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December 2014

Around the Globe: International YA Writing

Image: Yoshitomo Nara, "Wall Painting for Nara's Cabin," 2006. Acrylic on wood shingles. 115 1/2 x 130 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. ©Yoshitomo Nara

This December we invite you to join us on a romp through the world of international Young Adult literature. The writers in this month’s issue broaden our perspective on this popular genre, bringing new life and a sharp literary focus to the wide world of YA literature from around the globe.

  In “The Boys,” Swedish writer Jessica Schiefauer’s memorable take on gender and adolescence, a group of young girls gets a transformative new view on the world. From Norway, Inga Sætre’s young teenage protagonist deals with the prospect of an unexpected new arrival. Germany’s Zoran Drvenkar sets the scene for two young boys out and about on New Year’s eve, while Georgia’s Tamta Melashvili pens a haunting account of friendship in a time of war. Bangladesh’s Muhammed Zafar Iqbal tackles corporal punishment in schools through his plucky young protagonist, and Canadian Michel Noël describes the world of a young Inuit boy about to embark on a life-changing journey. From South Korea, Koo Byung-Mo delves into the heart of a magical local bakery. From Mexico, Ricardo Chávez Castañeda imagines a secret book with sinister intentions and Palestinian author Ahlam Bisharat shows a girl shielding a younger child from the harshness of war while struggling to understand it herself.

  Very special thanks to our guest editors for the issue, Briony Everroad and Daniel Hahn, for their care and ingenuity in putting together this selection of international YA writing.

  Elsewhere in the issue, we present a selection of new poetry from Uruguay guest edited by Jesse Lee Kercheval, featuring work from Andrea Durlacher, Victoria Estol, Fabián Severo, and Paula Simonetti.

Around the Globe: An Introduction to International YA Writing

While writing for teenagers wasn’t invented in the last decade or two, it has certainly, in that time, gained a visibility, a range, a thoughtfulness, even a sort of urgency

from “The Boys”

“Let us make a pact, gentlemen. Let us brew a Magical Potion and drink together."

Wizard Bakery

Do not forget the magical forces you used today may circle back to you some day to return the favor.

Nom de Guerre: Butterfly

It terrified me to hear the words “honor” and “flesh” in the same sentence.

In Search of the End of the World

I was brought into the world on a day of black misery.

No Light in the Windows

Karim believed in Coke the way other people believed in Jesus and Mary.

The Art of Falling

cover image

How can anyone predict the future if it's not already mapped out?

The Book of Denial

This story is the worst story in the world—it's just terrible.


Whenever teachers said there was good news, it almost always turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Counting Out

Something stinks round here, I said, and stopped. It’s coming from the ravine.


Book Reviews

Sakutarō Hagiwara’s “Cat Town”

Reviewed by John W. W. Zeiser

Hagiwara’s poetry is a strange mixture of gloomy wonderment.

Eduardo Halfon’s “Monastery”

Reviewed by Megha Majumdar

In Halfon's "Monastery," our narrator asserts the accidental nature of nationality.

Tove Jansson’s “The Woman Who Borrowed Memories”

Reviewed by Kate Prengel

A collection of very short stories which bubble up from the subconscious only to vanish as soon as they get to the surface.

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Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.