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April, 2008

The A to Z of Literary Translation: P to R

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…...

Translation and Publishing Roundtable: Translated Literature, a Cottage Industry?

For the publishing panelists of this roundtable, the value of a translator was invariably in his/her command of the English language and not necessarily just their fluency in the language they were translating from. On top of which, a good translator "captured the original voice," which again, is different…...

Bolaño and the Infrarealists

As many of us are buzzing over the recent New Directions release of Nazi Literature in the Americas, FSG's paperback edition of The Savage Detectives is also in stores, dropping almost simultaneously as if a new Bolaño translation wasn't quite enough. The paperback Savage Detectives is worth a look…...

Preparations for a Close Escape

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…...

Why Do We Hate Us?

The first thing that must be said about visiting the United Arab Emirates is that the traveler does not get a full picture due to the invisibility of migrant workers hidden away in work camps outside the glitz and glamour of cosmopolitan Dubai. I first visited Dubai in the spring of 1984 and came away…...

Translation and Publishing Rountable: How To Get A Contract

The "Translation and Publishing" roundtable q&a was predominated by questions from translators on how to get contracts. Having once been the marketing director for a translation publishing house myself (Vertical, Inc. specializing in Japanese fiction), I could offer a few pieces of advice, but probably…...

The Curious Absence of Asia…

Anne Ishii is a writer, consultant and blogger (http://ill-iterate-anne.blogspot.com) specializing in pop culture and publishing. She has written for The Village Voice, BUST, Giant Robot and various other print and online outfits, on top of translating for outlets such as WNET/Thirteen and Pantheon.…...

Columbia Graduate Student Translation Conference

Sunday marked the end of Columbia's three-day Graduate Student Translation Conference. Panel discussions revolved around various aspects of the work, business and craft of translation. Chad Post recaps the conference highjinks over at Three Percent. We're also lucky to have more on-the-ground reportage…...

March, 2008

The A to Z of Literary Translation: M to O

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…...

Pan-African Literary Forum in Ghana

The Pan-African Literary Forum announces its Summer Writers' Conference, as well as two scholarships that will take the winners, with all-expenses paid, to Ghana to attend. The conference will gather both established and emerging writers from Africa, the Diaspora and around the world for a series of…...

The Literature of the Future

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…...

The A to Z of Literary Translation: J to L

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…...

And the Winners Are! (Publishers, sign these folks up…)

Hot off the presses...the winners of the 2008 PEN Translation Fund grants... PEN Translation Fund Announcement of 2008 Grant Recipients The PEN Translation Fund, now celebrating its fifth year of existence, is pleased to announce the winners of this year's competition. Out of a stellar field of 123 applicants,…...

Who’s Not Translating Whom? The State of Arabic-Language Translation Six Years Later

Many readers of WWB will probably still remember the exchange between historian Paul Kennedy and translator Esther Allen in the letters section of Harper's Magazine in fall of 2002. In his letter, Kennedy cited the critical assessment of the Arab world in the UN's recent Arab Human Development…...

Mabinogi

Sophie Powell is the author of the novel The Mushroom Man, which has been translated into several languages, as well as several short stories and essays. Raised in London and on a sheep farm in Wales, she is a graduate of Cambridge University (BA Classics) and New York University (MFA Creative Writing,…...

Nights in Translation

WWB translator and author Daniel Borzutzky will be appearing this Sunday, March 9, 2008, at Myopic Books in Chicago along with Mark Tardi, Joel Calahan, and V. Joshua Adams. The Myopic Poetry series has dubbed the event A Night of Translation, which could imply that the poets will be reading original…...

The A to Z of Literary Translation: G to I

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…...

A Beet Issue

Rebecca Myers holds an MA in English from The University of Georgia and an MFA in Poetry from NYU. She is the full-time assistant to poet Sharon Olds. A resident of Brooklyn, Rebecca is currently writing a collection of creative non-fiction essays called "Poetry at Work," a humorous account of how poetry…...

Embedded in Iraq

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…...

February, 2008

Rotten English

Amitava Kumar and Michael Ryan edit the Rotten English issue of Politics and Culture. The issue takes its cue from Dohra Ahmad's book Rotten English: A Literary Anthology. The title of the book comes from Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten English. What are Saro-Wiwa and Ahmad getting at? Mandakini…...

Hosam Aboul-Ela in Cairo

Hosam Aboul-Ela teaches in the department of English and the program in World Cultures and Literatures at the University of Houston. He has lived most of his life in two exotic foreign countries—Egypt and Texas. He is the English translator of the novels Voices by Soleiman Fayyad and Distant Train…...

HERBERT: POET OF DESPONDENT HOPE

Raport z oblężonego miasta Report from a Besieged City by Cynthia Haven In the final installment in our discussion on Zbigniew Herbert's Collected Poems Cynthia Haven leads us through Herbert's Report from a Besieged City. We're deeply grateful for both Cynthia's and James's wonderful…...

The A to Z of Literary Translation: D to F

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…...

Forward Interview with Alexandr Skidan

Reading what passes for the interview nowadays, one often wonders if the author has died—and been replaced by their publicist. So when we run across a genuinely-engaged literary conversation in the mainstream press, one almost wants to shout from the rooftops. Here is one such conversation between…...

Thoughts on Lavigny

Alix Ohlin is the author of The Missing Person, a novel, and Babylon and Other Stories. She lives in Easton, Pennsylvania. In her first post for WWB, she talks about her experience at the Château de Lavigny in Switzerland, the writers' residency established by Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt. Alix…...

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