Weekly book agenda: Read an E-Book Week, Best Translated Book Award

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The Independent Culture

March 7 marks the start of Read an E-Book Week, during which tech-savvy readers, or those who wish to be, can download free titles from a variety of sources. On March 10, one winner will be chosen for the annual Best Translated Book Award, which honors titles from around the world that are available in English translation.

Read an E-Book Week
March 7-13

The annual Read an E-Book Week was created to promote and share the advantages of reading electronically. During this week, visitors are invited to browse the event website, where dozens of publishers, authors, booksellers, and app developers offer free titles for a limited time. Going since 2003, the event took off in 2009.

Best Translated Book Award

March 10
New York, NY, USA

Belgian author Hugo Claus, Austrian writer Wolf Haas, and Argentina's César Aira are among shortlisted authors for the 2009 Best Translated Book Award, presented by Three Percent, a resource for international literature based at the University of Rochester, USA. The award was created in 2007 to draw attention to the otherwise overlooked world of translated titles. Choosing this year's winning books is a panel of nine judges, including representatives from the Center for the Art of Translation, Words Without Borders, and Public Radio International.

Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival

March 11-19
Hong Kong

The annual Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival celebrates creative writing in English, with an emphasis on works with an Asian connection. The Festival features both local and overseas authors and includes works in translation, with winners of some of the world's most prestigious literary prizes taking part each year. On the 2010 program are American Book Award winner Alex Kuo, best-selling Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize winner Su Tong, Commonwealth Prize winner Vikram Chandra, and scores of other writers. A combination of ticketed and free events will take place in venues all around Hong Kong.

National Book Critics Circle Awards
March 12
New York, NY, USA

Among the most prestigious literary awards in the US, the National Book Critics Circle Awards honor all books published in English, including translations. NBCC winners in the categories of autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, and nonfiction are selected by more than 600 literary critics. Among nominees for the 2010 fiction prize are Man Booker Prize-winner Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and National Book Award finalists American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell and Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips. American author Joyce Carol Oates will receive a lifetime achievement award at the NBCC awards ceremony.

'Twilight: The Graphic Novel'
March 16

A graphic novel of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga will be released in the US and UK on March 16. Korean artist Young Kim created the art and adaptation for Twilight: The Graphic Novel, reportedly working side-by-side with Meyer. Yen Press will publish Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 in the US; in the UK, Atom will publish the title on the same date. A release date for the second volume has not yet been announced.

'Solar' by Ian McEwan
March 18 / 30

The latest novel by Booker Prize-winning novelist Ian McEwan will tell the story of a Nobel prize-winning physicist who receives an invitation to travel to New Mexico - an opportunity that offers him a chance to, according to the book's description, "extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster."

PEN/Faulkner Awards ceremony
March 23
Washington DC

Sherman Alexie, Barbara Kingsolver, Lorraine M. López, Lorrie Moore, and Colson Whitehead are in the running for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner fiction award, a prestigious US prize. Nominees include Alexie's tragicomic story collection War Dances, Kingsolver's historical novel The Lacuna, López's Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories, Moore's post-9/11 novel A Gate at the Stairs, and Colson Whitehead's coming-of-age story Sag Harbor. The winner - whom the PEN/Faulkner Foundation recognizes as the "best among equals" - receives $15,000, while each of the four finalists receives $5,000.

Bologna Children's Book Fair
March 23-26
Bologna, Italy

Now in its 47th year, the Bologna Children's Book Fair is the most significant annual international book fair in the children's publishing world. In 2009, about 1,300 exhibitors came from 67 countries, with those numbers expected to grow in 2010. While the fair is not open to the public, it sets the tone for the year ahead in children's book publishing, directly affecting what readers will find on shelves in the months and years to come. According to The Bookseller, the young adult sector is likely to be especially solid at the 2010 fair, driven by the success of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books.

'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls'

March 30

The Quirk Classics series combines "popular fanboy characters like ninjas, pirates, zombies and monkeys" with classic public domain book titles. Quirk Books' first title, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, made US and UK bestseller lists and is now being made into a film. Due out March 30 is a prequel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith.

International Edible Book Day
April 1

International Edible Book Day has been held every year since 2000 on or around April 1, coinciding with April Fools' Day. Creators Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron invite people from all over the word to submit edible creations in the shape of books or in any way "bookish." Groups from Australia, Brazil, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands,  Russia, and Hong Kong have taken part in the event, holding small events at which they display their edible creations, take pictures, and submit them to the Edible Book Day website. All are welcome to participate; for more information, visit the event website.