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October, 2010

From the Translator: Kim M. Hastings on Translating \“Borges’s Secretary\”

In this dispatch, Portuguese translator Kim M. Hastings weighs in on her translation of Lúcia Bettencourt's story "Borges's Secretary" from the October 2010 issue of the magazine. You can read the original story here. Not long after I translated “Borges’s...

Max Frisch as a nature writer

In 1986, when the Swiss novelist and playwright Max Frisch won the Neustadt Prize, the New York Times described him as a “perennial Nobel Prize candidate.” Frisch died five years later, still without the Nobel, and these days he seems largely forgotten. I first read Max...

From the Translator: Andrea Rosenberg on Translating Silvina Ocampo’s \“The Golden Hare\”

In an essay for WWB, Andrea Rosenberg speaks about her translation of Silvina Ocampo's lyrical fable, "The Golden Hare," from this month's issue of the magazine. You can read the story in its entirety over here. I knew I had to translate “The Golden Hare,” Silvina...

The City and the Writer: In Bogotá with Gonzalo Márquez Cristo

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 Bogotá as you feel/see it?...

In The Grandmothers’ Archipelago: An Interview with Sjón

Sjón was born in Reykjavik in 1962. Poet, novelist and playwright, he has received numerous literary awards, including the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize for The Blue Fox. He was also nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Brit Award for the music, which he...

Urdu Writing in India and Pakistan

In his post, Waqas Khwaja takes us through the development and current landscape of Urdu writing in India and Pakistan. Make sure to read through our issues of Pakistani writing and Urdu Fiction from India in the archives. —Editors If, as Oscar Wilde (or was it Bernard Shaw?)...

An Interview with Matthias Politycki, Modern German Romantic

Continuing her coverage of the European Literature Days festival. Lucy Popescu speaks to acclaimed German poet and novelist Matthias Politycki.   Matthias Politycki, born in 1955, has published over twenty novels and poetry collections. He is ranked among the most successful...

European Literature Days: An Excerpt from Sjón’s \“The Blue Fox\”

As a supplement to our coverage of the European Literature Days Festival from Lucy Popescu (you can find her blog post here), we're delighted to feature this short excerpt from Icelandic novelist Sjón's book The Blue Fox, provided courtesy of Telegram Books. On Saturday...

A look at Mario Vargas Llosa

We are experimenting here with a new way of collecting news called Storify. While it certainly wouldn't replace long form writing, it seems to be a nice webby way of creating broad brush strokes around a story. Let us know what you think. 

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature: It’s Vargas Llosa

It's Mario Vargas Llosa. The announcement isn't on the Nobel site site yet, but the Swedish Academy commended the author "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat." He's the first South American...

A Dispatch from European Literature Days

I’ve just returned from the tiny town of Spitz on the River Danube in Austria’s picturesque wine-growing region of Wachau. I was attending the European Literature Days festival, organized to encourage cross-cultural dialogue about literature with a particularly European...

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature:  Week Three Countdown

Forty-eight hours to go to the announcement, and the race is up for grabs. Six hours ago, Ladbrokes had Ngugi wa Thiong’o at 3:1, followed by Cormac McCarthy (6:1), Haruki Murakami (7:1), Tomas Transtromer (9:1), Adonis (11:1), Gerald Murnane (11:1), and Ko Un (12:1). At day's...

Seventy-Two Hours in Istanbul and Delphi

Having finished my semester teaching abroad in Cyprus (detailed in part here), I took a brief sojourn to the two countries that have been so hotly contesting the sovereignty of the small Mediterranean island: Turkey and Greece. Accompanied by my childhood friend Benjamin Goldman and...

September, 2010

From WWB to Book: Success Stories

To our delight, a number of WWB authors have sold English-language rights to their work as a result of publication in WWB. We'll be highlighting some of them in this series. The prolific Moroccan writer Abdelilah Hamdouchi had not appeared in English before WWB published a chapter...

Chekhov’s mongoose

You don’t always realize the art that goes into a good memoir until you read one that isn’t so good. I came to Anton Chekhov: A Brother’s Memoir with high hopes, but had to admit after the first fifty pages or so that the book (through no fault of the translator) is a...

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature:  Week Two

Resuming last week's conversation, the speculation continues. Britain's suspiciously accurate Ladbrokes is yet to weigh in, but  Unibet has posted odds for candidates both familiar (Adonis) and ludicrous (Thomas Bodström), with Paraguay's thirty-year-old...

The City and the Writer: In Antwerp with Ramsey Nasr

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....

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine: Politics and Art in Sheikh Jarrah

I. On Friday afternoons the streets of Jerusalem begin to empty out. Friday is a holy day of rest for both the Muslims and the Jews of Jerusalem, and as the Jewish Sabbath is about to begin, the Muslims’ afternoon prayers have just concluded. But for the hundreds of Israelis and...

New Blog Series: Nathalie Handal’s “The City and the Writer”

I have a passion for cities, their irresistible unrest, the way they make you feel unsettled yet welcomed. I also have a passion for books. And, as we all know, the two go hand-in-hand. It's hard not to think of Prague when one mentions Milan Kundera. Just as it's difficult when...

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature: Our Office Pool

Between the World Cup and the World Series comes high season for world literature: time to place your bets on this year's candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can read two of the usual suspects, Adonis and Ko Un, right here, as well as laureates Herta Müller, J. M....

Playing Wii with a Gun to His Head: An Interview with Sayed Kashua

Within two minutes of meeting the Israeli Arab writer Sayed Kashua, I realize that the questions I have prepared—about identity, and intifadas—are far too serious. In his first two novels (Dancing Arabs, Grove Press, 2004; and Let It Be Morning, Grove Press, 2006), Kashua...

Travel Journals for Sleepwalkers: The Stories of Roberto Bolaño

Ever since Last Evenings on Earth was released in paperback, I have developed the habit, which has become a mission, of reading each Bolaño book as it appears in English translation. There have been nine since then, and two were pretty large. Now that they’ve been consumed,...

MFA in Translation: Queens College

According to the New York Times, New York’s borough of Queens is one of the most linguistically diverse urban areas in the country—its inhabitants listed 138 different languages on their census forms this year—making it a perfect place to study translation.  And...

Lydia Davis blogging on Translating Madame Bovary at The Paris Review

We're very excited about the new translation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary by Lydia Davis, whom, you may recall, also translated Proust's Swann's Way. Davis is blogging over at the (newly redesigned) Paris Review website, beginning with "Why a New Madame Bovary?" Here's...

The Scorpion by Albert Memmi

A scorpion, it is said, when surrounded by a ring of embers and unable to escape, will sting itself to death out of rage and frustration. Or will it? Perhaps this is an old wives’ tale. Perhaps the scorpion stings itself, but accidentally. Perhaps it stings itself and appears to...

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