Category: Dispatches

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

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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...

August, 2015

Dawn Does Not Come—Peace

Translated from Spanish by Andrea Rosenberg I’ve sent the newspaper my photos of the Hiroshima survivors I’ve interviewed for the sixtieth anniversary of the nuclear attack. In the newsroom, they’re not happy with the results: “I think you were too close when you...

June, 2015

Dispatch from Florence’s Festival degli Scrittori

The ninth annual Festival degli Scrittori and the Premio von Rezzori, a Florence-based literary festival that culminates in a ceremony conferring the Premio von Rezzori for best foreign literary work and best translation of a foreign work, was held from June 10 through  June 12, 2015....

April, 2015

Crafting a Cultural Idiom of Engagement: The US President’s Persian Poetry (Part 1)

The events culminating in the interim agreement between Iran and the members of the P5+1 group in Lausanne, Switzerland over Iran’s nuclear program are sure to attract historians wishing to understand how two countries with minimal diplomatic ties (severed more than three decades...

WWB at AWP

If you’re heading to the Associated Writing Programs conference in Minneapolis next week, then you already know about the wealth of translation panels, events, and general buzz on offer. ALTA  has compiled a most useful schedule here.  We're sponsoring two panels...

March, 2015

Notes on Credulity, part 2

Read the first part of this essay here. My father cherished two things: Mass and the opera. He was a cantor in the church and when he used to visit us in Berlin, where we lived for a number of years, he’d regularly visit the Komische Oper—always alone. Was he protecting what...

Notes on Credulity, part 1

The best one can hope for as a human being is to have a relationship with that emptiness where God would be if God was available, but God isn’t.      —Anne Carson No writer lacks belief in the metaphysical. When Joyce writes to Nora, “How I hate God and...

Spirited Away: Hideo Furukawa’s “Horses, Horses, in the Innocence of Light,” Part 2

Read the first part of this excerpt here. We took off in the middle of the night. Four of us stuffed into a small car with a license plate from Kashiwa, in Chiba. A rental car. For the people from Shinchō publishing this was just a continuation of the evening. Not for me. For me,...

Spirited Away: Hideo Furukawa’s “Horses, Horses, in the Innocence of Light,” Part 1

Translator's Note: Hideo Furukawa is one of the most powerful and energetic of contemporary Japanese writers. His writings, like his readings, come in torrents. They reflect his background in theater and stage. While Furukawa is from Fukushima Prefecture, from a town called...

January, 2015

Ode to the Mango: My Dinners with Neruda

The one time I visited Santiago de Chile—it was July 1991, winter in the southern hemisphere, and the days were sunny, cold and crisp—I made the pilgrimage to Pablo Neruda’s house on the coast, in a place called Isla Negra. My reason for this trip to the Cono Sur—I...

A New Name for Newborns

This poem was written for the January 11, 2015, unity march in Paris in response to the Charlie Hebdo murders. It is translated into English by Dan Bellm. When I was born my mother gave me a name I didn’t choose out of all the alphabets  and letters I’ve carried it...

December, 2014

The New Normal: On Cuba and the Power of Translation

During the historic speech on December 17, 2014, when he announced the normalization of relations with Cuba, Barack Obama turned to address the Cuban people directly. He began with a citation from José Martí: "Liberty is the right of every man to be honest." Cultural...

November, 2014

Stories from the Country of the Dead

Last year, I was invited to write a story for a Latin American crime fiction anthology.  The idea was to use elements borrowed from murder mysteries and noir to reflect on the reality in our countries.  I liked the sound of the project, accepted the invitation, and then spent the...

October, 2014

Celebrating WWB and Carol Brown Janeway: Our 2014 Gala and First Annual Globe Trot

Tuesday night WWB staff, board, contributors, supporters, and readers gathered at Tribeca 360, where the panoramic view mirrored the sweep of our content, to celebrate our eleventh anniversary and present the second James H. Ottaway Jr. Award for the Promotion of...

June, 2014

Naming the Arab: Kamel Daoud’s \“Meursault, contre-enquête\”

The Algerian novelist and journalist Kamel Daoud publishes a pithy, fast-paced critique of Algerian society five times a week in the French-language daily Quotidien d’Oran, and on Facebook. Readers value his insight, his poetry, his well-directed rage.  In 2010 a French...

May, 2014

From the Abu Dhabi Book Fair

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (April 30–May 5) has just wrapped up its seventh year. As in the past, the fair was an enormous undertaking, with school field trips, dozens of author events and book signings, cooking demonstrations, book sales, professional seminars,...

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