Archives

May, 2009

PEN World Voices Festival: On the Edge: Writing in Reunified Germany

Moments before Clemens Meyer read this past Friday evening, at the Deutches Haus on the Washington Mews, I spotted him outside on the curb with a can of Budweiser. Inside from the rain, the small room filled up quickly and eventually he came in with an interpreter and Three Percent blog's Chad Post (on…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Is Nonfiction Literature?

íIs nonfiction literature?ë That was the provocative question that Philip Gourevitch, Colum McCann, and Norbert Gstrein addressed at a panel discussion in the auditorium of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. íOf course it is!ë most right-thinking readers would say. Yet if so, why…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction

When you're around a lot of authors it may be easy to forget what a rare and precious thing that is, being a published author. Even more so is being a published author in the United States if you write in a language other than English, being that out of the hundreds of thousands of books published here…...

Talking Translation at the London Book Fair

Having only one day free for attending the London Book Fair, the panel discussion involving Chad Post, Mark Thwaite, Bob Stein, Lance Fensterman, and Abby Blachly had been the one I’d been looking forward to the most. “Marketing Translations and Other ‘Difficult’ Books”…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Defiance: The Spirit of ‘89

Under the familiar image of the man staring down the tank, 10 writers and activists presented readings in honor of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movements at Joe's Pub this Thursday. Excerpts from Gandhi, Levi, and Steinbeck sandwiched several more unusual gems--the novelist and former Nicaraguan vice-president…...

The Way You Speak about a Cold

Moldova is a forgotten country. Even in Europe, many people hardly know of its existence. Forgotten countries are often poor, and this is also the case with Moldova. It's one of the poorest countries in Europe. Recently, Moldova made it into the international press. Demonstrations against its communist…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Writers Who Are Translators and On Translation

Image of PEN World Voices Festival: Writers Who Are Translators and On Translation
Translating a novel, or a poem, takes serious artistic acrobatics--one couldn't have staggered out of yesterday's back-to-back double feature of “Writers Who Are Translators" and “On Translation” without having arrived at this conclusion. But who would have thought that voice…...

PEN World Voices Festival: PEN Cabaret

The PEN Cabaret at FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française ) last night was both intense and wonderful. Performers, poets, writers, readers, musicians, film makers, actors, PEN members, and countless others came out for PEN's annual cabaret celebration. Salman Rushdie, while not a reader this…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Celebrating Anagrama at Instituto Cervantes

As the venerable Spanish publishing house Anagrama turns 40 this year, they have many triumphs and achievements to look back on, and currently are central to the regeneration of Latin American fiction, most notably of course with the success of Roberto Bolaño.Publisher Jorge Herralde is in town…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Mark Z. Danielewski and Rick Moody

I haven't yet read House of Leaves, the ambitious experimental novel that Mark Z. Danielewski published in 2000. I am unlikely to read Only Revolutions, the even quirkier second novel that Danielewski published in 2006. In his interview with Rick Moody, Danielewski said that Only Revolutions is the book…...

PEN World Voices Festival: This Critical Moment (Part II)

After Eric Banks's and Rigoberto Gonzalez presented on German and Mexican literature at this past Friday's panel featuring the National Book Critics Circle (see more in Part One of the coverage), Laila Lalami, past NBCC Balakian Award candidate, spoke on Egyptian novelist and playwright Nawal El Saadawi,…...

PEN World Voices Festival: This Critical Moment (Part I)

Yesterday afternoon at the Scandinavia House, board members of the National Book Critics Circle and other critics presented on select writers participating in this year's festival. The authors they discussed are from Germany, Mexico, Egypt, the Basque country of Spain, and Zimbabwe, and their comments…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Photos from 1,000 Words: The Power of Visual Storytelling

Photos by Mary Reagan, text from the PEN Website. "What can pictures provide that words cannot? Our panelists have all used pictures to tell challenging and compelling stories: Shaun Tan, from Australia, has imagined the experience of immigration in his wordless book The Arrival; Jonathan Ames, from…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Leaps, Fits, and Starts: The Evolution of a Children’s Book Writer

At Thursday night's panel, moderator Andrea Davis Pinkney did not waste much time before asking the three children's book authors on the panel the inevitable question: what was your favorite book when you were a child? "Animal Farm," answered Australian author-and-illustrator Shaun Tan. In response to…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Evolution/Revolution Readings

Cooper Union Great Hall Wednesday, April 29, 2009 The readings featured by PEN World Voices in the authors' original languages are a special treat, as Bud wrote yesterday to accompany Mary's photographs. Sometimes it's nice to follow line for line with the English translations that scroll down the screens…...

Dispatches: The Moth Revolution: Stories of Change

Great writers are not necessarily great storytellers. They are, after all, people who spend a great deal of time alone. But some of them are, and The Moth exists to showcase this rare breed. The Moth's events bring together famous and the not-so-famous authors in combinations you won't likely see otherwise.…...

PEN World Voices Festival Roundup for Friday

My second day at the PEN World Voices Festival. Tired from being up late talking about Thursday's events with our contributors Nicolle Elizabeth and David Varno, blogging friend Sam Jones and earlier, my friends Pam Yates and Paco de Onís whom I met at the Quiet Revolutions event. Going from one…...

April, 2009

PEN World Voices Festival: Evolution/Revolution Event Photos

Before our written report comes in from last night's PEN World Voices Festival event, Evolution/Revolution. Here's PEN's description of the event: Join us to celebrate the fifth annual PEN World Voices Festival. An extraordinary group of internationally acclaimed writers will come to the stage for an…...

PEN World Voices Festival

As you may know we at Words Without Borders have dedicated our April to the PEN World Voices Festival. We began with our monthly issue full of writing from festival participants and we've just started to post event coverage here on our blog, starting with James Marcus's piece on Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie…...

Raising The Dead

It is not everyday a person has the pleasure of seeing Mark Harman, Richard Howard and Sarah Ruden together in one place. Mark Harman, responsible for Kafka's Amerika and many other Kafka translations, Sarah Ruden for Virgil's Aeneid, and Richard Howard of course for Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal. Brought…...

Publishing in Exile, German-language Literature in the U.S. in the 1940s

According to curator Paul North, never in history has there been an event on German publishers exiled by the Third Reich in one show. íOur task tonight is to bring a group of publishers into view,ë North said. íThe right to discourse was taken.ë The panel and show was revelatory,…...

Weekly News Update

Bangladeshi author Selina Hossain, winner of this year's Ekushe Padak award, was interviewed recently for Ariful News: A Voice Against Violence. We published her story "Parul's Motherhood," translated from the Bengali by Shabnam Nadiya. ---------- The most prestigious academic position in English poetry…...

PEN World Voices Festival: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio in Conversation with Adam Gopnik

James Marcus's report on Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio in Conversation with Adam Gopnik at the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center on Friday, April 24th is part of Words Without Borders ongoing coverage of the 2009 PEN World Voices Festival.   Although he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2008, Jean-Marie…...

Roses and Sunshine and Books, What More Could You Ask For

Sant Jordi is Barcelona's Valentine's Day. Seven million Catalans went out and partied all day and all night. In the streets, on the brick and cobblestone, in lovers' and loved ones' arms. A 24 hour reading of Don Quixote (my kind of celebration!) persevered through the romantic playfulness. The mood…...

Dispatches: Updike on Africa, Part II

My book A Basket of Leaves covers the 54 countries in Africa by way of 99 books, which is barely enough. I had originally planned to include some books that deal with more than one country, like Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth or Water Music by T. Coraghessan Boyle (a wonderful reimagining of Mungo Park's…...

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