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The City and the Writer: Celebrating Five Years

By Nathalie Handal

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 writing the literary travel column “The City and the Writer,” a vibrant and wide-ranging forum for the exploration of cities through the writing of local authors, launched here. The series began on September 24, 2010, with the Dutch writer Ramsey Nasr and has since featured well-known and emerging writers from around the globe.

This September we celebrate our fifth anniversary with the launch of a series of innovative literary maps that serve to journey through the spaces, either physical or imaginative, that writers traverse. These metaphorical maps will chart neighborhoods and diasporas, and take the form of travelogue and mindscape, texts and images.

CW’s literary architects will rethink and re-imagine the shapes maps can take. We will present these maps as construction sites, where readers can watch the maps being built with every feature. Our first will be a map of Palestinian writers to be published on our blog.

A structure, a city, a world built by writers: these maps are architectural metaphors, a space to wander and discover curves and corridors, rooms and ruins, windows and worlds, colors and translucencies. A space to return to because each time you will find something new—an empty cove, a quieter corner, a ghost, a familiar voice, a history untold, a coliseum. 

Published Sep 15, 2015   Copyright 2015 Nathalie Handal

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