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December 2014

Around the Globe: International YA Writing

This December we invite you to join us on a romp through the world of international Young Adult literature. The writers in this month’s issue broaden our perspective on this popular genre, bringing new life and a sharp literary focus to the wide world of YA literature from around the globe.

  In “The Boys,” Swedish writer Jessica Schiefauer’s memorable take on gender and adolescence, a group of young girls gets a transformative new view on the world. From Norway, Inga Sætre’s young teenage protagonist deals with the prospect of an unexpected new arrival. Germany’s Zoran Drvenkar sets the scene for two young boys out and about on New Year’s eve, while Georgia’s Tamta Melashvili pens a haunting account of friendship in a time of war. Bangladesh’s Muhammed Zafar Iqbal tackles corporal punishment in schools through his plucky young protagonist, and Canadian Michel Noël describes the world of a young Inuit boy about to embark on a life-changing journey. From South Korea, Koo Byung-Mo delves into the heart of a magical local bakery. From Mexico, Ricardo Chávez Castañeda imagines a secret book with sinister intentions and Palestinian author Ahlam Bisharat shows a girl shielding a younger child from the harshness of war while struggling to understand it herself.

  Very special thanks to our guest editors for the issue, Briony Everroad and Daniel Hahn, for their care and ingenuity in putting together this selection of international YA writing.

  Elsewhere in the issue, we present a selection of new poetry from Uruguay guest edited by Jesse Lee Kercheval, featuring work from Andrea Durlacher, Victoria Estol, Fabián Severo, and Paula Simonetti.

from “The Boys”
By Jessica Schiefauer
“Let us make a pact, gentlemen. Let us brew a Magical Potion and drink together.”
Translated from Swedish by Saskia Vogel
Wizard Bakery
By Koo Byung-Mo
Do not forget the magical forces you used today may circle back to you some day to return the favor.
Translated from Korean by Jamie Chang
Nom de Guerre: Butterfly
By Ahlam Bisharat
It terrified me to hear the words “honor” and “flesh” in the same sentence.
Translated from Arabic by Nashwa Gowanlock
In Search of the End of the World
By Michel Noël
I was brought into the world on a day of black misery.
Translated from French by JC Sutcliffe
No Light in the Windows
By Zoran Drvenkar
Karim believed in Coke the way other people believed in Jesus and Mary.
Translated from German by Chantal Wright
The Book of Denial
By Ricardo Chávez Castañeda
This story is the worst story in the world—it's just terrible.For those who don't like tragic stories, this book has a happy ending on a page near the end.I recommend you don't keep…
Translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel
By Muhammed Zafar Iqbal
Whenever teachers said there was good news, it almost always turned out to be nothing of the sort.
Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha
Linguistics in the Time of Uruguayan Invasion
By Andrea Durlacher
ILinguistics in the time of Uruguayan invasion.When nobody cared about linguistics,before France, before Saussure,when nobody could have imagined a human being might ever think about     …
Translated from Spanish by Anna Guercio Rosenwong
[the nail fell]
By Victoria Estol
the nail fell, making the floor shrieki aim to fix the hole by filling it with paperwad it up a little and stuff it init can’t faili push it in deeperit falls through, into a voidi try again but…
Translated from Spanish by Seth Michelson
I’m not going to talk
By Paula Simonetti
I’ll talk about something elsenever thatI’m not going to tell youenough!I’m going to draw this subtleparadise of paperthat doesn’t mention lice or dreamsa look back at a brief…
Translated from Spanish by Catherine Jagoe
Night Up North
By Fabián Severo
Artigas is an abandoned stationthe hope left behind by a train that won’t come backa road that disappears heading south.                      …
Translated from Portuñol by Dan Bellm
Counting Out
By Tamta Melashvili
I’ve got a surprise for you, she said. We came out onto the main road, the empty main road. I gave a blank reply: a surprise? Get a move on! Nintso sounded impatient. We’ve got stuff to do…
Translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway
New Voices in Uruguayan Poetry
By Jesse Lee Kercheval
With only 3.4 million people, Uruguay is the smallest Spanish-speaking country in South America, but it has always been well-populated with poets. The Uruguayan poet Leo Masliah makes this clear in his…