Archives

February, 2011

Borges: Faith to See in the Dark

In 2010, as part of the Penguin Classics Series, five new Borges books were released in the states. Last October, three of the editors, Suzanne Jill Levine, Alfred Mac Adam, and Maria Kodama, gathered at the Americas Society in New York City to discuss the project. The books highlight specific aspects…...

Africans in Paris: On “Malamine”

“I’ve never seen an African in a bookstore in France,” said Christophe Ngalle Edimo. “I say African, because whatever country in Africa you’re actually from, the minute you set foot in France, you’re an African. That’s how they see you—not who you are,…...

A Congolese creation myth

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In The Fire of Origins, translated from the French by Lillian Corti and published in 2001, the Congolese writer Emmanuel Dongala has produced not so much a novel as a national creation myth. His hero, Mandala Mankunku (who has several other names in the course of the story) is an outsize figure whose…...

film icon Censorship in Egypt: An Interview with Magdy El Shafee

In February 2008, WWB published an extract from the first Egyptian graphic novel for adults, Magdy El Shafee's Metro. Set in a chaotic modern Cairo pulsing with economic and social instability, the novel protrays the city as a vortex of political corruption. When the book was published in Egypt two…...

Imagining more Autumns for North Africa’s Patriarchs: The Dictator Novel in Egypt

In the mid 1970s, at a time when Latin American countries chafed under brutal dictatorships, an amazing literary phenomenon swept through the region. Three powerful novels were published within months of each other by three of the greatest authors of the region hailing from its varied corners. Inspired…...

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine. An Interview with Almog Behar

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Translated from the Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern In this installment of "Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine,"  Chana Morgenstern. speaks to Almog Behar, whose poem, Sheikh Jarrah, 2010" you can read over here. Chana Morgenstern: Can you tell me a little bit about how your experiences organizing with…...

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine. “Sheikh Jarrah, 2010.” A Poem by Almog Behar

Translated from the Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern. Almog Behar Is a Mizrahi (Jew of Arab descent) writer, literary critic and activist involved in the solidarity movement against the eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem.   Behar is also actively engaged in a small but vibrant…...

From the Translator: Andrea G. Labinger on Guillermo Martínez’s “Dance at the Marcone”

The prolific and talented Guillermo Martínez is well-known beyond the borders of his native Argentina.  Indeed, Martínez is one of the most-translated of contemporary Argentine writers. His 2003 mystery novel, Crímenes imperceptibles (translated into English by Sonia Soto as…...

An Algerian Lexicon

On February 3, smelling the smoke from Cairo, Algeria's aging President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, emerged from a long silence and promised an end to the state of emergency that has kept the country in political lockdown since 1992. The coalition of protest groups planning a nationwide "peaceful march…...

Voices, Voices Everywhere: Democracy in Tunisia

“A young man has set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid,” B. told me one morning over coffee last December.  He could not find a job and the police would not even let him be a fruit vendor. We still did not know his name.  B. then spoke of the brutal repression against shocked demonstrators…...

The City and the Writer: In Washington, D.C. with E. Ethelbert Miller

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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.                              …...

From the Translator: Jonathan Blitzer on “Ride of the Valkyries”

In his post, "Our Man in Madrid" series editor Jonathan Blitzer speaks about Wagnerian imprecations and military coups in Juan Carlos Chirinos's "Ride of the Valkyries." Juan Carlos Chirinos dedicated “Ride of the Valkyries,” to his friend, the Venezuelan photographer and portraitist …...

January, 2011

A Rumbling Octopus: Egyptians Take to the Streets in Protest

"The square’s full.  The streets feeding into it are full…There’s never been a demonstration like this before…Egypt appeared to be one great demonstration, united in one person and a single chant.” —from Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz, translated by William…...

From Angoulême: European Comics in Anglophone Markets

Thursday, I attended a session in the “rights balloon” (let’s hope it’s not a “rights bubble”) entitled “Franco-Belgian BD business in the USA Today.” The panel, moderated by noted English comics blogger Paul Gravett, consisted of four American editors,…...

Angoulême Bubbles Over

Angoulême! It’s an eyegasm. As promised. The sky, overcast since Paris, finally brightened as the TGV pulled past Poitiers without stopping. From my seat, I was playing the game I always do when going to geek cons, whether comics or science-fiction and fantasy: spot your fellow travelers.…...

Debeurme, Berberian, and Denis, Signing in Brussels

Frit Flagey is regularly considered one of the best fry joints (friterie, or fritkot) in Brussels. It’s also one of the slowest, and so can always be spotted by its line, in which smatterings of many languages and diversely accented French are often heard. Over the last year it has moved three…...

Book Reviews: Who Should Write about Literature in Translation?

Translation was a central subject with a panel of book review editors this week, at the Center for Fiction in New York. The event, “Book Reviews, Revamped,” was put on in partnership with the National Book Critics Circle, and moderated by the organization’s president, Jane Ciabattari.…...

The City and the Writer: In Damascus with Abed Ismael

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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.                       …...

In Memoriam: Abdellatif el Jaziri, 1969–2010

Abdellatif el Jaziri was a Moroccan from Fez with a fine Berber head (long and narrow, with a strong chin and prominent cheekbones) and an unflappable sense of humor.  Until recently, he taught Arabic in New York City. “Sometimes it seemed like half the city wanted him to teach them Arabic,”…...

La Grève, C’est Grave (Striking is a Serious Business)

Shortly after celebrating its twentieth anniversary in May, French indie comics powerhouse L’Association now finds itself at a stalemate with its employees, who’ve gone on strike to protest a recent round of holiday layoffs that reduced the salaried staff by half. Indie comics remains a small,…...

Humphrey Davies Wins 2010 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize

Congratulations to our marvelous Arabic translator Humphrey Davies, winner of the 2010 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Elias Khoury's novel Yalo. Humphrey also won the inaugural Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize in 2006 for his translation of…...

A Training Manual for Murder

Ambar Past's mordant "Practice for Hangmen," from our March 2007 issue, offers a training manual for executioners. Jumping off from a Reuters report on the unfortunate results of flawed execution, Past puts a twist to the list poem. Acknowledging the inherent problem of practice, she advises, "Get…...

From the Translator: Jethro Soutar on Translating José Pérez Reyes’s “In Hock”

In this installment of our "From the Translator" series, translator Jethro Soutar talks about the process of translating José Pérez Reyes's "In Hock,"  from the January 2011 issue of WWB. When reading in a foreign language, the translator can’t help but be constantly thinking:…...

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…...

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