Category: Dispatches

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...

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...

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

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,...

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,...

May, 2011

“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...

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...

Best Translated Book Awards Go to Aleš Šteger/Brian Henry, Tove Jansson/Thomas Teal

The winning titles and translators for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards were announced Friday evening at the Bowery Poetry Club as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. BTBA co-founder Chad Post kicked off the event, then turned over the microphone to Lorin Stein, who...

Ernesto Sábato, 1911–2011

Argentine writer and human rights hero Ernesto Sábato has died at the age of ninety-nine. Sábato was the author of The Tunnel (1948), On Heroes and Tombs (1961), and The Angel of Darkness (1974), and winner of the most prestigious Hispanic literary awards, when in 1983 he...

April, 2011

Of Books and Roses: Sant Jordi’s Day in Catalunya

The bustling, cosmopolitan port city of Barcelona, favored by travelers the world over for its Mediterranean climate, innovative architecture, and avant-garde cuisine, also happens to be the publishing capital for the Spanish-speaking world of some 500 million people. It is home to the...

New MLA Guidelines on Evaluating Translations

The Modern Language Association has posted new guidelines for evaluating translations as scholarship for tenure review.  Building on previous publications by ALTA and PEN, and drawing on the report of the academic working group at the Salzburg Global Seminar 461, the document offers...

From Saigon to Quebec: Kim Thuy

Kim Thuy was born into privilege in Saigon in 1968 and fled ten years later with her family. After a harrowing crossing in the hold of a fishing boat and a miserable stay in a Malaysian refugee camp, the family settled in Quebec. Thuy's Ru, from our May 2010 issue, recounts these...

March, 2011

Baseball Springs Eternal

It was afternoon on Friday, March 11, 2011.  I was in the office at my home in Sendai, working on a manuscript I had just started.  Spring is the season of new beginnings.  In Japan, graduation ceremonies in March are followed by matriculation ceremonies in April. ...

The Writer and the Screenwriter: An Interview with Domenico Starnone

Domenico Starnone has written for film both directly and indirectly: he has over a dozen screenplays to his credit, and has had one of his novels, Denti, turned into a film. This interview was conducted on e-mail. The questions were translated into Italian by Marco Candida, and...

The Romance of Diva

Image of The Romance of Diva
The first time I saw Diva, I was about the same age as Jules, the French mailman, opera enthusiast, and thief who is its hero. Most likely I saw it at the intimate and old-fashioned Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, one of the places I miss most about Cambridge. Diva is a highly...

The Battle of Algiers

Saadi Yacef headed the Algerian rebel movement, the Front de Libération Nationale, in Algiers until his capture in summer 1957. Unlike his fellow combatants in the movement, murdered in captivity by the French military or blown up by French explosives in their Casbah hideouts or...

“Hitchcock and Agha Baji”: The MacGuffin in Iran

Behnam Dayani's

À Tout de Suite, written and directed by Benoît Jacquot

Image of À Tout de Suite, written and directed by Benoît Jacquot
In honor of the new Movies Issue, we’re writing about our favorite foreign films; my choice: À Tout de Suite (2005), written and directed by Benoît Jacquot. Conceptually, À Tout de Suite (“Right Now”), based on a memoir by Elisabeth Fanger, sounds...

February, 2011

From the Translator: Agnes Scott Langeland on Kjell Askildsen’s “Dogs of Thessaloniki”

My first encounter with Kjell Askildsen’s marvelous short stories was in 1995, in an anthology called Et stort øde landskap (A Wide Empty Landscape), published by Oktober in 1991.  Their effect on me was searing. The simple, low-key language had unexpected force, making...

Questions for Peter Bush and Teresa Solana

Peter Bush has been translating the fiction of Teresa Solana since 2005, producing sparkling English versions of many of her stories and two of her comic noirs, A Shortcut to Paradise and A Not So Perfect Crime.  Here the couple, both former directors of national translation...

A Interview with Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics Books

Mass media may often associate comics with blockbuster-movie superheroes and kids’ cartoons, but as evidenced by the diverse works from comics and graphic novel publisher Fantagraphics Books, this visual medium wields the power to make hard-hitting political and social commentary...

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