Category: Dispatches

January, 2011

The Worst Editing Job in the World

. . . is the task accepted by the narrator of Horacio Castellanos Moya's Senselessness. In this extract from our issue of October 2006, a self-described "depraved atheist" writer is hired by the Catholic Church to edit an eleven-hundred-page report on the military's massacres of Indian villages. …...

December, 2010

White Christmas, Black Magic

For a twist on seasonal themes, check out Angelo Cannavacciuolo's "White Christmas," from our December 2008 issue. Yes, the story takes place on December 23 and 24, and snow does finally fall; but the title refers to the perfume with which the hooker Maria has ensorcelled the older, married Antonio,…...

A Semester’s Fruits: A Followup Report on the MFA Program at Queens College

It’s been quite a fall.  Those of you who read my earlier dispatch about arriving at Queens College of the City University of New York last September to teach in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation there know how my semester started out.  Now it’s just ended,…...

Platform of Blood

After you've shuddered through this month's offerings, check out "The Platform" from January 2010. Brazil's Pena Cabreira enters the mind of a master carpenter and builds to a piercing climax. You may never leave ground level again.

Wu Ming on King: On Translating Stephen King into Italian

We were intrigued to learn that Stephen King's new Italian translator is a member of the collective known as Wu Ming.  Wu Ming 1 graciously agreed to answer our questions. WWB: How did you decide to translate this book [Full Dark, No Stars]? WM1: I've been reading King's books since…...

November, 2010

The Other Turkey

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, we serve up the other Turkey. In addition to the fiction and poetry in this month's issue ("Before winter arrives you must hire a handsome assassin"), do help yourself to our all-Turkish issues. The first, "Women on the Verge of European Union," from December…...

From a Syrian Prison

Although our new anthology, Tablet and Pen,  is predicated on the common experience of colonialization, many of the contributors have also fought repression by their own governments. Syrian writer Faraj Bayraqdar was arrested in 1987 on suspicion of having been active in that country's Party…...

Adonis on Migration and Loss

The many marvelous poets in our new anthology, Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, include the dazzling Adonis. The  most important poet writing in Arabic today and a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize, Adonis--critic, translator, and anthologist--is a crucial part…...

October, 2010

From the Translator: Kim M. Hastings on Translating “Borges’s Secretary”

In this dispatch, Portuguese translator Kim M. Hastings weighs in on her translation of Lúcia Bettencourt's story "Borges's Secretary" from the October 2010 issue of the magazine. You can read the original story here. Not long after I translated “Borges’s Secretary,”…...

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature: It’s Vargas Llosa

It's Mario Vargas Llosa. The announcement isn't on the Nobel site site yet, but the Swedish Academy commended the author "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat." He's the first South American writer since…...

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature:  Week Three Countdown

Forty-eight hours to go to the announcement, and the race is up for grabs. Six hours ago, Ladbrokes had Ngugi wa Thiong’o at 3:1, followed by Cormac McCarthy (6:1), Haruki Murakami (7:1), Tomas Transtromer (9:1), Adonis (11:1), Gerald Murnane (11:1), and Ko Un (12:1). At day's end, Ngugi remains…...

September, 2010

MFA in Translation: Queens College

According to the New York Times, New York’s borough of Queens is one of the most linguistically diverse urban areas in the country—its inhabitants listed 138 different languages on their census forms this year—making it a perfect place to study translation.  And indeed, in 2007…...

NEA Literature Translation Fellowships Announced

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2011 Literature Translation Fellowships, and we're delighted to see so many WWB friends and contributors on the list. Congratulations to Esther Allen, Robert Bononno, Bill Coyle, Edward Gauvin, Jason Grunebaum, Yasmeen Hanoosh, Deborah Hoffman,…...

From the Archives: Trading Maniacs

If you're reveling in this month's Urdu issue, do check out Saadat Hasan Manto's 1955 classic "Toba Tek Singh" from September 2003. Just after Partition, the governments of Pakistan and India decide to exchange lunatics: "Muslim lunatics in Indian madhouses would be sent to Pakistan, while…...

Fady Joudah Wins PEN USA Translation Prize

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F*** You around the World

The New York Times is known for its demure treatment of profanity, but a recent article on a cheery new song with an unprintable title took this habitual prissiness to new heights. The writer, Noam Cohen, delivered a masterpiece of (in)elegant variation in his valiant avoidance of The Word. Which made…...

August, 2010

From the Archives: A Coastal Village, When Summer Gives It the Slip

As the Northern Hemisphere's summer crawls to a close, we recommend Yasmina Khadra's "Absence."  In an Algerian resort town at the end of the season, shy, dreamy teen Nasser waves good-bye to the departing Noria, the object of his mute yearning. Wandering the deserted streets, Nasser imagines…...

From the Archives: The Girl with the Finnish Stalker

In this Summer of Stieg Larsson, we challenge Sweden's claim to the Nordic crime crown with a chilling Finnish story from our issue of June 2007.  In this extract from one of Matti Yrjänä Joensuu's Detective Harjunpää novels, a criminal with the deceptively mild name…...

From the Archives: The Particular Sadness of Fresh Lobster

Since the entire world is on vacation, anticipating vacation, or just back from vacation, we recommend "Agony in the Kitchen," from our issue of September 2003. Juan José Millás depicts a fretful man who installs his family in a beautiful seaside house but can't take a holiday from…...

From the Archives: Riding Bearback

If this month's wealth of Hungarian writing leaves you wanting more, look no further than our May 2008 issue. György Dragomán's "Haul" describes a human smuggler named Zeus and his less than Olympian methods.  In an unspecified year, he drives his desperate clients to an unnamed…...

Elif Shafak on the Politics of Fiction

Ted.com features a video of Turkish writer and WWB contributor Elif Shafak speaking on the politics of fiction.  Shafak describes her childhood as the daughter of a diplomat, recalls the various stereotypes her classmates had of Turkey and the correspondingly clichéd expectations put on multicultural…...

From the Archives: Dueling Castro Autobiographies

Fidel Castro has announced the publication of The Strategic Victory, the first volume of his memoirs. (The second volume:  The Final Strategic Counteroffensive.) For a possibly more accurate perspective, check out these extracts from Norberto Fuentes's Autobiography of Fidel Castro: chapter…...

July, 2010

From the Archives: To the Winner Goes the Prosciutto

Jean-Philippe Toussaint's Self-Portrait Abroad collects the Belgian writer's impressions of his travels to destinations as diverse as Kyoto, Berlin, Hanoi, and Prague. The extract published in our issue of April 2006, "Cap Corse (The Best Day of My Life)," describes an afternoon on Corsica that…...

Lives on Paper

We're delighted to note the publication of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud's Life on Paper, a collection of short stories selected and translated by Edward Gauvin. Châteaureynaud is recognized as one of France's top fabulists, but had little exposure in English until Gauvin…...

From the Archives: The Sweet Science and Magic

Ana María Shua's Rematch, from our August 2005 issue, goes twelve rounds with the story of Argentine boxer Carlos Monzón, the World Champion Middleweight from 1970 to 1977.  Our narrator, a grizzled old fan, recounts how he engineered Monzón's brilliant career and violent…...

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