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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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
For the Love of the Books
By Habibe Jafarian
I was determined; one day I’d marry a book.
Translated from Persian by Salar Abdoh
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 yellow rose lying on a stone surface
Photo by Sindy Strife on Unsplash
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.
Road Stories: International Writing on Travel
By Susan Harris
Some of the writers here document their own trips, while others invent characters and send them on the road.
Forced Confessions: On True Crime Writing
By Susan Harris
The pieces here map the translation of event into prose—the creation of true crime writing.
The Sixth Victim
By Shōko Egawa
It all began about the time that the men and women were finishing their first drinks.
Translated from Japanese by David Boyd
The Pain of Others
By Miguel Ángel Hernández
Twenty years ago, one Christmas Eve, my best friend killed his sister and threw himself off a cliff.
Translated from Spanish by Anna Milsom
Lusia Murdered
By Cezary Łazarewicz
“Must you put on a fur when someone shouts ‘murder'?
Translated from Polish by Sean Gasper Bye
A picture of a choppy ocean
Photo by John Towner on Unsplash
Massacre in the Pacific: A Personal Account
By Du Qiang
It's not a crime to kill someone on the high seas, you know.
Translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman & Emily Jones
Exploring Italian Language, Rap, and Migration through Translation
By Donatella Melucci
In my Italian translation course at Georgetown University, advanced students of Italian learn about translation theory and practice (English-Italian, and vice versa) of different genres, including newspaper…
Other Lives, Other Worlds
By Susan Harris
The results of these confrontations range from triumphant to catastrophic as the boundaries between worlds dissolve.
(Re)writing the Philippines: An Introduction
By Kristian Sendon Cordero & Kristine Ong Muslim
The works we have selected challenge a monolithic view of the fragmented histories and interconnected, overlapping cultures in the Philippines.
Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim
“Languages Constantly Crackling in the Air”
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
Not enough is known about the Philippines.
Across Mountains and Valleys: Stories of Migration from the Kinnaur and Spiti Valleys
By Arshia Sattar
Despite their specificity, these tales transcend the places that produced them and throb with a universal appeal.
Warning: Arabic Humor, Makes Frequent Stops
By M. Lynx Qualey
Humor has that paradoxical quality of being absolutely universal while also being deeply embedded in linguistic wordplay and sociocultural zeitgeist.
The Book of Stupid People
By Ibn al-Jawzī
I shall tell you about one of the nitwits.
Translated from Arabic by Emily Jane Selove
Edith Grossman, Renowned Translator and Advocate for Translation, to Receive 2019 Ottaway Award
By Words Without Borders
We are pleased to announce that Edith Grossman will receive the 2019 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature.“In a career that spans over half a century—translating, teaching…
Writing Dreams: New Norwegian Literature
By Kari Dickson
Norway is a dream that many people carry.
The Winners of the Words Without Borders—Academy of American Poets Poem-in-Translation Contest
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
We received 717 poems from 282 poets from 87 countries translated from 55 languages.
The Whale That Blinked
By Andreas Tjernshaugen
In the Antarctic in particular, the blue whale nearly died out.
Translated from Norwegian by Lucy Moffatt
Deciphered Desire
By Rebecca Dinerstein Knight
I soon learned that Norwegians deliver praise in the past tense.
Announcing the Winners of the 2019 Poems in Translation Contest
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
This year, we partnered with the Academy of American Poets for our first ever poetry in translation contest. We received 717 poems from 282 poets from 87 countries translated…