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Interviews

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.
Utopia and Dystopia in Beirut: A Conversation with Barrack Rima
By Carla Calargé & Alexandra Gueydan-Turek
An excerpt from Barrack Rima's graphic novel Beirut Trilogy appears in WWB's current issue of graphic literature in translation. In conversation with translators Alexandra Gueydan-Turek…
Literary Pseudoscience and a New Generation of Argentine Writers: An Interview with Roque Larraquy
By Susannah Greenblatt
When I bought my copy of Comemadre by Argentine novelist Roque Larraquy, the bookseller looked up at me from behind the cash register and said, “Be prepared—this book blew my wife’s…
The City and the Writer: In Rome with Peter Covino
By Nathalie Handal
Returning to Rome makes the blood rush in unpredictable ways.
The City and the Writer: In Auckland, New Zealand with Chloe Honum
By Nathalie Handal
There’s no forgetting that we’re on an island at the bottom of the Pacific, looking up, heading into the morning while much of the world is still making its way through the day we just left behind.
María Fernanda Ampuero on “Cockfight,” Visceral Writing, and the Cruelty of Family Life
By Victor Meadowcroft
Victor Meadowcroft attended the 2019 international book fair in Guadalajara, where he interviewed writers María Fernanda Ampuero and Ariana Harwicz, and publishers Diego Rabasa (Sexto Piso) and…
Sexto Piso’s Diego Rabasa on Existential Selfies and Publishing the Books He Loves to Read
By Victor Meadowcroft
Victor Meadowcroft attended the 2019 international book fair in Guadalajara, where he interviewed writers María Fernanda Ampuero and Ariana Harwicz, and publishers Diego Rabasa (Sexto Piso) and…
Language as a Virus: Ariana Harwicz on Writing Bilingually
By Victor Meadowcroft
Victor Meadowcroft attended the 2019 international book fair in Guadalajara, where he interviewed writers María Fernanda Ampuero and Ariana Harwicz, and publishers Diego Rabasa (Sexto Piso) and…
Looking Outside the Mainstream: Charco Press’s Carolina Orloff on Publishing Fiction in Translation
By Victor Meadowcroft
Victor Meadowcroft attended the 2019 international book fair in Guadalajara, where he interviewed writers María Fernanda Ampuero and Ariana Harwicz, and publishers Diego Rabasa (Sexto Piso) and…
The City and the Writer: In Toledo, Ohio, with Charles Kell
By Nathalie Handal
Toledo is a city marked with scratches, indentations, ashes of other cities, shadows, fugitive trails, clouds of smoke, dust, and slamming doors.
Translating the Real J. P. Cuenca: An Essay and Interview
By Elizabeth Lowe
Elizabeth Lowe’s translation of an excerpt from Brazilian writer João Paulo Cuenca’s I Found Out I Was Dead appears in the current issue of international true crime writing. Lowe…
The City and the Writer: In Vicenza with Carlo Pizzati
By Nathalie Handal
Is it possible to ever fully outgrow the place that first left its mark on you? The town, city, or village where you lived for the first fifteen years of your life?
The City and the Writer: In Amman with Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
By Nathalie Handal
Amman consumes me when I’m there and it can feel like an entire world. It demands so much attention even as it grumbles about its own frustrations.
Telling Truths with New Words: Jeffrey Zuckerman on Translating Mauritian Literature
By Ariel Saramandi
Jeffrey Zuckerman’s translations of Ananda Devi’s The Living Days (The Feminist Press) and Shenaz Patel’s Silence of the Chagos (Restless Books) were both released this week. Through…
Silvina Ocampo in English
By María Agustina Pardini
In anticipation of City Lights’s publication of Silvina Ocampo’s Forgotten Journey (tr. Suzanne Jill Levine and Katie Lateef-Jan) and The Promise (tr. Suzanne Jill Levine and Jessica Powell),…
Igor Štiks on Obsessing about Traumatic Historical Events and Human Agency
By Olivia Snaije
Igor Štiks was born in Sarajevo, fled to Croatia with his family during the war, and now lives in Belgrade. He writes about citizenship in former and post-Yugoslavia and is the author of two novels, A…
The City and the Writer: In Abidjan with Véronique Tadjo
By Nathalie Handal
The moment you think that you know Abidjan, the city escapes your embrace.
The City and the Writer: In New York City with Kathy Engel
By Nathalie Handal
The place that keeps having me back, its moonless nights, its raucous urban sea, anonymous and also memory-crammed, people- and ghost-filled.
The City and the Writer: In Athens with Alicia E. Stallings
By Nathalie Handal
If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.—Italo Calvino, Invisible…
Children’s Literature in Translation: Amazon Crossing Kids
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…
An Interview with WWB Poetry Contest Winner Jacob Rogers
By Words Without Borders
Jacob Rogers’s translation of “An Apocryphal History of the Discovery of Migration” by Alba Cid was one of four winners of WWB’s poetry in translation contest, presented in…
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