Archives

September, 2010

From WWB to Book: Success Stories

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To our delight, a number of WWB authors have sold English-language rights to their work as a result of publication in WWB. We'll be highlighting some of them in this series. The prolific Moroccan writer Abdelilah Hamdouchi had not appeared in English before WWB published a chapter from his Final…...

Chekhov’s mongoose

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You don’t always realize the art that goes into a good memoir until you read one that isn’t so good. I came to Anton Chekhov: A Brother’s Memoir with high hopes, but had to admit after the first fifty pages or so that the book (through no fault of the translator) is a bit of a mess.…...

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature:  Week Two

Resuming last week's conversation, the speculation continues. Britain's suspiciously accurate Ladbrokes is yet to weigh in, but  Unibet has posted odds for candidates both familiar (Adonis) and ludicrous (Thomas Bodström), with Paraguay's thirty-year-old Néstor Amarilla the…...

The City and the Writer: In Antwerp with Ramsey Nasr

  If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                              …...

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine: Politics and Art in Sheikh Jarrah

I. On Friday afternoons the streets of Jerusalem begin to empty out. Friday is a holy day of rest for both the Muslims and the Jews of Jerusalem, and as the Jewish Sabbath is about to begin, the Muslims’ afternoon prayers have just concluded. But for the hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians who…...

New Blog Series: Nathalie Handal’s “The City and the Writer”

I have a passion for cities, their irresistible unrest, the way they make you feel unsettled yet welcomed. I also have a passion for books. And, as we all know, the two go hand-in-hand. It's hard not to think of Prague when one mentions Milan Kundera. Just as it's difficult when one mentions…...

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature: Our Office Pool

Between the World Cup and the World Series comes high season for world literature: time to place your bets on this year's candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can read two of the usual suspects, Adonis and Ko Un, right here, as well as laureates Herta Müller, J. M. G. Le Clézio,…...

Playing Wii with a Gun to His Head: An Interview with Sayed Kashua

Within two minutes of meeting the Israeli Arab writer Sayed Kashua, I realize that the questions I have prepared—about identity, and intifadas—are far too serious. In his first two novels (Dancing Arabs, Grove Press, 2004; and Let It Be Morning, Grove Press, 2006), Kashua uses stark, sometimes…...

Travel Journals for Sleepwalkers: The Stories of Roberto Bolaño

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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…...

MFA in Translation: Queens College

According to the New York Times, New York’s borough of Queens is one of the most linguistically diverse urban areas in the country—its inhabitants listed 138 different languages on their census forms this year—making it a perfect place to study translation.  And indeed, in 2007…...

Lydia Davis blogging on Translating Madame Bovary at The Paris Review

We're very excited about the new translation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary by Lydia Davis, whom, you may recall, also translated Proust's Swann's Way. Davis is blogging over at the (newly redesigned) Paris Review website, beginning with "Why a New Madame Bovary?" Here's an excerpt:…...

The Scorpion by Albert Memmi

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A scorpion, it is said, when surrounded by a ring of embers and unable to escape, will sting itself to death out of rage and frustration. Or will it? Perhaps this is an old wives’ tale. Perhaps the scorpion stings itself, but accidentally. Perhaps it stings itself and appears to be dead, but recovers…...

NEA Literature Translation Fellowships Announced

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2011 Literature Translation Fellowships, and we're delighted to see so many WWB friends and contributors on the list. Congratulations to Esther Allen, Robert Bononno, Bill Coyle, Edward Gauvin, Jason Grunebaum, Yasmeen Hanoosh, Deborah Hoffman,…...

One Poem, Two Translations: A Three-Way Conversation

When I was starting out as a translator in the late 1980s, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei had caused a stir in American poetry and translation circles.  Eliot Weinberger and Octavio Paz had taken a four-line Chinese poem, over a millennium old, and presented it together with nineteen very different…...

From the Archives: Trading Maniacs

If you're reveling in this month's Urdu issue, do check out Saadat Hasan Manto's 1955 classic "Toba Tek Singh" from September 2003. Just after Partition, the governments of Pakistan and India decide to exchange lunatics: "Muslim lunatics in Indian madhouses would be sent to Pakistan, while…...

Fady Joudah Wins PEN USA Translation Prize

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F*** You around the World

The New York Times is known for its demure treatment of profanity, but a recent article on a cheery new song with an unprintable title took this habitual prissiness to new heights. The writer, Noam Cohen, delivered a masterpiece of (in)elegant variation in his valiant avoidance of The Word. Which made…...

Around the Day in Eighty Worlds

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Around the Day in Eighty Worlds, by the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar, appeared in its first version in Spanish in 1967. This “collage book” was followed two years later by another, entitled Last Round. Eleven years later, in 1980, the author chose 62 selections from the two volumes…...

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