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September, 2010

Lydia Davis blogging on Translating Madame Bovary at The Paris Review

We're very excited about the new translation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary by Lydia Davis, whom, you may recall, also translated Proust's Swann's Way. Davis is blogging over at the (newly redesigned) Paris Review website, beginning with "Why a New Madame Bovary?" Here's an excerpt:…...

The Scorpion by Albert Memmi

Image of The Scorpion by Albert Memmi
A scorpion, it is said, when surrounded by a ring of embers and unable to escape, will sting itself to death out of rage and frustration. Or will it? Perhaps this is an old wives’ tale. Perhaps the scorpion stings itself, but accidentally. Perhaps it stings itself and appears to be dead, but recovers…...

NEA Literature Translation Fellowships Announced

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2011 Literature Translation Fellowships, and we're delighted to see so many WWB friends and contributors on the list. Congratulations to Esther Allen, Robert Bononno, Bill Coyle, Edward Gauvin, Jason Grunebaum, Yasmeen Hanoosh, Deborah Hoffman,…...

One Poem, Two Translations: A Three-Way Conversation

When I was starting out as a translator in the late 1980s, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei had caused a stir in American poetry and translation circles.  Eliot Weinberger and Octavio Paz had taken a four-line Chinese poem, over a millennium old, and presented it together with nineteen very different…...

From the Archives: Trading Maniacs

If you're reveling in this month's Urdu issue, do check out Saadat Hasan Manto's 1955 classic "Toba Tek Singh" from September 2003. Just after Partition, the governments of Pakistan and India decide to exchange lunatics: "Muslim lunatics in Indian madhouses would be sent to Pakistan, while…...

Fady Joudah Wins PEN USA Translation Prize

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F*** You around the World

The New York Times is known for its demure treatment of profanity, but a recent article on a cheery new song with an unprintable title took this habitual prissiness to new heights. The writer, Noam Cohen, delivered a masterpiece of (in)elegant variation in his valiant avoidance of The Word. Which made…...

Around the Day in Eighty Worlds

Image of Around the Day in Eighty Worlds
Around the Day in Eighty Worlds, by the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar, appeared in its first version in Spanish in 1967. This “collage book” was followed two years later by another, entitled Last Round. Eleven years later, in 1980, the author chose 62 selections from the two volumes…...

August, 2010

From the Archives: A Coastal Village, When Summer Gives It the Slip

As the Northern Hemisphere's summer crawls to a close, we recommend Yasmina Khadra's "Absence."  In an Algerian resort town at the end of the season, shy, dreamy teen Nasser waves good-bye to the departing Noria, the object of his mute yearning. Wandering the deserted streets, Nasser imagines…...

From the Archives: The Girl with the Finnish Stalker

In this Summer of Stieg Larsson, we challenge Sweden's claim to the Nordic crime crown with a chilling Finnish story from our issue of June 2007.  In this extract from one of Matti Yrjänä Joensuu's Detective Harjunpää novels, a criminal with the deceptively mild name…...

The Savage Night by Mohammed Dib

Image of The Savage Night by Mohammed Dib
Mohammed Dib was born in Algeria in 1920 and was deported for his nationalist views in 1959, during the country's long and bloody war for independence. Though he was a prolific and honored writer in France, where he died in 2003, his work has been almost unavailable in English. In 2001, the University…...

From the Archives: The Particular Sadness of Fresh Lobster

Since the entire world is on vacation, anticipating vacation, or just back from vacation, we recommend "Agony in the Kitchen," from our issue of September 2003. Juan José Millás depicts a fretful man who installs his family in a beautiful seaside house but can't take a holiday from…...

New York, New York!

In his excellent new book, Hispanic New York, Columbia University’s Claudio Remeseira stays within the five boroughs and yet has achieved something decidedly, and admirably, far-flung. I think of the volume as a biography of New York, a portrait of the city – past, present, and future –…...

Cross-Cultural Dialogues: In Response

We'd like to respond to a recent online article which raised some concerns about the initial description of our project. First of all, as the moderators we would like to thank the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) for their feedback and state that we are…...

From the Archives: Riding Bearback

If this month's wealth of Hungarian writing leaves you wanting more, look no further than our May 2008 issue. György Dragomán's "Haul" describes a human smuggler named Zeus and his less than Olympian methods.  In an unspecified year, he drives his desperate clients to an unnamed…...

Inspirations

As Chana and I have begun to examine the literary and publishing trends in Israel and the Palestinian territories in light of the shifting political situation in the region, I’ve found myself thinking back to a recent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, titled: “William…...

Maps

A few years ago, in a seminar I took on contemporary Palestinian literature, the professor gave us a homework assignment to draw a map of Israel and Palestine.  I remember finding it a bit comical, the idea of a bunch of graduate students going home, digging up some crayons or markers, and clumsily…...

Elif Shafak on the Politics of Fiction

Ted.com features a video of Turkish writer and WWB contributor Elif Shafak speaking on the politics of fiction.  Shafak describes her childhood as the daughter of a diplomat, recalls the various stereotypes her classmates had of Turkey and the correspondingly clichéd expectations put on multicultural…...

From the Archives: Dueling Castro Autobiographies

Fidel Castro has announced the publication of The Strategic Victory, the first volume of his memoirs. (The second volume:  The Final Strategic Counteroffensive.) For a possibly more accurate perspective, check out these extracts from Norberto Fuentes's Autobiography of Fidel Castro: chapter…...

July, 2010

New Blog Series: Cross-Cultural-Dialogues In the Middle East

The two of us met during a particularly gritty winter in our first year of graduate school at Brown University. While Chana, an Israeli fiction writer, translator and scholar had just begun working on her PhD in Israeli and Palestinian Comparative Literature, I was completing my MFA in Fiction at the…...

From the Archives: To the Winner Goes the Prosciutto

Jean-Philippe Toussaint's Self-Portrait Abroad collects the Belgian writer's impressions of his travels to destinations as diverse as Kyoto, Berlin, Hanoi, and Prague. The extract published in our issue of April 2006, "Cap Corse (The Best Day of My Life)," describes an afternoon on Corsica that…...

Lives on Paper

We're delighted to note the publication of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud's Life on Paper, a collection of short stories selected and translated by Edward Gauvin. Châteaureynaud is recognized as one of France's top fabulists, but had little exposure in English until Gauvin…...

From the Translator: Why I Translate the Work of Andrei Sen-Senkov

This essay is written as an accompaniment to the poem “Drawings on a Soccer Ball,” but since this poem is a good representation of Sen-Senkov’s work in general I would like to write broadly about my experience with his work as a whole.   I first met the author in 2007 in Moscow,…...

From the Archives: The Sweet Science and Magic

Ana María Shua's Rematch, from our August 2005 issue, goes twelve rounds with the story of Argentine boxer Carlos Monzón, the World Champion Middleweight from 1970 to 1977.  Our narrator, a grizzled old fan, recounts how he engineered Monzón's brilliant career and violent…...

Translating the World

The Banff Centre Press has just published a collection of essays on translation, Beyond Words: Translating the World, edited by Susan Ouriou, director of the Banff International Literary Translation Center. The Centre offers an annual summer residency for translators working into and from the languages…...

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