Articles Tagged “From 2000 To Present ”

George Tabori

by Arnon Grunberg, August 2, 2007

On July 23 the theater director, playwright and writer George Tabori died. Unfortunately, Mr. Tabori is not widely known outside Germany and Austria. His relative obscurity doesn't do justice to the quality of his texts. (I cannot judge the quality of Mr. Tabori as a theater director. I have never seen…...read more »

A Rather Strange Career Change

by Arnon Grunberg, August 16, 2007

It has now been two weeks since I came to this small village in the Bavarian Alps. The village itself is pretty, and the lake nearby might be even described as beautiful. One could easily think that I traveled to Bavaria to spend my holiday here. Maybe I came here because of my childhood memories. Even…...read more »

La Paz Book Fair

by Arnon Grunberg, September 11, 2007

In the middle of the summer, I traveled to the capital of Bolivia, La Paz—where it was winter—for a literary festival. The festival was part of the La Paz Book Fair. Even La Paz has a book fair. It's small compared to the book fair of, let's say, Thessaloníki, Greece. The fair takes…...read more »

Promising Stuff

by Georgia de Chamberet, September 11, 2007

The autumn leaves fell as the school year began when I was a child; now they stay on the trees longer as indian summers become the norm. In Britain around 120,000 new books are published every year, of which 6,000 are novels. Around 1% of unsolicited (fiction) manuscripts received in a year are published.…...read more »

An Author Questionnaire for “The Jewish Messiah”

by Arnon Grunberg, September 17, 2007

On the subject of "small cultural differences between the U.S. and Europe," I'd like to say a few words about the author questionnaire. Before this summer I thought that questionnaires were limited to a few occasions: when applying for visa or for jobs. When a lady from the census rings the doorbell…...read more »

Writers Gather in Finsbury Park

by Georgia de Chamberet, September 17, 2007

A blue and white striped tent, 30 white plastic chairs, a table covered in books supplied by Serpent's Tail, Apis Books, Legend Press, 12 writers and a microphone: Welcome to the Story Tent at FinFest: One World, One Park Community Festival in Finsbury Park, North London. No glitz or queues waiting for…...read more »

A Few Questions for Anna Moschovakis, Translator of “The Engagement”

by Chad Post, September 20, 2007

To add to the ongoing discussion about Georges Simenon's The Engagement, we asked translator Anna Moschovakis a couple of questions. Q: How did this project come about? A: I was lucky this time because the project came to me. I had already worked with Edwin Frank, the editor of New York Review Books…...read more »

Reading Bioy Casares

by Arnon Grunberg, October 1, 2007

I had never heard the name Adolfo Bioy Casares until I read a lengthy review of his diaries in Times Literary Supplement What Eckermann was to Goethe, Mr. Bioy was to Jorge Luis Borges. He aspired to be him. Mr. Bioy's diaries are 1644 pages (even in the edited version), but based on the review,…...read more »

Free Aung San Suu Kyi!

by Georgia de Chamberet, October 12, 2007

As the feeding frenzy that is Frankfurt Book Fair gets into full swing, a more mindful energy is fuelling the monks leading the people power revolution against the Military Junta in Burma. Last Saturday, thousands of demonstrators marched from Millbank, looped across the River Thames, and ended up in…...read more »

Returning to Afghanistan

by Arnon Grunberg, October 20, 2007

While publishers, agents and some authors were heading for Frankfurt for the annual book fair I decided to return to Afghanistan—or to be more precise Oruzgan, a small province in the south—where some 1,600 Dutch soldiers are trying to rebuild the country. A year ago I stayed at Kandahar Air…...read more »

A Foot Patrol in Oruzgan, Afghanistan

by Arnon Grunberg, November 2, 2007

Recently I flew from Afghanistan to the Netherlands along with some Dutch troops going on R&R for two weeks. A day later, I traveled to Paris to promote a book. The difference could not have been bigger. Seated in the apartment of my French publisher on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, I had a conversation…...read more »

The Guardian on Translation

by Susan Harris, November 18, 2007

Richard Lea in the Guardian uses the Society of Authors' annual translation prize as a springboard to explore the current state of translation publishing.

High Noon in Linz

by Arnon Grunberg, November 21, 2007

I grew up without weapons. While nobody in my family was a vegetarian—or ever thought of becoming one—I was taught that hunting was a pastime for those who despised science and art. The philosopher Roger Scruton would have vehemently disagreed with my education, but no matter. When I was…...read more »

Maxim Biller

by Arnon Grunberg, December 12, 2007

A few weeks ago, I moderated an evening with Maxim Biller at the Goethe Institute in New York. Maxim Biller is a German author, although he was born in Prague and only moved to Germany when he was ten years old. He is definitely German. The Israeli newspaper H'aaretz published a profile on Biller earlier…...read more »

A Case of Serendipity?

by Georgia de Chamberet, December 18, 2007

In one week, I bumped into a writer I had the pleasure of publishing in 1994, and his first translator in English, neither of whom I had seen for over ten years. Daniel Pennac (winner of this year's Prix Renaudot for Chagrin d'école) and the first Children's Laureate, Quentin Blake, were in conversation…...read more »

Lori Berenson

by Arnon Grunberg, January 17, 2008

In the early fall of 2006, I traveled to Peru to visit an American woman, Lori Berenson, who has been incarcerated in Peru since December 1995 on charges of terrorism. I wrote about it for a Dutch newspaper and I also mentioned my trip on this blog. Back then, I traveled to Peru with Lori's father,…...read more »

Old Labour, New Labour

by Georgia de Chamberet, January 18, 2008

For independents committed to discovering and showcasing new voices—be they home-grown or from foreign climes—2008 looms as a year of reckoning. In October 2007, Arts Council England's (ACE) popular and energetic literature director Gary McKeone, who greatly improved literature funding, was…...read more »

Reading Rutka Laskier

by Arnon Grunberg, February 4, 2008

From to time to time, a Dutch publisher will ask me to write a preface or an afterword to a book he plans to publish. I have written prefaces for authors as different as Machiavelli, Stendhal and Boris Vian. Last November I received a letter from a publisher, asking if I was interested in writing a preface…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation

by Georgia de Chamberet, February 14, 2008

Whilst writing about English PEN's "Writers in Translation" committee, of which I am a member—tapping into my experiences as an editor, agent and publicist—the idea of doing a fun, but far from definitive listing, the A to Z Of Literary Translation, came to mind. oOo Artistry and adaptation…...read more »

Literary Malaise

by Arnon Grunberg, February 17, 2008

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about literary malaise, or to be more precise, we were talking about malaise in general. We reached the conclusion that there are quite a few different types of malaise, and that a certain comfort can be found in malaise. What would a politician running…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation: D to F

by Georgia de Chamberet, February 23, 2008

Dialogue and debate on issues surrounding literary translation at talks, workshops, summer schools and residence programmes—along with translation studies courses covering linguistic concepts, theories and practice—are crucial for professionals in the field to connect and keep up to date. Ego…...read more »

Embedded in Iraq

by Arnon Grunberg, March 3, 2008

While looking for something else, I recently stumbled upon Cynthia Ozick's essay íPublic Intellectualsë in her collection Quarrel and Quandary. The essay itself is worth reading—as is the whole collection—but this sentence stuck to my mind: íSelf-blame can be the highest…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation: G to I

by Georgia de Chamberet, March 5, 2008

Grants, awards and prizes such as the Nobel Prize in literature, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, help put writers and their translators under the spotlight and boost sales. The TA's Translation…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation: J to L

by Georgia de Chamberet, March 18, 2008

Jerome of Stridonium is the patron saint of theological learning in the Roman Catholic Church and is also recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Remembered in particular for his version of the Old Testament based on the Hebrew texts, he is credited for the principle of translating ísense…...read more »

The Literature of the Future

by Arnon Grunberg, March 18, 2008

A couple of weeks ago on a cold night I walked to the Mercantile Library—for the first time in all these years that I have been living in Manhattan I have to admit—to listen to a discussion about literature in translation, organized by this excellent website. The space turned out a little bit…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation: M to O

by Georgia de Chamberet, March 26, 2008

Market share of world literature is dominated by U.S. publishing conglomerates and literary agents who, together with their British counterparts, are increasingly promoting celebrities rather than professional writers in order to maximize revenue and profits. Thanks to the former British empire and today's…...read more »

Preparations for a Close Escape

by Arnon Grunberg, April 7, 2008

In preparation for my trip to Iraq in May, I have now met with two war correspondents. One of them is an American. We met in a bar in Brooklyn. The other is a Dutch war correspondent with whom I had dinner in Amsterdam. The American correspondent was a man who is more or less my age. As is often the…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation: P to R

by Georgia de Chamberet, April 12, 2008

Publishers in the independent sector are fundamental to ensure variety in the marketplace; they are surviving despite stiff competition and the discount war, (ref. Society of Authors, The Future of Independent Publishing). Tired preconceptions continue to hamper the progress of translations in the UK…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation: S to V

by Georgia de Chamberet, April 24, 2008

Schools of thought about the rights and wrongs of translation are summarized by Susan Sontag as follows: íI suppose that the two opposed schools of translators are those who feel, like Nabokov, that a good translation has to be a literal transcription of the original, no matter how flat or awkward,…...read more »

London Calling

by Georgia de Chamberet, April 24, 2008

The wilderness years are over for Arabic writers in translation it seems, as they were in the spotlight this week in London's Earls Court. Arabia Books was launched in the run up to the London Book Fair—the agenda being to publish the best contemporary fiction from the Arabic World. The venture…...read more »

Pints with Roddy Doyle

by Arnon Grunberg, April 28, 2008

The first time that I drank Guinness was also the first time that I met Roddy Doyle. It was the winter of 1997. My Dutch publisher and I had decided to meet in Dublin, which is halfway between New York and Amsterdam more or less. Since Roddy Doyle was published by the same house in the Netherlands that…...read more »

The A to Z of Literary Translation: W, X, Y & Z

by Georgia de Chamberet, May 2, 2008

Worldwide web development and the long-tail phenomenon offer new opportunities for the visibility of literary translation. Electronic translation software is to be avoided. Postcolonial and new immigrant writing benefit from cross-frontier digital exchange. And lesser known cultures and languages can…...read more »

Dutch Translation Workshops in Italy

by Arnon Grunberg, May 15, 2008

For the last 10 days I have been touring through Italy giving workshops at universities where Dutch is being taught. I was surprised to hear that there are five Italian cities where you can study Dutch: Naples, Rome, Bologna, Padua and Trieste. I have been to all of these cities the last 10 days, with…...read more »

The Background Noise in Iraq

by Arnon Grunberg, June 1, 2008

Last week I was embedded with the 25th infantry division north of Baghdad in the so-called Sunni Triangle. Presently I'm in the Green Zone. A friend of mine in New York asked me to pay attention to the noise here. He had been informed that on most military bases in Iraq, one could hear a permanent noise…...read more »

The Changing Times of the Egyptian Novel

by Hosam Aboul-Ela, June 11, 2008

One of my main activities since arriving in Cairo has been to try to update myself on recent developments in the Egyptian novel. I have just finished a work that's received much attention in the local cultural pages since I arrived. It's entitled A Matter of Time and it opens with the idle chatter…...read more »

The Future of Literature

by Arnon Grunberg, June 24, 2008

Two days after I left Iraq, I traveled to a small resort at the Black Sea for a writer's conference about the future of literature. For some reason it seemed to me the right sequence: first Baghdad and then a conference about the future of literature. I have been to a few literary festivals, but this…...read more »

Waltic on the Baltic

by Samantha Schnee, July 10, 2008

Last week over six hundred Writers and Literary Translators (WALT) convened in Stockholm for the inaugural International Congress (IC). Over ninety countries were represented by writers speaking—and writing—in a variety of languages. Taking its cue from the UN's Declaration of Human Rights,…...read more »

A Kind of Farewell

by Hosam Aboul-Ela, July 17, 2008

Over the past months, I've been living in Cairo and posting regularly about the local literary scene to this blog. In a matter of days, perhaps even by the time this is posted, I'll be back in Texas, and will have traded in the fast lane life of blogging from the big metropolis for my slower,…...read more »

Writing the Train in Switzerland

by Arnon Grunberg, July 24, 2008

Last summer, I worked for almost three weeks as a chambermaid in a family hotel in the southern part of Bavaria. I wrote about this experience in a daily column for a Dutch newspaper. Later, an extract of these columns was published in the US in Culture + Travel magazine. My objective was not to reveal…...read more »

Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008

by Susan Harris, August 9, 2008

Mahmoud Darwish is dead. The great poet of Palestinian displacement died in a Houston hospital after open-heart surgery. In a poem in his 2006 "Diary," Darwish writes, If you were told: you're going to die here this evening What would you do in the remaining time? ... I realize how my life Is about to…...read more »

Reading Gregor von Rezzori

by Arnon Grunberg, August 18, 2008

A Dutch newspaper asked me to review the recently published Dutch translation of Gregor von Rezzori's Memoirs of an Anti-Semite. I have to admit that the name Rezzori vaguely rang a bell, but that was about it. He is much better known in the US, where Memoirs of an Anti-Semite was published in the New…...read more »

An Invisible Cabal in the Sky

by Irakli Iosebashvili, August 19, 2008

On August 7th, Russia responded to a Georgian attack on the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, with a massive deployment of troops across the border and attacks on the Georgian cities of Gori and Poti. This open act of aggression brought an end to the "frozen conflict" between the countries that has…...read more »

On Mahmoud Darwish

by Hosam Aboul-Ela, August 21, 2008

In an earlier post, I raised the issue of the dearth of translations done of intellectual and critical writing from Arabic (and most of the other languages of the world). The translation of poetry also presents special problems. Poetry is central to literary culture in Arabic and has been so since Arabic…...read more »

Truth and War Literature

by Arnon Grunberg, September 16, 2008

As of Monday September 8, I've been teaching at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Not forever, thank God, just for one semester. One course that I'm teaching side-by-side with a philosopher is about Plato's Symposium. I'm not a Plato specialist, and neither is the philosopher. For close reading,…...read more »

2009 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation

by The Editors, September 23, 2008

Translators under 30, this is for you: The Susan Sontag Foundation has announced its annual prize for translation, with a cash award of $5,000. This year the call is for work translated from Spanish into English. You can find more details on applying at the website, and look at the winners of last year's…...read more »

Jabuti Prize for Tezza’s “Eternal Son”

by The Editors, September 30, 2008

WWB author Cristovão Tezza has won the prestigious Jabuti Prize for his book The Eternal Son. You can read an excerpt from the book in our September issue, over here Our heartiest congratulations to him!

Imagination Can Take You Everywhere

by Georgia de Chamberet, October 1, 2008

All work and no play describes my summer this year. So I headed for the Arts Club in Mayfair with delight to celebrate the publication of Andrew Logan: An Artistic Adventure. One of the first

On the Passing of Ahmed Faraz

by moazzam sheikh, October 1, 2008

It would be accurate to say that Faraz was the most famous and beloved twentieth-century Urdu poet from the subcontinent, after Iqbal(1877-1938) and Faiz (1911-1984). He may even be the most sung or popular among his contemporaries in any South Asian language. This is no small feat, since many of Faraz's…...read more »

Mahmoud Darwish Tribute on the Bowery

by The Editors, October 3, 2008

A tribute to the late Mahmoud Darwish will be held at the Bowery Poetry Club this Sunday, October 5th at 1:30 PM. Readers will include Breyten Breytenbach, Pierre Joris, Ammiel Alcalay, Ghassan Nasr, Danae Elon, Bob Holman and others. Admission is free, and we encourage all the New Yorkers and lovers…...read more »

Words with Borders…and Borders and Borders

by The Editors, October 5, 2008

With regrets for the delay in commenting on this, here's an interesting piece from the New York Times on the complicated and often confounding interplay of language, culture and politics in the Caucasus. It's an intriguing look at the fate of the lingua franca that falls out of grace, and provides some…...read more »

Le Clezio wins Nobel

by The Editors, October 9, 2008

In a decision that none of our in-house bookmakers called, French author J. M. G. Le Clezio has won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature. Dig into the WWB archives for a look at his work, in this excerpt from his book Wandering Star

A Feast for Readers: Eid Specials in Bangladesh

by Mahmud Rahman, October 23, 2008

The last morning of September, I learn that the Daily Star's Eid Literature Special has come out. It includes a personal essay from me, so I head out for a nearby newspaper vendor. He's at Farmgate, fifteen minutes away. On my walk I notice many shops are shuttered. People are vacating the city. Dhaka…...read more »

My Book Party in Eupen

by Arnon Grunberg, October 28, 2008

In September my new novel was published in the Netherlands. The book launch seems to have become an inevitable part of the publication of a new book, at least in the Netherlands. A publisher in the U.S. once explained to me that book launches were considered a waste of money, but that if I wanted to…...read more »

A Treaty of Love

by Arnon Grunberg, November 23, 2008

After my trip to Lebanon in the spring of 2007, I traveled to London to interview the Lebanese-Palestinian author Samir El-Youssef. El-Youssef has a beautiful and contagious laugh. That was the first thing I noticed over lunch in a Lebanese restaurant. The second thing that became clear was that El-Youssef…...read more »

Fagles Prize to Lawrence Venuti

by Susan Harris, November 26, 2008

We're delighted to report that Lawrence Venuti has been awarded the 2008 Robert Fagles Translation Prize for his translation of the Catalan poet Ernest Farrés's Edward Hopper. You can read four of these poems, each inspired by a different Hopper painting, in our Catalan issue of last October....read more »

Toussaint, Camus

by Bud Parr, December 3, 2008

Martin Riker from Dalkey Archive Press has an interesting piece at "The Front Table"* on his love for Jean-Philippe Toussaint's work. Regarding why it's important to publish several of Toussaint's books together, which Dalkey is doing, he says "This is not just about a book. Here's a writer who is doing…...read more »

A Dangerous Homage

by Horacio Castellanos Moya, December 16, 2008

Translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee Ten years ago, in the summer of 1997, I was visiting Guatemala City and staying with a friend when the phone rang in the middle of the night. It was my mother calling from San Salvador: badly shaken, she said she had just received two phone calls from a…...read more »

Everything for Literature

by Arnon Grunberg, January 4, 2009

There is a myth that journalistic endeavors interfere with the true vocation of a novelist: writing novels. I find that the opposite is true. My journalistic excursions have, if anything, enhanced my work as a novelist. In early December, I traveled to Ukraine on a so-called íromance tour.ë…...read more »

Dispatches: Translator/Author Complexity

by Ana María Correa, January 5, 2009

In working through my own ideas of how I approach texts to be translated, a persistent issue that may never be resolved is that of the author's role. As much as I tell myself that I should have a clear idea of my position — or at least know what I think — the more I'm convinced that there…...read more »

Online Book Club for “The Diving Pool” by Yoko Ogawa

by The Editors, January 8, 2009

This January, we kick off the year in book clubs with an online discussion of Yoko Ogawa's Diving Pool. Ogawa is one of contemporary Japan's most celebrated authors, and her collection of meticulously crafted, dark and troubling novellas provides a glimpse into the subtle, twisted drama of everyday life.…...read more »

“The Literature of Immigration” at FLYP

by The Editors, January 8, 2009

FLYP takes a look at the "Literature of Immigration" in its latest issue and features short interviews with the participants at the WWB- and Americas Society-sponsored event at the Americas Society in New York City last October. The event featured Neil Bissoondath, Marjorie Agosin and WWB author Amara…...read more »

An Introduction to “The Diving Pool” by Yoko Ogawa

by Amber Qureshi, January 9, 2009

Amber Qureshi jumpstarts the discussion of Yoko Ogawa's Diving Pool with an introduction to the author, her work and contemporary Japanese literature. Amber will be posting her impressions of The Diving Pool on a weekly basis throughout January and we hope all of our readers, and the attendees of our…...read more »

Stephen Snyder talks about “The Diving Pool


Plumbing the Haunted Imagination of Yoko Ogawa

by Austin Woerner, January 13, 2009

Austin Woerner reports on the discussion between Stephen Snyder and Allison Powell at the Idlewild bookstore last Thursday, January 8, in New York City. You can find the video from the event at the Words Without Borders Youtube channel—Editors As a translator of a language very different from my…...read more »

Ogawa Book Club Post—“Pregnancy Diary”

by Amber Qureshi, January 16, 2009

In her second post for our Diving Pool-discussion, Amber Qureshi discusses "Pregnancy Diary,"one of the novellas from the book and poses questions for our readers. You can find links to previous posts in the discussion at the bottom of the page, and we encourage you to read them and to join in the discussion.—Editors…...read more »

Allison Powell on “The Diving Pool”

by Allison Powell, January 20, 2009

In an essay that was originally featured in the companion booklet to her and Stephen Snyder's discussion of The Diving Pool at the Idlewild bookstore in New York City, Allison Powell talks about Ogawa, the themes of the author's work and speculates about the riveting and twisted imagery and obsessions…...read more »

From the Symposium: Studying the Arab World in Western Universities

by Hosam Aboul-Ela, January 23, 2009

Last month I attended the symposium "The Study of the Arab World in Western Universities," sponsored by ALESCO, the Arab League Educational and Scientific Organization, and hosted by the Arabic department of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, aka SOAS. The four-day…...read more »

“The Diving Pool” Blog Post

by Amber Qureshi, January 27, 2009

In her blog post on the titular story from Yoko Ogawa's collection of novellas, Amber Qureshi discusses the author's unique use of rhythm and imagery and posits some questions for discussion. For links to other essays in this book club series, go to the bottom of the page, and do feel free to join in…...read more »

For Translators—Vermont Studio Center Deadlines

by The Editors, January 29, 2009

For all our translator-readers, the Vermont Studio Center has listed the fellowships available as part of its upcoming February 17 application deadline. For more details on the fellowships, application requirements and the list itself, head to the VSC website where they provide important information…...read more »

Amber Qureshi Discusses Yoko Ogawa’s “Dormitory”

by Amber Qureshi, January 30, 2009

In her final post for the Ogawa book club, moderator Amber Qureshi talks about the third novella in The Diving Pool and the author's cinematic use of light and shadow in her writing. Thanks to all for reading along and we hope that if you have a thought on this or any other post in the series, you'll…...read more »

Blogging about Graphics in February

by The Editors, February 3, 2009

As part of our third annual Graphic Novels issue, we'll be featuring blog posts on the art, inspiration, histories and technical details behind the most exciting graphic narratives out there. All this February, we're joined by Edward Gauvin, Yani Mentzas, Heinz Insu Fenkl and others, in a discussion…...read more »

Translated Fiction: Immensely Popular in the U.S.!

by Yani Mentzas, February 3, 2009

In his first post for our Graphic Novels blog line-up, Yani Mentzas, Editorial Director of Vertical, Inc., the publisher of—among other great work—Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack series, talks about contemporary Japanese literature, video games and one way to get U.S. readers to consume mass quantities…...read more »

Book World

by Arnon Grunberg, February 6, 2009

Recently I had lunch with a friend of mine in Manhattan. We had not even finished our sandwiches when my friend received her first text message. Usually I find it annoying when somebody starts reading text messages over lunch or dinner, but for parents with young children I make exceptions. My friend…...read more »

Manga Translation: Only Poets Need Apply (Part I)

by Yani Mentzas, February 6, 2009

In his second post for our blog series on graphic novels this month, Yani Mentzas talks about ensuring quality in manga—in images and in words—and about the very physical constraints of translating for manga.—Editors A work of manga can be translated in a cavalier fashion with near…...read more »

Manga Translation: Only Poets Need Apply (Part III)

by Yani Mentzas, February 19, 2009

In manga translation, the English rendition of the original Japanese has to fit back into a bubble, and the spatial constraints can be formidable given that one language reads top-down and the other left-right. Not only the bubble's size but its shape comes into play, favoring the use of shorter words…...read more »

Awards Recognize Excellence For Books in Translation

by David Varno, 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 »

Tayeb Salih 1929–2009

by Geoff Wisner, February 23, 2009

Tayeb Salih was the most eminent writer from the largest country in Africa, yet as Leonard Lopate pointed out last year on a radio program called Underappreciated, his work was barely known in the U.S. He died in London around dawn on February 18, after suffering from a kidney ailment. He was said to…...read more »

Letter from Iraq

by Arnon Grunberg, March 2, 2009

The young captain sat on his bed and sighed. íThere are not too many people around here I can talk with,ë he said. íAll the young guys talk about is women and fighting.ë This is my second trip to Iraq. Part of the trip is an embed with the 25th infantry division of the 1st brigade,…...read more »

Etgar Keret in Context

by Adam Rovner, March 4, 2009

In conjunction with our live Etgar Keret discussion on March 5th at the Idlewild bookstore in New York, Adam Rovner, writer, scholar and translations editor of Zeek, will be moderating an online discussion on Etgar Keret's Girl on the Fridge. Adam will be posting weekly about reading The Girl on…...read more »

Words Without Borders and the Idea of Indonesian Literature

by Andy Fuller, March 12, 2009

I want to explore how the idea of "words without borders" might relate to the concept of "Indonesian literature." "Borders" can be political, cultural, social and perhaps, practical. A border is a construct, rather than something natural and self-evident. They are expressed politically and through culture…...read more »

Brutal Banality in Keret’s “An Exclusive”

by Adam Rovner, March 16, 2009

At nearly nine pages, "An Exclusive" is the lengthiest story in Etgar Keret's Girl on the Fridge. Perhaps because it's the longest, it's one of my favorites. Keret is known as a stylist of economy, of idiom, and of the manipulation of powerful cultural allusion. "An Exclusive" demonstrates…...read more »

An Athenian Story from…the Alexandra Birth Clinic

by Gazmend Kapllani, March 31, 2009

This is the fifth and final installment in a series of "Athenian Stories" from Gazmend Kapllani as a complement to our Greek issue this month. In these short dispatches, Kapllani documents the experience of immigrants living in Athens, one of the most diverse cities in southern Europe. Links are available…...read more »

Reading Daniel Kehlmann

by Arnon Grunberg, April 7, 2009

Daniel Kehlmann (born in 1975) is the star of German literature. His historical novel Die Vermessung der Welt (published in the US by Vintage as Measuring the World) sold more than 1.4 million copies in Germany alone. The English newspaper The Guardian wrote in an article about Kehlmann: íFor…...read more »

Dispatches: The Moth Revolution: Stories of Change

by Geoff Wisner, May 1, 2009

Great writers are not necessarily great storytellers. They are, after all, people who spend a great deal of time alone. But some of them are, and The Moth exists to showcase this rare breed. The Moth's events bring together famous and the not-so-famous authors in combinations you won't likely see otherwise.…...read more »

Shinji Ishii and The Story Behind the Novel

by Bonnie Elliott, May 6, 2009

As part of our month-long celebration of contemporary writing from Japan this May at Words without Borders, Bonnie Elliott provides an informative glimpse into the provenance of Shinji Ishii's novel Once Upon a Swing. You can read an excerpt from the novel, in Bonnie's translation, in this month's issue.…...read more »

Is Tezuka God?

by Yani Mentzas, May 7, 2009

Continuing our blog coverage this month to celebrate our Japan issue, Yani Mentzas, who many of our readers will remember from his appearance as a blogger during our Graphic Novels issue, holds forth on Osamu Tezuka. —Editors Back in February, when the Graphic Novels issue was up, I wrote here…...read more »

The World According to shinji ishii

by Bonnie Elliott, May 11, 2009

In her second dispatch this month, Bonnie Elliott tells us more about shinji ishii and the difficulties of resolving the real with the literary. You can find an excerpt from shinji ishii's Once Upon a Swing in this month's issue of the magazine. —Editors In our first email exchange, shinji explained…...read more »

Tanikawa Shuntaro, The Greatest Living Poet You’ve Never Heard Of

by Juliet Grames, May 13, 2009

In her dispatch for this month's issue on Japanese literature, Juliet Grames directs her attention to the post-war poet Tanikawa Shuntaro and his verse— lyrical, unusual, and largely unheard of in the U.S. —Editors There's nothing quite as exciting and frustrating as finding a piece of extremely…...read more »

Divine Comics

by Yani Mentzas, May 15, 2009

In his second post for our Japan issue, Yani Mentzas talks about the divine in the work of Osamu Tezuka —Editors In my previous post I pointed out that Osamu Tezuka—the God of Manga (manga no kamisama) and indisputably the most important figure in the history of Japanese comics—needs…...read more »

New Writers Explore the Dark Side of Japanese Literature

by Kay Ohara, May 19, 2009

Book sales are generally down in Japan, and for that matter, they've been down for more than a decade. Sure, you've heard of the rise of keitai shosetsu, novels written and read on the ubiquitous cell phones, but it's no Kindle and no one's getting royalties there. Excuse the pun, but it's something…...read more »

Deus Ex Tezuka: The Inaugural Episode of “Black Jack”

by Yani Mentzas, May 22, 2009

In his third post for our Japan issue, Yani Mentzas dissects the the moral (and national) background in Tezuka's work and discusses the religious imagery of a miracle-working doctor. —Editors Tezuka's ability to explore matters of divinity within manga, a form that was deemed inherently frivolous,…...read more »

Translating “The Tale of Genji”, the World’s First Novel

by Juliet Grames, May 27, 2009

In her second blog post for our issue of Japanese literature, Juliet Grames explores the roots of contemporary writing by discussing the now 1,000-year-old Tale of Genji. —Editors You may have heard the exciting news: it's the 1000th-anniversary of The Tale of Genji, the Japanese epic commonly…...read more »

Profession of Faith

by Yani Mentzas, June 1, 2009

In his final post in this series, Yani Mentzas takes us back to his childhood memories of Tezuka and talks about how public (and private) perceptions of the author's work have evolved over the years. —Editors While the perception that comics are mainstream in Japan is true to an extent, the case…...read more »

The Fantasy and the Far-Out

by Bud P., June 4, 2009

Why do people want to listen to an author when they have their books? From time to time, I'm plagued by this question. The last week of May, the Third International Forum on the Novel took place in the French city of Lyon. The line-up was impressive, from Aharon Appelfeld to Will Self, and from Adam…...read more »

Twenty Years after Tiananmen, Part II

by Wang Dan, June 16, 2009

In his second post for Words without Borders, former dissident leader Wang Dan continues his discussion about the significance of the events of June 4 in today's world and to the politics and policies of today's China. You can read his first post over here. —Editors One question that people have…...read more »

Embedded in Dutch Suburbia

by Arnon Grunberg, July 3, 2009

Suburbia is a mythical place. At least, it is if you believe quite a few novels, ranging from Updike's Couples to Yates' Revolutionary Road. And one could argue that Madame Bovary takes place in a village that is just suburbia's predecessor. Suburbia appears to be place where middle class morality is…...read more »

Soviet Mammoth: Vasily Aksyonov, 1932–2009

by Margarita Meklina, July 13, 2009

Even in his late seventies, the Russian writer Vasily Aksyonov played tennis, jogged, smoked like a chimney, listened to jazz, dressed with a certain bohemian flavor, flirted with women, divided his life between sunny Biarritz and snobbish Moscow, and drove a car. It was in the car that he had a stroke,…...read more »

Poets, Eunuchs, and Pricks

by Andre Naffis-Sahely, July 30, 2009

When Apollonius and his disciple Damis paid a visit to Rhodes in the winter of 68 AD, they stopped by the Colossus where the young man asked his mentor if society could aspire to anything greater. Apollonius replied: "Yes ... a man who has acquired wisdom through innocence." Philostratus, who noted that…...read more »

Summer Jobs in Europe

by Arnon Grunberg, August 7, 2009

Since 2007, I have been doing ísummer jobsë every year. The purpose of a summer job is to earn money, obviously, but the purpose of my summer jobs has been to write about my experiences. I worked as chambermaid in Bavaria and then I was a steward in the dining car of a Swiss train. The logical…...read more »

film icon Poeboes Podcast: Mark Ford on Translation

by Andre Naffis-Sahely, August 17, 2009

Words without Borders is delighted to bring you the second installment in our series of podcasts produced by Andre Naffis. In his Poeboes series for WWB, Naffis speaks to writers and poets from around the world and feature clips of them reading from their work. In his latest dispatch. Andre speaks to…...read more »