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August, 2009

film icon Poeboes Podcast: Mark Ford on Translation

Words without Borders is delighted to bring you the second installment in our series of podcasts produced by Andre Naffis. In his Poeboes series for WWB, Naffis speaks to writers and poets from around the world and feature clips of them reading from their work. In his latest dispatch. Andre speaks to…...

Weekend Reading: The Wall in My Head

My shiny new galley of The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain arrived yesterday. This of course isn’t any ol’ galley, this is Words Without Borders' very own anthology to be published this fall by Open Letter. No matter how many books I’ve accumulated…...

The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas

The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas By Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt Europa Editions Contemporary French literature outclasses all other nationalities when it comes to melding the popular and the profound, as epitomized by Annie Ernaux's addictively cerebral TMI or Amélie Nothomb's highbrow…...

Today in International Lit

The first English-language collection of Jordanian poet Amjad Nasser, translated by Khaled Mattawa, has recently been released by Banipal Books. The

Summer Jobs in Europe

Since 2007, I have been doing ísummer jobsë every year. The purpose of a summer job is to earn money, obviously, but the purpose of my summer jobs has been to write about my experiences. I worked as chambermaid in Bavaria and then I was a steward in the dining car of a Swiss train. The logical…...

Today in International Lit

This past summer in Poland, the film adaptation of Dorota Masłowska's novel Snow White and Russian Red has become quite a hit, seven years after the book was originally published by the then-19-year-old literary sensation. Alex Nowacki at the Krakow Post reflects on the phenomenon, and compares…...

July, 2009

Poets, Eunuchs, and Pricks

When Apollonius and his disciple Damis paid a visit to Rhodes in the winter of 68 AD, they stopped by the Colossus where the young man asked his mentor if society could aspire to anything greater. Apollonius replied: "Yes ... a man who has acquired wisdom through innocence." Philostratus, who noted that…...

Today in International Lit

British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s feature on war poetry for the Saturday Guardian, “Exit Wounds,” starts by highlighting a large body of non-Anglo work, including Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Lorca, Zbigniew Herbert, and Mahmoud Darwish. Given this range, it’s disappointing…...

Dispatches: The 2nd Pan-African Culture Festival in Algiers

Walking through the hotel lobby two hours before the concert, Malian singer-songwriter Salif Keita seemed to be on another plane of existence—when approached by dignitaries, fans and fellow musicians, Mr. Keita, wearing matching white pants, shirt and kufi cap, appeared unable to do much beyond…...

Romanian Literature is Hot: Filip Florian’s “Little Fingers”

Filip Florian, Michael ScammellWhere did the New York Times Book Review decide to publish its very first foreign-language edition? In Romania, of course. Of course? Yes! Writing about the Review, Jennifer Schuessler quotes the Times' film critic A.O. Scott saying íRomania is one of those countries…...

International Literary News

At least two anthologies featuring contemporary German literature will be out this year. In discussing them, Lizzie's Literary Life notes the "boom" in post-reunification German literature. Berlin Tales, translated by Lyn Marven and out this month from Oxford University Press, features 17 stories, mostly…...

Translation and the Teaching of Literature

In my first post, I suggested that translators' efforts in the sphere of education might have a transformative effect on the understanding and appreciation of the work of translation. In my second, I focused on the domain of foreign language teaching as one place where such efforts might bear fruit.…...

Alane Mason on Publishing Literature in Translation

At the "Big Think", Alane Salierno Mason, a founder of Words Without Borders talks about Words Without Borders and the challenges of publishing literature in translation. View it here.

Weekend Reading

I've recently begun reading Eduardo Galeano's beautiful Mirrors, which is one of those books that defy categories as well as time. Instead of one long narrative, the book is full of short myth-like tales with titles like "Voice of Wine" and "When Ships Navigated by Land." I find that I like to read just…...

Fight For Your Independents: Archipelago Books

Archipelago books is a non-profit publisher that has brought into English 50 books so far from 21 languages. I think Jill Schoolman, Archipelago's founder, puts it best when she describes their mission: "We are striving to locate, support, and preserve literary talent worldwide and allow it to enter…...

Looking for Something to Read?

Then head over to the Three Percent blog and see what the Best Translated Book Award panelists are reading. I think this constitutes something like a pre-long-list list, so get in on the action early. Click here.

Call for Submissions: two lines World Writing in Translation

This is great news - the next volume of two lines will be edited by Natasha Wimmer and Jeffrey Yang. Natasha Wimmer of course translated Roberto Bolaño's monumental 2666 and The Savage Detectives, and Jeffrey Yang is an editor at New Directions, a translator and poet whose most recent book, An…...

The Reckoning

I want to take a moment to let you know about a project that I've been involved with that I believe is important and that you might find of interest. I bring it up now because the film that this project surrounds will be aired tonight in the US on PBS's POV program. Click this link to find your local…...

International Literary News

Finnish-born Swedish author Willy Kyrklund passed away last month at 88. As Notes from the North put it in their philosophical discussion of Kyrklund's oeuvre, Kyrklund was "often called an existentialist, [though] his thought reaches beyond disorientation and existence into essence.... Kyrklund notes…...

Soviet Mammoth: Vasily Aksyonov, 1932–2009

Even in his late seventies, the Russian writer Vasily Aksyonov played tennis, jogged, smoked like a chimney, listened to jazz, dressed with a certain bohemian flavor, flirted with women, divided his life between sunny Biarritz and snobbish Moscow, and drove a car. It was in the car that he had a stroke,…...

Weekend Reading

The Brooklyn Rail's Jed Lipinski interviews translator Susan Bernofsky Rail: As a fiction writer, have your translations had any effect on your writing style? Bernofsky: Walser has such a strong, idiosyncratic style that I actually think he's somewhat dangerous as an influence. If you wind up imitating—rather…...

The Wall in My Head

This is very exciting. Words Without Borders' next book is being published by Open Letter Books this fall and is available for pre-order now. What's more, there will be a "The Wall in My Head Blog" at... www.thewallinmyhead.com. Here's Rohan's first post from the blog, which will also serve to give you…...

Return to Childhood by Leila Abouzeid

Return to Childhood is a memoir by the Moroccan writer Leila Abouzeid, who is better known for her story collection Year of the Elephant. Translated from the Arabic by the author and Heather Logan Taylor, Return to Childhood is interesting not only for its account of Abouzeid's own feelings and impressions,…...

International Literary News

Mexican poet and historian Miguel León-Portilla was honored by the Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone on the 50th anniversary of his volume Viewpoint of the Defeated. Explaining his project of compiling ancient Nahuati (Aztec) texts, he stated: íThe conquest is a delicate theme for Mexicans,…...

Embedded in Dutch Suburbia

Suburbia is a mythical place. At least, it is if you believe quite a few novels, ranging from Updike's Couples to Yates' Revolutionary Road. And one could argue that Madame Bovary takes place in a village that is just suburbia's predecessor. Suburbia appears to be place where middle class morality is…...

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