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Contributor

David Varno

Contributor

David Varno

David Varno is a former Dispatches Editor for Words Without Borders and has contributed to Electric Literature, Tin House, the Brooklyn Rail, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Paste, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn. 

Articles by David Varno

PEN World Voices Festival 2014: Balkan Literature
By David Varno
5pm, Saturday, May 3, 2014Invisible Dog, Brooklyn NYParticipants: Aleksandar Hemon, Igor Stiks, Ognjen Spahic, Vladimir TasicModerator: Mika BuljevicPresented in association with Invisible Dog and Trust…
Translators of the World Unite! (With Other Writers, who are also Translators)
By David Varno
Word for Word / Wort fur Wort Reading and book reception at Columbia University Deutches Haus, April 12, 2012 In perhaps the best kind of exchange program, three writers from Columbia’s MFA…
Argos Books: A New Form for Translation
By David Varno
The Other Music: Selected Poems from the 1970s, by Francisca Aguirre, translated by Montana Ray If I Were Born in Prague: Poems of Guy Jean, versions by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky Argos Books, established…
Roussel, Dreamer of Infinite Space
By David Varno
New Impressions of Africa, by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Ford (Princeton, 2011) Impressions of Africa, by Raymond Roussel, translated by Mark Polizzotti (Dalkey Archive, 2011) Of Raymond Roussel’s…
Literature is a Dangerous Game: Roberto Bolaño’s Between Parentheses
By David Varno
Roberto Bolaño was the kind of writer who belonged to a species that is hopefully not as endangered as appearances suggest: writers who read more than they write. Bolaño read a lot, and…
On Reviewing Translations: Susan Bernofsky, Jonathan Cohen, and Edith Grossman
By David Varno
This document was submitted to Words Without Borders for our series On Reviewing Translations, based on a collaboration between the three contributors that had been initiated prior to solicitation. SOME…
New Series: On Reviewing Translations
By David Varno
This week, we are launching a series to explore the ways that book reviews handle translations. Reviewers and translators each have varied opinions on how translations should be discussed, and on who…
Borges: Faith to See in the Dark
By David Varno
In 2010, as part of the Penguin Classics Series, five new Borges books were released in the states. Last October, three of the editors, Suzanne Jill Levine, Alfred Mac Adam, and Maria Kodama, gathered…
Book Reviews: Who Should Write about Literature in Translation?
By David Varno
Translation was a central subject with a panel of book review editors this week, at the Center for Fiction in New York. The event, “Book Reviews, Revamped,” was put on in partnership with…
Travel Journals for Sleepwalkers: The Stories of Roberto Bolaño
By David Varno
Ever since Last Evenings on Earth was released in paperback, I have developed the habit, which has become a mission, of reading each Bolaño book as it appears in English translation. There have…
Roberto Bolaño’s Total Anarchy
By David Varno
The Bolaño short fiction that’s been coming out in the New Yorker and Harper’s over the past few months is getting stranger. Necrophilia and the Colombian porno industry are edgy enough…
No Nightmares in English: New European Fiction
By David Varno
On what now feels like a long-lost spring afternoon, in these chilly weeks following the PEN World Voices festival, Aleksandar Hemon and Colum McCann speculated on the value of the genre tag “European…
Jazra Khaleed’s 9mm Words
By David Varno
Our March 2010 issue, Correspondences in the Air: International Poetry, features a diverse selection of poets, and contains work that complement the recent Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, edited…
Roberto Bolaño, Bounty Hunter
By David Varno
Bolaño’s preliminary note to Monsieur Pain, a short novel was first published in 1999 and appeared last month from New Directions, alludes to the author’s early desperation and tenacity. …
The Family, in Ballpoint Ink: Blutch’s “That Was Happiness”
By David Varno
As Christian Hincker (a.k.a. Blutch) says in the video accompanying his contribution to the February Graphic Lit edition of Words Without Borders, an excerpt from the graphic novel That Was Happiness…
On Horia Gârbea’s “Father’s Return from War. Topics”
By David Varno
“Father's Return from War. Topics,” by Horia GârbeaThis string of eight vignettes, “Father's Return from War,” translated from the Romanian by Mihaela Mudure, does…
Kleist and the Confusion of Affects: New Translations
By David Varno
Goethe, a literary father-figure to Heinrich von Kleist, may have sensed an Oedipal bloodlust in the emerging poet and playwright: “With the best will in the world towards this poet,” he wrote,…
From the Magazine: Quim Monzó
By David Varno
Quim Monzó's “The Fork” and “Thirty Lines” Quim Monzó's contribution of two stories to January's International Flash Fiction issue have been translated…
Today in International Lit: Early Murakami, Idlewild Books, and late Guy de Maupassant
By David Varno
Murakami Bootlegs No More Haruki Murakami's major works have long been available in the United States, but the author has refused too allow distribution of his first two novels, Hear the Wind Sing…
From The Magazine: Yoav Avni
By David Varno
“Trumpet Lessons,” by Yoav Avni Featured in this month's International Flash Fiction issue is a high-velocity, highly compressed piece by accomplished Israeli writer Yoav Avni. “Trumpet…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Tolstoy Film to Appear this Week 2010 marks the centenary of Tolstoy's death at a provincial train station in Russia. This Friday, in New York and Los Angeles, a film about the author's last days…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Liu Xiaobo Sentenced, PEN Press Conference to Follow A message from The PEN American Center:   As you have heard, the Chinese government has sentenced our colleague Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Yesterday on the New Yorker's Book Bench, Elizabeth Clark Wessel served up a condensed version of the Quarterly Conversation's “Translate this Book”, an incredible feature published…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
NPR Acknowledges Foreign Fiction with Year-End List With the season of best-of lists upon us, it's refreshing to see NPR publish its first list of Best Foreign Fiction. Writer Jessa Crispin, founding…
From the Magazine
By David Varno
The process of translation is a key element of Turkish-German author Feridun Ziamoglu’s Koppstoff: Kanaka Sprak vom Rande der Gesellschaft (The Knowledge Holder Doesn't Choke on Cleverness),…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Nabokov Screaming his Head Off The new online newspaper The Faster Times was linked by the New Yorker yesterday for their take on the new Nabokov publication, the unfinished novel The Origin of Laura.…
From the Magazine
By David Varno
“My bag in the back of the truck, the Antarctica bottles open, and we’re off.” So begins our excerpt of Ross Benjamin’s translation of Thomas Pletzinger’s novel Bestattung…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Why we Read Bolaño Horacio Castellanos Moya's, “Bolaño Inc.” for the November Guernica, is a further effort to debunk our romanticized construction of the decade's literary…
Polish Poetry Now
By David Varno
Last week, the Polish Cultural Institute presented a two-part symposium at Poets House that sought to address questions on the nature and identity of Polish poets working today. The program began Tuesday…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
WWB in the New Yorker The November issue of Words Without Borders, with new translations from Germany, has just gone live and is met with praise today from the New Yorker's Book Bench blog with a…
From the Magazine
By David Varno
Before we launch the November issue, we'd like to highlight Abdourahman Waberi's wonderful piece of reportage on Rwanda, fifteen years after the genocide, “Rawanda: The Flame of Hope.”…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Spain's Prince of Asturias Awards Cultural exchange continues in Europe among prestigious prize-givers, with Albanian writer Ismail Kadaré cinching the Prince of Asurias Award for literature.…
From the Magazine
By David Varno
This week, we're highlighting contemporary Austrian critic and essayist Karl-Markus Gauss's meditation on perception and control, “Wie das Chaos nach Salzburg kam,” (“When Chaos…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Upcoming Events: Inca Garcilaso de la Vega's Legacy America's Society Friday, October 23 7:00 pm Free admission As a follow-up to the Fall 2009 symposium marking the 400th anniversary of Inca…
The fun of de Nerval’s The Salt Smugglers
By David Varno
“This is not a novel,” wrote Diderot repeatedly, in his Quixotic, polyphonic Jacques the Fatalist and his Master. You could say he was ripping off Sterne, who ripped off Rabelais in the grand…
Podcasts of Kapuściński panel at NBCC
By David Varno
The National Book Critics Circle's blog, Critical Mass, is featuring a three-part series of podcasts and videos to cover the complete symposium held last week at NYU: After Kapuściński: The Art of…
From the Magazine
By David Varno
This week, we are highlighting an excerpt from Towers of Stone, by Wojciech Jagielski, translated from the Polish by Soren Gauger. The book is forthcoming this month from Seven Stories Press, and is a…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
The Nobel Prize With the announcement of Herta Müller as Nobel Prize winner for literature comes the continued sense that the Nobel committee is challenging the English-speaking world to be more…
From the Magazine
By David Varno
This week, we are highlighting an excerpt from journalist-cum-fiction writer Peter Fröberg Idling’s Pol Pots leende (Pol Pot’s Smile), translated from the Swedish by Silvester MazzarellaFirst…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Kafka in New York Last week, the New York M.T.A. unveiled a new quote for their Train of Thought series, with the first line from Kafka's “The Metamorphosis.” The New Yorker suggests that…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Susan Sontag Prize for Translation Open to SubmissionsThe prize, in its third annual iteration, includes a $5,000 grant for the proposed translation of a work of fiction or letters by anyone under the…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
More than the FactsIn gearing up for the coming two-day symposium on literary reportage, After Kapuściński: The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century, fellow sponsor The National Book Critics…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Etgar Keret’s Complicated CharactersSydney’s Morning Herald has a great profile on Israeli short story writer Etgar Keret today. In the interview, Keret describes what he calls Israelis’…
Notes from the Brooklyn Book Festival
By David Varno
After an hour-long Subway ride due to weekend delays, I emerged from the steps at Borough Hall station in Brooklyn to the plaza, where I was pleasantly transported from the dark inertia to the middle…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
International Stage at Brooklyn Book FestivalNo matter where you’re coming from, a trip to the Brooklyn Book Festival, now in its fourth year, is sure to be worthwhile. It’s distinctly local…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
New in Catalan LiteratureThe September issue of World Literature Today is carrying a special feature on Catalan literature, guest edited by Lawrence Venuti. In his introduction, Venuti highlights the…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
Belarusian Poetry in Central Park:Valzhyna Mort will be reading with Laynie Browne and Cynthia Cruz on Thursday at the Arsenal in Central Park, as part of the Poetry from the Rooftops series sponsored…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
The first English-language collection of Jordanian poet Amjad Nasser, translated by Khaled Mattawa, has recently been released by Banipal Books. The
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
This past summer in Poland, the film adaptation of Dorota Masłowska’s novel Snow White and Russian Red has become quite a hit, seven years after the book was originally published by the then-19-year-old…
Today in International Lit
By David Varno
British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s feature on war poetry for the Saturday Guardian, “Exit Wounds,” starts by highlighting a large body of non-Anglo work, including Anna Akhmatova,…
International Literary News
By David Varno
At least two anthologies featuring contemporary German literature will be out this year. In discussing them, Lizzie’s Literary Life notes the “boom” in post-reunification German literature.…
International Literary News
By David Varno
Finnish-born Swedish author Willy Kyrklund passed away last month at 88. As Notes from the North put it in their philosophical discussion of Kyrklund’s oeuvre, Kyrklund was “often called an…
International Literary News
By David Varno
Mexican poet and historian Miguel León-Portilla was honored by the Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone on the 50th anniversary of his volume Viewpoint of the Defeated. Explaining his project of compiling…
International Literary News
By David Varno
This Friday, the writers shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing will read from their nominated short stories at the Royal Over-Seas League in London at 7pm, as part of a lead-up to the winner…
Weekend Reading: Laundry
By David Varno
At the week’s end, here’s hope that attention will continue in the English-language world for Israeli novelist Suzane Adam. She has published four books since 2000 and won the Kugel Prize…
International Literary News
By David Varno
The Khaleej Times reported today on the announcement this week of the participants in the second annual Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature (EAIFL), to be held next March in Dubai.Among…
Literary Reportage: Podcast from the Polish Cultural Institute
By David Varno
Following the Polish Cultural Institute's coverage yesterday of the 2nd International Congress of Polish Translators in Krakow, which took place from June 4 – 6, it seems like a good time to…
International Literary News
By David Varno
Two years ago, a new generation of situationists anonymously penned a manifesto, L’insurrection qui vient (The Coming Insurrection). The text has been anonymously translated from the French, and…
International Literary News
By David Varno
Following the death of publishing legend Richard Seaver, Arcade Publishing (Octavio Paz, Ismail Kadare) filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Crain’s has the report. Seaver, who began with Grove and championed…
International Literary News
By David Varno
Pierre Michon’s latest book, Les onze (The Eleven), due this month from Editions Verdier, is a historical novel set at the end of the Reign of Terror. In a listing for a reading that will coincide…
International Literary News
By David Varno
In the LA Times blog Jacket Copy‘s Memorial Day roundup of 20th Cenutry war literature, Thomas McGonigle generously rememberd Carlo Emilio Gadda’s That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana as “the…
International Literature News
By David Varno
We’re all saddened by the death of past contributor Mario Benedetti, though it is amazing to see the immediate, creative responses to his work from around the world. Don’t miss A.M. Correa’s…
PEN World Voices Festival: Richard Ford and Nam Le at Morgan Library
By David Varno
Richard Ford and Nam Le at Morgan Library, May 3, Gilder Lehrman Hall, also part of BOMBLive! seriesVenerable fiction man Richard Ford gave a particularly generous introduction to young short story writer…
International Literature News
By David Varno
On occasion of Zoetrope’s Latin American Issue, editor Daniel Alarcón talked last Friday with the New Yorker’s Book Bench. Contributors include Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Alarcón,…
PEN WORLD VOICES FESTIVAL: Enrique Vila-Matas and Paul Auster at FIAF
By David Varno
This was an interesting talk, very well moderated by Eduardo Lago, between two writers who admire one another and have been compared to one another, and even appeared together in public at point wearing…
Weekly News Update: Round-up of PEN World Voices Thus Far
By David Varno
And now for the coverage on the coverage. Our own reports are still coming in, so continue to check over the next couple of days. I have posts due on Kafka’s Amerika, Enrique Vila-Matas and Paul…
PEN World Voices Festival: On the Edge: Writing in Reunified Germany
By David Varno
Moments before Clemens Meyer read this past Friday evening, at the Deutches Haus on the Washington Mews, I spotted him outside on the curb with a can of Budweiser. Inside from the rain, the small room…
PEN World Voices Festival: Celebrating Anagrama at Instituto Cervantes
By David Varno
As the venerable Spanish publishing house Anagrama turns 40 this year, they have many triumphs and achievements to look back on, and currently are central to the regeneration of Latin American fiction,…
PEN World Voices Festival: This Critical Moment (Part II)
By David Varno
After Eric Banks’s and Rigoberto Gonzalez presented on German and Mexican literature at this past Friday’s panel featuring the National Book Critics Circle (see more in Part One of the coverage),…
PEN World Voices Festival: This Critical Moment (Part I)
By David Varno
Yesterday afternoon at the Scandinavia House, board members of the National Book Critics Circle and other critics presented on select writers participating in this year’s festival. The authors they…
PEN World Voices Festival: Evolution/Revolution Readings
By David Varno
Cooper Union Great HallWednesday, April 29, 2009 The readings featured by PEN World Voices in the authors’ original languages are a special treat, as Bud wrote yesterday to accompany Mary’s…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Bangladeshi author Selina Hossain, winner of this year’s Ekushe Padak award, was interviewed recently for Ariful News: A Voice Against Violence. We published her story “Parul’s Motherhood,”…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
In addition to the Penguin Prize for African Writing, a literary award announced today by Penguin South Africa (and featured on Book Case at The Times) that will honor unpublished manuscripts from African…
Weekly News Post
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…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
The big news today is that Oskar Schindler’s list of the 800+ people he saved has been found in a library in Australia, and also that Colombian octogenarian Gabriel García Márquez…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
The PEN World Voices Festival schedule has been announced. Events begin on April 29th. ———-The bicentennial mark of Gogol’s birth has sparked hundreds of events throughout Russia,…
Kerouac in French
By David Varno
This past Monday night, the Americas Society featured a discussion of Jack Kerouac as a Franco-American writer. This aspect of Kerouac is well known to readers who have ventured beyond On The Road. His…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Words Without Borders is co-sponsoring an event taking place this Sunday at the Station Museum in Houston, titled Cultural Narrative: Imran Aslam and hosted by Voices Breaking Boundaries. Aslam is a Pakistani…
Ananda Devi on Language, Literature and Identity at fi:af
By David Varno
Last night, Mauritian author Ananda Devi spoke to a packed room in the French Institute’s Skyroom in Manhattan, as part of a U.S. tour sponsored by the Délégation générale…
Judges for Man Booker International Prize Announce Finalists
By David Varno
The judges for the 2009 Man Booker International Prize announced their shortlist this morning, in a press conference at The Humanities and Social Science Library on 42nd St.Ukranian writer Andrey Kurkov,…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Keret in Chicago and Boston:Keret will close Columbia College’s annual Story Week festival with a discussion on March 20 at the Hokin Annex in the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave. More…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Thursday: A Celebration of the International Graphic NovelPlease join us this Thursday in DUMBO at Melville House Publishers, 7pm. We’ll have drinks, music, and our favorite graphic novel artwork…
Recent Festival of Conversations between French and America Authors—Part II
By David Varno
Continuation from yesterday’s coverage on the Festival of New French Writing .———-The second panel I heard at the festival, held this past weekend at NYU, featured David Foenkinos…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Starting tomorrow night:The Sound of Literature: New voices from Austria, Germany, and the United States. A series of conversations and readings with the authors, moderated by Klaus Nüchtern. Tomorrow…
Recent Festival of Conversations between French and American Authors
By David Varno
The Festival of New French Writing, held from last Thursday through Saturday at NYU’s Vanderbilt Hall, and presented by the French-American Cultural Exchange, was a remarkable series of programs…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Our March installment of the Conversations on Great Contemporary Literature series will feature the work of Israeli author Etgar Keret. We’ll be hosting an online book club and are looking for readers…
Three-week Arabic Arts Festival at Kennedy Center
By David Varno
Tomorrow, February 23rd, marks the beginning of a massive three-week festival of Arabic arts and culture at the Kennedy Center in D.C., titled Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World. This will, by far, be…
Awards Recognize Excellence For Books in Translation
By David Varno
It’s interesting, in the backstretch of the book awards season, to consider a book’s merit in multiple phases. There’s the book itself, as created by the author and chosen by the publisher,…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Angel Wagenstein’s fiction is presented as a new approach to Jewish storytelling in an essay published in this weeks Nation. Issac’s Torch, published in English last year by Elizabeth Frank…
A Great discussion on Edith Grossman’s Don Quixote
By David Varno
Edith Grossman and Eduardo Lago at Idlewild Books, February 5, 2009Edith Grossman’s English translation of Don Quixote, published in 2003, is praised as an honest as well as accessible version of…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
Not only has Esquire greatly reduced the print space alloted to literary fiction, but their short-lived Books Blog ground to a halt at the end of January. Still, it’s worth checking out their recent…
Readings from BOMB’s 10th Anniversary Americas Issue
By David Varno
Each winter for the past ten years, BOMB magazine has featured what they call an Americas Issue, focusing on a specific region of Latin America and covering art, film, music, architecture, and literature.…
Weekly News Update
By David Varno
The annual AWP conference begins next Wednesday in Chicago, with perhaps some of the most interesting events off-site from the Hilton. Journals Mare Nostrum, Black Warrior Review, and Bat City combine…
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