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Words Without Borders is one of the inaugural Whiting Literary Magazine Prize winners!

December 2018

Another Country: Afro-Brazilian Writing

Image: José Alves de Olinda, Ark of Eshus. Wood, vegetable fiber, and metal. Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil. 

This December, we bring you a selection of literature from Afro-Brazilian writers who explore questions of identity, inequality, and resistance. Franciane Conceição Silva provides a panorama of Afro-Brazilian writing from its inception. Cristiane Sobral strikes a tone of defiance and determination in poems translated by MacArthur fellow John Keene. Ricardo Aleixo contributes three poems, including an homage to thirteen youths killed by police in Salvador, Bahia, in 2015. Jean Wyllys takes readers to the Salvador neighborhood of Aflitos in three works of micro-fiction. Felipe Botelho Correa introduces readers to Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto, a contemporary of Machado de Assis who wielded literature as a weapon against prejudice. And we also bring you a Barreto story published in English for the very first time. With an introduction from issue co-editors Eric M. B. Becker and John Keene. Our special feature highlights minority voices in Japan. 

Words Without Borders thanks the Consulate General of Brazil in New York for its support of this issue.

Another Country: Afro-Brazilian Writing, Past and Present

If the literature of a country with the second largest black population worldwide (only Nigeria has a larger black population) does not include that population in its literature, one must ask which Brazil we’re speaking of when we speak of Brazilian literature.

Insurgent Voices: A Panorama of Afro-Brazilian Writing

"Politicians know I’m a poet. And that poets face death when their people are oppressed."


Black Teeth and Blue Hair

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Ignorance is a kind of blindness.”

Afro-Brazilian Crusader: On Lima Barreto

According to Barreto himself, the aim of his crusade was to produce a type of literature that he defined as “militante,” engaging with the society’s most pressing issues and communicating these issues to a wider audience in accessible language.

In Aflitos

She was furious! She grew silent again, went upstairs, and searched the nightstand. The pistol was there.

Four Poems

Time, lord of the hours reigns sovereign


Three Poems

A black man is always somebody's black man.


Book Reviews

One-third Women, “The Milk Bowl of Feathers” Adds Provocative New Voices to the Surrealist Canon

Reviewed by Susan Aberth

Edited by Mary Ann Caws, this anthology delivers new insights into this radical movement and rectifies past omissions to its canon with more intellectually daring and provocative non-French and female voices.

Atrocity at a Distance, Absurdity Up Close in Dubravka Ugresic’s “American Fictionary”

Reviewed by Jeff Tompkins

In this book of essays, Ugresic juxtaposes reflections on the fate of her country with observations on everyday life in America.

Recent Issues

The Weight of History: Writing from Vietnam

Rewriting Caste: Dalit Literature in Hindi

The Past in the Present: Writing from Georgia

Crucible of Languages and Cultures: Writing from Macau

Turning the Kaleidoscope: Writing from Lebanon

The Queer Issue IX

The World through the Eyes of Writers: Celebrating Fifteen Years

Several Worlds Simultaneously: Seeking Argentina

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