anthologies that line my shelves attest to the fact that we live in a golden age of translation.  Even so, it’s rare to have a literary magazine like Monkey Business appear in English. It arrives with the sense of discovery and immediacy that one reads literary magazines for. The first issue features poetry, manga, a wide-ranging, in-depth interview with Haruki Murakami, fiction from Hideo Furukawa, a beautiful sequence of vignettes by Hiromi Kawakami, and much more. Such monkey business—vital, fanciful, subversive, haunting…”

Motoyuki Shibata, Roland Kelts, Ted Goossen, and Brigid Hughes are available for interviews. Review copies are available on request. Additional information can be found at www.apublicspace.org


Contact: Roland Kelts (Japanamerica)
Organization Name: A Public Space
Telephone Number: 718-858-8067
E-mail Address: press@apublicspace.org
Web site Address: www.apublicspace.org

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