The PEN World Voices Festival launches its sixth annual celebration of global literature at the end of this month, and we're kicking off the party with a sampler of new writing from a selection of the participants.  From an orphan’s rage to a widower’s serenity, in bleak housing projects and luminous seaside resorts, writers explore topics local and universal. See how Alina Bronsky, Assaf Gavron, Valter Hugo Mãe, Quim Monzó, Sofi Oksanen, Atiq Rahimi, Andrzej Stasiuk, and Jean-Philippe Toussaint create their own worlds in strikingly varied voices. And don’t miss WWB’s panel discussion featuring Quim Monzó, Peter Schneider, and Jean-Philippe Toussaint discussing the essay on Saturday, May 1, from 5:30 to 6:30, at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue.

Words without Borders gratefully acknowledges for its grant in support of the publication of the April 2010 PEN World Voices issue.

Also in this Issue

Book Reviews

Jorge Volpi’s “Season of Ash”

Season of Ash (originally published as No será la Tierra in 2006) may be only Jorge Volpi’s second book to be translated into English but, to my mind, he is as thrilling a discovery as...

Horacio Castellanos Moya’s “She-Devil in the Mirror”

She-Devil takes place entirely in the mind of a single protagonist who is on the precipice of madness.

Jo Nesbø’s “The Devil’s Star

Twenty-three-year-old Camilla Loen has been found dead in her Oslo apartment, her finger severed, a red diamond star under her eyelid.

Martin Page’s “The Discreet Pleasures of Rejection”

Virgil is a navel-gazing thirty-one-year-old who lives in Paris, works as an advertising copywriter, and always dresses in corduroys

Mr. Beneset

Mr. Beneset’s son arrives at the geriatric home and greets the girl at reception


Let’s not talk about Prague.

Imaginary Return

It was night. The ninth night. The most silent, the most oppressive.

from “Purge”

She was just going to make a tour of a country that she’d never seen before

from “Almost Dead”

I climbed aboard the Little No. 5 as I did every morning on my way to work.

from “Dukla”

One Saturday the summer vacationers appeared.