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February, 2008

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Reading what passes for the interview nowadays, one often wonders if the author has died—and been replaced by their publicist.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…...

Literary Malaise

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…...

Lawrence Venuti Tells us Some More About the Business of Translation

Earlier this month, Words Without Borders featured a piece by Lawrence Venuti on the business side of publishing books in translation. Venuti's article was written for the Frankfurt Book Fair Panel on To Be Translated or Not to Be, the report by Esther Allen, the Ramon Llull Institute and various PEN…...

Street Signs: Karachi Graffiti

The streets of Karachi are alive. Each day, as we drive out, there is something new to see, to read: all the walls around the city are plastered with political slogans, candidate endorsements and poetry in calligraphic-style Urdu and roughly-written English. When growing up, I never paid much attention…...

The A to Z of Literary Translation

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…...

“I will oppress you with my strange love”:  Andrzej Franaszek discusses the friendship of Zbigniew H

Andrzej Franaszek is a literary critic and cultural editor of the Polish weekly Tygodnik Powszechny. He is the author of Ciemne źródło (Dark Spring), which discusses the subject of suffering in the poetry of Zbigniew Herbert (the second edition will be published later in 2008). He is also…...

Reading Rutka Laskier

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…...

Inside the Echo Chamber: A Conversation with Alissa Valles

Alissa Valles was born in Amsterdam to an American father and a Dutch mother. She grew up in the USA and the Netherlands and studied Slavic languages, literature and history at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies in London and later at universities in Poland, Russia and the United States.…...

January, 2008

Long-list for Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

The longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has been announced. It's gratifying to see so many fine writers in translation all lined up. Just as heartwarming to have featured work by many of them. We've reproduced the list below, with links to the pieces that many have contributed to Words…...

“Emigration, Displacement and Loss in Polish Poetry: An Interview with Anna Frajlich”

by Anna Frajlich Cynthia Haven talks to Anna Frajlich about exile, aesthetics, ethics and more in the work of Zbigniew Herbert. You can read Anna Frajlich's essay on Herbert's "Apollo and Marsyas" over here. —Editors Anna Frajlich has been called "the best Polish poetess of her generation." The…...

Old Labour, New Labour

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…...

Lori Berenson

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,…...

Karl Pohrt in China

Over at Three Percent, Karl Pohrt, owner of Shaman Drum bookstore and part of a US delegation of booksellers visiting the Beijing book fair, has been blogging his visit to China. Karl's most recent post is an exciting account of his dinner with three poets, Zhai Yongmin, Zhou Zan and Xi Chuan. Here at…...

Kalidas at NAPA in Karachi

Sehba Sarwar's first novel Black Wings was published in 2004 (Alhamra Publishing). Her essays, poems and stories largely deal with issues of gender and displacement, and have been published in anthologies and magazines in Pakistan, India and the United States. Currently based in Houston (USA), she regularly…...

“The Truth of Human Suffering”: Anna Frajlich on “Apollo and Marsyas”

by Anna Frajlich Anna Frajlich talks about aesthetics and ethics in Herbert's "Apollo and Marsyas." Anna Frajlich has been called "the best Polish poetess of her generation." The émigré poet, scholar, and educator teaches at Columbia University.—Editors Herbert's poetry takes us into…...

Found in Translation (Now With Cash Prize)

Happily on theme for this month's focus on Polish literature, the Polish Book Institute, Polish Cultural Institute in London, Polish Cultural Institute in New York and W.A.B. Publishing House in Warsaw have announced the FOUND IN TRANSLATION Award. The award is given annually to a translator (or translators)…...

2008 Saif-Ghobash Banipal Prize Call for Entries (UK)

A call for entries for the 2008 Saif-Ghobash Banipal Prize from our friends at Banipal. Note that the deadline is 31 January! (And that this is for books published in the UK.) The end of this month, 31 January, sees the deadline for entries to the 2008 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation…...

Expanses of the Unspoken: An Interview with Peter Dale Scott

by Peter Dale Scott Cynthia Haven interviews Peter Dale Scott, one of the earliest translators of the work of Zbigniew Herbert. You can find James Marcus's introduction to the poet over here.—Editors Peter Dale Scott has worn many hats: he is a poet, former diplomat, professor emeritus of English…...

January Book Club— the “Collected Poems” of Zbigniew Herbert

We're delighted to launch the year in book clubs with a fantastic new club on the Collected Poems of the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert. Conducting interviews, holding forth on individual poems and encouraging discussion this month are James Marcus and Cynthia Haven. James Marcus is an author and translator…...

Final Thoughts on Laye

In the final installment of our book club discussion of Camara Laye's The Radiance of the King, Laila Lalami discusses the ways in which Laye's book went against the literary conventions of writing about "the dark continent."—Editors As I mentioned in an earlier post, the NYRB edition of Camara…...

December, 2007

Shadows & Questions

From Diary of A Bad Year: "I read again last night the fifth chapter of the second part of The Brothers Karamazov, the chapter in which Ivan hands back his ticket of admission to the universe God has created, and found myself sobbing uncontrollaby." Here at WWB we're working on our end of the year paperwork…...

Sandy Taylor (1931-2007)

Alexander (Sandy) Taylor was a brilliant publisher of literature in translation whose Curbstone Press, co-founded with his wife, Judith Doyle, is an inspiration to us all. For those who didn't know him, this interview on his life and work published last summer in New Pages, offers a glimpse of his creativity,…...

Chtenia, Nomer 1

The editors of Russian Life magazine announce the first ever issue of their companion publication, Chtenia. From the Russian word for "readings," Chtenia's aims are the logical extension of Russian Life's— more fiction, non-fiction and photography, now in a convenient paperback format. Each issue…...

Getting on the Back Flap

Last weekend I received an early Xmas gift in the form of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's new translation of War and Peace. Most striking to note is that Knopf decided to put a picture of the translating husband and wife on the back flap of the dust jacket, right in the space traditionally reserved…...

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