Editor extraordinaire Daniel Medin: he’s “raise-your-eyebrows smart”


Man Booker award-winner László Krasznahorkai’s with Daniel Medin at last year’s ceremony. (Photo: Hans Balmes)

One of our favorite people is international literary tastemaker and editor extraordinaire Daniel Medin of the American University in Paris. We’ve written about him here and here and here, among other places. It’s been a pleasure to watch his rise as a truly great editor and homme de lettres, fostering literary excellence wherever in the world he finds it.

Fortunately, our good taste is contagious. An article on the Washington University of St. Louis’ The Source called him “an evangelist for outstanding contemporary foreign-language writers.”

Case in point: Medin is a judge for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. The annual award honors a fictional book translated into English and published in the United Kingdom. The winning title earns a lofty £50,000 ($75,800), split equally between author and translator.

...and his admirer

Literary evangelist

Medin and the four other jurists pored over 160 novels and met several times throughout the winter and early spring to create the prize’s longlist and then select the winner. “What I’m doing doesn’t feel like work,” he says. “It’s a privilege.”

Warm, self-effacing and raise-your-eyebrows smart, Medin works in three languages — German, French and English — allowing him to read fiction by authors famous in their own countries but underrepresented or completely unknown by Anglophones.

When a novelist or poet impresses him, Medin gracefully labors to expose that person’s prose to English-language readers. He publishes translated selections of their work in Music & ­Literature, The White Review and The Cahiers Series, the three literary ­magazines that he helps edit. He also sends copies to publishers, critics and writers all over the world.

“Reading these books is a pleasure,” Medin says. “It’s similar to having something delectable to eat; the delight is enhanced by sharing it with others.”

Read the whole thing here. The only thing I’d fault it for is that it doesn’t mention Daniel’s long stint at Stanford, which is where our paths finally crossed.


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