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October, 2009

film icon Poeboes Podcast: Aamer Hussein

This month, Andre Naffis brings us the third installment in his Poeboes series of podcasts for the WWB blog. In his latest dispatch. Andre speaks to writer Aamir Hussein. Aamer Hussein (1955– ), was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to London at the age of 15. He writes short stories and novellas,…...

Chain of Voices

Although André Brink is one of South Africa’s leading Afrikaans-language writers, and although his work has appeared in English, at least one article has questioned whether we can categorize those works as African literature in translation. By his own admission Brink remains, in essence,…...

From the Magazine

This week, we are highlighting an excerpt from Towers of Stone, by Wojciech Jagielski, translated from the Polish by Soren Gauger. The book is forthcoming this month from Seven Stories Press, and is a closely-told narrative that seeks to explain the wars in Chechnya through two men. The section we've…...

Today in International Lit

The Nobel Prize With the announcement of Herta Müller as Nobel Prize winner for literature comes the continued sense that the Nobel committee is challenging the English-speaking world to be more aware of what is happening in Europe. Friday's Guardian piece responded positively, while Lev Grossman,…...

Dispatches: African Memoirs

Dear reader: I need your help. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of African memoirs: books like Echoes of an Autobiography by Naguib Mahfouz, An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie, Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar by Emily Ruete, and Return to Childhood by Leila Abouzeid.…...

From the Magazine

This week, we are highlighting an excerpt from journalist-cum-fiction writer Peter Fröberg Idling's Pol Pots leende (Pol Pot's Smile), translated from the Swedish by Silvester Mazzarella First published in Sweden by Atlas in 2006, Peter Fröberg Idling's debut was highly praised for originality…...

The Author’s Voice and the Translator’s

Recently, I traveled to Paris to assist my publisher there with the promotion of one of my novels that had been translated into French. Any excuse to visit Paris is a good excuse. It's easy to forget the hardship of the publicist. The publicist has to promote books that other people decided were…...

Today in International Lit

Kafka in New York Last week, the New York M.T.A. unveiled a new quote for their Train of Thought series, with the first line from Kafka's "The Metamorphosis." The New Yorker suggests that perhaps the transit authority is moving "from the inspirational to the inspired." It is a rather strange message…...

Weekend Reading and Listening

Agur Schiff and Edward Gauvin, reading at a recent Words Without Borders event in Hudson, N My favorite piece of the week is a conversation between Michael Silverblatt, Álvaro Uribe and Cristina Rivera-Garza on KCRW's Bookworm program [link to podcast]. Uribe is the editor of the recent -…...

September, 2009

“The German Mujahid” by Boualem Sansal

Image of “The German Mujahid” by Boualem Sansal
It's common knowledge that, at the end of WWII, many German war criminals fled from justice via "ratlines" to South American countries. Less notorious, though, are the Nazis who, like the title character of Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal's excoriating new novel, The German Mujahid, found permanent…...

Today in International Lit

Susan Sontag Prize for Translation Open to Submissions The prize, in its third annual iteration, includes a $5,000 grant for the proposed translation of a work of fiction or letters by anyone under the age of 30. The 2010 prize accepts proposals for work from Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, or Icelandic…...

Dispatches: An African in Greenland

With its bookshelves organized by country, New York’s Idlewild Books is a great resource for anyone who wants to delve into a particular corner of the world. For instance, fiction from the Cape Verde islands is very tough to find, and when I was there the other day I was surprised and impressed…...

The Nobel Prize in Literature: Our Office Pool

Between the World Cup and the World Series comes high season for world literature: time to place your bets on this year's candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. You can read two of the usual suspects, Adonis and Ko Un, right here, as well as 2008 laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio, 1988 laureate…...

Today in International Lit

More than the Facts In gearing up for the coming two-day symposium on literary reportage, After Kapuściński: The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century, fellow sponsor The National Book Critics Circle has posted a thorough summary of the events and participants at Critical Mass. Eric Banks writes:…...

The Launch of Belletrista: Celebrating Women Writers from Around the World

A new bi-monthly magazine celebrating women writers has landed. Belletrista, carved of moonlight, aims to share the varying voices of females internationally and I couldn't be happier about it. In solidarity through our gender and our craft, this magazine is exposing readers to a galaxy of known and…...

Bolaño Mi Bolaño

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Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry

Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry was released in July 2009 by Southern Illinois University Press. Edited by Frank M. Chipasula, himself an African poet, it is a generous and attractively produced collection of a type of poetry that many people apparently haven't even noticed before.…...

Today in International Lit

Etgar Keret's Complicated Characters Sydney's Morning Herald has a great profile on Israeli short story writer Etgar Keret today. In the interview, Keret describes what he calls Israelis' schizophrenic nature, which he says many politically-charged readers have refused to face abroad. He describes a…...

Notes from the Brooklyn Book Festival

After an hour-long Subway ride due to weekend delays, I emerged from the steps at Borough Hall station in Brooklyn to the plaza, where I was pleasantly transported from the dark inertia to the middle of a free, public, outdoor literary celebration. The annual Festival is one of New York's greatest features,…...

Today in International Lit

International Stage at Brooklyn Book Festival No matter where you're coming from, a trip to the Brooklyn Book Festival, now in its fourth year, is sure to be worthwhile. It's distinctly local flavor adds greater value to the large scope of readings and panels, and our only wish is that it could be held…...

Weekend Reading, Sept. 4th

End of summer here in upstate New York and the cool weather is already beginning to show its face. That means more reading soon instead of our usual summery frolicking. But until then we leave you with an abbreviated weekend reading suggestion. This week we offer something by one of our absolute favorites,…...

The Task of the Novelist at the University

Like last year, I am going to teach two courses in the Netherlands this fall. One course is on two books by Coetzee, at the University of Leiden, and one is on genetic modification from a literary point of view at the University of Wageningen. According to its website, Wageningen is íthe leading…...

Today in International Lit

New in Catalan Literature The September issue of World Literature Today is carrying a special feature on Catalan literature, guest edited by Lawrence Venuti. In his introduction, Venuti highlights the growth of Catalan literature since the end of Franco's rule in 1975, during which many Catalan writers…...

August, 2009

The Translator’s Library: Gill Paul’s Translation in Practice

The Translator's Library is a series on the books that inform and inspire the art of translation. The intricate chain of events that occurs after a translator undertakes a translation for a publishing house is explained in Translation in Practice, the first book in a projected series the Dalkey Archive…...

Weekend Reading (listening, watching)

Our late August weekend reading suggestions continue to be brief as we’ve spent our mental energy willing Hurricane Bill out into the ocean, so here are a few tidbits that you might enjoy: Listening: Rare interview with Nobel Laureate J.M.G Le Clézio at the BBC World Service Watching: A…...

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