Archives

May, 2010

The Apex Book of World SF

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The December issue of Words Without Borders was devoted to International Science Fiction. One sign of the vitality of the genre is The Apex Book of World SF, a new anthology edited by Lavie Tidhar, the author of a collection of linked stories called HebrewPunk. The Apex Book includes stories from twelve…...

Interview with Alina Bronsky, author of “Broken Glass Park”

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Alina Bronsky, a German writer of Russian origin, immigrated to Germany when she was thirteen, and published her first novel, Broken Glass Park, in 2008 when she was only thirty years old. The novel was very well received by both the public and the critics and was nominated for the Bachmann Prize, one…...

film icon Poeboes Podcast with Samuel Shimon

Samuel Shimon (1956 - ) is an Assyrian writer, filmmaker, editor and anthologist. Born in Al-Habbaniyah, Iraq, he left his country in 1979. Over the years, he has lived in Damascus, Amman, Beirut, Nicosia, Aden, Cairo, Tunis, and Paris, and finally London, where he currently resides. He is the assistant…...

Foreign Policy Debuts Translation Feature

Foreign Policy debuts a feature, "Overcoming the Language Barrier," presenting brief extracts from fiction and nonfiction in translation from Afrikaans, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.

film icon Discovering “The Black Minutes” at the PEN World Voices Festival

I went to see the NBCC's* "This Critical Moment" panel for the single reason that last year I hadn't and missed Rigoberto González's discussion of Álvaro Enrigue (whose work we've published). I felt what he had to say about Enrigue was important and well thought out, the sort…...

Ben Okri and Anderson Tepper at the PEN World Voices Festival

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you missed Ben Okri’s appearance on Sunday, you may have a long wait before another one comes along. Okri doesn’t like to fly — “I go by train, by boat, or I swim” — and he has not been in New York for many years. Worse…...

Toni Morrison and Marlene van Niekerk at the PEN World Voices Festival

Image of Toni Morrison and Marlene van Niekerk at the PEN World Voices Festival
Marlene van Niekerk is one of the most prominent Afrikaans-language writers, the author of (among other books) two big and ambitious novels: Triomf and Agaat. Toni Morrison’s enthusiasm for Agaat appeared to be the reason for this event, in which the Nobel Prize winner did her best to keep the…...

PEN World Voices: Atiq Rahimi in Conversation with Lila Azam Zanganeh

Afghan author Atiq Rahimi’s Prix Goncourt-winning and internationally acclaimed novel, The Patience Stone—an excerpt of which he read during the festival’s opening night extravaganza—is his fourth book, but the first that he wrote in French, rather than in his Persian mother tongue.…...

Patti Smith and Jonathan Lethem at the PEN World Voices Festival

Image of Patti Smith and Jonathan Lethem at the PEN World Voices Festival
I was lucky enough to be in the middle of reading Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids when I went to hear her in conversation with Jonathan Lethem. The book centers around her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, whom she met almost as soon as she arrived in New York City at the age of twenty, and it…...

film icon Resonances: Contemporary Writers on the Classics at PEN World Voices Festival

My goal each day of the PEN World Voices Festival is to find one writer or one book I've never heard of that sparks my interest. What more could one ask for? Thursday's find was Marcel Möring whose novel, In a Dark Wood, owes its conception to Dante's Inferno. I found Möring at…...

PEN World Voices: David Almond and Sofi Oksanen in Conversation with Rakesh Satyal

“The act of writing is an act of exploration, an act of discovery…and that’s what growing up is,” mused British children's author David Almond on Friday, when he appeared with Finnish-Estonian novelist Sofi Oksanen at CUNY’s Elebash Recital Hall. During the hour-long…...

April, 2010

I Come From There: New Plays from the Arab World at PEN World Voices Festival

At the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center yesterday afternoon, readings of two works by young playwrights—presented by the British Council and London’s Royal Court Theatre, with support from the Sundance Institute Theater Program—explored notions of home. In Withdrawal…...

The Ears of the Hippopotamus

Astrid Lindgren is perhaps best known for Pippi Longstocking, her children’s classic, but she created many other fine characters, too, including “The Brothers Lionheart.” One of the feature characters in that adventure is a dragon named Katla, whom Lindgren named after a certain Icelandic…...

Wolff Prize to Ross Benjamin

We're delighted to report that Ross Benjamin has been awarded the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize for his translation of Michael Maar’s Speak, Nabokov, published by Verso. From the announcement: "The jury finds that this remarkably musical translation reads beautifully, and brings to…...

Interview with Etgar Keret

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The interview was conducted at the AWP Annual Conference on Saturday, April 10, 2010 in Denver, where Keret was one of the main featured presenters. On Friday night, April 9, Keret read together with George Saunders in front of an audience of about 1,500 people. On Saturday night, the Denver Starz Film…...

Shohreh Aghdashloo reads from The Ecco Anthology of Int’l Poetry

Image of Shohreh Aghdashloo reads from The Ecco Anthology of Int’l Poetry
On April 19, supporters of Words Without Borders had the rare opportunity to hear the Iranian actor Shohreh Aghdashloo read a selection of poems from the new Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. The event was held in the book-lined Reading Room of the Center for Fiction on 47th Street. Aghdashloo,…...

Musings of a Terminal Speaker

The death of a language is rarely sudden: it is usually an unremarkable process of decline as a community gradually changes its linguistic allegiance, dropping an ancient mother-tongue for a stronger and more relevant language.  Why insist on speaking words that are understood in only a few villages…...

film icon On Yuri Rytkheu’s “Magic Numbers”

Yuri Rytkheu (1930-2008) is generally considered to be the most significant Russian author of the twentieth century with an indigenous heritage. He came from the Chukchi tribe of Siberia, and his works mostly deal with the unique ecological and cultural wisdom of these Arctic people and how their identity…...

AWP Report: Trends in South Asian Diaspora Writing

I was at the AWP conference in Denver this past weekend to give a reading and sign some chapbooks. The mood was cheery, the elevation high, the Colorado Rocky mountains (which I had never seen in person before) were glorious and the background chatter pleasant. I thought what would be a better panel…...

“Purge” by Sofi Oksanen

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Aliide Truu, the warped murderess and tragic victim at the center of Sofi Oksansen’s astoundingly ambitious novel Purge, is an elderly woman when we meet her in the opening chapter. Living alone in the Estonian countryside in 1992, she has recently witnessed her nation’s liberation from Soviet…...

Fanfare for Farm 54

A number of books have been bought for English-language publication as a result of extracts we've published, and we've just learned of another. We're delighted to report that English-language rights for Galit Seliktar and Gilad Seliktar's Farm 54, part of which ran in our February 2010…...

Ben Okri at PEN World Voices

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African authors are few and far between at this year's PEN World Voices Festival -- but the festival does offer a rare opportunity to hear Ben Okri, the Nigerian-born author of The Famished Road, which won the Booker Prize in 1991. Years ago I had the chance to hear Okri at MIT. He was a captivating…...

News from the Paris Book Fair

The Paris Book Fair (March 26-31, 2010) celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. The organizers invited 90 writers for the occasion, (60 of them from France and 30 from all over the world) to discuss the topic "Telling the World." Among the discussions were "Writers Exploring an Unknown Land"…...

March, 2010

The Rising of the Ashes

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Better known as the author of novels such as The Sand Child and Leaving Tangier, and of nonfiction such as Islam Explained, the Moroccan-born author Tahar Ben Jelloun is also a poet. The Rising of the Ashes, published this month by City Lights Books, was written in French and appeared in 1991 in a bilingual…...

film icon Why Words without Borders?

Many thanks to all the wonderful people who stopped to talk with us in Washington Square Park, to Caputo's Deli, and especially to Garth Paul Cox and Robin Randisi for filming and editing.

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