Category: Dispatches

July, 2010

Translating the World

The Banff Centre Press has just published a collection of essays on translation, Beyond Words: Translating the World, edited by Susan Ouriou, director of the Banff International Literary Translation Center. The Centre offers an annual summer residency for translators working into and from the languages…...

June, 2010

Pride in Padua

Before you head out to your local pride parade, stop by Padua's, courtesy of Matteo Bianchi's “Maternal Pride.” Bianchi's droll panorama captures both the teeming crowd and the individual stories within. Kylie Minogue fanatic Marco, still dizzy from having shared his water bottle…...

From the Archives: Putting the “T” in GLBT

First published in our December 2007 Departures issue, Gaute Heivoll's "Dr. Gordeau" follows a Norwegian man on an ominous trip to an unnamed country in search of a sex change. Seeking the elusive surgeon of the title, Anders moves numbly between the sinister clinic, the roiling market,…...

PEN Translation Awards Announced

PEN has just announced the winners of the 2010 translation awards, and we're delighted to see three of our translators on the list. Congratulations to Peter Golub, awarded for his translations of the Russian flash-fiction writer Linor Goralnik; Chip Rossetti, recognized for his translation of a collection…...

Andrei Voznesensky, 1933–2010

The Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky has died at seventy-seven. Here are the first and last stanzas from his “Darkmotherscream,” translated by Robert Bly and Vera Dunham, in The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry: Darkmotherscream is a Siberian dance, cry from prison or a yell for help,…...

May, 2010

Prieto, Mandelstam, Allen, and Correspondences in the Air

The June 10 issue of the New York Review of Books includes Jose Manuel Prieto's fascinating "Reading Mandelstam on Stalin," translated by the impeccable Esther Allen. Prieto describes struggling to translate Mandelstam's defiant "Epigram on Stalin"—that famous "death…...

Ilya Kaminsky, Reading

Last night the Poetry Foundation held its annual Pegasus Award ceremony at the Arts Club of Chicago, and our Ilya Kaminsky blew the roof right off. Speaking in his capacity as a former recipient of a Ruth Lilly fellowship, Ilya told the audience that when he got the news, he was living with his wife…...

April, 2010

Wolff Prize to Ross Benjamin

We're delighted to report that Ross Benjamin has been awarded the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize for his translation of Michael Maar’s Speak, Nabokov, published by Verso. From the announcement: "The jury finds that this remarkably musical translation reads beautifully, and brings…...

Musings of a Terminal Speaker

The death of a language is rarely sudden: it is usually an unremarkable process of decline as a community gradually changes its linguistic allegiance, dropping an ancient mother-tongue for a stronger and more relevant language. Why insist on speaking words that are understood in only a few villages at…...

Fanfare for Farm 54

A number of books have been bought for English-language publication as a result of extracts we've published, and we've just learned of another. We're delighted to report that English-language rights for Galit Seliktar and Gilad Seliktar's Farm 54, part of which ran in our February 2010…...

March, 2010

On Poetry in Translation

The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry has been out for a couple of weeks now, and as we await the critical response, I think of the most satisfying poetry review I read last year: Jon Stallworthy, writing in the TLS of December 4, 2009, on Clare Cavanagh's translation of Adam Zagajewski's…...

Ilya on Poetry in Poetry

The March issue of Poetry includes Adam Kirsch's thrilling interview with Ilya Kaminsky about our Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. With the erudite brilliance that characterizes his introduction, Ilya notes the French source of a Yeats poem popular in China, cites Seamus Heaney's interpretation…...

January, 2010

How To Be Human*

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Chicago to meet the distinguished economist Deirdre McCloskey. The reason for the meeting was research for my new novel. I wanted to know more about economists. A mutual friend had introduced us and Deirdre McCloskey was kind enough to answer my initial request by…...

Welcome to the New Words without Borders

On behalf of the staff of Words without Borders, I’d like to welcome you to our new site. As you can see, the changes are fairly dramatic. Not only does it look amazing, but the navigation is far more intuitive, and content from both the current issue and from our archives is much more at the forefront.…...

December, 2009

Dispatches: Fault Lines by Meena Alexander

I covered a few events at this year's PEN World Voices festival, and when I arrived at a storytelling event sponsored by The Moth I was lucky enough to be seated next to the poet and author Meena Alexander. She was among those blogging about the event for PEN itself. We talked about an extensive…...

Dispatches: Mission to Kala by Mongo Beti

I wrote about Mission to Kala by Mongo Beti for my book A Basket of Leaves. I've been surprised to see that that review has become one of the most visited pages on my site. The novel, translated from French by Peter Green and published by Heinemann in 1957, is not exactly well-known. But I can understand…...

November, 2009

Dispatches: Shadows of Your Black Memory

Shadows of Your Black Memory is a rarity—a novel from the tiny West African nation of Equatorial Guinea. Of Africa’s three Guineas—Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea—Equatorial Guinea is the smallest at 28,000 square kilometers, about the size of Massachusetts. It is…...

Dispatches: Breyten Breytenbach

The South African poet Breyten Breytenbach has been a regular participant in PEN World Voices events, but although I had seen him on panels I had never had the chance to hear him read and discuss his work on his own. Earlier this month Idlewild Books invited Breytenbach to read and discuss his work,…...

Dispatches: Under the Volcano

November 2, the Day of the Dead in Mexico, marked the 70th anniversary of the day on which Malcolm Lowry’s masterpiece Under the Volcano begins. In honor of that anniversary I began rereading it, but first I reread the letter that Lowry wrote to Jonathan Cape, his publisher, after hearing that…...

South Africa: A Traveler’s Literary Companion

Based in Berkeley, California, Whereabouts Press publishes an intriguing series of Traveler's Literary Companions. "Unlike guidebooks written by professional travel writers," they explain, "our books feature stories written by literary writers—all of whom who have lived in the…...

October, 2009

Dispatches: African Memoirs

Dear reader: I need your help. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of African memoirs: books like Echoes of an Autobiography by Naguib Mahfouz, An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie, Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar by Emily Ruete, and Return to Childhood by Leila Abouzeid.…...

September, 2009

Dispatches: An African in Greenland

With its bookshelves organized by country, New York’s Idlewild Books is a great resource for anyone who wants to delve into a particular corner of the world. For instance, fiction from the Cape Verde islands is very tough to find, and when I was there the other day I was surprised and impressed…...

January, 2009

From the Symposium: Studying the Arab World in Western Universities

Last month I attended the symposium "The Study of the Arab World in Western Universities," sponsored by ALESCO, the Arab League Educational and Scientific Organization, and hosted by the Arabic department of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, aka SOAS. The…...

May, 2008

The A to Z of Literary Translation: W, X, Y & Z

Worldwide web development and the long-tail phenomenon offer new opportunities for the visibility of literary translation. Electronic translation software is to be avoided. Postcolonial and new immigrant writing benefit from cross-frontier digital exchange. And lesser known cultures and languages can…...

February, 2008

The A to Z of Literary Translation

Whilst writing about English PEN's “Writers in Translation” committee, of which I am a member—tapping into my experiences as an editor, agent and publicist—the idea of doing a fun, but far from definitive listing, the A to Z Of Literary Translation, came to mind. oOo Artistry…...

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