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

January 2009

Tropical Currents: Writing by Indonesian Women

Image: Jonathan McIntosh

Guest Editor


My name is Nagari. Thirty years of age. There is no need to explain; I understand. . . . That evening, after my bath, my hair still wet, I heard a pounding on the door of my rented room.

Mother’s Letter

I write on the weary folds of my face telling my disappointment to the increasingly dry river which circles around the ribs of our city. like a vein allowing the blood to flow lazily to the

Maybe Not Yem

"Can you believe it? One of my friends threw her boss's baby into a washing machine, just before going back to her village," the woman beside me said in a flat voice. I turned my gaze to

The Kitchen

Ruth loved flour. Mother loved the kitchen. And I loved Ruth and Mother. I grew up at the large kitchen table, watching Ruth sift flour and mix various kinds of dough. I learned to walk

Road to Heaven

When my mother died, her face changed. I was the first to notice. When other family members and friends came to pay their respects, what I saw in their eyes was doubt; none could believe

Cik Giok

Don't forget to send the ticket for Cik Giok so that she can come to Jakarta. Don't forget to buy something for Cik Giok to wear . . . It was the planning meeting for my wedding.

The Rooms Out Back

My husband and I always rise at 7:30 when the shadow of the cat crossing the tiled roof of our neighbor's house forms a silhouette on our bedroom curtain. Who can figure out why that

The Century Carver

Kopag dropped his sharp chiseling knife, almost slicing open his own leg—and all because he'd detected a strange smell coming from the direction of the door, an aroma of dry leaves


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