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

March 2009

Greece, Inside (and) Out


This month we're exploring Greece from perspectives both native and foreign. An earlier generation's exodus has made way for a new influx of arrivals, changing the fabric of Greek society and shaping a new literary landscape. Here ex-pats and immigrants, insiders and outsiders consider national, cultural, and ethnic identity in defining what it means to be Greek today. We're delighted to present the work of Thanassis Valtinos, Dimitris Chatzis, Margarita Karapanou, Ioanna Karystiani, Vassilis Alexakis, Sotiris Dimitriou, Petros Markaris, Ersi Sotiropoulos, Vassilis Gkourogiannis, and Gazmend Kapllani. Our special thanks to guest editor Karen Emmerich for her invaluable expertise and help in putting together this very special issue.

Modern Greek Literature,  Inside (and) Out

It has never been possible to speak of Greece in terms of a simple opposition between what it contains on the inside, and what lies beyond its borders. Even before the founding of the Greek

From “The Book of Andreas Kordopatis, Part I, America”

I kept walking slow-like, straight ahead, the road took me back to the river. Same place the ship stopped the first day, then it left and went further up. I saw someone who looked like a

Kaspar Hauser in a Desolate Land from “The Double Book”

I haven't seen that chain-smoking Spanish girl for days. Not at our ten o'clock break, and not during the shift. I guess she's been fired. Keine Disziplin!—no discipline.

From “The Sleepwalker”

"Flying Dolphin!" Alan leapt out of bed. It was a quarter to seven and he had missed the boat. He had packed his bags and dressed for the trip the night before, and though it was May

From “Suit in the Soil”

The cab driver was in the mood for conversation, but his passenger wasn't. So the tape deck came on and Angela Dimitriou started work at seven-thirty in the morning. Side by side in a

From “Paris–Athens”

I first wrote this text in French. I finished it on November 20, 1988. I chose French because I wanted to make sense of my relationship with this language in which I have also written other

From “Paris–Athens”

To my father I. Silence I don't know when I started to write this book. I know that today is the 9th, I'm looking in my datebook: Sunday, November 9th, 1986, St. Theodore's

From “God Tells Them All”

Sotiris Dimitriou's novels and short stories are known for their focus on the underside of contemporary Greek society, in particular the experiences of an immigrant underclass.

Green Card

The kid was turning his stubby little chest this way and that with his arms stretched wide like the wings of a glider whirling out of control. There were few people on the sidewalk of

Can Anybody Hear Me?

Galina Petrova was walking to work under the weight of a humid, suffocating heat. There were only two blocks to go, but she had started dragging her feet. She stopped at the kiosk on the

Nazif the Turk from Ioannina

The last car—let's call it the leader's—flashed its headlights, and the signal was relayed from car to car all the way to the first in line, which was then responsible

From “A Short Border Handbook”

I woke up the next morning with my head on a stranger's thigh while the head of another stranger was resting on my leg. My entire body was stiff, I was freezing cold and shaking all


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