Articles by David Varno

Translators of the World Unite!  (With Other Writers, who are also Translators)

April 18, 2012

Word for Word / Wort fur Wort Reading and book reception at Columbia University Deutches Haus, April 12, 2012 In perhaps the best kind of exchange program, three writers from Columbia’s MFA program went to Germany last year to swap their work with students at Das Deutsche Literaturinstitut…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Argos Books: A New Form for Translation

October 19, 2011

The Other Music: Selected Poems from the 1970s, by Francisca Aguirre, translated by Montana Ray If I Were Born in Prague: Poems of Guy Jean, versions by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky Argos Books, established last year by three poets and translators, has already built an impressive catalogue, with chapbooks,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Roussel, Dreamer of Infinite Space

October 12, 2011

New Impressions of Africa, by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Ford (Princeton, 2011) Impressions of Africa, by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Polizzotti (Dalkey Archive, 2011) Of Raymond Roussel’s two books with the word Africa in the title (both of which appeared this year in excellent…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Literature is a Dangerous Game: Roberto Bolaño’s Between Parentheses

June 23, 2011

Roberto Bolaño was the kind of writer who belonged to a species that is hopefully not as endangered as appearances suggest: writers who read more than they write. Bolaño read a lot, and he loved that Borges boasted about the books he read instead of the books he wrote. In his own fiction,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

On Reviewing Translations: Susan Bernofsky, Jonathan Cohen, and Edith Grossman

March 23, 2011

This document was submitted to Words Without Borders for our series On Reviewing Translations, based on a collaboration between the three contributors that had been initiated prior to solicitation. SOME THOUGHTS FOR REVIEWERS OF LITERARY TRANSLATIONS You ought to review a translation as you would any…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

New Series: On Reviewing Translations

March 16, 2011

This week, we are launching a series to explore the ways that book reviews handle translations. Reviewers and translators each have varied opinions on how translations should be discussed, and on who should be doing the discussing. At a recent panel on the future of book reviewing, review editors stressed…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Borges: Faith to See in the Dark

February 18, 2011

In 2010, as part of the Penguin Classics Series, five new Borges books were released in the states. Last October, three of the editors, Suzanne Jill Levine, Alfred Mac Adam, and Maria Kodama, gathered at the Americas Society in New York City to discuss the project. The books highlight specific aspects…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Book Reviews: Who Should Write about Literature in Translation?

January 24, 2011

Translation was a central subject with a panel of book review editors this week, at the Center for Fiction in New York. The event, “Book Reviews, Revamped,” was put on in partnership with the National Book Critics Circle, and moderated by the organization’s president, Jane Ciabattari.…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Travel Journals for Sleepwalkers: The Stories of Roberto Bolaño

September 17, 2010

Image of Travel Journals for Sleepwalkers: The Stories of Roberto Bolaño
Ever since Last Evenings on Earth was released in paperback, I have developed the habit, which has become a mission, of reading each Bolaño book as it appears in English translation. There have been nine since then, and two were pretty large. Now that they’ve been consumed, and the two flashy…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Roberto Bolaño’s Total Anarchy

June 4, 2010

The Bolaño short fiction that’s been coming out in the New Yorker and Harper’s over the past few months is getting stranger. Necrophilia and the Colombian porno industry are edgy enough subjects, but Bolaño went further by exploring elements of the fantastic. The stories have…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

No Nightmares in English: New European Fiction

May 14, 2010

On what now feels like a long-lost spring afternoon, in these chilly weeks following the PEN World Voices festival, Aleksandar Hemon and Colum McCann speculated on the value of the genre tag "European Fiction" for both American and European markets.  Hemon, who edits the Best European Fiction series,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Jazra Khaleed’s 9mm Words

March 17, 2010

Our March 2010 issue, Correspondences in the Air: International Poetry, features a diverse selection of poets, and contains work that complement the recent Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, edited by WWB editors Ilya Kaminsky and Susan Harris. The title comes from Kaminsky's introduction to…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Roberto Bolaño, Bounty Hunter

February 19, 2010

Image of Roberto Bolaño, Bounty Hunter
Bolaño’s preliminary note to Monsieur Pain, a short novel was first published in 1999 and appeared last month from New Directions, alludes to the author’s early desperation and tenacity.  He wrote the book in the early ’80s, and it was awarded a prize by the Toledo City…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

The Family, in Ballpoint Ink: Blutch’s “That Was Happiness”

February 17, 2010

As Christian Hincker (a.k.a. Blutch) says in the video accompanying his contribution to the February Graphic Lit edition of Words Without Borders, an excerpt from the graphic novel That Was Happiness translated by Edward Gauvin, there are no ornaments in his work. The rough ballpoint-sketched characters…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

On Horia Gârbea’s “Father’s Return from War. Topics”

January 27, 2010

"Father's Return from War. Topics," by Horia Gârbea This string of eight vignettes, "Father's Return from War," translated from the Romanian by Mihaela Mudure, does not follow the conventions of flash fiction, which makes it interesting to look at alongside the other stories in this month's…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Kleist and the Confusion of Affects: New Translations

January 25, 2010

Image of Kleist and the Confusion of Affects: New Translations
Goethe, a literary father-figure to Heinrich von Kleist, may have sensed an Oedipal bloodlust in the emerging poet and playwright: "With the best will in the world towards this poet," he wrote, in a review of The Broken Jug, "I have always been moved to horror and disgust by something in his works, as…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From the Magazine: Quim Monzó

January 20, 2010

Quim Monzó's "The Fork" and "Thirty Lines" Quim Monzó's contribution of two stories to January's International Flash Fiction issue have been translated from Catalan by Lisa M. Dillman. Monzó's shorter narrative fiction was compiled for 2004's Eighty-six Stories,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit: Early Murakami, Idlewild Books, and late Guy de Maupassant

January 19, 2010

Murakami Bootlegs No More Haruki Murakami's major works have long been available in the United States, but the author has refused too allow distribution of his first two novels, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, both of which are narrative precursors to A Wild Sheep Chase, well-known to readers…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From The Magazine: Yoav Avni

January 13, 2010

"Trumpet Lessons," by Yoav Avni Featured in this month's International Flash Fiction issue is a high-velocity, highly compressed piece by accomplished Israeli writer Yoav Avni. "Trumpet Lessons," translated by Margalit Rodgers, begins with a line that is repeated near the end: "Now he’s cold…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

January 12, 2010

Tolstoy Film to Appear this Week 2010 marks the centenary of Tolstoy's death at a provincial train station in Russia. This Friday, in New York and Los Angeles, a film about the author's last days will be in limited release. But The Last Station, directed by Michael Hoffman and adapted from the…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

December 30, 2009

Liu Xiaobo Sentenced, PEN Press Conference to Follow A message from The PEN American Center:   As you have heard, the Chinese government has sentenced our colleague Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison in China. This Thursday, we will hold an outdoor press event in midtown Manhattan to protest the verdict…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

December 16, 2009

Yesterday on the New Yorker's Book Bench, Elizabeth Clark Wessel served up a condensed version of the Quarterly Conversation's "Translate this Book", an incredible feature published earlier this month. As Wessel wrote, the list of recommended books from translators, writers, editors, and publishers…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

December 9, 2009

NPR Acknowledges Foreign Fiction with Year-End List With the season of best-of lists upon us, it's refreshing to see NPR publish its first list of Best Foreign Fiction. Writer Jessa Crispin, founding editor of Bookslut, takes a cosmopolitan approach to the five novels, with the claim that "sampling…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From the Magazine

November 19, 2009

The process of translation is a key element of Turkish-German author Feridun Ziamoglu’s Koppstoff: Kanaka Sprak vom Rande der Gesellschaft (The Knowledge Holder Doesn't Choke on Cleverness), a fictional text of 26 women’s voices, all of Turkish descent and living in Germany. Though composed…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

November 18, 2009

Nabokov Screaming his Head Off The new online newspaper The Faster Times was linked by the New Yorker yesterday for their take on the new Nabokov publication, the unfinished novel The Origin of Laura. They also link to the 92nd Street Y's recording of Nabokov reading selections from Pale Fire and…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From the Magazine

November 14, 2009

“My bag in the back of the truck, the Antarctica bottles open, and we’re off.” So begins our excerpt of Ross Benjamin’s translation of Thomas Pletzinger’s novel Bestattung eines Hundes (2008), forthcoming from W. W. Norton as Funeral for a Dog. This is the kind of writing…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

November 11, 2009

Why we Read Bolaño Horacio Castellanos Moya's, "Bolaño Inc." for the November Guernica, is a further effort to debunk our romanticized construction of the decade's literary star. Moya is one of our authors, so we have to forgive him if he overlooked some of the more thoughtful criticism…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Polish Poetry Now

November 10, 2009

Last week, the Polish Cultural Institute presented a two-part symposium at Poets House that sought to address questions on the nature and identity of Polish poets working today. The program began Tuesday with a panel discussion, and culminated with readings by each of the four participating poets on…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

November 4, 2009

WWB in the New Yorker The November issue of Words Without Borders, with new translations from Germany, has just gone live and is met with praise today from the New Yorker's Book Bench blog with a piece that focuses on contributor Feridun Zaimoğlu, who, along with fellow German-Turkish contributor…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From the Magazine

October 30, 2009

Before we launch the November issue, we'd like to highlight Abdourahman Waberi's wonderful piece of reportage on Rwanda, fifteen years after the genocide, "Rawanda: The Flame of Hope." Waberi was born in Djibouti and also writes fiction and poetry. He was a juror for the Lettre Ulysses Prize…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

October 28, 2009

Spain's Prince of Asturias Awards Cultural exchange continues in Europe among prestigious prize-givers, with Albanian writer Ismail Kadaré cinching the Prince of Asurias Award for literature. The awards are in eight categories, and according to Euro News they are the Spanish equivalent of…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From the Magazine

October 22, 2009

This week, we're highlighting contemporary Austrian critic and essayist Karl-Markus Gauss's meditation on perception and control, "Wie das Chaos nach Salzburg kam," ("When Chaos Came to Salzburg," translated from the German by John K. Cox). The piece is from the 2004 collection of essays Der…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

October 21, 2009

Upcoming Events: Inca Garcilaso de la Vega's Legacy America's Society Friday, October 23 7:00 pm Free admission As a follow-up to the Fall 2009 symposium marking the 400th anniversary of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega's Royal Commentaries (part one), a group of celebrated Peruvian prose writers…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

The fun of de Nerval’s The Salt Smugglers

October 19, 2009

"This is not a novel," wrote Diderot repeatedly, in his Quixotic, polyphonic Jacques the Fatalist and his Master. You could say he was ripping off Sterne, who ripped off Rabelais in the grand tradition of Swift; you could even go as far back as Homer, as Gérard de Nerval suggests in the ingenious…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Podcasts of Kapuściński panel at NBCC

October 16, 2009

The National Book Critics Circle's blog, Critical Mass, is featuring a three-part series of podcasts and videos to cover the complete symposium held last week at NYU: After Kapuściński: The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century. Co-sponsoring the event were the NBCC, Words Without Borders, The Polish…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From the Magazine

October 14, 2009

This week, we are highlighting an excerpt from Towers of Stone, by Wojciech Jagielski, translated from the Polish by Soren Gauger. The book is forthcoming this month from Seven Stories Press, and is a closely-told narrative that seeks to explain the wars in Chechnya through two men. The section we've…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

October 13, 2009

The Nobel Prize With the announcement of Herta Müller as Nobel Prize winner for literature comes the continued sense that the Nobel committee is challenging the English-speaking world to be more aware of what is happening in Europe. Friday's Guardian piece responded positively, while Lev Grossman,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

From the Magazine

October 7, 2009

This week, we are highlighting an excerpt from journalist-cum-fiction writer Peter Fröberg Idling's Pol Pots leende (Pol Pot's Smile), translated from the Swedish by Silvester Mazzarella First published in Sweden by Atlas in 2006, Peter Fröberg Idling's debut was highly praised for originality…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

October 6, 2009

Kafka in New York Last week, the New York M.T.A. unveiled a new quote for their Train of Thought series, with the first line from Kafka's "The Metamorphosis." The New Yorker suggests that perhaps the transit authority is moving "from the inspirational to the inspired." It is a rather strange message…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

September 29, 2009

Susan Sontag Prize for Translation Open to Submissions The prize, in its third annual iteration, includes a $5,000 grant for the proposed translation of a work of fiction or letters by anyone under the age of 30. The 2010 prize accepts proposals for work from Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, or Icelandic…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

September 22, 2009

More than the Facts In gearing up for the coming two-day symposium on literary reportage, After Kapuściński: The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century, fellow sponsor The National Book Critics Circle has posted a thorough summary of the events and participants at Critical Mass. Eric Banks writes:…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

September 15, 2009

Etgar Keret's Complicated Characters Sydney's Morning Herald has a great profile on Israeli short story writer Etgar Keret today. In the interview, Keret describes what he calls Israelis' schizophrenic nature, which he says many politically-charged readers have refused to face abroad. He describes a…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Notes from the Brooklyn Book Festival

September 15, 2009

After an hour-long Subway ride due to weekend delays, I emerged from the steps at Borough Hall station in Brooklyn to the plaza, where I was pleasantly transported from the dark inertia to the middle of a free, public, outdoor literary celebration. The annual Festival is one of New York's greatest features,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

September 8, 2009

International Stage at Brooklyn Book Festival No matter where you're coming from, a trip to the Brooklyn Book Festival, now in its fourth year, is sure to be worthwhile. It's distinctly local flavor adds greater value to the large scope of readings and panels, and our only wish is that it could be held…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

September 1, 2009

New in Catalan Literature The September issue of World Literature Today is carrying a special feature on Catalan literature, guest edited by Lawrence Venuti. In his introduction, Venuti highlights the growth of Catalan literature since the end of Franco's rule in 1975, during which many Catalan writers…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

August 18, 2009

Belarusian Poetry in Central Park: Valzhyna Mort will be reading with Laynie Browne and Cynthia Cruz on Thursday at the Arsenal in Central Park, as part of the Poetry from the Rooftops series sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. See Mort's poem "maybe you too sometimes fantasize,", translated…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

August 11, 2009

The first English-language collection of Jordanian poet Amjad Nasser, translated by Khaled Mattawa, has recently been released by Banipal Books. The

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

August 4, 2009

This past summer in Poland, the film adaptation of Dorota Masłowska's novel Snow White and Russian Red has become quite a hit, seven years after the book was originally published by the then-19-year-old literary sensation. Alex Nowacki at the Krakow Post reflects on the phenomenon, and compares…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Today in International Lit

July 28, 2009

British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s feature on war poetry for the Saturday Guardian, “Exit Wounds,” starts by highlighting a large body of non-Anglo work, including Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Lorca, Zbigniew Herbert, and Mahmoud Darwish. Given this range, it’s disappointing…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

July 22, 2009

At least two anthologies featuring contemporary German literature will be out this year. In discussing them, Lizzie's Literary Life notes the "boom" in post-reunification German literature. Berlin Tales, translated by Lyn Marven and out this month from Oxford University Press, features 17 stories, mostly…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

July 14, 2009

Finnish-born Swedish author Willy Kyrklund passed away last month at 88. As Notes from the North put it in their philosophical discussion of Kyrklund's oeuvre, Kyrklund was "often called an existentialist, [though] his thought reaches beyond disorientation and existence into essence.... Kyrklund notes…...read more »

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International Literary News

July 7, 2009

Mexican poet and historian Miguel León-Portilla was honored by the Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone on the 50th anniversary of his volume Viewpoint of the Defeated. Explaining his project of compiling ancient Nahuati (Aztec) texts, he stated: íThe conquest is a delicate theme for Mexicans,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

June 30, 2009

This Friday, the writers shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing will read from their nominated short stories at the Royal Over-Seas League in London at 7pm, as part of a lead-up to the winner announcement later in July. The writers will also read at the London Literature Festival at the…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

 Weekend Reading: Laundry

June 26, 2009

At the week's end, here's hope that attention will continue in the English-language world for Israeli novelist Suzane Adam. She has published four books since 2000 and won the Kugel Prize in 2006 and the Prime Minister's Prize in 2007, but only her first novel, Kvisa (Laundry), has been translated. Laundry…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

June 23, 2009

The Khaleej Times reported today on the announcement this week of the participants in the second annual Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature (EAIFL), to be held next March in Dubai. Among the international participants are Martin Amis, Mark Billingham, Tim Butcher, Christopher Cleave,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

film iconLiterary Reportage: Podcast from the Polish Cultural Institute

June 19, 2009

Following the Polish Cultural Institute's coverage yesterday of the 2nd International Congress of Polish Translators in Krakow, which took place from June 4 - 6, it seems like a good time to present this podcast, a recording of the May 27 panel Literary Reportage: The Forensics of Crisis at Idlewild…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

June 17, 2009

Two years ago, a new generation of situationists anonymously penned a manifesto, L'insurrection qui vient (The Coming Insurrection). The text has been anonymously translated from the French, and an illegal book party was held yesterday at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square, NYC to mark the occasion.…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

June 9, 2009

Following the death of publishing legend Richard Seaver, Arcade Publishing (Octavio Paz, Ismail Kadare) filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Crain's has the report. Seaver, who began with Grove and championed Beckett and Genet, among others, passed away in January. Widow Jenneatte Seaver, who co-ran the company,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

June 2, 2009

Pierre Michon's latest book, Les onze (The Eleven), due this month from Editions Verdier, is a historical novel set at the end of the Reign of Terror. In a listing for a reading that will coincide with the book's release at Librairie Le square in Grenoble, France, Initiales wrote this of Michon's writing:…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literary News

May 26, 2009

In the LA Times blog Jacket Copy's Memorial Day roundup of 20th Cenutry war literature, Thomas McGonigle generously rememberd Carlo Emilio Gadda's That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana as "the only Italian novel of the 20th century that is reasonably compared in power and scope to James Joyce's Ulysses."…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literature News

May 22, 2009

We're all saddened by the death of past contributor Mario Benedetti, though it is amazing to see the immediate, creative responses to his work from around the world. Don't miss A.M. Correa's report from yesterday. ---------------------- This past Tuesday at the CUNY Graduate Center, the PEN American…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

PEN World Voices Festival: Richard Ford and Nam Le at Morgan Library

May 13, 2009

Richard Ford and Nam Le at Morgan Library, May 3, Gilder Lehrman Hall, also part of BOMBLive! series Venerable fiction man Richard Ford gave a particularly generous introduction to young short story writer Nam Le, whose debut collection The Boat received several awards and much critical recognition last…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

International Literature News

May 12, 2009

On occasion of Zoetrope’s Latin American Issue, editor Daniel Alarcón talked last Friday with the New Yorker’s Book Bench. Contributors include Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Alarcón, Diego Trelles Paz, Carolina Sanín, Ronaldo Menéndez, Inés Bortagaray, Patricio…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

PEN WORLD VOICES FESTIVAL: Enrique Vila-Matas and Paul Auster at FIAF

May 7, 2009

This was an interesting talk, very well moderated by Eduardo Lago, between two writers who admire one another and have been compared to one another, and even appeared together in public at point wearing the same pair of shoes.Vila-Matas told an anecdote in Spanish that took a few minutes to reach the…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update: Round-up of PEN World Voices Thus Far

May 5, 2009

And now for the coverage on the coverage. Our own reports are still coming in, so continue to check over the next couple of days. I have posts due on Kafka's Amerika, Enrique Vila-Matas and Paul Auster, Richard Ford and Nam Le, and David Grossman on Bruno Shultz, so you'll be witness to a minor miracle…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

PEN World Voices Festival: On the Edge: Writing in Reunified Germany

May 5, 2009

Moments before Clemens Meyer read this past Friday evening, at the Deutches Haus on the Washington Mews, I spotted him outside on the curb with a can of Budweiser. Inside from the rain, the small room filled up quickly and eventually he came in with an interpreter and Three Percent blog's Chad Post (on…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

PEN World Voices Festival: Celebrating Anagrama at Instituto Cervantes

May 4, 2009

As the venerable Spanish publishing house Anagrama turns 40 this year, they have many triumphs and achievements to look back on, and currently are central to the regeneration of Latin American fiction, most notably of course with the success of Roberto Bolaño.Publisher Jorge Herralde is in town…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

PEN World Voices Festival: This Critical Moment (Part II)

May 4, 2009

After Eric Banks's and Rigoberto Gonzalez presented on German and Mexican literature at this past Friday's panel featuring the National Book Critics Circle (see more in Part One of the coverage), Laila Lalami, past NBCC Balakian Award candidate, spoke on Egyptian novelist and playwright Nawal El Saadawi,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

PEN World Voices Festival: This Critical Moment (Part I)

May 3, 2009

Yesterday afternoon at the Scandinavia House, board members of the National Book Critics Circle and other critics presented on select writers participating in this year's festival. The authors they discussed are from Germany, Mexico, Egypt, the Basque country of Spain, and Zimbabwe, and their comments…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

PEN World Voices Festival: Evolution/Revolution Readings

May 2, 2009

Cooper Union Great Hall Wednesday, April 29, 2009 The readings featured by PEN World Voices in the authors' original languages are a special treat, as Bud wrote yesterday to accompany Mary's photographs. Sometimes it's nice to follow line for line with the English translations that scroll down the screens…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

April 28, 2009

Bangladeshi author Selina Hossain, winner of this year's Ekushe Padak award, was interviewed recently for Ariful News: A Voice Against Violence. We published her story "Parul's Motherhood," translated from the Bengali by Shabnam Nadiya. ---------- The most prestigious academic position in English poetry…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

April 21, 2009

In addition to the Penguin Prize for African Writing, a literary award announced today by Penguin South Africa (and featured on Book Case at The Times) that will honor unpublished manuscripts from African authors with a cash award and publication, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe is working with Penguin…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Post

April 14, 2009

Romanian author Norman Manea won the third Observator Cultural Opera Omnia Award this month from the Observer Translation Project, an international magazine of Romanian literature in translation. See Totalitarianism Today for an in-depth history of Manea and study of his work. Manea was a guest editor…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

April 7, 2009

The big news today is that Oskar Schindler's list of the 800+ people he saved has been found in a library in Australia, and also that Colombian octogenarian Gabriel García Márquez may not have any publishing plans, but he is indeed writing and has recently deigned to tell the press so.…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

March 31, 2009

The PEN World Voices Festival schedule has been announced. Events begin on April 29th. ---------- The bicentennial mark of Gogol's birth has sparked hundreds of events throughout Russia, according to Moscow News Weekly, including theatre and film adaptations, readings, reopening of the Gogol House Museum,…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Kerouac in French

March 26, 2009

This past Monday night, the Americas Society featured a discussion of Jack Kerouac as a Franco-American writer. This aspect of Kerouac is well known to readers who have ventured beyond On The Road. His books were intended to make up a Balzacian cohesion (he also referred to Proust), which he called the…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

March 24, 2009

Words Without Borders is co-sponsoring an event taking place this Sunday at the Station Museum in Houston, titled Cultural Narrative: Imran Aslam and hosted by Voices Breaking Boundaries. Aslam is a Pakistani journalist and president of GEO TV. Complete details here. ---------- This year's PEN World…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Ananda Devi on Language, Literature and Identity at fi:af

March 20, 2009

Last night, Mauritian author Ananda Devi spoke to a packed room in the French Institute's Skyroom in Manhattan, as part of a U.S. tour sponsored by the Délégation générale de l'Alliance Française and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Her talk was moderated…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Judges for Man Booker International Prize Announce Finalists

March 19, 2009

The judges for the 2009 Man Booker International Prize announced their shortlist this morning, in a press conference at The Humanities and Social Science Library on 42nd St. Ukranian writer Andrey Kurkov, one of the three judges, was asked by an audience member if he was interested specifically in championing…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

March 17, 2009

Keret in Chicago and Boston: Keret will close Columbia College's annual Story Week festival with a discussion on March 20 at the Hokin Annex in the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave. More information about the festival in the Columbia Chronicle. This Is One Story You've Got to Hear!: An Evening…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

March 10, 2009

Thursday: A Celebration of the International Graphic Novel Please join us this Thursday in DUMBO at Melville House Publishers, 7pm. We'll have drinks, music, and our favorite graphic novel artwork adorning the walls, including work from Charles Berberian (Iraq and France), Philippe Dupuy (France), Miriam…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Recent Festival of Conversations between French and America Authors—Part II

March 3, 2009

Continuation from yesterday's coverage on the Festival of New French Writing . ---------- The second panel I heard at the festival, held this past weekend at NYU, featured David Foenkinos and Stefan Merrill Block and was moderated by translator and former Seven Stories editor Violaine Huisman. The conversation…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

March 3, 2009

Starting tomorrow night: The Sound of Literature: New voices from Austria, Germany, and the United States. A series of conversations and readings with the authors, moderated by Klaus Nüchtern. Tomorrow night's program features Justin Courter, Benjamin Lebert, Tao Lin, and Verena Rossbacher, and…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Recent Festival of Conversations between French and American Authors

March 2, 2009

The Festival of New French Writing, held from last Thursday through Saturday at NYU's Vanderbilt Hall, and presented by the French-American Cultural Exchange, was a remarkable series of programs that we wish we could have covered more thoroughly. Thursday night involved conversations between Olivier…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

February 24, 2009

Our March installment of the Conversations on Great Contemporary Literature series will feature the work of Israeli author Etgar Keret. We'll be hosting an online book club and are looking for readers to tell us their favorite Etgar Keret story (send submissions to blog@wordswithoutborders.org). The…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Three-week Arabic Arts Festival at Kennedy Center

February 23, 2009

Tomorrow, February 23rd, marks the beginning of a massive three-week festival of Arabic arts and culture at the Kennedy Center in D.C., titled Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World. This will, by far, be the largest Arabic festival ever held on U.S. shores. Aside from music, dance and film, and in the midst…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Awards Recognize Excellence For Books in Translation

February 20, 2009

It's interesting, in the backstretch of the book awards season, to consider a book's merit in multiple phases. There's the book itself, as created by the author and chosen by the publisher, and then there's the translation, which gives the book new life and additional criteria for judgment. The second…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

February 17, 2009

Angel Wagenstein's fiction is presented as a new approach to Jewish storytelling in an essay published in this weeks Nation. Issac's Torch, published in English last year by Elizabeth Frank and Deliana Simeonova, íoffers much of the same absurdist (and seemingly arbitrary) historical sweep as…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

A Great discussion on Edith Grossman’s Don Quixote

February 11, 2009

Edith Grossman and Eduardo Lago at Idlewild Books, February 5, 2009 Edith Grossman's English translation of Don Quixote, published in 2003, is praised as an honest as well as accessible version of Cervantes's masterwork. The project's success came from a determination to íget it right,ë as…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

February 11, 2009

Not only has Esquire greatly reduced the print space alloted to literary fiction, but their short-lived Books Blog ground to a halt at the end of January. Still, it's worth checking out their recent posts, which take a traditional service-mag approach to experimental fiction, small presses and self-publishing.…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Readings from BOMB’s 10th Anniversary Americas Issue

February 4, 2009

Each winter for the past ten years, BOMB magazine has featured what they call an Americas Issue, focusing on a specific region of Latin America and covering art, film, music, architecture, and literature. This year's issue includes profiles of César Aira, Nicanor Parra, and Cristina Peri Rossi.…...read more »

Articles by David Varno

Weekly News Update

February 3, 2009

The annual AWP conference begins next Wednesday in Chicago, with perhaps some of the most interesting events off-site from the Hilton. Journals Mare Nostrum, Black Warrior Review, and Bat City combine world voices with American authors looking outside our borders, and will host ten readers at the Hopleaf…...read more »