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February, 2011

Questions for Peter Bush and Teresa Solana

Peter Bush has been translating the fiction of Teresa Solana since 2005, producing sparkling English versions of many of her stories and two of her comic noirs, A Shortcut to Paradise and A Not So Perfect Crime.  Here the couple, both former directors of national translation...

A Interview with Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics Books

Mass media may often associate comics with blockbuster-movie superheroes and kids’ cartoons, but as evidenced by the diverse works from comics and graphic novel publisher Fantagraphics Books, this visual medium wields the power to make hard-hitting political and social commentary...

Chihoi in Action

Kaleidoscope, a marvelous, eye-widening exhibition on the history of Hong Kong comics, is a ten-minute walk down to the river from the center of town. The exhibit is composed of individual units that are practical, durable, and ingeniously designed, like high-end luggage: black, on...

Meeting of the Pharaohs by the Red Sea

Algerian Kamel Daoud is editor in chief of the French language daily newspaper Quotidien d'Oran, where he writes a daily column, or chronique, under the title "Raina Raikoum" [Our Opinion Is Your Opinion].  In a country under state of emergency/political lockdown since 1992, and...

Borges: Faith to See in the Dark

In 2010, as part of the Penguin Classics Series, five new Borges books were released in the states. Last October, three of the editors, Suzanne Jill Levine, Alfred Mac Adam, and Maria Kodama, gathered at the Americas Society in New York City to discuss the project. The books highlight...

Africans in Paris: On “Malamine”

“I’ve never seen an African in a bookstore in France,” said Christophe Ngalle Edimo. “I say African, because whatever country in Africa you’re actually from, the minute you set foot in France, you’re an African. That’s how they see you—not...

A Congolese creation myth

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In The Fire of Origins, translated from the French by Lillian Corti and published in 2001, the Congolese writer Emmanuel Dongala has produced not so much a novel as a national creation myth. His hero, Mandala Mankunku (who has several other names in the course of the story) is an outsize...

film icon Censorship in Egypt: An Interview with Magdy El Shafee

In February 2008, WWB published an extract from the first Egyptian graphic novel for adults, Magdy El Shafee's Metro. Set in a chaotic modern Cairo pulsing with economic and social instability, the novel protrays the city as a vortex of political corruption. When the book was...

Imagining more Autumns for North Africa’s Patriarchs: The Dictator Novel in Egypt

In the mid 1970s, at a time when Latin American countries chafed under brutal dictatorships, an amazing literary phenomenon swept through the region. Three powerful novels were published within months of each other by three of the greatest authors of the region hailing from its varied...

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine. An Interview with Almog Behar

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Translated from the Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern In this installment of "Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine,"  Chana Morgenstern. speaks to Almog Behar, whose poem, Sheikh Jarrah, 2010" you can read over here. Chana Morgenstern: Can you tell me a little bit about how your...

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine. “Sheikh Jarrah, 2010.” A Poem by Almog Behar

Translated from the Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern. Almog Behar Is a Mizrahi (Jew of Arab descent) writer, literary critic and activist involved in the solidarity movement against the eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem.   Behar is also actively engaged in a...

From the Translator: Andrea G. Labinger on Guillermo Martínez’s “Dance at the Marcone”

The prolific and talented Guillermo Martínez is well-known beyond the borders of his native Argentina.  Indeed, Martínez is one of the most-translated of contemporary Argentine writers. His 2003 mystery novel, Crímenes imperceptibles (translated into English by...

An Algerian Lexicon

On February 3, smelling the smoke from Cairo, Algeria's aging President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, emerged from a long silence and promised an end to the state of emergency that has kept the country in political lockdown since 1992. The coalition of protest groups planning a nationwide...

Voices, Voices Everywhere: Democracy in Tunisia

“A young man has set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid,” B. told me one morning over coffee last December.  He could not find a job and the police would not even let him be a fruit vendor. We still did not know his name.  B. then spoke of the brutal repression against...

The City and the Writer: In Washington, D.C. with E. Ethelbert Miller

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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....

From the Translator: Jonathan Blitzer on “Ride of the Valkyries”

In his post, "Our Man in Madrid" series editor Jonathan Blitzer speaks about Wagnerian imprecations and military coups in Juan Carlos Chirinos's "Ride of the Valkyries." Juan Carlos Chirinos dedicated “Ride of the Valkyries,” to his friend, the Venezuelan photographer...

January, 2011

A Rumbling Octopus: Egyptians Take to the Streets in Protest

"The square’s full.  The streets feeding into it are full…There’s never been a demonstration like this before…Egypt appeared to be one great demonstration, united in one person and a single chant.” —from Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz,...

From Angoulême: European Comics in Anglophone Markets

Thursday, I attended a session in the “rights balloon” (let’s hope it’s not a “rights bubble”) entitled “Franco-Belgian BD business in the USA Today.” The panel, moderated by noted English comics blogger Paul Gravett, consisted of four...

Angoulême Bubbles Over

Angoulême! It’s an eyegasm. As promised. The sky, overcast since Paris, finally brightened as the TGV pulled past Poitiers without stopping. From my seat, I was playing the game I always do when going to geek cons, whether comics or science-fiction and fantasy: spot your...

Debeurme, Berberian, and Denis, Signing in Brussels

Frit Flagey is regularly considered one of the best fry joints (friterie, or fritkot) in Brussels. It’s also one of the slowest, and so can always be spotted by its line, in which smatterings of many languages and diversely accented French are often heard. Over the last year it has...

Book Reviews: Who Should Write about Literature in Translation?

Translation was a central subject with a panel of book review editors this week, at the Center for Fiction in New York. The event, “Book Reviews, Revamped,” was put on in partnership with the National Book Critics Circle, and moderated by the organization’s president,...

The City and the Writer: In Damascus with Abed Ismael

Image of The City and the Writer: In Damascus with Abed Ismael
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....

In Memoriam: Abdellatif el Jaziri, 1969–2010

Abdellatif el Jaziri was a Moroccan from Fez with a fine Berber head (long and narrow, with a strong chin and prominent cheekbones) and an unflappable sense of humor.  Until recently, he taught Arabic in New York City. “Sometimes it seemed like half the city wanted him to...

La Grève, C’est Grave (Striking is a Serious Business)

Shortly after celebrating its twentieth anniversary in May, French indie comics powerhouse L’Association now finds itself at a stalemate with its employees, who’ve gone on strike to protest a recent round of holiday layoffs that reduced the salaried staff by half. Indie...

Humphrey Davies Wins 2010 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize

Congratulations to our marvelous Arabic translator Humphrey Davies, winner of the 2010 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Elias Khoury's novel Yalo. Humphrey also won the inaugural Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize in 2006 for his...

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