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July, 2011

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,...

\“Mr. Pamuk, did all this really happen to you?\”

The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist, translated from the Turkish by Nazim Dikba, is based on a series of lectures delivered at Harvard by Orhan Pamuk as part of the prestigious Charles Eliot Norton lecture series. Pamuk seems to have had a good time writing this book: In 2009,...

May, 2011

Through the Looking Glass, and What the Author Saw after Being Translated

Until I was published, I viewed my stories as my own, personal things, extensions of my mind that could be compared to an article of clothing, changed according to the day and season; or, perhaps, some easily alterable part of my anatomy, like my nails, or hair, things we do, let grow,...

Beyond the Physical World: An Interview with David Albahari

In honor of the seventh annual PEN World Voices Festival and the release of Leeches (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), Words Without Borders sat down with Serbian writer and translator David Albahari for a chat. Speaking with WWB contributor E.C. Belli, Albahari touched on everything...

\“Help Us Be Good Again\”: Literacy in Afghanistan

The day Osama Bin Laden was killed, I was extolling the benefits of education in western Afghanistan. It was the first week of school for the Dari and Pashto adult literacy program that I managed and, like any good principal, I was making the rounds.  I walked into a classroom...

A tale from the Ebony Coast

Fama is a handsome prince of the Malinké people, but he spends his days in the capital city, far from his people, wandering from one funeral to the next as an uninvited, sometimes unwanted orator. Salimata, his beautiful wife, supports her angry and frustrated husband by selling...

From the Publisher: Publishing in Malta

Everyone has an opinion about publishing. Who we should publish. What we should publish. How we should publish it. One practically pines for the good ol’ days of the publishers’ gentlemen’s club, where the grand elders decided the fate of authors, and forged the taste...

film icon Writing in a Majority/Minority Cultural Context: Local Identity vs. a Broader Nation

PEN created this video of the panel our editorial director, Susan Harris, moderated (and we co-sponsored) as part of the PEN World Voices Festival, with Nadine Bismuth, Nicolas Dickner, Dominique Fortier, Mykola Riabchuk, and Teresa Solana.

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