Enrique Vila-Matas, right, with fellow Spanish writers Jordi Soler, Antonio Soler, Malcom Otero and Jose Antonio Garriga Vela and the late Dermot Healy, members of The Order of the Finnegans, launching their book on the subject at the Cervantes Institute in Dublin in 2010. Photograph: Alan Betson

On this day of days, Bloomsday, all literary pilgrimage routes lead to Dublin, or rather Dublin in an earlier guise, that of the reimagined Edwardi(...)

John Shevlin dressed as James Joyce at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, in 2012. Photograph:   Bryan O’Brien

Leopold Bloom – possibly one of the most endearing and likeable Everyman figures in literature “A very embarrassing book. No one likes his priv(...)

WB Yeats: a prevailing influence in the making of modern Ireland. He would seem to be not only Ireland’s enduring great poet, but the major Irish public man of the 20th century. Photograph: Getty Images 1:46

It all begins with the birth of a first child, a baby son, born in Sandymount, Dublin, 150 years ago today. And whether or not a squadron of enchanted(...)

It is the day everyone in the small community remembers: the day Queen Juliana paid a visit. There were speeches, and a local man in clean overalls(...)

Saul Bellow, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Literature at his home in Vermont in 1989: The honour came the year after Humboldt’s Gift , his most Nabokovian novel, and within months of To Jerusalem and Back, his non-fiction report of a journey to Israel. It is always valid to include that book because it is serious and Bellow, for all the gags and earthy set pieces, is very serious. Photograph: Dominique Nabokov / Liaison Agency

‘I’ve reckoned with death for so long that I look at the world with the eyes of someone who’s died’ – Saul Bellow Although The Dean’s December is the (...)

Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Shakespeare all have a role in literary showman Czech-born, Paris-based Milan Kundera’s first novel in 13 years. It is a(...)

Tenacity is an admirable trait in anyone, particularly an athlete or explorer, but not the first quality that one looks for in a biography, where i(...)

Hispabooks is determined to showcase the best of contemporary Spanish writing from writers working in Spain’s four languages – and although English-languages publishers remain slow to take chances on literary fiction in translation unless it has already won several prizes, Hispabooks is proving that this no longer matters. Why wait on London or New York? Madrid is identifying quality literary fiction and making it available to a wider readership

Earlier this year forensic anthropologists and archaeologists searching beneath a convent in Madrid believed they might have finally located the re(...)

Jenny Erpenbeck, daughter of a philosopher father and a mother who translates from the Arabic, is a dreamer, a thinker and artist. She is also an east Berliner and this is a very German book; it is also a consummately European work with all the force of history

Chance spins and it decides an individual’s fate. What if? What if a death did not happen? What if a life took another direction? How many times do(...)

Chinua Achebe: balances the richness of African folklore and native speech with the sterile politicking inherited from outsiders, who ruled, influenced, then left, leaving their mess behind. Photograph: Jerry Bauer

Music and dance, songs full of stories and life, the celebration of Africa Day is exactly that; a celebration of cultures and traditions that span (...)