Archives

February, 2015

The City and the Writer: In Copenhagen with Janne Teller

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Special City Series/Copenhagen, Denmark 2015 If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the...

January, 2015

Pulp Fiction as Speculative Sociology: On Hernán Vanoli

I have always been drawn to literature driven by overt or covert sociological inquiries, fictions constructed to understand on various individual or collective levels those vexing questions of cultural or political history that social scientists spend their careers measuring, theorizing,...

Ode to the Mango: My Dinners with Neruda

The one time I visited Santiago de Chile—it was July 1991, winter in the southern hemisphere, and the days were sunny, cold and crisp—I made the pilgrimage to Pablo Neruda’s house on the coast, in a place called Isla Negra. My reason for this trip to the Cono Sur—I...

Bard on the Beach: Remembering Phu on Thailand’s Gulf Coast

Two hours east of Bangkok, on Thailand's gulf coast, lies the small beach town of Bang Saen. Lined mostly with casual restaurants and lower to middle-range accommodations, Bang Saen is usually bypassed by foreign travelers for more glamorous resorts further east, leaving these...

The City and the Writer: In Copenhagen with Dorthe Nors

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Special City Series/Copenhagen, Denmark 2015 If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains....

The Week in Translation

GO what: Two Lines presents: Catalan Literature & Tapas with Katherine Silver and Peter Bush when: January 27, doors open at 5pm, event starts at 5:30 where: B44 Catalan Bistro, San Francisco more info: http://ow.ly/HaxKz SUBMIT what: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants...

Let’s Talk about Love and Duty and Being Nice to People

Pictures of Shi Tiesheng show him wearing the standard issue baggy jumper and squareish, plastic-framed glasses sported by intellectuals of the eighties, and—almost invariably—smiling. Sometimes his wheelchair is in view and sometimes it isn’t. The cause of his disability...

Fast Memories: Recycled Soviets and Real-life Russians in Havana Bay

When Vladimir Putin traveled to Cuba in 2000, he was the first Russian president to do so since Mikhail Gorbachev visited in 1989. Soviet influence on the island was hardly something anyone wished to remember. At that time, a Cuban woman in the street reported to the press a sentiment that...

The Week in Translation

GO what: Two Lines presents: Catalan Literature & Tapas with Katherine Silver and Peter Bush when: January 27, doors open at 5pm, event starts at 5:30 where: B44 Catalan Bistro, San Francisco more info: http://ow.ly/HaxKz SUBMIT what: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants...

“I Like Calling Myself a Thief”: An Interview with Rabih Alameddine

“I wanted to write a happy book; really, really happy—and this is what came out,” Lebanese writer Rabih Alameddine said of his new novel, An Unnecessary Woman, at a reading at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop last year.  On the surface, the novel seems...

New in French: “La petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais” by Lola Lafon

At the 1974 Montreal Olympic Games, the fourteen-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect “10” on the beam and dazzled the entire world. It was the first time an athlete had ever done this in an Olympic gymnastic competition. Even the electronic scoring...

Suono e Significato: On Being Translated into Italian

While completing my MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University, I took a wonderful course with Jennifer Atkinson entitled, “Poetry in Translation.” I loved reading about how various translators worked, and the rationales behind their linguistic decisions. I even...

The Week in Translation

GO what: Two Lines presents: Catalan Literature & Tapas with Katherine Silver and Peter Bush when: January 27, doors open at 5pm, event starts at 5:30 where: B44 Catalan Bistro, San Francisco more info: http://ow.ly/HaxKz SUBMIT what: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants...

A New Name for Newborns

This poem was written for the January 11, 2015, unity march in Paris in response to the Charlie Hebdo murders. It is translated into English by Dan Bellm. When I was born my mother gave me a name I didn’t choose out of all the alphabets  and letters I’ve carried it...

Encountering the Unfamiliar

Before I lived in Canada, I knew very little about Aboriginal people, either their history or their contemporary lives. However, my first temp job in Vancouver was as a filing clerk at the Department of Justice, where I spent my days working with paperwork relating to the Aboriginal...

Not From Here: On Translating Zoran Drvenkar’s “Standing in the Rain”

Im Regen stehen, Zoran Drvenkar’s autobiographically informed novel about growing up in Berlin in the seventies, comes from a place that doesn’t exist any more. The hermetically sealed West Berlin of pre-unification days, full of young men fleeing military service in West...

On Translating “Rasha”

In 1971, schoolchildren in the Indian city of Calcutta were afraid of many things. There was full-blown guerrilla action in the streets, with young men and women from middle-class families taking up bombs and handmade guns in a bid to usher in a violent Leftist revolution.  Barely a...

The Week in Translation

SUBMIT what: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000-$4,000), open to applicants from any nationality or citizenship who are translating into English. submission deadline: January 15, 2015 more info: http://ow.ly/Ep3dc what: Transference Literary...

December, 2014

The Week in Translation

SUBMIT what: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000-$4,000), open to applicants from any nationality or citizenship who are translating into English. submission deadline: January 15, 2015 more info: http://ow.ly/Ep3dc what: Transference Literary...

On Translating “The Art of Falling”

Daniel Hahn and Briony Everroad opened this month’s issue of Words Without Borders by mentioning the “thick fog of casual snobbery” that surrounds literature for young adults. Thankfully, it would appear that this fog may be very slowly lifting, at least where Norwegian...

Ave atque Vale

This week WWB bids farewell to editor Rohan Kamicheril. Rohan started at WWB as a volunteer in 2006, and while still an intern compiled a double issue of new Russian writing in July and August 2007. He joined us full-time the following year and has been vital to our growth and...

Translator Relay: Michael Emmerich

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Our "Translator Relay" series features a new interview each month. This month's translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth question. For December's installment, Karen Emmerich passed the baton to her brother, Japanese translator Michael Emmerich,...

The Week in Translation

SUBMIT what: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000-$4,000), open to applicants from any nationality or citizenship who are translating into English. submission deadline: January 15, 2015 more info: http://ow.ly/Ep3dc what: Transference Literary...

The New Normal: On Cuba and the Power of Translation

During the historic speech on December 17, 2014, when he announced the normalization of relations with Cuba, Barack Obama turned to address the Cuban people directly. He began with a citation from José Martí: "Liberty is the right of every man to be honest." Cultural...

Just Be: On Jessica Schiefauer’s “The Boys”

As a pre-teen in Southern California, I was terrified of the day I would have to wear a bra. As soon as you wore one, the boys would stalk you around school, sneak up behind you, and painfully snap the hook and eye closure against your back. It was a humiliating hazing ritual of sorts,...

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