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The home for international literature. Winners of the Whiting Literary Magazine Prize.Source
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Ognosia

Ognosia

I’ll start with a well-known engraving of unknown authorship, published in 1888 by French astronomer Camille Flammarion. It depicts a wanderer who has reached the limits of the world and who, peeking his head out beyond the earthly sphere, delights in a view of an orderly, harmonious cosmos. I have loved this wonderfully metaphorical picture since I was a child, and it reveals new layers of meaning every time I look at it, conceiving the human so differently from Leonardo da Vinci’s vision of the static and triumphalist Vitruvian man as the measure of the universe and ourselves. In...

Jun 6
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The Great White Canceling - Words Without Borders

The Great White Canceling - Words Without Borders

You’re a white translator. I come into your home office and break your computer. I run a bath and drown all your books, especially the ones translated by you. I go into your closet and cut up all your wigs. After burning you at the stake in your backyard, Salem Witch–Trials style, I give your job to a Black translator. In Year Two of the Great White Canceling, the Booker International committee still manages to nominate enough of “your kind,” triggering a global hunt for the last remaining white translators hiding out in terrorist cells as they churn out yet more English editions of Yukio...

June 22, 2021
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How to Be a Woman in Tehran - Words Without Borders

How to Be a Woman in Tehran - Words Without Borders

Whenever my mother would talk to me about her thirty-five years of marriage to my father, she’d end on a familiar refrain: “I was always my own woman. And I was always my own man too. You see, I had to carry my own weight every day of every year, and I mean every bit of it.”I understand what my mother meant. Iran. It’s the country where I was born, went to school, and have worked as a professional journalist for twenty years; a country where authority, religion, and fate would have someone like my mother pull a permanent double shift as both a woman and a man throughout her entire adult...

Feb 19
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Barriers, Privileges, and Invisible Labor: A Sino Diaspora Translator’s Perspective - Words Without Borders

Barriers, Privileges, and Invisible Labor: A Sino Diaspora Translator’s Perspective - Words Without Borders

As a racialized, genderqueer woman translator working with Chinese literature, I translate as a form of reclamation and resistance. There has been an increasing number of discussions in the literary translation community recently about whether any translator should have the right to translate any text. This question, however, can be quite simplistic and misleading. It overlooks the power dynamics at play in the field, such as the barriers that affect who can break into translation and the undervaluing of less formal forms of expertise such as lived experiences. It overlooks that, in...

June 22, 2021
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Privilege, Race, and Translation - Words Without Borders

Privilege, Race, and Translation - Words Without Borders

Literary translation (in)famously comprises a tiny portion of the US literary market, and it’s not exactly a prestigious corner. Even within the translated literature publishing sector, translators all too frequently go underpaid and unrecognized. Our names are omitted from book covers, reviews, and promotional material as we wrangle over pennies per word and the copyright to our own work. Given all that, it can be hard for some of us translators to think of ourselves as privileged. And yet White translators do generally benefit from privilege in various ways. When it comes to acquiring the...

June 22, 2021
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Global Blackness: Black Writers in Translation by Eric M. B. Becker - Words Without Borders

Global Blackness: Black Writers in Translation by Eric M. B. Becker - Words Without Borders

Our annual January archive issue this year comes at a moment of urgency: in two weeks, the US’s first Black vice president, Kamala Harris, will be sworn in, after four years of divisive politics in which racism figured heavily. Less than a year after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor led to renewed Black Lives Matter protests and a reckoning across American society, literary publishers—including this magazine—are seeking to address the deficit of Black writers published each year.The magnitude of the hole is clear, but data that might inform solutions is scattered and,...

January 6, 2021
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Uncle Andrea - Words Without Borders

Uncle Andrea - Words Without Borders

Marco, my beloved son, After the wonderful party you threw me tonight for my seventieth birthday, I’m not sure why I feel the need to unburden my heart to you, who are a part of me, and to tell you things I’ve kept hidden my entire life. The confession I’m about to make should have come a long time ago. I owed it to my father and, later, to your loving mother, whom I married hoping to bury my true nature once and for all. Hypocrite that I am, I never acknowledged my true self out of cowardice, out of fear of being misunderstood, and, more than anything else, because I thought if they knew...

Jul 18
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The Presentiment by Emiliano Monge - Words Without Borders

The Presentiment by Emiliano Monge - Words Without Borders

Monge, Depraved Rasputin! This headline, accompanied by a large photograph of my grandfather, appeared on the front page of the first populist newspaper published in Culiacán, Sinaloa on March 13, 1962.Four years earlier, a few days after the youngest of his children turned seven, my grandfather had got up in the early hours, showered in freezing water, breakfasted on leftovers from the night before— without turning on a single light in the house, he liked to remind my grandmother—and walked out, convinced that he was doing so for good. An hour later, while the sun was still hidden behind...

Jul 19
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Outside Music - Words Without Borders

Outside Music - Words Without Borders

In a yellow notebook hidden behind an encyclopedia, my father collected thirty years’ worth of unpublished poems in his impeccable cursive. One, dated in the 1970s, requests Albinoni’s Adagio for Organ and Strings at his funeral. Wanting to heed his wishes after we brought my father’s ashes to his hometown of Celaya, Guanajuato, my aunt Evangelina arranged for music to be played during the rites. It wasn’t Albinoni, but there was singing, a cello, and a keyboard to accompany the prayers. For the very first time, I pretended to sing that unfamiliar music.***My brother and I both took flute...

Jun 22
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A Dominican "Self-Portrait" to Inspire Students' Self-Reflections - Words Without Borders

A Dominican "Self-Portrait" to Inspire Students' Self-Reflections - Words Without Borders

Which experiences have a greater influence on us—our successes, or the times when we’ve been hurt Frank Báez’s bravura poem makes an excellent case for the latter. It is an alternately humorous and horrifying catalog of a lifetime of mishaps, injuries, victimizations, and miscommunications, punctuated with a few moments that invoke the possibility of joy: I’ve been knocked cold. Slapped. Slandered. Booed. Stoned. Chased by sergeants on motorbikes. By two bill-collectors. By three Mormons on bicycles. By girls from Herrera and El Trece. . .Ultimately, is a hymn to resilience. Despite all...

Jun 4
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Anton Hur

Anton Hur

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Antonio Calgan

Antonio Calgan

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Corine Tachtiris

Corine Tachtiris

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Emiliano Monge

Emiliano Monge

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Eric Becker

Eric Becker

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Eric M. B. Becker

Eric M. B. Becker

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Habibe Jafarian

Habibe Jafarian

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Hernán Bravo Varela

Hernán Bravo Varela

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Nadia Kalman

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Nina Perrotta

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Olga Tokarczuk

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Soleil David

Soleil David

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Tobias Carroll

Tobias Carroll

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Yilin Wang

Yilin Wang

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