Category: Dispatches

February, 2014

A place to hang our hats (and shelve our books)

It's been one month since we moved into the very first Words without Borders office space. We’re thrilled to be sharing an office with the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) in the historic Archive Building, located in the West Village in New York. The new office is helping us…...

January, 2014

Reflections: Juan Gelman

Yesterday, just before the first full moon of the year, Argentine poet-in-exile Juan Gelman died; and last night, my head was full of extraordinary images of Juan. First, I remembered 1975, when Eduardo Galeano gave me a copy of Juan’s Obra poética “to see how it would work in…...

Preface to Life

To Mohsen Emadi There are voices that stop us that open the ground and fold our hearts into tiny squares   You tell me, Juan left us— I need your embrace   I tell you, Amiri left us— who’s the world now?   Our grief hanging on a telephone line Mexico City—Vermont…...

Writers against Mass Surveillance: An International Grassroots Protest

One month ago today, the anti-surveillance appeal “A Stand for Democracy in the Digital Age” was launched; it has since has been signed by more than 195,000 people on Change.org. Initiated by a small group of European writers and one American translator, it began with a manifesto signed by…...

December, 2013

Our Year, in Review

As 2013 draws to a close, we'd like to thank our writers, translators, and readers for their many contributions in the last twelve months. This year has been one of celebration, as we marked our tenth anniversary, welcomed a new executive director, published our first e-book anthology,…...

November, 2013

Feminist Pencils (and Pens)

I’ve just returned from participating in an exciting international exhibition of feminist art: the "Feminist Pencil—2" exhibition at ArtPlay Center in Moscow.  Curated and moderated by artist Victoria Lomasko of Moscow and Serpuchov, known for her book, Forbidden Art,…...

October, 2013

Celebrating WWB and Drenka Willen: Our Tenth Anniversary Gala

Tuesday night WWB staff, board, contributors, supporters, and readers gathered at Tribeca 360, where the panoramic view mirrored the sweep of our content, to celebrate our tenth anniversary and present the inaugural James H. Ottaway Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature…...

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature: Down to the Wire

We're down to the wire: the Swedish Academy will announce the Nobel Prize in literature this Thursday at 1:00 pm Stockholm time. This decision breaks with the tradition of holding the literature prize till the week after the others, which could suggest an early consensus (or, more…...

September, 2013

Spain’s Great Untranslated on Tour

We're delighted to announce the fall tour for the anthology Spain's Great Untranslated, the print edition of our March 2013 issue. The tour kicks off Monday, September 30, in Miami, then continues to Houston on October 2 and Albuquerque on October 4. In Miami, editor and translator Valerie…...

WWB Writers at the Brooklyn Book Festival Sunday

New York readers, we hope you'll spend your Sunday afternoon with the many WWB contributors appearing at the Brooklyn Book Festival. You can kick off at 11:00 with our Andy Tepper leading Alexander Maksik, Juan Gabriel Vásquez , and Oonya Kempadoo  in thoughts on national…...

The 2013 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 laureates Herta Müller, J. M. G. Le Clézio,…...

August, 2013

Sławomir Mrożek, 1930–2013

Poland's great Sławomir Mrożek died August 15 in Nice. Though best known as a dramatist, Mrożek was also a prolific writer of short stories; we were delighted to include his "Ketchup," in Garry Malloy's witty translation, in our January 2012 issue on apocalypse. Mrożek's…...

“The Infinite Sequence of Minute Decisions”: An Editor at the BCLT Translation Summer School

I spent a rapt and giddy week last month at the British Center for Literary Translation’s summer school, housed at the lagomorphiliac University of East Anglia in Norwich. (I’d heard that the UEA campus is chockablock with rabbits, but did not anticipate that they would be grazing on the…...

June, 2013

We’ll Fling Our Books

Image of We’ll Fling Our Books
Sabahattin Ali was a Turkish writer killed a long time ago during a show of "civic" force, and even the consolation of giving him a proper burial was denied his family. In his 1945 short story—later banned—entitled The Glasshouse he says, "Never erect a glasshouse over your head. But if one…...

Sleepless

I've been sleepless for days. Like countless people. Like countless animals. Like the trees and the birds. We're all dazed by the strange turn of events in Turkey. The children who grew up scared of any uniform, police or military, have now finally reached adulthood, and now protest day and night,…...

Sweet Days of June, Sweet Days of Uprising

As I write these words, unarmed protestors in and around Taksim Square are under relentless police attack. Not only in Taksim, either. People throng the streets all over the country: Ankara, Izmir, Tunceli, Hatay, and many, many more cities. People who’ve had it with government oppression. Whose…...

April, 2013

Magdy El Shafee Arrested and Held at Tora Prison

Magdy El Shafee, author of Egypt’s first graphic novel, Metro, was arrested by security forces on Friday in downtown Cairo. According to fellow author Muhammad Aladdin, El Shafee was detained near Abdel Moneim Riyad Square, where clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and protesters had…...

March, 2013

“Agents of the Change We Want to See”: Atelier Jeudi Soir

Atelier Jeudi Soir is a group of people from different horizons (educators, managers, professionals, students) who came together on a whim of sorts and developed into a viable institution. It started a little over six years ago, with a writing workshop directed by the renowned Haitian writer Lyonel Trouillot,…...

An Interview with Zygmunt Miłoszewski

Zygmunt Miłoszewski is a Polish novelist, journalist, and editor, currently working as a columnist for Newsweek.  Born in Warsaw in 1976, he is the author of several books across a variety of genres.  His horror novel, The Intercom, was published in 2005, while The Adder Mountains, a book…...

Tunisia: A Time of Uncertainty

As we board the plane just before sunrise, a police car pulls up on the tarmac. Hardly have I reached my seat, when I hear a man yelling at the back. He sits handcuffed between two policemen. “Let me be,” he shouts in the intervals of his long mad screams. Who is he? Why is he being transported…...

December, 2012

The Damage Done

Basque writer Willy Uribe is now into his twelfth day of a hunger strike in protest against the incarceration of reformed heroin addict David Reboredo. This is the latest in a number of cases demonstrating the Spanish government's perceived double standards when it comes to granting judicial pardons.…...

It’s Not a Crime: Reading and Analyzing Translated Thrillers

Crime fiction is a popular and pleasurable genre, but it’s also an educational one, especially if you read translated crime fiction. In my role as the schools and libraries liaison for the British Centre for Literary Translation, which is based at the University of East Anglia in England, I give…...

November, 2012

From the Archives: Chinese Writing, Banned and Otherwise

Mo Yan's Nobel turned a spotlight on Chinese writers and literature, and the continuing controversy over his selection has prolonged, and intensified, that focus. Our timely current issue of banned writing represents only a fraction of the Chinese work on the site; so if you’ve worked your…...

A Literary Genre with “Chinese Characteristics”

Embellishing a piece of nonfiction work with elements of fiction is a big no-no in the West.  Writers and publishers are expected to avoid blurring their boundaries.  But it’s a different story in China.  Nonfiction writers follow what they call the “doculiterary” genre,…...

“Friendship is a religion”

Image of “Friendship is a religion”
Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in the city of Fès in 1944. He attended an Arabic-French elementary school, studied French in Tangier until the age of eighteen, then studied philosophy and wrote his first poems at Mohammed V University in Rabat. He is best known for his novels The Sand Child and The…...

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