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Celebrating Our First Ten Years

November 2013

This month we celebrate our tenth anniversary with compelling new work by some of our favorite writers from the last decade. In two tales of the afterlife, Sakumi Tayama’s fraudulent mediums channel unexpected spirits, and Marek Huberath’s grieving widower bids a prolonged farewell. Eduardo Halfon finds the ghost of his grandfather in a Guatemalan bully, while Iraq’s Najem Wali, in Lisbon, commemorates lost cities and loves. Mazen Kerbaj slips into a reverie; Évelyne Trouillot’s bourgeoise is jolted from hers. Nahid Mofazzari talks dual existence with Goli Taraghi; Carmen Boullosa traces historical theft in Mexico; Can Xue portrays the decline and revitalization of a revered leader. We hope you’ll join us in saluting these writers and the many others we’ve presented throughout the years. Elsewhere, we present writing on the Rwandan genocide by Kelsy Lamko, Esther Mujawayo and Souâd Belhaddad, and Michaella Rugwizangoga, introduced by Elizabeth Applegate.

Cyarwa cya nyarwaya
By Michaella Rugwizangoga
Cyarwa is the birthplace of my mother. She left when she was two years old and came back when she was forty, accompanied by her older brother. This poem is the story of their return after years of shared…
Translated from French by Elizabeth Applegate
A Coward’s Repentance
By Esther Mujawayo & Souâd Belhaddad
He had been watching me for a while, but I hadn't noticed him. I was busy chatting with my cousin Astrida on the doorstep of her store in the center of the capital. In Kigali, to greet an…
Translated from French by Elizabeth Applegate
Writing Genocide: Poetry and Prose from Rwanda
By Elizabeth Applegate
Genocide is a specific type of crime, determined not only by the actions of the killers but also by their goal. The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide emphasizes that the crime…
White Sand, Black Stone
By Eduardo Halfon
The young officer was reading the pages of my passport diligently, scrupulously, as though they were the pages of a gossip magazine or a cheap novel. He held them up. He looked at them against the light.…
Translated from Spanish by Daniel Hahn
Between Two Worlds: An Interview with Goli Taraghi
By Nahid Mozaffari
Nahid Mozaffari spoke with Goli Taraghi on the telephone in October 2013. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.Nahid Mozaffari:  Ms. Taraghi, you are one of the very few Iranian…
Translated from Persian by Nahid Mozaffari
From “Texas: The Great Theft”
By Carmen Boullosa
Eleven years have passed since the town of Bruneville was founded on the banks of the Rio Bravo, just a few miles up-river from the Gulf. It was named after Ciudad Castaño, the legendary shining…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Spirit Summoning, Part I
By Sakumi Tayama
It was Yoko who made me become a fake medium six months ago.
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
Balm of a Long Farewell
By Marek Huberath
1The tiny oval of Orefine has a remarkable number of canals. The island once served as a center for the islands nearby, many of them even tinier. In this network, the earth dug from the canals was used…
Translated from Polish by Michael Kandel
The Old Cicada
By Can Xue
A heat wave rolled into the city, and reports of elderly heatstroke victims streamed in continually. Sirens wailed, and pet dogs lay panting in the shade.It was much better in the suburbs, where tall…
Translated from Chinese by Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping
The Sad Portuguese
By Najem Wali
Luis Carvalho was the “sad Portuguese”—that is what they called him, or at least what we called him, we the children in the neighborhoods of Sif, Mahallat al-Pasha, Nadhran, and Bllush,…
Translated from Arabic by Peter Theroux
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