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Around the Globe: International YA Writing

December 2014

Image: Yoshitomo Nara, "Wall Painting for Nara's Cabin," 2006. Acrylic on wood shingles. 115 1/2 x 130 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. ©Yoshitomo Nara

Image: Yoshitomo Nara, “Wall Painting for Nara’s Cabin,” 2006. Acrylic on wood shingles. 115 1/2 x 130 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. ©Yoshitomo Nara

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.

Around the Globe: An Introduction to International YA Writing
By Briony Everroad & Daniel Hahn
While writing for teenagers wasn’t invented in the last decade or two, it has certainly, in that time, gained a visibility, a range, a thoughtfulness, even a sort of urgency. . .
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 Art of Falling
By Inga Sætre
How can anyone predict the future if it’s not already mapped out?
Translated by Rosie Louise Hedger
The Book of Denial
By Ricardo Chávez Castañeda
This story is the worst story in the world—it’s just terrible.
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
Counting Out
By Tamta Melashvili
Something stinks round here, I said, and stopped. It’s coming from the ravine.
Translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway