Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2014 World Cup of Literature: The Details

(from rochester.edu
by Chad W. Post)

A number of months ago, I alluded to the idea of having Three Percent host a “World Cup of Literature” pitting all of the World Cup qualifying countries (see below) against one another in a battle for world literature supremacy. (At least until the next World Cup.)

Anyway, the time for that is now!, and so here are all the details:

The World Cup of Literature will be a 32-book knock-out tournament that will run around the same time as the actual World Cup of Football Soccering. Obviously, our game schedule will be different, since we’re forgoing all that round robin stuff.

Stealing a bit from the Morning News Tournament of Books, each “match” will pit two books against one another and will be judged by one of our fifteen illustrious judges. (More on that below, but if you’re illustrious and a judge, let me know. We need a few more good readers.) They’ll assign a soccer-like score and one of the two books will move on. (No draws! Because we are America and America is about winning and teams that don’t win as the winning team.)
All fifteen judges will weigh in on the championship match.

Here’s where you all come in: We need recommendations of books for all the World Cup countries. The full list of countries is below. And I set up a special email account (worldcupofliterature@gmail.com) for you to send in your ideas. There’s also a Facebook page and Twitter feed that we’ll get going over the next few days. Submit recommendations there are well!

In terms of what we’re looking for, I think the books we end up including in this competition should be fun, interesting, enjoyable, “readable,” etc. So, in contrast to the BTBA finalists, this could include more genre works and the like. Not that we want to include crap, but I don’t think this should feature 32 obscure, high modernist writers from around the world.

And to keep in the World Cup spirit of young, healthy people running around athletically, we’d like to include books published from 2000 onwards. Keep it young! (And avoid match-ups like The Tin Drum vs. The Great Gatsby.)

Please send along any and all recommendations you have by June 10th. Obviously, there are certain countries that are trickier to find good representatives from than others. (Like Costa Rica. Like Côte d’Ivoire. And good luck coming up with an American book.) I’ll post all the recommendations we get after the 10th, and we’ll announce the official representatives later that week along with a match schedule.

Also, I’m serious about looking for a few more judges. Rather than calling on all the usual suspects, I think it would be more fun to include a bunch of Three Percent/International Literature fans in the judging process. As a judge you will be assigned two matches that you’re responsible for, and can vote on the championship. The pieces you write can be as serious or as flippant as you want—it’s up to you. Just email the same address (worldcupofliterature@gmail.com) if you’re interested.

I think that’s it for now . . . So for the non-soccer obsessed, here are the countries that are participating:

Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
Ivory Coast
South Korea


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