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Nonfiction

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.
Tara Parsons Joins WWB Board of Directors
By Words Without Borders
Words Without Borders is pleased to announce the election of Tara Parsons, Associate Publisher of the HarperOne Group, to its Board of Directors. “Tara's expertise and leadership in…
New Voices: Afghan Women Writers
By Lucy Hannah
A nation’s upheaval cannot be understood without women's perspectives.
Aperture: Sudanese Female Novelists Coming into Focus
By Sawad Hussain
Is there some sort of double marginalization at play?
Introducing WWB’s Assistant Editor and Development Associate, Nina Perrotta
By Words Without Borders
We’re pleased to welcome Nina Perrotta as WWB’s assistant editor and development associate. Nina is a writer, editor, and translator from Spanish and Portuguese. Prior to joining WWB, she…
Toward Our Common Destruction: Humans and the Environment
By Eric M. B. Becker
The protagonist of this month’s work is the natural world in its multitudes.
Introducing WWB’s Editorial Fellow, Varun Nayar
By Words Without Borders
We're pleased to welcome Varun Nayar as a WWB editorial fellow. Varun is a writer, editor, and researcher from Delhi, India. He was most recently the nonfiction editor of Asymptote, and…
Climates: On Environment
By Susan Harris
Global warming manifests in obvious ways.
Farewell to the White Giants
By Andri Snær Magnason
Chaos is not confined to the glacier’s edge.
Translated from Icelandic by Lytton Smith
Climate Fiction for Climate Action
By Amy Brady
No single means of communication can be solely effective, because climate change is such a “wicked” problem—it is truly planetary in scale.
A Japanese Lesson
By Silvana Paternostro
When do the provocative girlie girls turn into discreet wives who put on conservative dresses?
A Note from Contest Judge David Tomas Martinez
It was an Hunahpúan effort to choose only four poems from this extraordinarily strong pool of poems.
A Slice of Writing by Nikkei and Tusán Peruvian Writers
By Jennifer Shyue
Some of them have often called upon their Chinese or Japanese roots; others have alighted upon the topic only a few times, if at all.
Life Is a Pose
By Julio Villanueva Chang
In his spare time, he wears clothes.
Translated from Spanish by Nicolás Medina Mora
Announcing the Winners of the 2020 Poems in Translation Contest
By The Editors of Words Without Borders
In the midst of a pandemic defined by isolation, our second Poems in Translation Contest brought together 935 poems from 448 poets and 87 countries, translated from 58 languages. We are thrilled to announce,…
White City Blues in Arequipa
By Maya Jaggi
The colonial system is still alive in Peru.
Ñe’ ẽ: An Introduction to Contemporary Guaraní Poetry
By Elisa Taber
A real work of Amerindian literature makes perceptible another way of ordering and being in the world.
A Persian New Year Beginning with COVID-19
By Poupeh Missaghi
With the news coming out of Iran, I was already beginning to feel the weight of the ongoing disaster in my body.
Really Real Dragons
By Laia Jufresa
When I go out with my daughter, I herd her along, trying to keep her two meters away from anyone who approaches.
Translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey
The Right to Identity: The Queer Issue
By Susan Harris
The characters in the works presented here demand recognition of the full spectrum of Queer experience in often hostile environments.
Ricardo and Vânia
By Chico Felitti
She can't count how many times she had silicone applied to her body.
Translated from Portuguese by Flora Thomson-DeVeaux
Pandemic Diary
By Ricardo Romero
We are bad actors who suddenly find themselves in a leading role.
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Coombe
What We Lost: COVID-19 Beyond the Numbers
By Hideo Furukawa & Kathleen McCaul Moura
What has the coronavirus taken from us? We need to answer this in a way that isn’t expressed through numbers.
Translated from Japanese by David Boyd
Peripatetics: The Essays of Jazmina Barrera, Karen Villeda, and Mariana Oliver
By Charlotte Whittle
These are essays with a roving gaze whose authors travel through geographic and intellectual spaces with the same ease with which we used to walk around in New York.
Özdamar’s Tongue
By Mariana Oliver
Özdamar knew that arriving in a country with no return ticket meant voluntarily surrendering to an indeterminate foreignness.
Translated from Spanish by Julia Sanches
Visegrád
By Karen Villeda
Women were confined to reading prayer books and religious hymns. And they wrote in the margins. Centuries went by. Those marginalia are, in fact, the books I need to read.
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Whittle
Yaquina Head
By Jazmina Barrera
Robert Louis Stevenson says that to tour lighthouses is “to visit past centuries.”
Translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
Wuhan Lockdown Diary
By Guo Jing
It was not my plan to start writing a diary, let alone keep doing it for seventy-seven days.
Translated from Chinese by Hongwei Bao
6:00 p.m. after the Quarantine
By Lilya Kalaus
“The world will remain untouchable and unknowable, whether you’re in its corona or not.”
Translated from Russian by Shelley Fairweather-Vega
Islands Running across the Globe
By Manuel Brito-Semedo
Right from the start, Cabo Verdean concepts of identity and individuality were defined by this mixed reality: the African and the European, in all their diverse and contrasting characteristics.
Translated from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar
A Form of African Identity
By Germano Almeida
It was only very gradually that we came to understand that the Europeans, out of malice or simple ignorance, had instilled in us our reluctance to accept our condition as Africans.
Translated from Portuguese by Stephen Henighan
Cabo Verde Is the Center of the World
By Germano Almeida
In those days the island of Boa Vista was the whole world.
Translated from Portuguese by Stephen Henighan
A Thundering Silence
By Felipe Restrepo Pombo
She stared at me in horror before hurrying off as fast as she could.
Translated from Spanish by Ezra E. Fitz
Time-Travelers, Fisherwomen, and Sleuths: Arabic Young Adult Literature
By Elisabeth Jaquette
While Arabic publishing has historically focused on literature for adults and young children, recent years have seen an increasing number of titles aimed at a young adult readership.
The Essential Business of Books: 5 Rare Book Dealers at the NY International Antiquarian Book Fair
By Susannah Greenblatt
From March 5–8, 2020, over 170 rare book dealers from 18 countries gathered at the Park Avenue Armory for the 60th Annual New York International Antiquarian Book Fair. In the weeks since the fair,…
Words Without Borders Announces 2020 Poems in Translation Contest
David Tomas Martinez to JudgeWinning Poems to Be Published on Poem-a-Day and WWB We’re pleased to announce the 2020 WWB Poems in Translation Contest spotlighting groundbreaking work by poets…
Plague Diary, March 23, 2020
By Gonçalo M. Tavares
“They say that even the smallest particles, like the virus, atoms, etc., make a sound . . .
Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
Deceptive Simplicity: International Children’s Literature
By Daniel Hahn
I often feel that adults forget what children’s stories are capable of.
Communism in Style
By Nadia Kamel
What I'm trying to say is that we didn't have a sense of how dangerous it all was.
Translated from Arabic by Brady Ryan & Essayed Taha
Multilingual
Six Proposals for Participation in a Conversation about Bread
By Rasha Abbas
“That’s what we get for supporting Communism: standing in line for this black loaf.”
Translated from Arabic by Alice Guthrie
University Student
By Sahar Khalifeh
I was a woman: young, alone, divorced, left without a guardian or virtue, meaning that in society’s eyes I was an easy target.
Translated from Arabic by Sawad Hussain
Razor Blade Rattle and the Beginnings of Being Tamed
By Ishraga Mustafa
How could they, when these women themselves had been through so much pain?
Translated from Arabic by Sawad Hussain
Multilingual
Beyond Representation: Life Writing by Women in Arabic
By Sawad Hussain & Nariman Youssef
One cannot write about real-life experiences from the place of the “I” without laying claim to a place in the world.
Living in a Sci-Fi Movie: An Italian Screenwriter on Coronavirus
By Silvia Ranfagni
I’m living in a sci-fi movie. In fact, you are too. It’s a strange movie and the popcorn tastes of hand sanitizer.
Urdu Feminist Writing: New Approaches
By Asad Alvi, Amna Chaudhry, Mehak Faisal Khan, Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb, Geeta Patel & Haider Shahbaz
A dispiriting narrowness has defined canons of Urdu feminist writing from previous decades.
A New Year for Everyone
By Hijab Imtiaz
So this is what the new year of those who worship this life looks like!
Translated from Urdu by Sascha Akhtar
Sappho’s Ephemera
By Miraji
Her sagacity immortalized even her scattered, sporadic axioms.
Translated from Urdu by Geeta Patel
Letter from Beirut: Writing as Memory in the “Capital of Amnesia”
By Maya Jaggi
If the collapse of the nation-state reinvented the Lebanese novel, its reconstitution could galvanize literature.
Enduring Tales: The Qatari Oral Tradition
By Autumn Watts
The stories are abundant with social wisdom, moral instruction, and cultural knowledge.
Framing the Story: Six Graphic Narratives
By Susan Harris
These artists capture both words and images to convey narratives individual and collective.
Dispatches from the 2019 FIL in Guadalajara, Mexico
By Victor Meadowcroft
Victor Meadowcroft reports from the 2019 international book fair in Guadalajara, where he attended panel discussions and launches, browsed the booths of innumerable international publishers, and interviewed…
We Usually Ask Literature to Be Humanizing Only When It’s from “Over There”
By M. Lynx Qualey
Our dignified survival as a species probably depends on finding ways to listen to each other.
The Reader’s Openness to the Unfamiliar
By Emmanuel Iduma
When we ask whether international literature can make us better travelers, who are the supposed beneficiaries?
On the “Good” in “Good Traveler”
By Shahnaz Habib
Travel is a self-improvement project that has been sold to us as a world-improvement project.
The Desire to Travel Responsibly Must Come before the Desire to Learn through Literature
By Tomaso Biancardi
There is a surer way for international literature to make us better tourists.
Words Without Borders Receives 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Grant
By Words Without Borders
New York, New York, January 16, 2020—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced yesterday awards totaling more than $27 million in its first funding round of fiscal year 2020, including an…
A Note from the Editors: January 2020
By The Editors of Words Without Borders
A note from the editors on the occasion of our Rojava poetry feature.
Beyond the Headlines: Poetry from Rojava
By Shook
These poems display the health and vitality of a literature that has already proved to be a potent medium for self-expression, a grounds for linguistic experimentation, and an important declaration of autonomy itself.
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