Words without Borders Conversations: Clarice Lispector with Benjamin Moser & Edgard Telles Ribeiro

Recently, New Directions released Clarice Lispector's The Complete Stories (reviewed here in the New York Times), translated by Katrina Dodson and edited by Benjamin Moser. During Moser's recent stop through New York, Words without Borders editor Eric M. B. Becker sat down with Moser and Brazilian writer Edgard Telles Ribeiro—whose mother was a close friend of Lispector—to discuss the writer who has been described as the Brazilian Virginia Woolf and the greatest Jewish writer since Kafka. In this inaugural episode of "Words without Borders Conversations," an ongoing audio interview series about the world of literary translation, Becker, Moser, and Telles Ribeiro discuss Lispector's work, her rupture with the Brazilian writers who came before her, and her legacy, as well as forthcoming Lispector projects.

About this episode's guests

Benjamin Moser is a writer, editor, critic, and translator who was born in Houston in 1976 and lives in the Netherlands. He worked at Foreign Affairs magazine and Alfred A. Knopf in New York before becoming an editor at the Harvill Press in London. He was the New Books columnist for Harper's Magazine before becoming a contributing editor on visual art and is regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. His first book, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, was published by Oxford University Press (USA). He is the series editor of the new retranslations of Clarice Lispector to be published in the United States by New Directions and in the United Kingdom by Penguin Modern Classics. A member of the board of the National Book Critics Circle, he has published translations from the Dutch, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. He speaks six languages in addition to these.


Edgard Telles Ribeiro was born in Brazil in 1944 and graduated from the Diplomatic Academy in 1967, when he joined the Brazilian Foreign Service. Prior to that, he was a journalist and film critic writing in Rio de Janeiro. The author of seven novels and three collections of short stories, several of which have won major literary awards in Brazil, he currently lives in New York. In 2014, Other Press released his novel His Own Man (reviewed here in The Independent), translated by Words without Borders contributor Kim M. Hastings.


Eric M. B. Becker is editor of Words without Borders. He is also an award-winning journalist and literary translator. In 2014, he earned a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of a collection of short stories from the Portuguese by Neustadt Prize for International Literature winner and 2015 Man Booker International Finalist Mia Couto, forthcoming from Biblioasis. He has also published translations of work by Brazilian writers Edival Lourenço, Paulo Scott, Eric Nepomuceno, and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and has forthcoming translations of Noemi Jaffe and Lygia Fagundes Telles. In 2014, he was resident writer at the Louis Armstrong House.