Category: Dispatches

April, 2016

2016 Man Booker International Q&A: Fiston Mwanza Mujila

Fiston Mwanza Mujila and his translator Roland Glasser were longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for Tram 83. Fiston was born in 1981 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, where he went to a Catholic school before studying literature and human...

2016 Man Booker International Q&A: Carlos Rojas

Carlos Rojas is the translator of Yan Lianke's The Four Books (2015), which is shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. His other translations include Yan Lianke's Lenin's Kisses (2012), and Yu Hua's Brothers: A Novel (2009),...

2016 Man Booker International Q&A: Yan Lianke

Yan Lianke was born in 1958 in Henan Province, China. He is the author of many novels and short story collections and has won China's two top literary awards, the Lu Xun in 2000 for Nian, yue, ri (The Year, the Month, the Day) and the Lao She in 2004...

Tweeting our Greatest Hits for #NPM16

In honor of National Poetry Month, Words Without Borders will be tweeting some of the best worldwide poetry in translation from our archives, selected by our editorial director Susan Harris. We begin with Burundian poet Ketty Nivyabandi's "Izina." In the coming weeks, look...

March, 2016

An Interview with Najat El Hachmi

Words Without Borders speaks with Moroccan-Catalan writer Najat El Hachmi about language, identity, and the possibilities and limits of translation. Writer Najat El Hachmi (left) and her novel La filla estrangera (right) Najat El Hachmi was born in Morocco...

From the Translator: On “A Red Lighter in the Heart of M.”

Collusion in French Watermelon Sugar. Collaboration through a Common Denominator. Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse, a Benedictine abbey rebuilt in the late eight century, and the location of the translation residency where Chris Clarke met Mohammed El Khadiri, whose story A Red...

The City and the Writer: In Santa Fe with Valerie Martínez

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: On “They Told You”

Olivia Baes's translation of Khadija Arouhal's They Told You appears in the March 2016 Words without Borders issue on Moroccan literature. When Emma Ramadan asked me to translate Khadija Arouhal’s poem “They Told You,” I was honored and...

An Interview with Fouad Laroui

Words Without Borders caught up with Fouad Laroui, whose Prix Goncourt-winning story was published in WWB's Moroccan literature issue. We spoke about creativity, dislocation, the absurd, and his forthcoming collection, The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s...

The City and the Writer: In Jaffa with Selma Dabbagh

Special Series: Literary Maps   City of Origin: Jaffa City of Birth: Dundee, Scotland City/Cities you grew up in: Jeddah, Kuwait, High Wycombe, Dundee, Reading, Market Harborough, New Milton Other cities you’ve lived in: Bahrain, Cairo, various cities in the...

WWB Shortlisted for London Book Fair Award

We are thrilled to be shortlisted for The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards 2016 for The Literary Translation Initiative Award alongside our friends Archipelago Books and Paper Republic. The award celebrates organizations that have succeeded in raising the profile of...

February, 2016

Q&A with Festival Neue Literatur’s Ross Benjamin

Words without Borders spoke with Festival Neue Literatur curator Ross Benjamin about FNL’s seventh annual celebration of German-language literature from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, which will take place from February 25–28 in New York City.  Words without...

January, 2016

Illustration in the Digital Age: The 50th Anniversary of L’ecole des Loisirs

Before the proliferation of digital images began to pixelate our lives, filmmaker Wim Wenders voiced mistrust in the explosion of the electronic image at the beginning of his 1989 Notebook on Cities and Clothes. Speaking in his soft German accent over the layered video footage of a...

December, 2015

A Bloody Past: On Censorship in Indonesia

On October 23, I received news from the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival: due to warnings from local police, the festival had to cancel sessions related to 1965 anti-communist massacres and their aftermath. I was shocked and outraged, especially after attending successful discussions...

History, War, and Writing: Notes from the Conrad Festival in Krakow

Photo: Thomasz Wiech / the Conrad Festival The first day of my one-week trip to Krakow, during which I planned to learn more about Polish literature by attending the seventh annual Conrad Festival, spending time at the Krakow Book Fair, touring the city, and meeting with authors, agents,...

November, 2015

Where the Sidewalk Bends: One Year Later

Image of Where the Sidewalk Bends: One Year Later
At the tail end of my nine months in Rio de Janeiro last year, after first living in centrally located Laranjeiras followed by a brief stint beachside in Copacabana, I decided I need a change of scenery if I was going to make any real progress on my project: researching and translating...

The New Literature From Europe Festival As It Happened: From Page to Stage

American writer Paul Theroux once said that “scriptwriting is drudgery, a massive insult to the brain of a person who cares about the nuances of language; it is no more literary than elaborating a recipe for clam chowder.” Theroux has written nine screenplays and explained that...

October, 2015

International Graphic Novels at New York Comic Con: Brazil and France

On October 8-11, 2015, the Javits Center hosted the tenth edition of the New York Comic Con, gathering a crowd of 170,000 fans, many in costume, eager to meet creators and characters. Among so many masks, tights, and capes, there was also space for international comics, discussed on two...

Storm in the Andes: A Country’s Journey through Hell

Translated by Anna Heath It’s Saturday afternoon and I receive a call from a friend of mine. He’s a Peruvian who, despite living in London for more than a decade, still expects to meet up with me at only an hour’s notice. This man has been known to show up unannounced at...

WWB Weekend: Magdy El Shafee’s “Metro”

This Banned Books Week, we’re looking back on the saga of Magdy El Shafee’s Metro, which Words without Borders excerpted in our February 2008 Graphic Novel issue. At that time, Malamih publishing house had slated Metro’s release later that year. Portraying Cairo as a...

As It Happened: Translation at the Brooklyn Book Festival

This year's Brooklyn Book Festival feature two presentations by the PEN Translation Committee of the PEN American Center in New York. If you couldn't make it, fear not: Words without Borders was and below you'll find a round-up of these two exciting events. As It...

September, 2015

As It Happened: PEN America Translation Committee at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Image of As It Happened: PEN America Translation Committee at the Brooklyn Book Festival
A Round-Up from the 2015 Brooklyn Book Festival The crowd leaked out onto the streets from the offices of A Public Space last Friday, September 18, for “Expressive Expedients,” a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event that aimed  to “explore the linguistic, visual,...

The City and the Writer: A Literary Map of Palestinian Writers

In the early 1990s, while living in Paris, I discovered that Salma Khadra Jayyusi, one of the Arab world's most distinguished literary personalities—widely known for her poetry, literary criticism, and scholarship, and whose work I hold in great esteem—had a visiting...

Out of English and Back Again: On Unintentional Retranslation

In early April 2015 I discovered four poems by Juana Adcock on the Transtierros blog site. Adcock is from Monterrey, Mexico, and is the daughter of a Mexican mother and an English father. Her first book, Manca, was issued last year by the prestigious Mexican publisher, Tierra Adentro....

The City and the Writer: Celebrating Five Years

In 2009, Rohan Kamicheril, then an editor at Words without Borders, asked me to be a contributing writer to the magazine—writing reviews, translating. I was very keen on working with WWB but wanted to participate in a different way. Within a year, I proposed the idea of...

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