Category: Dispatches

June, 2015

Dispatch from Florence’s Festival degli Scrittori

The ninth annual Festival degli Scrittori and the Premio von Rezzori, a Florence-based literary festival that culminates in a ceremony conferring the Premio von Rezzori for best foreign literary work and best translation of a foreign work, was held from June 10 through  June 12, 2015. It opened…...

April, 2015

Crafting a Cultural Idiom of Engagement: The US President’s Persian Poetry (Part 1)

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The events culminating in the interim agreement between Iran and the members of the P5+1 group in Lausanne, Switzerland over Iran’s nuclear program are sure to attract historians wishing to understand how two countries with minimal diplomatic ties (severed more than three decades ago) were able…...

WWB at AWP

If you’re heading to the Associated Writing Programs conference in Minneapolis next week, then you already know about the wealth of translation panels, events, and general buzz on offer. ALTA  has compiled a most useful schedule here.  We're sponsoring two panels and taking part…...

March, 2015

Notes on Credulity, part 2

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Read the first part of this essay here. My father cherished two things: Mass and the opera. He was a cantor in the church and when he used to visit us in Berlin, where we lived for a number of years, he’d regularly visit the Komische Oper—always alone. Was he protecting what he loved from…...

Notes on Credulity, part 1

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The best one can hope for as a human being is to have a relationship with that emptiness where God would be if God was available, but God isn’t.      —Anne Carson No writer lacks belief in the metaphysical. When Joyce writes to Nora, “How I hate God and death,”…...

Spirited Away: Hideo Furukawa’s “Horses, Horses, in the Innocence of Light,” Part 2

Read the first part of this excerpt here. We took off in the middle of the night. Four of us stuffed into a small car with a license plate from Kashiwa, in Chiba. A rental car. For the people from Shinchō publishing this was just a continuation of the evening. Not for me. For me, following one or…...

Spirited Away: Hideo Furukawa’s “Horses, Horses, in the Innocence of Light,” Part 1

Translator's Note: Furukawa Hideo is one of the most powerful and energetic of contemporary Japanese writers. His writings, like his readings, come in torrents. They reflect his background in theater and stage. While Furukawa is from Fukushima Prefecture, from a town called Kōriyama, and while…...

January, 2015

Ode to the Mango: My Dinners with Neruda

The one time I visited Santiago de Chile—it was July 1991, winter in the southern hemisphere, and the days were sunny, cold and crisp—I made the pilgrimage to Pablo Neruda’s house on the coast, in a place called Isla Negra. My reason for this trip to the Cono Sur—I would also…...

A New Name for Newborns

This poem was written for the January 11, 2015, unity march in Paris in response to the Charlie Hebdo murders. It is translated into English by Dan Bellm. When I was born my mother gave me a name I didn’t choose out of all the alphabets  and letters I’ve carried it around nonstop I’ve…...

December, 2014

The New Normal: On Cuba and the Power of Translation

During the historic speech on December 17, 2014, when he announced the normalization of relations with Cuba, Barack Obama turned to address the Cuban people directly. He began with a citation from José Martí: "Liberty is the right of every man to be honest." Cultural anthropologist Ruth…...

November, 2014

Stories from the Country of the Dead

Last year, I was invited to write a story for a Latin American crime fiction anthology.  The idea was to use elements borrowed from murder mysteries and noir to reflect on the reality in our countries.  I liked the sound of the project, accepted the invitation, and then spent the following…...

October, 2014

Celebrating WWB and Carol Brown Janeway: Our 2014 Gala and First Annual Globe Trot

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 eleventh anniversary and present the second James H. Ottaway Jr. Award for the Promotion of International Literature…...

June, 2014

Naming the Arab: Kamel Daoud’s “Meursault, contre-enquête”

The Algerian novelist and journalist Kamel Daoud publishes a pithy, fast-paced critique of Algerian society five times a week in the French-language daily Quotidien d’Oran, and on Facebook. Readers value his insight, his poetry, his well-directed rage.  In 2010 a French reporter, in Oran to…...

May, 2014

From the Abu Dhabi Book Fair

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (April 30–May 5) has just wrapped up its seventh year. As in the past, the fair was an enormous undertaking, with school field trips, dozens of author events and book signings, cooking demonstrations, book sales, professional seminars, publisher-to-publisher…...

April, 2014

“Thank You, Gabo”: Translators on García Márquez

In response to the death of Gabriel García Márquez, some of our translators from Spanish share thoughts on their first encounters with his work. We'll hear from others in the near future. "It was mid February 2001 when I first read Cien años. Like a lot of people, I remember…...

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…...

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