Archives

September, 2011

After the Revolution: Tunisia, September

The improbable woman was dressed in black Her diverse shadow and her hallucinations were there only to redefine the furtive with appropriate optimism, I could not elude her —Slaheddine Haddad,"A carters’ tea" September still feels like summer in Tunisia, even more so after a revolution. The…...

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature: Round Two

Resuming last week's conversation, the speculation continues. Britain's suspiciously accurate Ladbrokes bets on Adonis at 4:1, followed by Tomas Transtromer at 9:2 and Peter Nadas at 10:1. Thomas Pynchon and Assia Dejebar are at 12:1, with Ko Un in sixth position at 14:1.  Any number of…...

The City and the Writer: In Portland with Flávia Rocha

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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.                                                                      …...

Beyond the Limits of Genre: An Interview with Muharem Bazdulj

Image of Beyond the Limits of Genre: An Interview with Muharem Bazdulj
Muharem Bazdulj lives in Sarajevo, works as a journalist for Oslobodjenje daily, and has published more than ten books (novels, short stories, essays, poetry). His books have been translated into English, German and Polish, and his short stories and essays into a dozen more foreign languages. He has…...

Translating the Invisible with Tahar Ben Jelloun

Literature, claims the director of this year's International Literature Festival in Berlin, Ulrich Schreiber, can be our society's political and moral compass. Since 2001, the Festival has given some of the world's most influential writers a place to come together. The Festival…...

On Being Translated from English to English, by Way of Spanish

I was born into Spanish but grew up in English. I was born in Guatemala and lived there until we moved to South Florida with my family, the day of my tenth birthday, in August of 1981, and I immediately fell into this new sound, into this new identity, called English. I grew up in English. Discovered…...

“The Truth About Marie” by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

Image of “The Truth About Marie” by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
“The good, the admirable reader,” said Vladimir Nabokov in his Lectures on Russian Literature, “identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.” Perhaps he was anticipating that current sacred cow of American…...

The 2011 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,…...

Virginia Woolf on the River Plate

I arrived in Montevideo on the first full day of winter in the southern hemisphere. The dark, muddy winter light was a shock after the bright, metallic air of New York on the eve of summer. Montevideo is not a particularly beautiful city. Too much of the old art-deco architecture was torn down in the…...

A Berlin Diary, in Memory of September 11

I spent the academic year 2001–2 in Berlin.  This was a year bracketed by tragedies that took place in my absence—one huge and life-changing for millions of people, one small and life-changing for just a few.  The year began with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and…...

Layers of Dust and Debris

Another year and its layers of dust and debris. Ten years gone by and the pictures, the words still as sharp and vivid. Glass you dare not touch with your fingers. It all happened across the Atlantic, very far away. The horror reverberating around the planet in a matter of minutes. It has never stopped…...

“I Still Belong to My Country”: An Interview with Ali Al Jallawi

Poet Ali Al Jallawi fled Bahrain in April of this year, one of many political activists, journalists, and writers who left the country rather than risk arrest during a crackdown against pro-democracy protests. In the 1990s Al Jallawi had been imprisoned twice, and tortured, as described in his memoir…...

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