Articles tagged "Writing"


Lament

He was fifty-four years old with a sound mind and a body that was rotting away. He died. He wasn’t young enough to have required a specific cause of death, or young enough to cause great sadness.…...

The Poet Who Asked for Forgiveness

At its essence, the purpose of North Korean literature is to praise the Korean Workers’ Party. While South Korean poetry deals with topics such as love or life, North Korean poetry refers only to…...

An Interview with Chan Koon-chung

Chan Koon-chung’s gray, shoulder-length hair is a throwback to the seventies, when Chan founded an influential cultural and alternative lifestyle magazine, City Magazine. Chan has since made a point…...

from “The Grub Hunter”

Translator’s Note:  The Grub Hunter is the story of a former secret service agent who, on being forced to retire after an accident costs him his right leg, becomes obsessed with the idea of…...

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,…...

Borges’s Secretary

I don’t know when she discovered that I could no longer see.  Not even I had completely discerned this; I would look at books and judged that I could still see the pages, read them, understand…...

Writing from Hungary: An Introduction

I saw a movie the other day, Cold Souls by Sophie Barthes, in which I caught the following dialogue:  “I’m working on a play. 'Uncle Vanya.'”  “I . . . I know…...

from “Why Translation Matters”

Why translation matters: the subject is so huge, so complex, and so dear to my heart that I have decided to begin my approach to it by answering the implicit question with another question, using the technique…...

from Baudelaire, the Metaphysical Ostrich

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The Languages of Alta Ifland

Alta Ifland’s writing raises important questions about the legitimacy and practice of autobiography that are too often taken for granted by American writers. In an alert literary age, the fifty-three…...

Literature as Social Experiment

A literary magazine in Romania published my nonfiction story about a group of American men who traveled to Ukraine in the hopes of finding a bride, or sex, or a combination of both. The tour was organized…...

From The Stories of Ibis

Called Ai no Monogatari (AI's Story) in Japanese, Hiroshi Yamamoto's The Stories of Ibis is a grand tour of science fiction and an excellent example of how science fiction as a genre is collectively…...

film icon Three Times Germany

Three Times Germany is an audio production of twenty-three monologues performed by eight actors. The monologues are based on interviews of East Germans, West Germans, and Germans living in New York. Retracing…...

The Author’s Voice and the Translator’s

Recently, I traveled to Paris to assist my publisher there with the promotion of one of my novels that had been translated into French. Any excuse to visit Paris is a good excuse. It's easy to forget…...

Rwanda: The Flame of Hope

1 The sunny side of life Recently one evening, as trails of ochre tinged with mauve kept stretching late into the sky of Mantua, I found myself face to face with Predrag Matvejević, the writer from…...

The Task of the Novelist at the University

Like last year, I am going to teach two courses in the Netherlands this fall. One course is on two books by Coetzee, at the University of Leiden, and one is on genetic modification from a literary point…...

“El último Lobo”

There he was, laughing, but in trying to laugh in a more abandoned manner he had become preoccupied with the question of whether there was any difference at all between the burden of futility on the one…...

Seismic Activity

I am one of those writers who like to incorporate the short story in the novel. I did so in some novels, playing with forms. But to place the novel in the short story is another story, virtually impossible.…...

Embedded in Dutch Suburbia

Suburbia is a mythical place. At least, it is if you believe quite a few novels, ranging from Updike’s Couples to Yates’ Revolutionary Road. And one could argue that Madame Bovary takes place…...

Brooklyn Trilogy

For Paul & Enrique 1 In the early eighties, during his first trip to New York, the writer Enrique Vila-Matas waited at a bus stop on Fifth Avenue, near the Metropolitan Museum. He thought he would…...

The Fantasy and the Far-Out

Why do people want to listen to an author when they have their books? From time to time, I’m plagued by this question. The last week of May, the Third International Forum on the Novel took place…...

The “Monthly Ulloo”

If you see a small, rotund man, wearing a check suit, whose watch chain has lost all its luster, whose coat collar has a large rose in its hole, whose two innocent, nervous eyes peep from his square rimless…...

The World According to shinji ishii

In her second dispatch this month, Bonnie Elliott tells us more about shinji ishii and the difficulties of resolving the real with the literary. You can find an excerpt from shinji ishii’s Once Upon…...

from “Once Upon a Swing”

Mr. Twisted When I returned home as usual from yet another ridiculously mind-numbing day at school, I noticed a linen sack on my desk. In the blink of an eye my grandmother, who looked as though she'd…...

Reading Daniel Kehlmann

Daniel Kehlmann (born in 1975) is the star of German literature. His historical novel Die Vermessung der Welt (published in the US by Vintage as Measuring the World) sold more than 1.4 million copies in…...

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