Well, I didn't expect to be quite as accurate as all that. Many thanks to Mark at RSB for flagging up the success although I should say that it was not so much boredom that drove me to do this as the realisation that, in my continuing Onix odyssey (updating the whole backlist), I was beginning to claim that we had exclusive rights for Hubert Selby titles in Gabon, (undoubtedly an important territory, but not perhaps quite as relevant as Great Britain) and that I needed some distraction.
Today, (to continue my fascination with Arno Schmidt) I found myself typing the following:
'A powerful science fiction parable set in 2008. Europe has suffered from a devastating atomic holocaust. In an effort to save their science and culture, the 8 great powers have settled their best and brightest on a jet propelled island, affectionately called 'The Egghead Republic'... The exuberant wit, humour and invention displayed by the author makes this a highly entertaining vision of the future.' The blurb to The Egghead Republic. How great does that sound? Jet propelled!
But to business:
tonight it's Turkey (about whose literature I know quite a lot) against Croatia (less so)
Elif Shafak (Striker)
Maureen Freely (Who has surely earned a residency qualification)
Orhan Kemal (In goal)
Now, I'm excited by this team. Not only is it dominated by Marion Boyars authors; the class of Elif Shafak, the energy of Latife Tekin and the tactical nous of Maureen Freely, it's anchored by a recent Nobel Prize winner and there's a very safe pair of hands in goal (in Turkey, they study his technique in school).
I had a lot of help in constructing this team, many thanks to my super scouts Mark and Steve.
Miroslav Krleža (captain)
Dragutin Tadijanović (In goal)
Dubravka Ugresic (striker)
Clarice Lispector (A naturalised Croatian - passport awarded hastily)
Tin Ujević (Another one of these utility players)
This is a team that I suspect would revel in the 'Dark Horse' tag. So that's what I'm going call them. The captain is author of the 'Croatian War and Peace' so we can expect him to be a supremely hard worker in addition to his undoubted talent - he's one of these players well respected by fellow professionals without achieving the renown of some. The striker is better known in the UK, and is well regarded for her passion and bravery in the challenge. Clarice Lispector brings some Brasilian flair, but is notorious for only playing really well for short periods. Again I know less about the other two writers except that they have plenty of talent and that for some reason I tend to play poets in goal.
So. With this prediction I really have to go with what I know and what clinches it for me is the understanding of the Turkish team: not only do three of the players play together at club level, but Freely should help Pamuk translate seamlessly into it ( I really didn't think that I'd find a football pun for literary translation). But I can't see Croatia not scoring...
2-1 to Turkey.