Words Without Borders for November 2014: Contemporary Czech Prose

The Words Without Borders for November 2014: Contemporary Czech Prose is out now.

This month we’re presenting Czech writing. Czech literature is underrepresented in translation, and its profile in English has been mainly political and largely male. The ten writers showcased here—men and women, ranging in age from thirty to seventy-four—demonstrate the richness and diversity of contemporary Czech writing. Magdaléna Platzová tells of love (and life) lost. Jan Balabán’s startled academic discovers a sister. Radka Denemarková depicts a young man with a unique obsession. In stories of families, Marek Šindelka shows a sporting outing turned deadly, and Tomáš Zmeškal tracks his estranged father in Congo; Petra Soukupová sees a family rocked by a devastating injury, and Petra Hůlová‘s Czech girl finds a “model” Communist town is anything but. Jiří Kratochvil shows a chess-playing boy realizing he’s a pawn in a terrorist cell; Jakuba Katalpa sends a German teacher to police a Czech town. And Martin Ryšavý transcribes the monologue of a theater director turned street-sweeper. We thank our guest editor, Alex Zucker, who provides an illuminating introduction as well as several translations.

Elsewhere, we celebrate the launch of our new education site, WWB Campus, with two essays on the discovery of literature. Mexico’s Valeria Luiselli recalls learning to read in an alienating Seoul, and China’s Can Xue juggles fairy tales and Marxism.

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July Words Without Borders on Migrant Labor out now

While the World Cup still rages, Words Without Borders July issue is on Migrant Labor.

This month we present writing about migrant labor. Through official channels or underground networks, fleeing poverty or chasing dreams, the characters here leave their homelands in search of work and new lives, finding nothing is quite as they expected. Bulgarian journalist Martin Karbovski harvests cucumbers and comedy. Christos Ikonomou’s sorrowful Greeks watch their world slip away. Journalist Wang Bang interviews Chinese prostitutes in a shadowy London, and Russian graphic artist Victoria Lomasko documents modern slavery in Moscow. Taleb Alrefai learns the hidden cost of a work permit. In Paris, Wilfried N’Sondé takes the temperature of a simmering banlieue. Vladimir Vertlib sees Russia recreated in Brighton Beach. Saud Alsanousi, the winner of the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, portrays a mixed-blood Kuwaiti victimized by that country’s harsh immigration policies, while Bangladesh’s Shahaduz Zaman’s visa applicant endures medical tests and examines his own emotions. Mely Kiyak observes Turkish immigrants in Germany, and Juan Carlos Mestre mourns a worker who never returned. Elsewhere, Musharraf Ali Farooqi introduces and translates a group of Sindhi folk tales.

Words Without Borders The Queer Issue Volume V Out Now

June 2014: The Queer Issue Volume V

This June we present the fifth installment of our annual queer issue. We’ve gathered a group from all corners of the world to celebrate this milestone with us. From Colombia, Alberto Salcedo Ramos gets in league with the queens of soccer, while Taiwan’s Qiu Miaojin pens fiery, lyrical dispatches from Montmartre. Belgium’s Stéphane Lambert paints a nostalgic portrait of a teenage friendship, and Iranian writer Ghazal Mosadeq’s beleaguered asylum seeker finds himself at a crossroads in France. From Israel (via Brooklyn), graphic artist Miki Golod blends memories of army service with a snowbound New York, while Spain’s Elvira Tobío frames a carnal appetite in haiku form. Nao-Cola Yamazaki’s protagonist dwells on a foundering relationship from the dentist’s chair, while Algerian Rachid Boudjedra’s Olympian falls in love with a student. From Mexico, Javier Malpica reads us entries from a coming-of-age diary, while Russia’s Olga Pogodina-Kuzmina dwells on the allure of youth.

Elsewhere in the issue we showcase new writing from Equatorial Guinea. Graphic novelist Jamón y Queso lampoons the man in charge, while Melibea Obono Ntutumu’s protagonist takes a cab ride from hell and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel remembers his island home.

December Words Without Borders Out Now: Oulipo

The December 2013 Words Without Borders is out, featuring Oulipo.

This month we’re showcasing the sparkling innovations in form and literature produced by the members of the Oulipo. The Paris-based literary collective explores how literature might arise from structures, rules, and constraints, working within restrictions—alphabetical, narrative, rhythmic, metric—to set genres and language loose. Ian Monk’s tour of an apartment building maintains a strict numeric unity in lines and words. Olivier Salon travels through a gradually dwindling alphabet. Michèle Métail claims a chain of possessives, and Anne F. Garréta offers a rogue reading of Proust. In playing with poetic forms, Jacques Bens finds sonnets easy as pi; Jacques Jouet extends the sestina; and Michelle Grangaud records everyday events in a new take on the tercet. And François Caradec’s aphorisms offer less than meets the eye. Guest editor and translator Daniel Levin Becker provides a useful key to the considerations at play in both French and English versions. Join us in marveling at the verbal gymnastics of the writers, and at the dazzling ingenuity of the translators.

Our feature presents writing from Sudan, as Max Shmookler introduces three stories of estrangement by Nagi Al-Badawi, Adel Gassas, and Sabah Babiker Ibraheem Sanhouri. And we’re delivering the second installment of Sakumi Tayama’s “Spirit Summoning,” in which a pair of fraudulent mediums deliver unexpected results.

November Words Without Borders Out Now

The November Words Without Borders Is out now. This month they are celebrating their the nth anniversary with new writing
From favorites of the past.

This month we celebrate our tenth anniversary with compelling new work by some of our favorite writers from the last decade. In two tales of the afterlife, Sakumi Tayama’s fraudulent mediums channel unexpected spirits, and Marek Huberath’s grieving widower bids a prolonged farewell. Eduardo Halfon finds the ghost of his grandfather in a Guatemalan bully, while Iraq’s Najem Wali, in Lisbon, commemorates lost cities and loves. Mazen Kerbaj slips into a reverie; Évelyne Trouillot’s bourgeoise is jolted from hers. Nahid Mofazzari talks dual existence with Goli Taraghi; Carmen Boullosa traces historical theft in Mexico; Can Xue portrays the decline and revitalization of a revered leader. We hope you’ll join us in saluting these writers and the many others we’ve presented throughout the years. Elsewhere, we present writing on the Rwandan genocide by Kelsy Lamko, Esther Mujawayo and Souâd Belhaddad, and Michaella Rugwizangoga, introduced by Elizabeth Applegate.

October Words Without Borders is out

The October Words Without Borders is out now featuring the work of women writers from Africa. It also has several poems by Neruda.

This month we present work by women writing in indigenous African languages. In these stories and poems translated from Gun, Hausa, Luganda, Runyankole-Rukiga, Tigrinya, and Wolof, writers depict characters struggling with poverty, isolation, the oppression of women, the devastation of war, and the long tradition of political corruption. Haregu Keleta’s teenage girl flees an arranged marriage to join the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in the war against Ethiopia. In two tales from Uganda, Glaydah Namukasa explores three generations of a family ravaged by alcoholism, while Hilda Twongyeirwe’s disaffected bureaucrat finds his loyalty at odds with his ambition. In an excerpt from her sprawling novel, Nigeria’s Rahma Abdul Majid tracks the harsh lives of women in the remote villages. And Marame Gueye reveals the slyly subversive lyrics of traditional wedding songs in Senegal. In our special feature, Pablo Neruda’s biographer Adam Feinstein introduces five odes by the great poet, appearing in English for the first time in Ilan Stavans’s lovely translations.

 

August Words Without Borders Brazil Out now

The August Words Without Borders featuring Brazil is out now.

This month we’re presenting writing from Brazil, with authors going beyond bossa nova and the beach to present new perspectives on this vibrant and complex country.

Cristhiano Aguiar’s “Natanael” sees a young man find illumination in the murk of a Sao Paolo river

Antonio Prata’s “Plan” employs Shakespeare, Harold Bloom, and pop star Michel Teló

Carol Bensimon’s “Underwater Snooker” finds young friends reeling from a sudden death

And more fiction and poetry from Horácio Costa, Orides Fontela, Angélica Freitas, Armando Freitas Filho, Rodrigo de Souza Leão, Vinicius Jatobá, Antônio Moura, and Laurenço Mutarelli, plus a special feature of poetry from the Faroe Islands by Sissal Kampmann, Tóroddur Poulsen, and Vónbjørt Vang.