Archives

August, 2011

The Graffiti of Benghazi

Six months after the February uprising, there are several major differences in the physical appearance of Benghazi, Libya’s rebel capital. The city is unmistakably cleaner, the result of a few pre-uprising civic works (including the cleaning of Benghazi’s putrid central lake)...

From WWB to Book: Success Stories, III

Continuing our series on WWB authors who've sold English-language rights to their work as a result of appearing in WWB, we're delighted to announce the publication of Johan Harstad’s Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?  The novel tells the story of...

PEN Translation Prizes Announced

PEN has just announced its literary awards for 2011. The award for poetry in translation went to Khaled Mattawa for Adonis: Selected Poems by Adonis (Yale University Press, The Margellos World Republic of Letters Series), and for prose to Ibrahim Muhawi for Journal of an Ordinary Grief...

Najati Tayyara, Still Imprisoned

On May 11, 2011, Al Jazeera conducted a phone interview with my friend the writer and Syrian rights activist Najati Tayyara.  In that interview, my friend spoke with complete candor about the brutal, bloody practices of the Syrian regime’s apparatuses against peaceful...

Mistral, One Hundred Years Ago

My father-in-law, Walther Franke-Ruta, was born in 1890 in Leipzig, Germany, into a family of furriers and musicians. He became a poet, a prolific novelist, and a popular radio playwright and social satirist, although the satire, first to last, was  gentle, without acid or...

July, 2011

How Long It Is, This Arab Spring

It's now seven months since Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire and ignited the Arab Spring. As we wrap up the first of two issues of writing from the uprisings, it's instructive to look back at Dispatches filed as events were unfolding. At the end of January, Chip Rossetti...

NEA Translation Awards Announced

The NEA has announced this year's fellowships for translation projects, and we're very happy to see so many WWB translators among the recipients. Congratulations to Eric Abrahamsen,  Ross Benjamin (you can read an extract from his project here), Peter Constantine, Kristin...

Rise and Fall of an Algerian Warlord

Translator's note: Kamel Daoud's novel O Pharaon (Editions Dar el Gharb, Oran, 2004) describes the rise and fall of a warlord in one unhappy town in Western Algeria during the 1990s civil war. Read from today’s perspective, the novel offers a microcosm of events in the...

On William Carlos Williams’s Translation of Ernesto Mejía Sánchez’s “Vigils”

What influence can Spanish have on us who speak a derivative of English in North America? To shake us free for a reconsideration of the poetic line. . . . It looks as though our salvation may come not from within ourselves but from the outside. —William Carlos Williams in his talk on...

Flipping Out

Oswald de Andrade would have loved FLIP. So confirmed Antonio Candido, Brazil’s most revered literary critic, in his opening talk at the ninth annual International Literary Festival in Parati, more widely known by its playful Portuguese acronym (from Festa Literária...

How to write about Africa, revisited

I am currently editing an anthology of memoirs from the continent of Africa, so I was excited to see that the long-awaited memoir by the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina is scheduled to appear this summer. One Day I Will Write About This Place grew from the essay "Discovering Home,"...

Singing Lands of Freedom

Echchaâb yurid isqât ennidhâm!  The people want the fall of the regime! Each word rhythmically chanted by the crowd. A slogan ringing in Tunis in January, now resounding in cities all over Syria, as protesters bravely face snipers and security forces every day,...

An Algerian Self-Immolates, the Desert Spreads

He sells fruit and vegetables from a pushcart. The heat is intense and so is the poverty. A cop ambles over and gives him a shove. The vegetable vendor is humiliated. He goes off and comes back with a can of gasoline, and sets himself afire. They take him to the hospital, where he dies....

June, 2011

From WWB to Book: Success Stories, II

Continuing our series on WWB authors who've sold English-language rights to their work as a result of appearing in WWB, we're delighted to announce the publication of the graphic novel Farm 54, written by Galit Seliktar and illustrated by Gilad Seliktar, now available from...

From the Translator: Elizabeth Harris on Translating Marco di Marco

In this installment of "From the translator,"  Elizabeth Harris weighs in on dialogue, scene, exposition, and the fascinating process behind rendering Marco Di Marco's Moving Like Geckos for Words without Borders. You can read the piece in our June 2011 issue over here....

Literature is a Dangerous Game: Roberto Bolaño’s Between Parentheses

Roberto Bolaño was the kind of writer who belonged to a species that is hopefully not as endangered as appearances suggest: writers who read more than they write. Bolaño read a lot, and he loved that Borges boasted about the books he read instead of the books he wrote....

The City and the Writer: In Athens with Dimitris Athinakis

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....

LGBT Korea on Film: Anonymity and Representation

In recent years, gay male characters have been featured in South Korean television and cinema—and even in a commercial or two. Movies like The King and The Clown and A Frozen Flower and the television shows Coffee Prince and Life is Beautiful have proven popular with audiences,...

Edward Gauvin Wins Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Award

We're thrilled to report that our magnifique translator Edward Gauvin has won the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Award for his rendering of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud's Life on Paper: Stories. The collection was also short-listed for the Best Translated Book...

Moacyr Scliar, 1939–2011

On 27 February 2011, the Brazilian Academy of Letters lost one of its most internationally renowned and widely translated members, Moacyr Scliar. Whatever the vagaries of literary fashion to come, Scliar’s place in the annals of Brazilian history seems assured, as the first author...

The Bolaño Guide to WWB

If you're compiling a reading list from Roberto Bolaño's Between Parentheses, you can find many of his recommended authors right here at WWB. Looking for "the best woman writer in Mexico"? That would be Carmen Boullosa. Is César Aira "mainly just boring," or "one of...

Eduardo Halfon Awarded Guggenheim

We're delighted to report that Eduardo Halfon has been awarded a Guggenheim Latin American and Caribbean Fellowship. In "The Polish Boxer," from our July 2009 Memory and Lies issue, Halfon gives voice to his grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, whose revision of the past has enabled...

Teachers’ Pets, and Fools for Love

Marco Di Marco's "Moving Like Geckos" has a fraternal twin in last year's queer issue. Polish writer Eva Schilling's  "Fool"  also features a teacher-student pairing; in this case, though, the characters are female, and the classroom is not in an urban university,...

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine. An Interview with Raji Bathish

In her latest dispatch for our Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine series, Azareen Van der Vliet speaks to Raji Bathish, a Palestinian poet, novelist, screenplay writer and cultural activist born in Nazareth. Bathish’s work has been widely published across the Arab and...

Intuitive Translation and Experimental Writing: Ashbery and Rimbaud

When a translator and author are well-paired, we have what Joy Williams has called John Ashbery’s new translation of Arthur Rimbaud’s Illuminations, “a marriage divine.” Ashbery, now eighty-four, holds a laundry list of literary awards and honors—Pulitzer,...

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