William Gass on Dalkey’s Sandrof Achievement Award

At the recent NBCC Awards, the Dalkey Archive Press was given the Sandrof lifetime achievement award. Here’s some of William Gass’s thoughts on the subject:

These are books whose looks we can be proud of, and in translations, where that is required, of breathtaking skill and utter dedication, performed by virtuosos of their art. The Archive is an achievement only a determined traveling man could manage. John brings through customs books in every lingo, from – for us – remote parts of the world: Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, Croatia, Idaho. Stateside novelists have known, since the Latin American writers shook us from our sleep in the sixties, that we were ignoramuses, but ignoramuses with an excuse: our arrogant, ignorant, self-absorbed nation cared only for the literature in our language, and if Canadian, not that. How could we have anticipated this continuing flood of competition?

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The Surrender is Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning his lifelong desire to be a woman.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

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All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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