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Racism

This Language Called Kaaps: An Introduction
By Olivia M. Coetzee
Language is more than just a method of communication. It is about the ability to lay down roots, to settle into an identity, to have a place in history, in the present, and in the future. Language is…
Dark as a Boy
By Ho Sok Fong
Pretty much everyone knew Saw Ai’s family had problems.
Translated from Chinese by Natascha Bruce
“A Scream That Can No Longer Be Held In”: Translating Rahma Nur’s “Linguistic Threads”
By Candice Whitney, Alta L. Price & Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
Linguistic threads. IV lines and blood cells. Oppressive silencing. There is a viscerality that emerges when sitting with Rahma Nur’s poem “Fili Linguistici.” In describing her experience as…
Linguistic Threads, translated by Alta L. Price
By Rahma Nur
Afro-Italian poet Rahma Nur describes her experience as a member of a diaspora living in Italy, noting how language marks the body and how it shapes one’s sense of loss.As you make headwaybetween…
Translated from Italian by Alta L. Price
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Linguistic Threads, translated by Candice Whitney
By Rahma Nur
Afro-Italian poet Rahma Nur describes her experience as a member of a diaspora living in Italy, noting how language marks the body and how it shapes one’s sense of loss.In the step that you takeBetween…
Translated from Italian by Candice Whitney
MultimediaMultilingual
Linguistic Threads, translated by Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
By Rahma Nur
Afro-Italian poet Rahma Nur describes her experience as a member of a diaspora living in Italy, noting how language marks the body and how it shapes one’s sense of loss.In that step you takebetween…
Translated from Italian by Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
MultimediaMultilingual
Afro-Italian Women in Translation: An Introduction
By Candice Whitney, Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, Aaron Robertson, Hope Campbell Gustafson
What is national literature and how is it defined? Often, when one thinks of a particular nation or language, they imagine a specific phenotype tied to a historical narrative. A cursory Google search…
An empty playground with a merry go round
Photo by Loegunn Lai on Unsplash
My Home Is Where I Am
By Igiaba Scego
Somali-Italian writer Igiaba Scego recalls her childhood experiences in the Italian educational system in this memoir.
Translated from Italian by Aaron Robertson
Soumaila Sacko: Story of the Good Life
By Djarah Kan
But if you drink and breathe and sweat and love in a country that is no longer yours, then you are not a migrant. You are a man.
Translated from Italian by Candice Whitney
Bambi
By Ubah Cristina Ali Farah
In your opinion, why'd he do it?
Translated from Italian by Hope Campbell Gustafson
We Cried a River of Laughter
By Marie Moïse
Writer Marie Moïse describes her search for her roots and traces her family’s history of cross-Atlantic displacement.I spent my youth seeking to recover my roots, which were severed by migration…
Translated from Italian by Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
Who Translates?
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
In the wake of 2020’s racist violence, and subsequent organizing by the Black Lives Matter movement and others to combat white supremacy, literary magazines and publishers everywhere have, to differing…
The Great White Canceling
By Anton Hur
Translator Anton Hur takes a wry look at race and translation in this essay.You’re a white translator. I come into your home office and break your computer. I run a bath and drown all your…
Privilege, Race, and Translation
By Corine Tachtiris
Scholar and translator Corine Tachtiris reflects on the inherent privilege of translating while White in this essay.And if there are few Black translators, there are few representatives of the possibility…
Barriers, Privileges, and Invisible Labor: A Sino Diaspora Translator’s Perspective
By Yilin Wang
Translator Yilin Wang addresses various forms of bias in translation from Asian Languages in this essay.“You must teach yourself how to carry loan words,tiny seeds gift-wrapped like hand-me-down heirlooms…
How Can We Better Publish Black Writers in Translation?
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
This month, WWB took a look back at some of the important writing on race and racism to be found in the magazine's archives.
Publishers Need More Black Translator Friends
By Aaron Robertson
There are obstacles translators must face before the international sections of bookstores reflect the world more equitably.
Respecting the Diversity of Creativity
By Évelyne Trouillot
It would be naive to speak of editorial decisions without taking into account power relationships and established patterns of prejudice that undergird the publishing industry.
Translated from French by Paul Curtis Daw
Developing a Publishing Infrastructure in Mozambique
By Sandra Tamele
Running a start-up publisher in Mozambique is challenging, particularly because sales are low due to a nonexistent distribution network and too few bookshops, all located in the capital city.
Global Blackness: Black Writers in Translation
By Eric M. B. Becker
Engaging the evolving dialogue that broadens definitions of global Blackness.
The Red Rooster and Inevitable Saint
By Julia Wong Kcomt
“She was hot, your aunt Carmen, / she didn’t look Chinese.”
Translated from Spanish by Jennifer Shyue
Multilingual
Deceptive Simplicity: International Children’s Literature
By Daniel Hahn
I often feel that adults forget what children’s stories are capable of.
The Park Bench
By Sandrine Kao
But it’s not surprising—with everything you hear on the news, how can anyone be expected to think well of the Chinese?
Translated from French by Jane Roffe
Who Dreams of Us?: New Swedish-Language Writing
By Saskia Vogel
Whose story gets to be told?
Two people walk through the snow with the sun rising behind mountains in the distance
Tadeáš Gregor, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
From “Aednan”
By Linnea Axelsson
Linnea Axelsson’s August Prize–winning epic traces Sámi history in the twentieth century.
Translated from Swedish by Saskia Vogel
Multilingual
Interlude
By Mara Lee
He squinted at me, swaying in the wind. Blood or soil, he asked.
Translated from Swedish by Saskia Vogel
Event Horizon
By Balsam Karam
The sun rose over the mountaintop in a blaze of blue and green and so the day began.
Translated from Swedish by Saskia Vogel & Alice Olsson
From “Wretchedness”
By Andrzej Tichý
He said, this is real, and then he pulled up his shirt and showed us the scars under his arm.
Translated from Swedish by Nichola Smalley
Kopparberg Road 20
By Mathias Rosenlund
When you’ve always worked for a low wage, getting a higher wage is a challenge.
Translated from Swedish by Saskia Vogel
Alhambra
By Johannes Anyuru
Writing is a post-traumatic symptom.
Translated from Swedish by Kira Josefsson
From “White Monkey”
By Adrian Perera
I say change is always painful, / someone has to be the first.
Translated from Swedish by Christian Gullette
Multilingual
From “Twenty-Five Thousand Miles of Nerves”
By Nino Mick
I want to reside in the hard and permanent / so I construct a suite of poems and a man to live inside
Translated from Swedish by Christian Gullette
Multilingual
Works Cited In Franciane Conceição Silva’s Panorama of Afro-Brazilian Literature
By Franciane Conceição Silva
References and Further Reading Alves, Miriam.Mulher Mat(r)iz. Belo Horizonte: Nandyala, 2011.Alves, Miriam. Entrevista. Duke, Dawn (Org.). A escritora afro-brasileira: ativismo e arte literária.…
Translated from Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato
Another Country: Afro-Brazilian Writing, Past and Present
By Eric M. B. Becker & John Keene
If the literature of a country with the second largest black population worldwide (only Nigeria has a larger black population) does not include that population in its literature, one must ask which Brazil we’re speaking of when we speak of Brazilian…
Insurgent Voices: A Panorama of Afro-Brazilian Writing
By Franciane Conceição Silva
Politicians know I’m a poet. And that poets face death when their people are oppressed.
Translated from Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato
Multilingual
Black Teeth and Blue Hair
By Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Ignorance is a kind of blindness.”
Translated from Portuguese by Eric M. B. Becker
Afro-Brazilian Crusader: On Lima Barreto
By Felipe Botelho Correa
According to Barreto himself, the aim of his crusade was to produce a type of literature that he defined as “militante,” engaging with the society’s most pressing issues and communicating these issues to a wider audience in accessible language.
In Aflitos
By Jean Wyllys
She was furious! She grew silent again, went upstairs, and searched the nightstand. The pistol was there.
Translated from Portuguese by John Keene
Three Poems
By Ricardo Aleixo
A Black man is always somebody's Black man.
Translated from Portuguese by Dan Hanrahan
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Four Poems
By Cristiane Sobral
Time, lord of the hours / reigns sovereign
Translated from Portuguese by John Keene
Multilingual
The World at Home: US Writing in Translation
By Susan Harris
This issue is not a departure but a continuation.
I Am Not Your Cholo
By Marco Avilés
In San Marcos I could be poor and cholo and I didn’t have the pressure of hiding or explaining myself.
Translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Multilingual
Bahaa and Shareef Escape to New York
By Ezzedine Fishere
They didn’t get any satisfaction from coming out.
Translated from Arabic by Jonathan Smolin
Multilingual
House Taken Over
By Yuri Herrera
The house knew how to determine what was important.
Translated from Spanish by Lisa M. Dillman
Multilingual
The Madman of Bonanjo
By Alain Mabanckou
You can hang a man from a tree, but you cannot hang History with him.
Translated from French by Helen Stevenson
Multilingual
from “The Book of Disappearance”
By Ibtisam Azem
We inherit memory the way we inherit the color of our eyes and skin.
Translated from Arabic by Sinan Antoon
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Seven Stories
By Osama Alomar
A strange thing began to happen in the country.
Translated from Arabic by C.J. Collins
Roadkill
By Hiromi Itō
“Roadkill’s something you get used to seeing in America”
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
Multilingual
A Slice of Darkness
By Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar
“Why do you think they brought you here?”
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
After the Inferno
By Zhang Xinxin
“I’m the Girl-Homer with her eyes wide open.”
Translated from Chinese by Helen Wang
The Assassin
By Tuhin Das
Still we couldn't stop writing.
Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha
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The Sound of Snow
By Khet Mar
While snow was striking the windowpanes, my ears could only hear the sound of screaming and crying from a distant land.
Translated from Burmese by Maung Maung Myint
Multimedia
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