Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monkeying around with Japanese literature - New York japanese culture |

[Monkey Business editors and translators, Motoyuki Shibata and Ted Goossen]

Susan Hamaker on the Monkey Business launch party at BookCourt bookstore in Brooklyn, NYC:

In his 1956 rock 'n' roll tune "Too Much Monkey Business," Chuck Berry laments the Groundhog Day-ness of everyday life.

"Monkey Business" the song is much like Monkey Business the literary magazine: Straightforward and no-nonsense. Impressed by the song's frankness of attitude, essayist Motoyuki Shibata and his cohorts decided to name their journal of writing from Japan (and other places) after it.

Five years ago A Public Space, a literary journal in Brooklyn, published a portfolio of Japanese literature that included an interview with Shibata, who is considered one of the foremost translators of American literature into Japanese. A year and a half ago, Shibata approached A Public Space with the idea of producing an English-language version of the JapaneseMonkey Business. Brigid Hughes, editor of A Public Space, says, "You don't go into the lit mag business if you have any common sense." So, of course, they did it. Monkey Business: New Writing from Japan launched in the U.S. on May 1 at BookCourt, a cozy Brooklyn space where people fall in love with books and, it's been written, with each other.

But I digress. I was fortunate to attend the launch and to hear editors Shibata and Ted Goossen, managing editor Anne McPeak, and contributing editor Roland Kelts discuss the project and the five dynamic authors who read from their works... [more here]

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