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The World through the Eyes of Writers: Celebrating Fifteen Years

May 2018

Image: Mona Hatoum, "Hot Spot," 2013, stainless steel, neon tube, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, 10/7/2016 –2/6/2017.
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen.

This month we’re marking our fifteenth anniversary by taking readers around the globe and through our archives with work by some of our favorite contributors. Many have appeared frequently in WWB throughout the years and have gone on to greater exposure and success in English translation. Admired and originally recommended to us by literary heavyweights such as Elena Poniatowska, Ha Jin, Edwidge Danticat, and Javier Marías, these writers reflect the dazzling variety of international voices that we’ve published in the last decade and a half. Akinwumi Isola’s sly portrait of cherubic Nigerian schoolchildren subverting a patronizing missionary, Johan Harstad’s depiction of an awkward teen toggling between a dreaded test and his crush on an anorexic classmate, and Goli Taraghi’s stark account of her stay in a Parisian psychiatric clinic are just a few of the rich narratives collected here. We hope you’ll celebrate with us and continue to share our monthly explorations of writing from around the world.

Great Explorations: WWB at Fifteen
By Samantha Schnee
This fifteenth anniversary issue takes a look back at the work of fifteen of these authors.
The Bane of My Existence
By Can Xue
“Can Xue doesn’t trust reason.”—Ha Jin
Translated from Chinese by Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping
By Adania Shibli
“Her narrative voice resonates with the inner geographies of the Palestinian space.”—Anton Shammas
Translated from Arabic by Randa Jarrar
By Gamal al-Ghitani
“The most important Arab novelist today.”—Naguib Mahfouz
Translated from Arabic by Humphrey Davies
The Grammar of Easter (You Don’t Say That in English)
By Akinwumi Isola
“Akin Isola remains one of our most versatile Nigerian writers.”—Wole Soyinka
Translated from Yoruba by the author
From “Wasted Morning”
By Gabriela Adamesteanu
“The preeminent voice among contemporary Romanian women novelists.”—Norman Manea
Translated from Romanian by Patrick Camiller
By Johan Harstad
“A 3-D portrait of the empathy one stranger experiences on behalf of another.”—Heidi Julavits
Translated from Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin & Erik Skuggevik
Holding Pattern
By Juan Villoro
“Villoro always cuts through genres with the precision of a scalpel.”—Javier Marías
Translated from Spanish by Lisa M. Dillman
By Horacio Castellanos Moya
“He is a survivor, but he doesn’t write like one.”—Roberto Bolaño
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
By Évelyne Trouillot
“Trouillot’s most striking childhood memories of the Duvalier dictatorship remain the image of Duvalier’s militiamen searching her family’s and neighbor’s houses for publications and other works of art deemed subversive.”—Edwidge Danticat
Translated from French by Paul Curtis Daw
The Karma Some Girls Have
By Juan Forn
“This story befuddles expectations and foils them.”—Ariel Dorfman
Translated from Spanish by Marina Harss