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May, 2015

The PEN World Voices Festival As It Happened: “Divine Punishment”

            Photo: Elsa Ruiz When the award-winning thriller Castigo Divino was first published in 1988, its author Sergio Ramirez was three years into his term as vice president of Nicaragua. The manuscript for the English translation of the novel was completed soon afterward,…...

2015 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature: Coverage at Words without Borders

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The PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature returns for an eleventh year, this time focusing on the literatures of Africa. Words without Borders will be be covering many of the events here on our Dispatches blog. Check back daily for ongoing coverage of events. …...

The PEN World Voices Festival As It Happened: “Armenian Genocide: A Dark Paradigm”

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In 1915, 1.5 million Armenians perished. Much of the world has yet to acknowledge the systematic killing, torture, and displacement of the Armenians as genocide. On May 6, 2015, PEN scholars gathered to pay tribute to eighty-two writers and cultural leaders who were among the dead. The event was not…...

The Last Visit: Tomas Tranströmer in December 2013

In Stockholm's old town, the alleys are so packed with snow that you have to climb down to enter stores. The bridge railings seem to be dwarfed, and the black waters of the Baltic Sea, which spill into the city, shine oily and cold. It's December and all festivities are sequestered behind brightly…...

The City and the Writer: In Gaza City with Atef Abu Saif

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Special Series/The Palestinians 2015 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.                    —Italo…...

The Week in Translation

GO what: PEN World Voices Festival when: May 4-10 where: NYC more info: http://ow.ly/M98wE what: The Literary Mews: Reading and Lecture with Abdourahman Waberi when: Friday, May 8, 3-4pm where: 19 Washington Square more info: http://ow.ly/MsLeD SUBMIT what: The Guardian's 2015 Stephen…...

April, 2015

Burton Watson Awarded PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation

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PEN has just announced that the renowned scholar and translator from Chinese Burton Watson has won the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation. One of PEN’s most prestigious lifetime achievement awards, the medal is given every three years to a translator whose career has demonstrated…...

The City and the Writer: In Jerusalem with Ibtisam Azem

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Special Series/The Palestinians 2015 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.                    —Italo Calvino,…...

The Week in Translation

GO what: Barnard Center for Translation Studies "Translation in Transition" conference (free and open to the public) when: May 1-2 where: Barnard College, NYC more info: http://ow.ly/M98s1 what: PEN World Voices Festival when: May 4-10 where: NYC more info: http://ow.ly/M98wE SUBMIT what: The…...

Crafting a Cultural Idiom of Engagement: The US President’s Persian Poetry (Part 2)

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This the second part of a two-part series on president Barack Obama's use of Persian poetry as a diplomatic tool. Click here to read part one. In his 2015 message, as he had done previously in 2013, the president quoted from the poetry of Hafez. Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez of Shiraz, who died near…...

Crafting a Cultural Idiom of Engagement: The US President’s Persian Poetry (Part 1)

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The events culminating in the interim agreement between Iran and the members of the P5+1 group in Lausanne, Switzerland over Iran’s nuclear program are sure to attract historians wishing to understand how two countries with minimal diplomatic ties (severed more than three decades ago) were able…...

We Have a New Book Reviews Editor

Words without Borders is pleased to announce K. Thomas Kahn has joined us as book reviews editor. Kahn’s criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, The Quarterly Conversation, Open Letters Monthly, Bookslut, 3:AM Magazine, Berfrois, Numéro…...

The City and the Writer: In Nazareth with Sousan Hammad

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Special Series/The Palestinians 2015 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.                        …...

The Week in Translation

GO what: Tim Parks discusses his new essay collection, Where I’m Reading From: The Changing World of Books, which examines the rise of the “global” novel and the disappearance of literary styles that do not travel; the changing vocation of the writer today; the increasingly…...

The City and the Writer: In London with Hannah Khalil

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Special Series/The Palestinians 2015 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.                                                …...

The Week in Translation

SUBMIT   what: The Guardian's 2015 Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation submission deadline: May 22, 2015 more info: http://ow.ly/HWpxQ   APPLY   what: ALTA Travel Fellowships when: ALTA 2015: Translation & Traffic (Oct. 28-31, 2015) where: Tucson, AZ application…...

Translating as Transformative Experience: Columbia’s Word for Word

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For the fourth year in a row, Columbia University’s School of the Arts hosted a reading to celebrate Word for Word, an exchange program that brings together pairs of writers from different countries and languages to translate each other’s work. For the past three years, Columbia students…...

The City and the Writer: In Tehran with Mohsen Emadi

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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.                                  —Italo…...

The Week in Translation

GO what:  In Translation: Time Ages in a Hurry by Antonio Tabucchi  The release of Antonio Tabucchi’s short story collection Time Ages in a Hurry, beautifully translated from the Italian by Martha Cooley and Antonio Romani and published in English for the first time by Archipelago…...

Interview with Pedro Juan Gutiérrez (Part 2)

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Read the first part of this interview here. Ezio Neyra: What are you working on now? Do you think it differs from your writing during the nineties, in terms of autobiography? Juan Pedro Gutiérrez: Yes. As my life has gone on changing, my writing has done the same. I think it’s most…...

WWB at AWP

If you’re heading to the Associated Writing Programs conference in Minneapolis next week, then you already know about the wealth of translation panels, events, and general buzz on offer. ALTA  has compiled a most useful schedule here.  We're sponsoring two panels and taking part…...

Interview with Pedro Juan Gutiérrez (Part 1)

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In the café of the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC), Pedro Juan Gutiérrez chooses a far-off table, next to a fence that’s covered with bamboo. Drugs, sex, and alcohol abound in his books, so I’m struck right away by his refined manners and his gentle, deliberate way of…...

The Missing “I”: Translating Natsuko Kuroda’s autobiographical prose

Natsuko Kuroda's a b sango, the novel of which the chapter “Waymarkers” is an extract, divided opinion as an experimental work following twinning Japan’s most widely-publicized literary prize, the Akutagawa. In the original, it features several peculiarities, including…...

March, 2015

The City and the Writer: In Cork with Patrick Cotter

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Special City Series/Ireland 2015 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.                              …...

The Week in Translation

GO what: Word for Word Literary Translation Exchange 2015 Reading and Reception Columbia Writing Program students and their partners from Scuola Holden in Turin, Italy and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain) will present a multilingual panoply of readings in English, Italian, and…...

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