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Interviews

Translation as a Collaborative Mode: An Interview with Sarah Booker
By Alexander Aguayo
I met Sarah Booker virtually in 2018 when she spoke with a graduate student reading group about translating Cristina Rivera Garza's The Iliac Crest. During her virtual visit, Booker…
“Every Choice We Make Is Political”: Natasha Lehrer on Translating “Consent” and “I Hate Men”
By Madeleine Feeny
Natasha Lehrer is a prize-winning literary translator from French to English. She recently translated Consent, Vanessa Springora’s memoir of her teenage relationship with the writer Gabriel Matzneff,…
Portrait of writer Ioana Morpurgo
The City and the Writer: In Bucharest with Ioana Morpurgo
By Nathalie Handal
I love this city against my own better judgment.
More Than a Literary Movement: Susana Sanches Arins and Valentim Fagim on Reintegrationist Galician
By Words Without Borders
WWB's March issue features writing from Galicia, an autonomous region of northwestern Spain that borders Portugal. Though the Galician language shares a common root with modern Portuguese, Galicia's…
Translated by Jacob Rogers
The Translator Relay: Julia Powers
By Words Without Borders
WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every few months. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth…
Children’s Literature in Translation: Editora Caixote
In recent years, a proliferation of books in translation for children and young adults has brought imaginative stories from around the world to new readers. We’re speaking with some of the extraordinary…
Portrait of writer Natalie Bakopoulos
The City and the Writer: In Athens with Natalie Bakopoulos
By Nathalie Handal
I’m always a bit shattered by Athens.
“In Another Voice”: Kyra Ho on Creating a Poetry Translation Podcast
By Words Without Borders
In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, classmates Kyra Ho and Maria Goikhberg created In Another Voice, a podcast dedicated to poetry in translation. In less than a year, they have…
“A Generation Without Substitute”: Galicia’s Supernatural Grannies
By Alexander Aguayo
This month’s issue of Words Without Borders is graced by the art of Galician muralist Joseba Muruzábal, also known as Yoseba MP. The piece, Leiterofilia II, is one of a series of…
Translated from Spanish by Alexander Aguayo
Multilingual
Twenty Years of Île en île: A Conversation with Thomas C. Spear
By Words Without Borders
From 1998 until January 2021, Professor Thomas C. Spear edited Île en île, an extensive virtual archive of literature from French-speaking islands and their diasporas. Although there will…
A Wave in the Sea: Najwan Darwish on “Exhausted on the Cross”
By Kareem James Abu-Zeid
Born in Jerusalem, Najwan Darwish published his first poetry collection in 2000. He has since become one of the foremost contemporary Arab poets, and one of the most powerful poetic voices to emerge from…
Portrait of writer Christopher Bakken
The City and the Writer: In Thessaloniki with Christopher Bakken
By Nathalie Handal
Dig anywhere in the city and you collide with history.
María José Ferrada and Elizabeth Bryer on Translating “How to Order the Universe”
By Elizabeth Bryer
The precocious seven-year-old protagonist of María José Ferrada’s picaresque novel How to Order the Universe, referred to simply as “M,” is one of the most astute, enchanting,…
Translated by Elizabeth Bryer
The Flower and the Forest: An Interview with Evgeny Vodolazkin
By José Vergara
In Evgeny Vodolazkin’s literary universe, time is always out of joint. His novels feature medieval wanderers who glimpse events centuries in the future, narrative structures that contrast vastly…
“Reality (Unfortunately?) Varies”: A Conversation Between Galina Rymbu and Ilya Danishevsky
By Galina Rymbu
It seems to me—perhaps naively—that poetry has the ability to examine things in a maximally authentic way.
Translated from Russian by Anne O. Fisher & Helena Kernan
Guided by the Bees: Yamen Manai and Lara Vergnaud on Translating “The Ardent Swarm”
By Lara Vergnaud & Yamen Manai
Tunisia’s experience with despotism and revolution is universal.
Children’s Literature in Translation: Tapioca Stories
By Words Without Borders
In recent years, a proliferation of books in translation for children and young adults has brought imaginative stories from around the world to new readers. We’re speaking with some of the extraordinary…
Lily Meyer and Mona Kareem Reflect on Close-Up: An Experiment in Reviewing Translation
By Words Without Borders
Today WWB concludes its series Close-Up: An Experiment in Reviewing Translation, in which Lily Meyer and Mona Kareem seek to develop and practice a translation-centric approach…
Portrait of writer Naivo
The City and the Writer: In Antananarivo, Madagascar, with Naivo
By Nathalie Handal
Its name, “the city of thousands,” is synonymous with multitude.
The Translator Relay: Sophie Duvernoy
By Words Without Borders
WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every few months. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth…
Portrait of writer Ali Al Ameri
Photo © Satish Kumar.
The City and the Writer: In Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, with Ali Al Ameri
By Nathalie Handal
The desert is the shoulder of the city.
Portrait of writer Maya C. Popa
The City and the Writer: In Oxford with Maya C. Popa
By Nathalie Handal
Oxford is one hidden city layered over another.
Namibian Writing Front and Center: Rémy Ngamije on Doek! Literary Magazine
By Susannah Greenblatt
Doek! Literary Magazine, Namibia’s first online literary magazine, was named Brittle Paper's Literary Platform of the Year on Monday. It was founded in 2019 by Rémy…
The Translator Relay: Jack Jung
By Words Without Borders
WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every few months. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth…
Portrait of writer Angelo Cannavacciuolo
The City and the Writer: In Naples with Angelo Cannavacciuolo
By Nathalie Handal
Naples is the city of a hundred cities, of a hundred satellites all orbiting the unique, massive planet that is memory.
Translated by Alta L. Price
Multimedia
Children’s Literature in Translation: Levine Querido
By Words Without Borders
In recent years, a proliferation of books in translation for children and young adults has brought imaginative stories from around the world to new readers. We’re speaking with some of the extraordinary…
The City and the Writer: In Mexico City with Carmen Boullosa
By Carmen Boullosa
The city has devoured itself over and over again.
Translated by Samantha Schnee
“We Are Always Present in What We Write”: An Exchange between Emmanuel Carrère and Daniel Mendelsohn
By Raphaëlle Leyris
They’ve read and admired one another for ages, but they’d never had an occasion to talk to each other. Emmanuel Carrère and Daniel Mendelsohn are among those writers who, over the past…
Translated by Émanuel Grenier-Benoit
Conjuring Up a Nocturnal Montreal: Stéphane Larue and Pablo Strauss on Translating “The Dishwasher”
By Pablo Strauss & Stéphane Larue
When Stéphane Larue’s The Dishwasher won the 2020 Amazon.ca First Novel Award (formerly the Books in Canada First Novel Award), it was the first translated novel selected in the prize’s…
Translated by Pablo Strauss
Sexism and Science Fiction: An Interview with Tang Fei
By Nicky Harman & Natascha Bruce
Tang Fei (the pen name of Wang Jing) was born in 1983 in Shanghai. She is well known as a writer of science fiction and fantasy and is also a literary critic and essayist. Tang Fei was one of our star…
Translated by Nicky Harman
The City and the Writer: In Athens with Amanda Michalopoulou
By Nathalie Handal
Athens is about instant decisions, constant change, boldness and confusion and nerve.
An Interview with WWB Poetry Contest Winners Enrique Villasis and Bernard Capinpin
By Words Without Borders
“Birds in Flight, 1965” by Enrique Villasis, translated from Filipino by Bernard Capinpin, was one of four winners of WWB’s 2020 Poems in Translation contest, presented…
“This Catastrophe That Is Called Lebanon”: A Conversation with Mazen Kerbaj
By Words Without Borders
Lebanese comics artist and musician Mazen Kerbaj first appeared in Words Without Borders in February 2008, in our second graphic novel issue. Since then he’s contributed six more pieces, most recently…
An Interview with WWB Poetry Contest Winners Yau Ching and Chenxin Jiang
By Words Without Borders
“Trial Run” by Yau Ching, translated from Chinese by Chenxin Jiang, was one of four winners of WWB’s 2020 Poems in Translation contest, presented in partnership with the Academy…
The Translator Relay: Don Mee Choi
By Words Without Borders
WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every few months. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth…
An Interview with WWB Poetry Contest Winner Bryan Mendoza
By Words Without Borders
Bryan Mendoza’s translation of Julio Pazos Barrera's “Pegasus Autopsy” was one of four winners of WWB’s 2020 Poems in Translation contest, presented in partnership…
The City and the Writer: In London with Jay Parini
By Nathalie Handal
London is a self-enclosed world that contains all worlds.
An Interview with WWB Poetry Contest Winner Nguyễn-Hoàng Quyên
By Words Without Borders
Making texts that are potentially wrong or slippery keeps me heedful of officious frames of correctness.
Hiding in Plain Sight: Carlos Fonseca and Megan McDowell on Translating “Natural History”
By Megan McDowell
Carlos Fonseca's Natural History (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) is a singularly difficult book to describe. It’s always hard to sum up an entire novel in a few words, but this one…
Shining a Light on Children’s Books in Translation: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp on World Kid Lit Month
By Words Without Borders
September is World Kid Lit Month—a celebration of translated literature for young people. We invited World Kid Lit advocate and children’s book translator Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp to tell us about…
Damián Cabrera on Hybrid Languages, Dust, and the Invention of Paraguay
By Elisa Taber
Damián Cabrera is a Paraguayan writer, researcher, teacher, cultural manager, and curator. He is the author of the lyric novels Xirú (2012) and Xé (2019). He lives…
Translated by Elisa Taber
The City and the Writer: In New York City with Bob Holman
By Nathalie Handal
Usually there is no time to be moody, only the slap and the dash and the drill and the dig, you dig?
The City and the Writer: In Salerno with Giorgio Sica
By Nathalie Handal
Even if Salerno is blessed with sunshine, many things happen in the twilight.
The City and the Writer: In New York City with Willa Carroll
By Nathalie Handal
Car horns suddenly transformed into instruments of emotion, sirens of mourning.
Confronting the Institution of Language: Juan Arabia on Poetry and the Pandemic
By María Agustina Pardini
In the essay “The Poem as a Field of Action,” presented as a lecture at the University of Washington in 1948, William Carlos Williams argues that after the Industrial Revolution, a different…
The City and the Writer: In Paris with Marilyn Hacker
By Nathalie Handal
Something is always about to happen.
The Translator Relay: Kristin Dykstra
By Words Without Borders
 WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every few months. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different,…
The City and the Writer: In Delhi with Sudeep Sen
By Nathalie Handal
Old Mughal monuments stand at ease with glass-and-steel office towers.
The Translator Relay: Urayoán Noel
By Words Without Borders
WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every few months. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth…
Lily Meyer and Mona Kareem on Their New Series, Close-Up: An Experiment in Reviewing Translation
By Words Without Borders
Today WWB launches its new series Close-Up: An Experiment in Reviewing Translation, a response to the dearth of book reviews that take translators and translation into account. In the conversation…
“Sheltering in the Prose of a Master”: Padma Viswanathan on Translating Graciliano Ramos
By Miguel Conde
Last week, NYRB Classics released Padma Viswanathan's translation of São Bernardo, a classic novel by early twentieth-century Brazilian writer Graciliano Ramos. Today on WWB…
“Imagining Our Own Death”: On Writing Times of Crisis
By Amanda Michalopoulou & Patricia Felisa Barbeito
Amanda Michalopoulou's latest novel, God's Wife, was published by Dalkey Archive Press in Patricia Felisa Barbeito's translation late last year. In today's interview, the author…
The City and the Writer: In Annaba, Algeria, with Janette Ayachi
By Nathalie Handal
For me, there is no Algeria, only Annaba, where the Barbary coast yawns out.
The City and the Writer: In Paris with John Freeman
By Nathalie Handal
The Paris I grew to love isn’t gone, but right now it is shutting down.
The Translator Relay: Regina Galasso
By Words Without Borders
WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every few months. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth…
The City and the Writer: In Lisbon with Patricio Ferrari
By Nathalie Handal
Returning to Lisbon means savoring another delectable local delicacy: the mouthwatering Portuguese language with its varied assortment of vowels.
Alejandro Zambra on His Latest Book, the Protests in Chile, and Giving Away His Personal Library
By Victor Meadowcroft
Victor Meadowcroft attended the 2019 international book fair in Guadalajara, where he interviewed writers María Fernanda Ampuero, Ariana Harwicz, and Alejandro Zambra, and publishers…
The City and the Writer: In Berlin with Rajeev Balasubramanyam
By Nathalie Handal
There is a permanent solace in the knowledge that you can’t be the weirdest person in this city.
Bringing History Back to Life: Best-selling Turkish Writer Zulfu Livaneli on “Serenade for Nadia”
By Jim Ottaway, Jr.
Turkish writer, musician, and human rights activist Zulfu Livaneli talks about his latest novel to appear in English, Serenade for Nadia (translated by Brendan Freely), out from Other Press on March 3.Zulfu…
The City and the Writer: In Amman with Amjad Nasser (1955–2019)
By Nathalie Handal
There is another life that unfolds in this low-lying area at the foot of the seven hills.