Awaiting Manituana: A New Beginning in the English-speaking world?

Two years after it first hit the Italian bookshops, our novel Manituana is about to be published in the UK and the US (June 2009).
Our previous works (Q and 54) were published by Heinemann in the UK and Harcourt in the US, but now we’ve got one new publisher on both shores of the Atlantic, Verso Books. On the other hand, the translator remains the same: Shaun Whiteside.

Two years aren’t such a long time, we were used to waiting for much longer before our books appeared in Angloville:
- we wrote Q in the 1995-98 period; it was published in Italy in 1999; only after 4 long years it reached Britain, and 2003 had to give way to 2004 before the American readers could find it on the shelves.
- we wrote 54 in the 1999-2001 period; it was published in Italy in 2002; we had to wait, respectively, 2005 and 2006 to see it in print in the UK and the US.

Manituana was written betwen 2003 and 2007, and it soaked up all the tensions of that period: S11, the Neoconservative hegemony on US foreign policy,  the lies on Saddam allegedly keeping weapons of mass destruction hidden in the desert, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, George W. Bush winning his second term thanks to the Christian right in 2004, Silvio Burlesquoni conquering the hearts and minds of the majority of Italians  etc.

We regard Manituana as the first chapter of a tryptich on the relationships between Europe and America. We usually call it “il Trittico Atlantico“. We’re not in a hurry, we’ll work on the next two books with the slowness and care they deserve.
In the meanwhile, we’re about to deliver to our Italian publisher a completely different novel, a spin-off of Q set in the 1570′s. It will be published in October 2009.

Manituana isn’t only a book, we projected it as a world, an example of participatory/transmedia storytelling. In fact, many people have contributed to the project by writing short stories and poems, composing soundtracks, making videos, turning passing references to this or that character in new sub-plotlines branching off the novel onto different media platforms (e.g. comics, war table games, radiodramas etc.)
This stuff is on the book’s official website, which is very rich in its Italian and Spanish sections, but not yet in the English one. Shaun is translating dozens of interesting texts, which will be available in ye olde tongue as soon as the book leaves the printing works.

These have been hectic years, we’ve been hyperactive, each one of us has also written “solo” novels (God knows when you’ll get the chance to read them in English), and we have collaborated with musicians, actors, comic authors, playwrights, filmmakers, graphic artists and academics in a plethora of projects. We also sparked off a huge and harsh debate on contemporary Italian literature, by coining the phrase “New Italian Epic” to describe a “nebula” of novels and “unidentified narrative objects” written in Italian in the past few years.  Plus, our own books have been translated in about 15 languages, we’ve been touring continental Europe to discuss our work with many people, but very little of this is known in the UK and, especially, the US. It is also our fault, because we weren’t able to properly run our English language newsletter, and we never had the time and energy to regularly update [aren't we good at splitting infinitives?] the English section of our main website. We had to stop editing the newsletter, and now we want to start over – slowly, humbly and methodically [help, we got hooked up on adverbs!]. This new blog is one of the tools that should help us in this task, at least we hope so.

Verso Books will also publish another book we’re involved in: a collection of Thomas Müntzer’s sermons to which we wrote a long introduction. We took that opportunity to analyse the relationships between the Zapatistas, the Luther Blissett Project, Q and the global movement that took the streets in Seattle, Prague, Québec, Genoa and many other cities at the beginning of this century. We’ll probably publish some excerpts of that text even before it is published.

Ok, folks, that’s all for now. Just be patient, and in time we’ll give you all we can.

N.B. If you subscribed to our website’s RSS feed, please subscribe to this blog’s feed too, we’ll manage them separately, with limited, occasional cross-posting.


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7 Comments Post a Comment
  1. amrlima says:

    Great to hear I’ll finally will be abble to read Manituana! Well, I would rather read it in portuguese…but that’s ok! are there any plans for a portuguese translation? Looking foward for Q spin off, it’s a story that I care about.

    It’s really a shame your books are not translated into european Portuguese, I know Q was, but, has wm1 commented once on my blog :), they sold 2 expensive volumes and the translation was not good.

    Oh, and good choise of blogging platform! WordPress is trully great!

  2. admin says:

    Hi there, thanks for being the very first commenter! No plans for translating Manituana into Portuguese yet. It will be published in Spanish next month and in French in September, but no offers from either Brazil or Portugal. We’ll see…

  3. MadGreenApe says:

    I have been looking forward to being able to read this book for a long time.

    It is also good to see this blog up and running, I was missing the newsletter.

  4. depps says:

    It’s great to hear that the book will soon be available for us anglophones. I can honestly say this is the first time in my life that I’ve eagerly awaited the release of a novel….

  5. [...] I got quite excited about the publication of their 3rd novel, Manituana some time ago and the good news is that the english version will be out in June. [...]

  6. brush says:

    will the english version be available for download, like the others? some of us are too poor to buy new books. :(

  7. admin says:

    Yes it will.

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We are the Wu Ming Foundation, a collective of writers based in Italy. We are the authors of several novels and non-fiction books written with literary techniques (which we prefer to describe as UNOs, Unidentified Narrative Objects). As of May 2015, four of our novels are available in English: Q, 54, Manituana and Altai. This used to be our supremely neglected blog in English. Ugly and no longer updated after May 2013. Our livelier, regularly updated blog is in Italian and it's called Giap. For stuff in other languages, check out our blog on Tumblr.

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