Archives

March, 2009

Dispatches: On the 100th Issue of Transition magazine

The 100th issue of Transition magazine just arrived in my mailbox: a milestone I wasn't sure it would reach. From the time of its revival in 1991 until now, Transition has been an essential resource for readers interested in the culture of Africa and the African diaspora. If you can read and support…...

Recent Festival of Conversations between French and American Authors

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…...

Letter from Iraq

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,…...

February, 2009

Dispatches: Aya by Marguerite Abouet

Aya, written by Marguerite Abouet and illustrated by the French artist Clément Oubrerie, is a lively and colorful glimpse of life in Ivory Coast in the late 1970s, a time when the country was enjoying unprecedented prosperity and the capital Abidjan was earning its title as the Paris of Africa.…...

My Nimrod Flipout

  I remember the first time I came across Etgar Keret, and that I threw the book across the room. I had been beat to the punch. This marvel, this oracle, this as we say in Yiddish, this “meshuga” mind had figured out how to hybrid what felt to me a mix of Irvine Welsh, Amy Hempel, Kafka,…...

Weekly News Update

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 [email protected]). The…...

Tayeb Salih 1929–2009

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…...

Three-week Arabic Arts Festival at Kennedy Center

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…...

Awards Recognize Excellence For Books in Translation

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…...

Keret Contest: What’s your favorite Etgar Keret Story?

  If you've read Etgar Keret's stories you know they're as addicting as they are short. You probably find yourself retelling or even reading them to your friends. Well how about sharing your favorite Keret story with us? Send the name of your favorite story to [email protected]…...

Dispatches: Merely Literary?

At The Reading Experience this past December, Dan Green defended the way in which he reads to analyze literature for its aesthetic aspects and “to open up the text in order to make its palpable qualities more accessible.” His declaration is clear and forthright: The formal and stylistic accomplishments…...

Manga Translation: Only Poets Need Apply (Part III)

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…...

Weekly News Update

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…...

“With me, those who seem to be the last come first.”: Meira Eliot on Bohumil Hrabal

Walking into the rather cramped room, you will see among other items on the heavy desk, a much used Consul typewriter, an opened, slightly crumpled pack of cheap cigarettes, a couple of pencils, a coffee mug, and an opened hardback book. Behind the desk in the simply furnished room, on bare floorboards,…...

Manga Translation: Only Poets Need Apply (Part II)

The Japanese language employs a mixture of phonetic scripts and ideograms. These latter, the Chinese or kanji characters, invariably take up more space than the original single glyph when rendered into English. There are other facets of the Japanese language that contribute to the tendency for the average…...

Ambiguous Adventure by Cheikh Hamidou Kane

Not long ago my partner Jenn and I were visited by a couple we first met in Brooklyn, but who later moved to Paris. John is a jazz trombonist from Montana. Ana is a Parisian actress and translator from a Portuguese family. Before they said goodbye, Ana looked over my bookcases, picked out a small, seemingly…...

Monica Carter of Skylight Books Recommends

In a new column for the WWB blogs, we will be reaching out to booksellers to let us know what their favorite new works in translation are and to speak a little about their choices. In our first post, Monica Carter, of Skylight Books gives us her reading list.—Editors Short, But Not Always Sweet…...

A Great discussion on Edith Grossman’s Don Quixote

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…...

Weekly News Update

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.…...

Manga Translation: Only Poets Need Apply (Part I)

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…...

Book World

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…...

Readings from BOMB’s 10th Anniversary Americas Issue

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.…...

Weekly News Update

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…...

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

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…...

Blogging about Graphics in February

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…...

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