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PEN World Voices: 2010

April 2010

The PEN World Voices Festival launches its sixth annual celebration of global literature at the end of this month, and we’re kicking off the party with a sampler of new writing from a selection of the participants.  From an orphan’s rage to a widower’s serenity, in bleak housing projects and luminous seaside resorts, writers explore topics local and universal. See how Alina Bronsky, Assaf Gavron, Valter Hugo Mãe, Quim Monzó, Sofi Oksanen, Atiq Rahimi, Andrzej Stasiuk, and Jean-Philippe Toussaint create their own worlds in strikingly varied voices.

Words without Borders gratefully acknowledges Amazon.com for its grant in support of the publication of the April 2010 PEN World Voices issue.

Mr. Beneset
By Quim Monzó
Mr. Beneset’s son arrives at the geriatric home and greets the girl at reception
Translated from Catalan by Lisa M. Dillman
Honesty
By Quim Monzó
The nurse walks into Room 93 pushing a cart carrying a tray with a glass of water, a jar of capsules, a thermometer, and a file folder rest.
Translated from Catalan by Mary Ann Newman
Prague
By Jean-Philippe Toussaint
Let’s not talk about Prague.
Translated from French by John Lambert
Imaginary Return
By Atiq Rahimi
It was night. The ninth night. The most silent, the most oppressive.
Translated from French by Edward Gauvin
From “Broken Glass Park”
By Alina Bronsky
I hate men. Anna says good men do exist. Nice, friendly men who cook and help clean up and who earn money.
Translated from German by Tim Mohr
From “Purge”
By Sofi Oksanen
She was just going to make a tour of a country that she’d never seen before
Translated from Finnish by Lola Rogers
From “Almost Dead”
By Assaf Gavron
I climbed aboard the Little No. 5 as I did every morning on my way to work.
Translated from Hebrew by Assaf Gavron & James Lever
From “Dukla”
By Andrzej Stasiuk
July hung over the village like a sheet of blue metal.
Translated from Polish by Bill Johnston
From “the workers’ apocalypse”
By Valter Hugo Mãe
at night maria da graça dreamed that souvenirs of life on earth were on sale outside the gates of heaven.
Translated from Portuguese by Kenneth Krabbenhoft