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Words Without Borders is an inaugural Whiting Literary Magazine Prize winner!

October 2018

Celebrate 15 Years of WWB at the 2018 Gala and Globe Trot!

October 30, 2018 6:00 pm

Three Sixty° Tribeca – 10 Desbrosses Street, New York, NY 10013

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Tribeca Three Sixty°, NYC

Celebrating 15 Years of Words Without Borders

and honoring the winner of the 2018 Ottaway Award
for the promotion of International Literature

Honorary Chair André Aciman

Host Rakesh Satyal

Co-Chairs Cristóbal Pera & Samantha Schnee


Publishing Champions

AmazonCrossing, Globe Trot Underwriter
Penguin Random House
Maria B. Campbell Associates
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hachette Book Group

Host Committee

Cristóbal Pera, Co-Chair
Samantha Schnee, Co-Chair
André Aciman, Honorary Chair
Jim Ottaway, Vice Chair
Katherine Vaz Cerf and Christopher Cerf
Richard D’Albert and Catherine Greenman
Caroline Hafner
Alane Salierno Mason
Maaza Mengiste
Nadia Middlebrook
Jennifer Moross
Kalpana Raina
Sarah Salih von Maltzahn
Jonathan Schorr and Toan Huynh
Rebecca Servadio
Anthony and Margo Viscusi

Support as of June 20, 2018


For information about sponsorship contact Karen Phillips, [email protected].

Recently Past Events

A River of Images: An Evening of Punjabi Poetry with Ajmer Rode and Rafia Zakaria

September 12, 2018 7:00 pm

Astoria Bookshop | 31-29 31st St, Astoria, NY 11106


Join Words Without Borders for a celebration of Punjabi poetry with poet and playwright Ajmer Rode in discussion with journalist and literary critic Rafia Zakaria.

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 7:00pm–8:30pm

Location: Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st St, Astoria, NY 11106

Free with RSVP.  Please register here.

Wine reception to follow.





Ajmer Rode has published books and chapbooks of poetry, drama, prose, and translation in Punjabi and English. His works are included in several Punjabi and English anthologies and assigned in university courses of Punjab and Delhi, India. Most of his poetry is included in Leela (coauthored with N. Bharati), critically acclaimed as an outstanding work of twentieth-century Punjabi poetry. He also has written and directed several plays. Rose served on the National Council of the Writers Union of Canada and chaired its Racial Minority Writers Committee. His several awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award of the University of British Columbia (Canada), the Best Overseas Author award of the Punjab Languages department, and the prestigious Anᾱd Foundation (Delhi) poetry award.



Rafia Zakaria is the author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan (Beacon 2015) and Veil (Bloomsbury 2017). She is a columnist for Dawn in Pakistan and The Baffler (New York). She writes regularly for Guardian Books, CNN, The New RepublicThe New York Times Book Review, and many other publications.




Beyond Borges: Argentina’s Unsung Literary Greats

April 18, 2018 7:00 pm

Book Culture | 26-09 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

A 2018 PEN America World Voices Festival event, co-sponsored by Words Without Borders


We all know Argentinean sensations like Julio Cortázar, Samanta Schweblin, and César Aira. And in recent years, writers like Silvina Ocampo and Antonio di Benedetto have slowly begun to get their due. But many other twentieth-century greats—including Osvaldo Lamborghini, Norah Lange, and Sara Gallardo—continue to languish in the shadows. Join acclaimed Argentinean writer Sergio Chejfec, translators Esther Allen, Heather Cleary, and Charlotte Whittle, and esteemed editor Edwin Frank to discuss the legendary Argentinean writers you should be reading but probably aren’t. Moderated by Words Without Borders editor Eric M. B. Becker.

Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 7:00pm-8:30pm

Location: Book Culture, 26-09 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

Free with RSVP.  Please register here.

Wine reception generously sponsored by Huarpe Wines.



Edwin Frank is the author of Snake Train: Poems 1984-2013 and the founder and editor of the New York Review Books Classics series.



Heather Cleary translated Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets and The Dark, both nominated for national translation awards. She is a founding editor of the digital, bilingual Buenos Aires Review and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Her translation of Roque Larraquy’s Comemadre will be out this July.

Sergio Chejfec is an Argentine writer of narrative and essays who lives in New York City. His books in English include: Baroni, A Journey (Almost Island, New Delhi, 2017); The Incomplete Ones (forthcoming); The Dark (Open Letter, 2013); The Planets (Open Letter, 2012); and My Two Worlds, (Open Letter, 2011).​


Charlotte Whittle’s translations and writing have appeared in The Literary Review, Los Angeles Times, Guernica, Electric Literature, BOMB, Northwest Review of Books, and elsewhere. Her translation of Norah Lange’s People in the Room is forthcoming from And Other Stories.  She lives in New York and is an editor at Cardboard House Press. 


Esther Allen co-founded the PEN World Voices Festival with Salman Rushdie and Michael Roberts in 2005. Her translation of Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 novel Zama (NYRB Classics) received the 2017 National Translation Award for Prose from the American Literary Translators Association.


Eric M. B. Becker is editor of Words Without Borders and translator of several books from the Portuguese. He has received grants and fellowships from PEN America, the Fulbright Commission, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. He is also the co-editor the PEN America anthology Women Writing Brazil.



This event is co-sponsored by Words Without Borders as part of the 2018 PEN America World Voices Festival. 

Writing and Resistance Today: Abdellah Taïa and Chiké Frankie Edozien

April 09, 2018 6:30 pm

The Center for the Humanities | The Graduate Center, CUNY | 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016 | Rms. 9206 & 9207

Abdellah Taïa and Chiké Frankie Edozien in Conversation with Mythili Rao


Join writers Abdellah Taïa (Morocco/France) and Chiké Frankie Edozien (Nigeria/USA) as they read from recent work and discuss the role of storytelling and journalism in today’s cultural resistance movements. Mythili Rao, producer at The New Yorker Radio Hour, will moderate.

Date: Monday, April 9, 2018 at 6:30pm-8:00pm

Location: The Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, Rms. 9206 & 9207

Free and open to the public. 



Abdellah Taïa was born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1973. He is the first Moroccan and Arab writer/filmmaker to publicly declare his homosexuality. The French Editions du Seuil has published seven of his books, including Salvation Army, An Arab Melancholia (both translated into English by Semiotexte), Infidèles, (translated into English by Seven Stories Press), Un pays pour mourir and Celui quiest digne d'être aimé. His novel Le jour du Roi was awarded the prestigious French Prix de Flore in 2010. Salvation Army, his first movie as a director, is adapted from his eponymous novel. The film was selected to Venice Film Festival 2013, TIFF 2013, New Directors 2014 and won many prizes. Semiotexte just translated into English his second book, under the title Another Morocco.

Chiké Frankie Edozien is a Professor of Journalism at New York University, and the author of the journalistic memoir Lives of Great Men: Living and Loving as an African Gay Man. He was raised in Lagos, Nigeria. A journalist and contributor to the Commonwealth Writers nonfiction anthology, he has traveled the world reporting on HIV/AIDS, particularly among Africans.

Mythili Rao is a producer at The New Yorker Radio Hour. Her book reviews and reporting have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Words Without Borders, and others.


Co-sponsored by Words Without Borders, Belladonna* Series, Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, and the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

The Accusation: Dissident Fiction from North Korea

January 16, 2018 6:30 pm

Celeste Auditorium, The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street & 5th Avenue New York, NY 10016

The Accusation by Bandi is believed to be the first piece of dissident fiction ever smuggled out of North Korea. Writers, activists, and musicians mark its paperback publication with readings, performances, and conversation.


Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 6:30pm

Location: Celeste Auditorium, The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street & 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Program is free, but advance registration is recommended. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance. Please register here.


Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko and finalist for the 2017 National Book Award, and acclaimed translator and author Heinz Insu Fenkl reading from The Accusation.
– Musical performance with composer Theo Popov from his opera in progress inspired by the Bandi story “City of Specters” (libretto by Tony Asaro).
– Conversation with activist Do Hee-yun, who helped smuggle Bandi’s manuscript out of North Korea.

There is possibly no book in the world quite like The Accusation. Written in secret by an apparently disillusioned North Korean professional state writer and smuggled out of the country hidden inside a copy of The Collected Works of Kim Il-Sung, it depicts in stark, intimate detail the terrifying realities of life under the institutionalized misery and paranoia of the regime. Its seven stories witness a spectrum of inhumanity visited upon individuals up and down the social and political ladders: an average working man is denied official permission to make a final visit to his dying mother; a mother among Pyongyang's elite fears punishment over her two-year-old son's fear of a portrait of Kim Il-Sung; hundreds are stranded without adequate food or water when a train station is placed on indefinite lockdown so that the Great Leader can travel past without obstruction.

The Accusation has been published in 21 languages in 20 countries, and the English translation, by Deborah Smith, has been awarded the English PEN Translation Prize. The New York Times called it “searing fiction . . . a fierce indictment of life in the totalitarian North.” The activist Do Hee-yun, who arranged for the manuscript to get out of North Korea, will be making a rare American appearance to discuss his part in bringing the book to light.


Hosted by The New York Public Library with Words Without Borders, the Barbara J. Zitwer Agency, Guernica, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

Celebrate International Literature at the 2017 WWB Gala!

November 01, 2017 6:00 pm

Three Sixty° Tribeca – 10 Desbrosses Street, New York, NY 10013

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Tribeca Three Sixty° – 10 Desbrosses Street, New York, NY 10013


Jill Schoolman,
founder and publisher of Archipelago Books

with the 2017 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature

Presented by

Edwin Frank


Maaza Mengiste

Gala Chair

James H. Ottaway, Jr.

Honorary Chair

Ian Buruma


Pictured: Maaza Mengiste, Jill Schoolman, Ian Buruma

Gala Host Committee

Richard d’Albert & Catherine Greenman
Maria B. Campbell
Cheryl Henson & Ed Finn
Anthony Knerr
Maaza Mengiste
Kalpana Raina
Sarah Salih von Maltzahn
Samantha Schnee
Jonathan Schorr & Toan Huynh
Richard Sennett
Felicitas S. Thorne
Anthony & Margo Viscusi

Literary Table Hosts

Elliot Ackerman
Osama Alomar
Sinan Antoon
Jennifer Clement
Molly Crabapple
Álvaro Enrigue
Masha Gessen
Georgi Gospodinov
Uzodinma Iweala
Katie Kitamura
Hari Kunzru
Valeria Luiselli
Alia Malek
Idra Novey
Gregory Pardlo
​Silvana Paternostro
Rakesh Satyal

Globe Trot Hosts

Hala Alyan
Alex Gilvarry
Jaroslav Kalfar
Katrine Øgaard Jensen
Kanishk Tharoor
Jenny Zhang

As of October 28, 2017



A Multilingual Most Exquisite Corpse at Lit Crawl Brooklyn

October 07, 2017 8:00 pm

The Greene Grape Annex, 753 Fulton St, Brooklyn, New York 11217

A Lit Crawl Brooklyn Event, co-hosted with SLICE Literary


Date: Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 8:00pm

Location: The Greene Space, 753 Fulton St, Brooklyn, New York 11217

Free and open to the public. This event is part of Phase 3 of Lit Crawl Brooklyn. View the full schedule here.

Words Without Borders and SLICE Literary present a Multilingual Most Exquisite Corpse! Four international writers, along with their translators, stitch together a story in multiple languages. Here’s how the game works: One person writes the first page of a story. We send the final line of that page to the next writer, who continues the story, and so on.

Participants include Georgi Gospodinov, Claudia Salazar Jiménez, Lucrecia Zappi, Na Zhong, Angela Rodel, Eric M.B. Becker, Elizabeth Bryer, and audience volunteers! Hosted by SLICE Literary’s Randy Brown Winston and WWB’s Jessie Chaffee.

Crossing: Conversations Across Borders

September 14, 2017 7:00 pm

Brooklyn Art Library, 28 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

A 2017 Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event, co-hosted with Guernica Magazine


Writers from Colombia, Iran, and Korea will read from their work on the theme of “crossing” while surrounded by thousands of sketchbooks created around the world.

Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 7:00pm

Location: Brooklyn Art Library, 28 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30pm. Reception to follow. Please register here.


Salar Abdoh is the author of the novels The Poet Game, Opium, and Tehran at Twilight. His essays and short stories have appeared in various publications, including the New York Times, BOMB, Callaloo, Tablet, and Guernica. He is also the editor and translator of the anthology Tehran Noir. He is currently codirector of the creative writing MFA program at the City College of New York. [Photo credit: Akashic Books]

Giuseppe Caputo (Barranquilla, Colombia, 1982) is the author of the novels An Orphan World (Un mundo huérfano) and A Man Goes Away (Se va un hombre, unpublished) and the poetry collections Garden of Meat (Jardín de carne) and The Man Cage and Jesus’ Nativities (El hombre jaula y Los nacimientos de Jesús). He holds an MFA from New York University and the University of Iowa. He is a contributor to Arcadia magazine and El Tiempo newspaper and currently works as cultural program director of the Bogotá International Book Fair (FILBo). [Photo credit: Catalina Salazar]

Young-ha Kim is the author of the acclaimed I Have the Right to Destroy Myself and the award-winning Black Flower. He has earned a reputation as the most talented and prolific Korean writer of his generation, publishing seven novels and five collections of stories. His novel I Hear Your Voice was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. He lives in Busan, South Korea. [Photo credit: Young-ha Kim]


Krys Lee is the author of the short-story collection Drifting House and the novel How I Became a North Korean, and the translator of Young-ha Kim’s novel I Hear Your Voice. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, and a finalist for the BBC International Story Prize. Her fiction, journalism, and literary translations have appeared in Granta, the Kenyon Review, and the Guardian, among others. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Yonsei University, Underwood International College, in South Korea. [Photo credit: Matt Douma]

Moderator Jessie Chaffee is the blog editor at Words Without Borders and the author of the debut novel Florence in Ecstasy (Unnamed Press, 2017). She was awarded a Fulbright grant to Italy to complete the novel. Her writing has been published in Literary HubThe RumpusElectric LiteratureSlice, and Global City Review, among others. Find her at [Photo credit: Heather Waraksa]


Co-presented with Guernica Magazine as part of the 2017 Brooklyn Book Festival


A Woman’s Place: In Food, Power, and Writing

May 03, 2017 7:00 pm

Archestratus Books + Foods, 160 Huron Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Women writers, entrepreneurs, and artists are exploring the dramas of culinary history, tradition, and the future of food with new vigor and nuance. As part of the PEN World Voices Festival, Words Without Borders is delighted to present a panel that tackles the issue of women and food from multiple angles, bringing in the perspectives of writers, translators, and culinary and social entrepreneurs. Chitrita Banerji, Mariana Enríquez, Sonya Kharas, and Allison Markin Powell explore representation, power, documentation, migration, and more, in a discussion moderated by Rohan Kamicheril. This event celebrates the publication of the May issue of Words Without Borders, dedicated to international food writing.

Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 7:00pm–8:30pm

Location: Archestratus Books + Foods, 160 Huron Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Free and open to the public. Due to high demand for this event, we recommend that you arrive in advance.


Chitrita Banerji is a food historian and novelist. She is the author of several books on the food and culture of Bengal and India. She has written for Granta, Gourmet, Gastronomica, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe, and received awards at the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery. Her latest work is the novel Mirror City, set in newly liberated Bangladesh.

Mariana Enríquez (Buenos Aires, 1973) is the author of two novels, two short story collections, a volume of travel writing, a biography, and a novella. She is an editor at Página 12, an Argentinean newspaper. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, McSweeney’s, Electric Literature, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Her English language debut Things We Lost in the Fire is translated into twenty languages. [Photo credit: Nora Lezano]

Sonya Kharas is the Program Manager for the League of Kitchens, a unique cooking school in NYC where immigrants teach intimate cooking workshops in their homes, and participants encounter a new culture, cuisine, and neighborhood with every experience.



Allison Markin Powell is a translator of Japanese. Her translation of Hiromi Kawakami’s The Briefcase was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Her other translations include works by Osamu Dazai, Fuminori Nakamura, and Kanako Nishi. In addition to translating, she works as an editor and publishing consultant, and currently serves as co-chair of PEN America’s Translation Committee. She maintains the database Japanese Literature in English. [Photo credit: Jonathan Armstrong]

Rohan Kamicheril is a writer, editor, and cook. He is the founder and editor of Tiffin, a Web site dedicated to showcasing regional Indian food through interviews, recipes, and travel stories. His writing has appeared in Gastronomica, the Margins, Hemispheres, Asymptote, and elsewhere. He is the editor of The Wall in My Head, a Words Without Borders anthology of writing commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. [Photo credit: Elsa Vasseur]

Co-presented with PEN America as part of the PEN World Voices Festival, with support from the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Promotional support from The League of Kitchens.


An Evening of Catalan Poetry with Maria Cabrera

April 19, 2017 6:30 pm

El Born, 651 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Image: Jordi Guillumet & Mònica Roselló, Ten Visions. Reading between Streets, photograph, 2004.

Join us for an evening of Catalan poetry and the US debut of an exciting literary talent. Poet Maria Cabrera’s original and unconventional poems from La ciutat cansada (Tired City) earned her the prestigious Carles Riba Poetry Prize in 2016. At this special New York appearance, Cabrera and translator Mary Ann Newman will read from their collaborations on Cabrera’s English-language debut in the April issue of Words Without Borders, followed by a discussion moderated by writer and translator Adrian Nathan West. 

Presented by Words Without Borders, the Farragut Fund for Catalan Culture in the U.S., the Catalan Institute of America, and the Institut Ramon Llull.

Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:30pm–8:00pm

Location: El Born, 651 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222


Maria Cabrera Callís is a Catalan poet born in Girona in 1983. She teaches Catalan Linguistics in the University of Barcelona and works as proofreader for many publishing houses. As a poet, she has published three books: Jonàs (Jonah), which in 2004 received the Amadeu Oller prize for young unpublished authors; La matinada clara (The Light Dawn, 2010), and, in 2017, La ciutat cansada (The Tired City), for which she has just won the Carles Riba Prize, considered the most prestigious Catalan poetry award.

Mary Ann Newman translates from Catalan and Spanish. She has published short stories and a novel by Quim Monzó, nonfiction by Xavier Rubert de Ventós, and poetry by Josep Carner. Her most recent translation is Private Life, a 1932 Catalan classic by Josep Maria de Sagarra (Archipelago Books). She was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi in 1998. She is currently executive director of the Farragut Fund for Catalan Culture in the U.S., co-chair of the PEN Translation Committee, a member of the board of the Catalan Institute of America, a member of the North American Catalan Society, and a visiting scholar at the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies.

Adrian Nathan West is a writer and translator whose work has appeared in numerous publications including McSweeney’s, 3:AM, and the Review of Contemporary Fiction. His book-length translations include Josef Winkler’s When the Time Comes and Alma Venus by the Catalan poet Pere Gimferrer. He lives between Spain and the United States.


This event is part of the Sant Jordi in New York: Dragons & Books & Roses Festival organized by The Farragut Fund for Catalan Culture in the U.S. and the Catalan Institute of America with the support of DiploCat as part of their #BooksAndRoses campaign, and with the additional support of the Institut Ramon Llull.


The World on Stage: Readings from Micro-Plays in Translation

December 13, 2016 7:00 pm

Martin E. Segal Theatre, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Image: Dimitri Tavadze, 1954. Rustaveli Theater; Fletcher, Massinger – The Spanish Curate.

Join us for a staged reading of micro-plays from Chile, Spain, and Russia in their English-language debut. The event celebrates the December issue of Words Without Borders, dedicated to new theater in translation. 

Hosted by fiction writer and playwright Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

Presented by Words Without Borders and the Center for the Humanities’ Translation Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

- - - from Chile - - -
Number Six, by José Ignacio Valenzuela
translated by Sofía García Deliz and Edil Ramos Pagán
edited by Aurora Lauzardo

- - - from Spain - - -
No Direction, by Miguel Alcantud & Santiago Molero
translated by Sarah Maitland

- - - from Russia - - -
Grandmother’s Little Hut, by Andrei Platonov
translated by Jesse Irwin

The reading will be followed by a talk-back with director Debra Caplan, Words Without Borders guest editor Sarah Maitland, playwright José Ignacio Valenzuela, Cheryl Smith of the Translation Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research, and participating actors. Please register here.

Date: Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 7:00pm

Location: Martin E. Segal Theatre, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016


Lindsay Roberts*, Yelena Shmulenson*, Stanley Bahorek*, and Richard Prioleau*


Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is the author of the story collection Brief Encounters With the Enemy and the critically acclaimed memoir When Skateboards Will Be Free. His short stories and personal essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney’s, the New York Times, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and New American Stories, among other publications. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction and a fiction fellowship from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He teaches memoir in the MFA program at Hunter College and creative writing at New York University, where he received a 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award.

Debra Caplan is assistant professor of theatre in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Baruch College, City University of New York. Her research focuses on Yiddish theater and drama, theatrical travel, artistic networks, and immigrant theater and performance. She was the founding executive director of Harvard’s Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research and is currently a member of the Mellon School’s Advisory Board. She is the co-founder of an interdisciplinary research collective, The Digital Yiddish Theatre Project, which is currently developing several projects that apply digital humanities tools to the study and preservation of Yiddish theater. Debra is also a stage director, dramaturg, and translator for the theater. From 2012–14, she was the dramaturg for Target Margin Theater, working with director David Herskovits to develop two seasons of Yiddish theater material.

Sarah Maitland is a senior lecturer in translation studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she leads the MA in Translation. She is the author of various articles on cultural translation, translation philosophy, and hermeneutics, and her current research focuses on the politics of recognition and its bearing on questions of ethics and justice in multicultural society. Her forthcoming book, entitled What is Cultural Translation?, examines these and other areas and will be published by Bloomsbury Academic. Sarah is also a professional theatre translator and has written for the Theatre Royal Bath, the Unicorn and New Diorama theatres in London, and the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

José Ignacio Valenzuela is a prominent and prolific Chilean writer who has been featured in film, literature, television, and theater. His work includes almost twenty books published in Latin America, including the bestsellers Trilogía del malamor, Malaluna, Mi abuela la loca, La mujer infinita, and El filo de tu piel. He was selected by as one of the 10 best Latin American writers under 40. The script for his film La sangre iluminada, co-written with Mexican director Iván Ávila, won the support of the Sundance Institute in 2001. Miente, written by Valenzuela, was selected by Puerto Rico as its representative film for the 80th Academy Awards (2008). Amores, a TV series he created and wrote, was nominated for an EMMY Award (Suncoast chapter). His telenovelas La casa de al lado and Santa Diabla, both produced by Telemundo US, have been seen around the world.

Cheryl C. Smith is associate professor of English at Baruch College, where she directs the Great Works of World Literature program. She teaches courses in great works, the arts in NY, advanced nonfiction writing, lyrics and literature, and American literature. She co-edited the book Making Teaching and Learning Matter: Transformative Spaces in Higher Education and also co-edits the Journal of Basic Writing. She defines and promotes creativity as a force in developing literacy and offers techniques for college faculty to engage student creativity through exercises in literary translation, writing in digital environments, and collaborative writing.

Cosponsored by Words Without Borders and the Center for the Humanities’ Translation Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

This event is presented as part of Translation, an interdisciplinary research group that investigates how translation might be understood as a process of transformation that deepens engagement with places, people, cultures, and languages. The group is supported by the Mellon Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research. For more information or to join, email [email protected].

*Members of the Actors' Equity Association.

Celebrate WWB at our 2016 Gala on November 1st!

November 01, 2016 6:30 pm

Three Sixty° Tribeca

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Three Sixty° Tribeca – 10 Desbrosses Street, New York, NY


Barbara Epler,
president and publisher of New Directions,
with the 2016 Ottaway Award
for the Promotion of International Literature

Presented by

Hilton Als


Roxana Saberi

Honorary Chair

Edith Grossman


Pictured: Roxana Saberi (Photo: Nadia Dara Diskavets); Barbara Epler; Edith Grossman (Photo: Miguel Rajmil).

Gala Co-Chairs

Jenny Staff Johnson
Margo and Anthony Viscusi

Gala Committee

Richard d'Albert and Catherine Greenman
Jonathan Galassi
Leila and Daniel Javitch
Anthony Knerr
Alison MacKeen
Maaza Mengiste
James H. Ottaway, Jr.
Cristóbal Pera
Alane Salierno Mason
Samantha Schnee
Jonathan Schorr and Toan Huynh

Gala Hosts

Gini Alhadeff
Paul Auster
Susan Bernofsky
Carmen Boullosa
Siddhartha Deb
Yasmine El Rashidi
Rivka Galchen
Siri Hustvedt
John Keene
Patrice Nganang
Idra Novey
Joseph O’Neill
Michael Palmer
Liesl Schillinger
Monique Truong
Eliot Weinberger
Natasha Wimmer

Globe Trot Hosts

Nicole Dennis-Benn
Katie Kitamura
Carlos Labbé
Imbolo Mbue
Anne Posten
Kirstin Valdez Quade

As of October 20, 2016

Gregory Rabassa (1922–2016), A Celebration

October 21, 2016 6:00 pm

The Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY

Gregory Rabassa, 1960. Photo by Bob Rabassa.

Few figures have marked the English-language literature of our time as deeply as did Gregory Rabassa. Translator of Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch (1966), Clarice Lispector’s The Apple in the Dark (1967), Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1970), Mario Vargas Llosa’s Conversation in the Cathedral (1974), Luis Rafael Sánchez’s Macho Camacho’s Beat (1980), Luisa Valenzuela’s The Lizard's Tail (1983), José Lezama Lima’s Paradiso (2005), and more than fifty other works from Spanish and Portuguese—and himself the author of a number of books, including his prize-winning memoir If This Be Treason (2005)—Rabassa was a beloved professor and colleague at City University of New York, where he taught at the Graduate Center and Queens College for more than forty years.

Among the numerous honors Rabassa received were the National Book Award in Translation (1967), the Gregory Kolovakos Award for career achievement from PEN American Center (2001), the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts (2006), and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir (2006). “We Spanish-language writers, especially of my generation, owe him enormous gratitude for the way he helped us plant roots in the English-speaking world,” wrote Mario Vargas Llosa earlier this year.  

Speakers include Edith Grossman, Peter Constantine, Earl Fitz, Ezra Fitz, Esther Allen, Ilan Stavans, Mauricio Font, Elizabeth Lowe, Harry Morales, Daniel Shapiro, Nora Glickman, Declan Spring, Ammiel Alcalay, Stanley Barkan, Catarina Cordeiro, David Draper Clark, and Rabassa’s daughters Clara Rabassa and Kate Rabassa Wallen.

In addition, the 14 recipients of the 2016 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grants, who carry forward the tradition Rabassa did so much to consolidate, will be announced and honored.

A reception will follow. 

The Center for the Humanities
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue, Rooms 9204–9206
New York, NY 10016

This event is presented by the Center for the Humanities as part of Translation, an interdisciplinary research group that employs public humanities practices and explores narration as a guide for social change. The group is supported by the Mellon Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research. For more information or to join, email [email protected]

Co-sponsored by the Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages, the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies, the Translation Mellon Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research, CUNY Grad Center; the MFA in Creative Writing and Translation, the Department of Comparative Literature, and the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, Queens College, CUNY;  PEN America; Words Without Borders; Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas (published by Routledge in association with The City College of New York, CUNY); The Bridge Literary Translation Series; the Instituto Cervantes of New York; and Julianne and Earl E. Fitz.

CANCELLED: New Writing from Singapore

October 12, 2016 7:00 pm

The Center for Fiction

UPDATE — October 5, 2016: Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled due to circumstances outside of our control. Thank you for your interest. Please check back for information about future events!

In October, Words Without Borders is dedicating an issue to new writing from Singapore, and to celebrate its launch we’re pleased to welcome Singapore Literature Prize-winning Tamil-language poet and writer Latha (The Goddess in the Living Room) and translator and editor Dan Feng (Singapore Shifting Boundaries). Join us to enjoy readings of poetry and writing in both Tamil and English, followed by a discussion about the contemporary scene in one of literature’s most exciting regions. 

The Center for Fiction
17 E. 47th Street (between Fifth and Madison)
New York, NY 10017


Latha (K. Kanagalatha) is the author of two collections of poetry in Tamil: Theeveli (Firespace) (2003), and Paampuk Kaattil Oru Thaazhai (A Screwpin in Snakeforest) (2004). Her 2007 short story collection Nan Kolai Seyium Penkkal (The Women I Murder) won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2008. It was published as The Goddess in the Living Room by Epigram Books in 2014. Her poems and short stories have been published in Words, Home and Nation, a multilingual anthology published by The Centre for the Arts, National University of Singapore (1995); Rhythms: A Singaporean Millennial Anthology of Poetry (2000); Fifty on 50 and Tumasik (2009); and various Tamil literary journals in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and France. Her works have been translated into English, French and German. Latha is currently the Sunday editor of Tamil Murasu, Singapore’s Tamil daily newspaper.

Dan Feng spent a decade as director of globally renowned Southeast Asian books specialist Select Books and is active in the regional language, translation and publishing sectors. He chairs the annual Singapore International Translation Symposium and has been involved in the translation programs at NTU, NUS and SIM University as course coordinator, lecturer, adjunct faculty and academic advisory board member. He sits on several government committees, including the National Translation Committee, the NAC Arts Advisory Panel and the MCI Television and Radio Advisory Committee Panel of Experts. He has presented widely on issues relating to language and culture, including major conferences in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Penang. Books that he has edited or co-edited include Singapore Shifting Boundaries (2011), Indonesia Rising: Islam, Democracy and the Rise of Indonesia as a Major Power (2009) and The Chinese in Indonesia (2008). He recently oversaw the production of the largest Singapore Chinese-English bilingual dictionary and a history of Malay poetry in Singapore.

This event is presented in partnership with The Center for Fiction and co-sponsored by the Singapore Literature Festival and the National Arts Council of Singapore.


International Translation Day 2016

September 30, 2016 9:00 am

The British Library, London NW1 2DB

Presented by Free Word, English PEN, and the British Library

International Translation Day is the annual event for the translation community. It is an opportunity for translators, students, publishers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and reviewers to gather and network, debate significant issues and developments within the sector, and to discuss challenges and celebrate success.

This year’s vibrant day-long program includes seminars on women writers in translation, multilingualism, the state of translation in higher education, alternative routes to publication, and translating for the stage. Plus a detailed look at the entire chain from author to reader: what works and what doesn’t when it comes to publishing translated literature? View the full schedule of events.

Last year tickets sold out quickly, so don’t miss out! Purchase tickets here.

British Sign Language (BSL) is available on request throughout the day (except lunchtime drop-in sessions). If you require BSL, please tick the required box when we contact you about seminar choices.

International Translation Day is a program of the Free Word Centre in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT)Emerging Translators Network (ETN)Literature Across Frontiers (LAF)Translators Association (TA)Wales Literature Exchange, Words Without Borders, and Writers’ Centre Norwich.

With support from The Booker Prize FoundationALCS, European CommissionJan Michalski Foundation, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch).

There Is No Map: New Italian Voices

September 20, 2016 7:00 pm

One Hudson Square, 75 Varick Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013

An evening of contemporary writing from Italy

Image: Darrin Zammit Lupi, from “Isle Landers,” 2014, photograph. @ Darrin Zammit Lupi. 

Join translators Sole Anatrone, Martha Cooley, and Antonio Romani and guest editor Alta L. Price for a bilingual reading from the September issue of Words without Borders. The participants will read new translations of work by Giampiero Neri and Laila Wadia and discuss how the forces of migration, immigration, emigration, and flight are affecting the Italian peninsula and its (often multilingual) writers. 

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Adelphi University New York Campus
One Hudson Square, 75 Varick Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10013


Sole Anatrone is a visiting professor of Italian studies at Wesleyan University. She holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley and her research focuses on gender, race, immigration, and queer studies in contemporary Italian literature and cinema. She translated nonfiction by Laila Wadia for WWB’s September issue.



Martha Cooley is a professor of English at Adelphi University and the author of two novels: The Archivist, a national bestseller published in eleven foreign markets, and Thirty-Three Swoons, also published in Italy. Her short fiction, essays, and co-translations have appeared in numerous literary magazines. Cooley’s co-translation of Antonio Tabucchi’s Time Ages in a Hurry appeared in 2015. Her memoir-in-essays, dealing with a year spent in Italy, is forthcoming in 2017. With Antonio Romani, she co-translated poetry by Giampiero Neri for WWB’s September issue.

Antonio Romani’s translations of poems by Italian poet Giampiero Neri have been published in AGNI, Atlanta Review, PEN America, A Public Space, and the September issue of WWB. His co-translation of Antonio Tabucchi’s Time Ages in a Hurry appeared in 2015. He taught Italian literature and history in two high schools in Cremona and was the owner and manager of two bookstores there. He now lives in Queens, New York.


Alta L. Price runs a publishing consultancy specialized in literature and nonfiction texts on art, architecture, design, and culture. She translates from Italian and German into English and was awarded the 2013 Gutekunst Translation Prize. Her recent books include Corrado Augias’s The Secrets of Italy (Rizzoli Ex Libris, 2014) and Jürgen Holstein’s The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic (Taschen, 2015), and her translation of Dana Grigorcea’s An Instinctive Feeling of Innocence is forthcoming. She is vice president of the New York Circle of Translators. She is the guest editor of WWB’s September issue.

This event is co-presented with Adelphi University’s MFA program and co-sponsored by the Bridge Series.

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