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Interviews

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…
An Interview with WWB Poetry Contest Winners Lee Young-ju and Jae Kim
By Words Without Borders
“Roommate, Woman” by Lee Young-ju, translated from Korean by Jae Kim, was one of four winners of WWB’s poetry in translation contest, presented in partnership with the Academy of…
An Interview with WWB Poetry Contest Winners Claudia Masin and Robin Myers
By Words Without Borders
“Tomboy” by Claudia Masin, translated from Spanish by Robin Myers, was one of four winners of WWB’s poetry in translation contest, presented in partnership with the Academy of American…
The City and the Writer: In Turin with Angie Cruz
By Nathalie Handal
Torino wears an elegant three-piece suit of the most beautiful fabric, but it’s frayed at the cuffs, missing some buttons.
The City and the Writer: In Lisbon, Portugal, and Orkney, Scotland with Rachael McGill
By Nathalie Handal
There’s nowhere that I don’t feel like an outsider. It’s always been that way . . . For me that’s something joyful.
How to Ask a Question Like the Little Prince: An Interview with Filmmaker Marjoleine Boonstra
By Susannah Greenblatt
There will be a screening of The Miracle of the Little Prince at the Film Forum in New York City on Friday, August 30, followed by a Q&A with Marjoleine Boonstra. “What…
The City and the Writer: In Calgary with Marcello Di Cintio
By Nathalie Handal
Passion lives in the realization, especially among Calgary’s creative class, that everything is permitted here.
The Translator Relay: Chantal Ringuet
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…
August-2019-Chinese-Poetry-Interview-with-Tsering-Woeser-Boyden-Woeser
Tibetan poet Tsering Woeser (left) and translator Ian Boyden
The Presence of the Dalai Lama’s Absence: A Conversation with Tibetan Poet Tsering Woeser
By Ian Boyden
At a time when Tibet is largely ignored by the international community, Woeser vividly conveys what it is like to experience the destruction of her culture.
The City and the Writer: In Worcester with Oliver de la Paz
By Nathalie Handal
From certain vantage points you can see the bones of the old city. Graying old buildings. Brickworks. Row houses stacked up on the hill.
The City and the Writer: In Bangalore with Madhuri Vijay
By Nathalie Handal
Bangalore was a small, sleepy cantonment town that woke up one day to find it had become a booming metropolis.
Starting at the Surface: An Interview with Lee Hyemi
So J. Lee’s translation of Lee Hyemi’s “The Cupboard with Strawberry Jam” from Unexpected Vanilla appears in this month’s Queer issue. After a year of emailing back and forth,…
수면에서 시작하기: 이혜미 작가와의 인터뷰
이혜미의 시 <딸기잼이 있던 찬장>의 영문 번역이 Words without Borders 이번…
The City and the Writer: In Bombay with Jeet Thayil
By Nathalie Handal
Nothing exists outside Bombay. From the moment you get off the plane, you know you have entered a room full of mirrors: everything is self-referential.
The City and the Writer: In Nablus with Isabella Hammad
By Nathalie Handal
Even in the Nablus of my mind I remain outside, peering in at windows, opening stale cupboards, looking for abandoned objects from the past.
The Translator Relay: Lazer Lederhendler
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 Tripoli, Lebanon with Ruth Awad
By Nathalie Handal
Tripoli is my father’s birthplace, and it always evokes existential questions about my identity: can I be of a place but not from it?
An Interview with Ma Jian and Flora Drew
By Words Without Borders
We spoke with Chinese author Ma Jian and his English-language translator, Flora Drew, who is also his partner, about their collaboration on his work. Words Without Borders (WWB): Flora—are you Ma…
An Interview with Man Booker International Shortlisters Alia Trabucco Zerán and Sophie Hughes
By Susannah Greenblatt
Alia Trabucco Zerán’s debut novel, The Remainder, which is shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in Sophie Hughes’s translation, probes the lingering shadows of Chile’s…
The City and the Writer: In San José, Costa Rica with David Cruz
By Nathalie Handal
Outside San José, the world exists, but it is a city that, despite its smallness, tries to contain you.
The Taste of a Silver Spoon: María Gainza’s “Optic Nerve”
By Tamara Tenenbaum
Tamara Tenenbaum, winner of Argentina’s inaugural Premio Ficciones, reflects on María Gainza’s just-released Optic Nerve (tr. Thomas Bunstead, Catapult Books, 2019) in…
Tilted Axis’s “Translating Feminisms” Chapbook Series
By Jessie Chaffee
We spoke with Esther Kim, marketing and publicity manager of Tilted Axis, about the press’s recently released chapbook series, Translating Feminisms, which features translated poetry by women writers…
An Interview with Sang Young Park
By Anton Hur
The title story of Sang Young Park’s debut collection, Tears of an Unknown Artist, or Zaytun Pasta (Munhakdongne, 2018), is serialized in Words Without Borders in Anton Hur’s translation.…
The City and the Writer: In Taipei with Afaa Weaver
By Nathalie Handal
What comes to us of places we have not seen is not what that place actually is. This important fact is ignored more and more.
Five Translators on the Joys and Challenges of Translating Children’s Books
By Emma Ramadan
Emma Ramadan, whose recent translations include Who Left the Light On? and The Boy (co-translated with Tom Roberge), spoke with five top translators—of Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese,…
An Interview with Pierre Jarawan
By Zachary Issenberg
Pierre Jarawan is one of the featured German-language authors at the 2019 Festival Neue Literatur, which will occur March 29–31 in New York City. Zachary Issenberg, who will be interviewing Jarawan…
An Interview with Linnea Axelsson
By Saskia Vogel
Saskia Vogel, guest editor of WWB’s March 2019 issue of Swedish-language writing, spoke with Linnea Axelsson about her August Prize-winning epic poem, Ædnan, which appears in the issue in Vogel’s translation.…
Benevolent Betrayal: Ezequiel Zaidenwerg on Translating Thirteen Invented Poets
By Susannah Greenblatt
If you ask most translators, they’ll tell you it’s a tired phrase, traduttore, traditore. This play on words from the Italian—meaning, “translator, traitor”—has been…
The City and the Writer: In San Juan with Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
By Nathalie Handal
Those who I call my own (mi gente) draw some thing from each other: some light, some power I see but have few words for. And they build when they remember.
An Interview with Réka Mán-Várhegyi
By Words Without Borders
Réka Mán-Várhegyi’s story “Woman Striker Has Killer Left Foot,” translated by Owen Good, was performed as a part of WWB’s Selected Shorts event at Symphony…
An Interview with Yalçın Tosun
By Words Without Borders
Yalçın Tosun’s story “Muzaffer and Bananas,” translated by Abby Comstock-Gay, was performed as a part of WWB’s Selected Shorts event at Symphony Space on Wednesday,…
An Interview with Évelyne Trouillot
By Words Without Borders
Évelyne Trouillot’s story “Detour,” translated by Paul Curtis Daw, was performed as a part of WWB’s Selected Shorts event at Symphony Space in New York City on…
The City and the Writer: In San Juan with Frances Negrón-Muntaner
By Nathalie Handal
San Juan is a city full of life with a unique perspective on how to weather the growing storms of our moment.
Mourning, Laughter, and Necessary Change: An Interview with Samira Negrouche
By Olivia Snaije
Olivia Snaije conducted the following interview over email with the poet Samira Negrouche, whose work appears in WWB’s January feature.Olivia Snaije (OS): You once told me that living…
The City and the Writer: In Brighton, England with Colin Grant
By Nathalie Handal
Brighton is often called the London-suburb-by-the-sea. It’s a raffish and open city.
Linguistic Slapstick, Brutal Joy, and Profane Parrots: 18 Translators on Translating Humor
By Jessie Chaffee
In celebration of this month’s issue of International Humor, we asked top translators to share stories about the joys and challenges of translating humor, from puns to satire to creative curses. Alta…
The City and the Writer: In Martha’s Vineyard with Justen Ahren
By Nathalie Handal
Winter is a rite of passage. There is a special stillness that can possess you for better or for worse.
The Translator Relay: Helen Mintz
By Words Without Borders
WWB’s Translator Relay features an interview with a different translator every other month. The current month’s translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth…
The City and the Writer: In New York City with Lee Briccetti
By Nathalie Handal
The human psyche is also New York psyche: vertical, horizontal, additive, oscillating between prophetic vision and madness.
The City and the Writer: In Rome with Elizabeth Geoghegan
By Nathalie Handal
It certainly feels true that all roads lead to Rome and, to that end, Rome is forever a city of outsiders. In one fashion or another, it absorbs us all. But those same famous roads, built centuries ago, also lead away from Rome.
Fearlessness, Alienation, & Mother-Sexuality: An Interview with Ursula Andkjær Olsen
By Noor Naga
Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s Third-Millennium Heart (Action Books, 2018), translated by Katrine Øgaard Jensen, received the 2018 National Translation Award for Poetry. Ursula…
A New Narrative: An Interview with Four Argentine Women Writers
By María Agustina Pardini
Two literary trends have emerged in the last ten years in Argentina. The first is the rereading and reissuing of classics by local writers, such as Silvina Ocampo, Alejandra Pizarnik, Sara Gallardo, Olga…
The City and the Writer: In Hong Kong with Nicholas Wong
By Nathalie Handal
People always talk about whether the place one returns to is the same as or different than the place one left. To be able to return to a place implies an inevitable second or third departure. Gradually, one is also invited to reflect on departure and…
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