By David Varno
Romanian author Norman Manea won the third Observator Cultural Opera Omnia Award this month from the Observer Translation Project, an international magazine of Romanian literature in translation. See Totalitarianism Today for an in-depth history of Manea and study of his work. Manea was a guest editor for WWB in 2004, and we also published his "Letter to Ernesto Sábato," translated from the Romanian by Stephen Kessler and Daniela Hurezanu
An international literary festival is finally in the works for Turkey, on the heels of the increased attention received since being named the Guest of Honor to Frankfurt in 2006 and the more recent cultural exchange with Germany. No date appears to be set at this point, but the festival's organizer Istanbul-based literary agency Kalem Ajans, according to Today's Zaman, has already built a strong base of international support.
Egyptian journal Ibdaa published a poem two years ago that has since raised the ire of fundamentalists to the point that its patron, a university considered "the goverment's highest authority on religion," according to the New Yorker's Book Bench, has withdrawn support and ordered all remaining copies of the journal to be contraband. Evidently, the university is known to have censored over one hundred ninety-six texts. The poem in question, as Ynet reports, is called "On the Balcony of Leila Murad" by a well-known poet Helmi Salem, and "liken[s] God to a villager who feeds ducks and milks cows."
A new international library project, called the World Digital Archive, will launch next week, with maps, manuscripts, and other documents available for free in seven different languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. According to the Guardian, the curators have granted permission for the materials to be translated into additional languages.
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