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January, 2011

A Confucian Celerity: On “Angina Day: Selected Poems” by Günter Eich

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Throughout his years of exile, Bertolt Brecht carried little with him: his manuscripts, his smoker's paraphernalia, and a black scroll containing a painting of Confucius, which he would hang somewhere near his desk by the window. East Asian themes had always fascinated Brecht. In 1950, he published…...

From the Translator: Andrea Labinger on Angela Pradelli’s “The Bather”

In the latest in our "From the Translator" series , translator Andrea Labinger talks about Angela Pradelli's novel Amigas mías, from which "The Bather" is taken. Amigas mías, from which “The Bather” comes, has been described as  “[a] novel that precisely and subtly…...

From the Translator: David Ball and Nicole Ball on Abdourahman A. Waberi’s “Passage of Tears”

The French-Djiboutian writer Abdourahman A. Waberi was one of the writers to whom J.M.G. Le Clézio dedicated his Nobel Prize in his acceptance speech. Waberi has won many literary prizes and honors; his work has been translated into German, Italian, and Portuguese. He has received lavish praise…...

The Worst Editing Job in the World

. . . is the task accepted by the narrator of Horacio Castellanos Moya's Senselessness. In this extract from our issue of October 2006, a self-described "depraved atheist" writer is hired by the Catholic Church to edit an eleven-hundred-page report on the military's massacres of Indian villages. …...

December, 2010

White Christmas, Black Magic

For a twist on seasonal themes, check out Angelo Cannavacciuolo's "White Christmas," from our December 2008 issue. Yes, the story takes place on December 23 and 24, and snow does finally fall; but the title refers to the perfume with which the hooker Maria has ensorcelled the older, married Antonio,…...

The City and the Writer: In Los Angeles with Dorothy Barresi

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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.                              …...

A Semester’s Fruits: A Followup Report on the MFA Program at Queens College

It’s been quite a fall.  Those of you who read my earlier dispatch about arriving at Queens College of the City University of New York last September to teach in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation there know how my semester started out.  Now it’s just ended,…...

What’s So Great About Proust?

Last week’s hot ticket in literary London was the Royal Society for Literature’s program “What’s so great about Proust?” featuring Margaret Drabble, Ian Patterson (translator of the recent Penguin edition of book six), and Jane Haynes (a psychologist who has written on Proust),…...

From the Translator: Elizabeth Harris on Translating Marco Candida

I’d like to thank the editors at Words Without Borders once again for asking me to discuss my translation, this time of Marco Candida’s fiction. That WWB is interested in the translator’s perspective is wonderful and truly significant. Any comment I make on translating Marco’s…...

From the Translator: Paul Curtis Daw on Translating Vincent Mondiot

While leisurely making my way through a collection of winning entries from the 2006 French young writer’s competition, I was brought up short by “Ils viennent toujours en l’automne.”  Although there were many fine stories in the collection, including works both from France…...

My Top Five Foreign Horror Films

As the resident genre nerd at Words without Borders I thought I'd make a contribution to this month's “Horrors” issue with a listing of my top five favorite foreign horror movies. They are all entertaining and brilliant pieces of cinema that reflect different cultural ideas of terror…...

Flipping Stephen King Upside Down: Marco Candida on Why He Writes Horror

Translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris Italian author Marco Candida, whose work appears here n the December 2010 "Horrors" issue of WWB, speaks about why he loves writing Horror. The reason I write horror—and I like writing it, don’t worry about writing it, don’t hide the fact…...

A gift suggestion for the Günter Grass fan on your list

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If there’s a Günter Grass reader on your Christmas list, you’ve probably already thought about giving him or her a copy of The Box: Tales from the Darkroom, the quasi-novel quasi-memoir that came out last month from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in a translation by Krishna Winston. The Boxis…...

film icon A Terrifying Vision of Emily Dickinson From Poland

While Words without Borders normally bring you Polish literature translated into English, I can't resist sharing this absolutely terrifying and intense musical version of Emily Dickinson's poem "Much madness is divinest sense," performed in Polish by Monika Wierzbicka. Directed by Michal Jaskulski,…...

Platform of Blood

After you've shuddered through this month's offerings, check out "The Platform" from January 2010. Brazil's Pena Cabreira enters the mind of a master carpenter and builds to a piercing climax. You may never leave ground level again.

Wu Ming on King: On Translating Stephen King into Italian

We were intrigued to learn that Stephen King's new Italian translator is a member of the collective known as Wu Ming.  Wu Ming 1 graciously agreed to answer our questions. WWB: How did you decide to translate this book [Full Dark, No Stars]? WM1: I've been reading King's books since…...

Transition 103 goes to Cape Verde

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Most of the latest issue of the magazine Transitionis devoted to the art and literature of Cape Verde, the drought-stricken archipelago, once a colony of Portugal, that lies some 350 miles off the west coast of Africa. The hundred-odd pages in the Cabo Verde section of the issue were assembled by Carla…...

A bit about Amazon.com’s $44K grant to Words without Borders

Today I have the great pleasure of announcing that Words without Borders is the recipient of a $44,000 grant from Amazon.com. This grant, the largest they’ve given to date, will cover all our author and translator fees for 2011 and allow us to raise our payments to both. Amazon.com is now our second…...

November, 2010

Translator Lydia Beyoud Recommends more North-African Emigre Writers

As a supplement to her striking translation of Fouad Laroui’s short story “My Father’s Antenna,” we’ve asked translator Lydia Beyoud to give us her recommendations for North-African writers living abroad.—Editors As a short list of contemporary North African authors…...

The Other Turkey

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, we serve up the other Turkey. In addition to the fiction and poetry in this month's issue ("Before winter arrives you must hire a handsome assassin"), do help yourself to our all-Turkish issues. The first, "Women on the Verge of European Union," from December…...

Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig

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In his memoir, The World of Yesterday, published the year after his suicide in 1942 at age 60, Stefan Zweig wistfully recalls the sense of security that “made life seem worthwhile” and that defined his parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Pre-WWI Europe, it seemed, was on an…...

From the Translator: Lydia Beyoud on Fouad Laroui’s “My Father’s Antenna”

Rich with comic and descriptive juxtapositions of traditional Moroccan culture with the exotic and intriguing technology and terminology of the Western world, My Father’s Antenna makes for a comic and bittersweet story of the changes that propel an individual, a family, and a village in Morocco…...

Peter Cole on Silence in Writing and Translation

  “Only by sucking, not by knowing can the subtle essence be conveyed— sap of the word and world’s flowing” –Peter Cole, from Things on Which I've Stumbled   Peter Cole began his evening with literary translation students at Columbia University last week by…...

War and politics in Angola

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In some ways the novel Mayombe resembles an old World War II movie. A rugged military officer and his closest friend are fighting for a better life, but their passion for the same woman tests their friendship and their commitment to the struggle. But this time the two men aren’t GIs in Normandy…...

The City and the Writer: In London with Owen Hatherley

Image of The City and the Writer: In London with Owen Hatherley
Special City Series/London 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.                      …...

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