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June, 2012

Pride in Padua

Before you head out to your local pride parade, stop by Padua's, courtesy of Matteo Bianchi's "Maternal Pride." Bianchi's droll panorama captures both the teeming crowd and the individual stories within. Kylie Minogue fanatic Marco, still dizzy from having shared his water...

How \“To Algeria, with Love\” became \“La Repubblica di Wally\”

Einaudi bought the Italian rights to my novel before it had an English language publisher, editor, or even a title. Work on the translation began last summer, around the time the book was published in the UK by Virago as To Algeria, with Love. As luck would have it, my husband and I were...

Two Takes on May-December

In Cristina Peri Rossi's "Ne me quitte pas," a fortysomething psychiatrist finds a patient's romantic anguish reflects his own insecurity about his teenaged lover. As the patient describes the pain of leaving his wife, the psychiatrist broods: how can this gorgeous, indefatigable...

Magdy El Shafee Publishes “Metro” in English

It's Metro Day at WWB. We're celebrating the publication of Magdy El Shafee's graphic novel, available today from Metropolitan Books in Chip Rossetti's translation. Readers will recall that WWB published an extract in February 2008, and that the book was seized on...

May, 2012

The City and the Writer: In San Francisco with Matthew Zapruder

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 mood of San Francisco as you feel/see...

Can Literature Bear Witness?

As part of the PEN World Voices Festival, Herta Müller spent an afternoon at NYU's Deutsches Haus on May 3 to discuss whether it's possible for literature to bear witness. When I arrived at the venue, the main floor was packed, which I expected for a Nobel Prize winner. I...

To Fly to the Himalayas

(This post is based on Yuyutsu Sharma's 2010 visit to Cordoba where he was invited as a guest poet at the Cosmopoetica Poetry Festival.)   My life I can tell you in two words-- a patio and a small piece of sky where a lost cloud and some bird fleeing from its...

The Quality of the Fabric: An Interview with Bernardo Atxaga

Phillipe Starck´s forty-three-thousand-square-foot cultural center, the Alhóndiga, that was opened in 2010 was the setting for the Gutun Zuria literary conference that brought writers from the U.S., Spain and elsewhere to Bilbao in mid-April. Residents of the Basque city...

April, 2012

Literary Journeys through Catalonia: Searching for Mercè Rodoreda’s Barcelona

With Mercè Rodoreda's novel La Placa del Diamant  (translated as The Time of the Doves) in hand,  we took a lulling hour-and-a-half train ride from Girona to the sprawling, modernist city of Barcelona. The distance between Girona, the capital of the rural province of...

Listening Under the Kitchen Table: An Interview with Kirmen Uribe

Kirmen Uribe is a Basque writer and poet. In 2008, his novel, Bilbao-New York-Bilbao was published in Basque. (It has subsequently been translated into more than ten languages and was awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura (Narrativa) in Spain. Uribe has also published...

The City and the Writer: In London with Hisham Matar

Special City Series / London   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....

Musical Beds, Catalan Style

If you've finished the issue and are still in the mood, check out Empar Moliner's rollicking "Invention of the Aspirin" in our October 2007 Catalan issue. A bored wife finds she has the ability to slip into other women's identities—and their bedrooms. Shapeshifting from...

Day Three at the London Book Fair

The highlight of the third and final day at the Literary Translation Center was a conversation among poets, editors, and translators about an exciting new book of contemporary Chinese poetry.  The book is called Jade Ladder—and the panelists discussing it, and related...

Translators of the World Unite!  (With Other Writers, who are also Translators)

Word for Word / Wort fur Wort Reading and book reception at Columbia University Deutches Haus, April 12, 2012 In perhaps the best kind of exchange program, three writers from Columbia’s MFA program went to Germany last year to swap their work with students at Das Deutsche...

Day Two at the London Book Fair

The London Book Fair runs from April 16-April 18, and WWB brings it to you from the Literary Translation Centre, a seminar dedicated to all aspects of literary translation.  Follow us each day on [email protected] on our Dispatches blog, where we'll be posting daily...

Day One at the London Book Fair

The London Book Fair runs from April 16-April 18, and WWB brings it to you from the Literary Translation Centre, a seminar dedicated to all aspects of literary translation.  Follow us each day on [email protected] on our Dispatches blog, where we'll be posting daily...

The Marco Polo of Morocco

Born in Morocco in 1304, Ibn Battuta was the greatest world traveler of his time. He began his journeys in 1325, a year after Marco Polo died in Venice, but traveled five times as far before he was done. In his journeys through lands including Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Afghanistan, India,...

The Advanced Language Class as Translation Workshop

A wonderful, and perhaps underappreciated, way to bring international literature into the classroom is through transforming advanced language classes into translation workshops. While language classes might seem an obvious home for news from afar, some people associate translation in...

“To read a text with the eyes of the world”

The book I most look forward to from Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o is the next volume of his excellent memoirs. But in the meantime we have Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing, based on a series of lectures delivered in May 2010. A fine novelist is not necessarily a fine...

Poetry from the Horn of Africa

Launched in November 2011, Warscapes magazine has taken on an unusual niche: the art and literature of war zones around the world. On March 6, Warscapes hosted An Evening of Poetry from the Horn of Africa in the headquarters of Alwan for the Arts near the tip of Manhattan on Beaver...

From the Translator: Titling \“Tana\”

I’m very grateful to the editors of Words Without Borders for letting me discuss my translation of Giulio Mozzi’s “Tana.” This gives me the chance to discuss my failure. Several years back, when I first met with Mozzi in Padua about his collection Questo...

A Memoir Disguised as a Novel

Harper Perennial, which reissued A Life Full of Holes in 2008, describes it on the cover as “the first novel ever written in the Arabic dialect Moghrebi.” Yet there is more than a little doubt as to whether it is a novel at all. A Life Full of Holes was told to Paul Bowles...

From the Archives: Poetry, Sex, and Rap

April is National Poetry Month, and our theme this month is sex, so we're going back to our November 2005 South Korean issue for a tale that fits both: Lee Gi-ho's "Earnie." The story of a young prostitute with a booming voice who escapes via a fortuitous encounter with a music...

March, 2012

From the Translator: Working with the Author

Editor's note: Translator Samantha Schnee worked closely with author Carmen Boullosa throughout the translation of the latter's "Sleepless Homeland." The following exchange, with its multiple rounds of drafts, queries, and responses, provides an instructive glimpse of the...

The City and the Writer: In Florence with Elisa Biagini

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.                              ...

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