WWB Logo                               August 2009
In This Issue
Foreign Correspondents
Also in October
Upcoming Events
Call for Manuscripts
Get Involved

UNP Chacel Cover
Last Month's Favorites

Don't miss the most-read articles on WWB in September 2009: 

Memory of a Paris Streetby Siegfried Kracauer, translated from the German by Ross Benjamin

How Old is the Queen of England? by Agur Schiff, 
translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen

"Survivors," from The Ears of the Wolfby Antonio Ungar, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver

Wall Logo

Words without Borders is hosting its first annual benefit onNovember 9, 2009, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and celebrate the release of The Wall in my Head. The evening will feature a dinner of Eastern and Central European cuisine, readings from the anthology by Paul Auster,Siri Hustvedt, and Peter Schneider, and music DJed by Dean Wareham. The fundraiser is a great way to meet staff and other supporters, while helping WWB fulfill its mission.  



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October Cover

copyright Dan Eckstein 

Foreign Correspondents: International Reportage
The October Issue

This month we present eyewitness accounts from around the world. In the spirit of the great Ryszard Kapuściński, our contributors record far more than just the facts, blending genres and filing dispatches from both political and literary frontlines. From the killing fields of Cambodia to the swarming streets of Tehran, on the ground and in the trenches, the writers here chronicle the news of the world with artful urgency. See how Nanni Balestrini, Karl-Markus Gauss, Gébé, Elham Gheytanchi, Peter Fröberg Idling, Wojciech Jagielski, Erwin Koch, François Vallejo, and Abdourahman Waberi deliver news that stays news.

Pol Pot's Smile 
Peter Fröberg Idling on the seeds of the killing fields 
Translated by Silvester Mazzarella  
Four Swedes who had visited Cambodia at a time when almost no one was allowed over the border. A land where a well-lubricated, hellish machinery was working ceaselessly and more than a thousand children, women and men were dying every day. more>>

Dear Torturer
Erwin Koch asks: How does one become a torturer?
Translated by John K. Cox 
Evil wears no gloves. You turned red with shame when the slice of cake tipped over onto the tablecloth. Because you've known for a long time what is appropriate in a German cafe. The waiter hissed: "The broom's included in the price." You understood this command, said nothing, and cleared the food from the table, vigorously, quickly. more>>>

from Towers of Stone
Wojciech Jagielski watches Chechen refugees on a train to nowhere
Translated by Soren Gauger
From far away you got the impression that the train had stopped because of some breakdown, or had simply taken a break in the journey due to the passengers' request. The people walked up and down alongside the cars, staying near to it, as though afraid of the train making off without them. They were stretching out their numb arms and legs. The men gathered in groups and smoked tobacco, the women bustled about, calling after the scattered children. more>>>

When Chaos Came to Salzburg

Karl-Markus Gauss on virtual revolutions and real states of emergency
Translated by John K. Cox 
Pentecost, the peaceful holiday, had come, and Salzburg was something akin to a city under a state of emergency. By Friday, even schoolgirls from good homes did not make it all the way to school, if they were found to be out and about in the wrong kind of clothes; and heedless apprentices, their hairdos looking like something from a "wanted" poster, were collared in the street and shipped straight off home. more>>>

Rwanda, the Flame of Hope 
Abdourahman Waberi returns to Rwanda after fifteen years 
Translated by Nicole Ball and David Ball 
Nearly fifteen years after the Tutsi genocide, it is still very difficult for foreign observers and the international community to follow the development of this country with a neutral eye and without being prejudiced or excessively emotional. 

A Revolutionary Tradition: Shoars in Iranian Street Politics
Elham Gheytanchi parses Persian political slogans
Even if Iran's political institutions have so far remained intact in the face of the recent agitation, its political culture has forever changed, perhaps even reverted to the revolutionary state of 1979, a shift reflected in the slogans chanted by people in the streets. more>>>

The Front
Gébé reflects on war and the French psyche 
Translated by Edward Gauvin 
The peacetime press pursues the politics of an ostrich. Head buried in the sand of petty intrigues, high-society trifles, and foreign wars, it deliberately ignores the front. more>>>

From The Burning of the Chiado
François Vallejo witnesses an old Lisbon neighborhood go up in smoke
Translated by Edward Gauvin 
It goes quickly. Lisbon burns. The Frenchman has followed the fire's progress since morning. He was sleeping in his pension, Rua do Ouro. A roar outside, he pulled the curtains back. It should've been day out already, a summer's day, and not this gray fog, almost blue, August 25, 1988. more>>>

From Sandokan 
Nanni Balestrini's novel of growing up in the shadow of the Camorra
Translated by Antony Shugaar 
during these two or three months of summer I spend fifteen or twenty days at the fruit dumpmore>>>

Elsewhere this month, Mahmoud Darwish meditates on tragedy, and Maria Constanza Guzmán interviews Suzanne Jill Levine.  

New Reviews 


by Andrzej Stasiuk
Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston 
Dalkey Archive Press, 2009

Reviewed by Bob Buckeye
The Other Europe no longer exists, its past no more than a memory, its life marginalized in the new world of runaway capitalism. more>>>


More from the Bookshelf. . .

Also in October… 

From the Blog

The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal by A.M. Correa, Dispatches: An African in Greenlandby Geoff Wisner, The Nobel Prize in Literature: Our Office Pool by Susan Harris and more

From thewallinmyhead.com

A Photo Diary, 1987-1989 by Bill Martin and more.


Upcoming Events

After Kapuściński: The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century
A two-day symposium, October 6-7, 2009 at NYU's Hemmerdinger Hall, 100 Washington Square East, New York, NY

An exciting public conversation about the state of the art of reportage amid a rapidly changing landscape, the various approaches to and practices of long-form and literary journalism, and the ongoing legacy of renowned practitioners like Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński. At a time when categorical differences between fiction and nonfiction are increasingly ambiguous, and the gap between their respective segments of the publishing market increasingly small, a discussion of reportage as literary art form is paramount.

Panel I: The Art of Reportage: On the Ground and On the Page
Tuesday, October 6

How does narrative arise from reportage? What transformation occurs during the writing process? Answers from journalists who combine investigative skills and literary craft.

Jane Ciabattari, Moderator, is President of the National Book Critics Circle and a member of the Executive Board of the Overseas Press Club. Her reporting from abroad and cultural criticism have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian online, npr.orgBookforum, theWashington PostLos Angeles Times, and Columbia Journalism Review.

Joshua Clark is author of Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone(2007 National Book Critics Circle award finalist). He has worked as a correspondent for NPR and Salon.com.

Eliza Griswold is author of The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam (FSG, forthcoming 2010), a New America Fellow, and a 2010 Rome Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Her reportage has appeared in the New YorkerHarper'sand the New Republic.

Arif Jamal is the author of The Shadow War: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir (Melville House, 2009). Former contributing writer to the New York Times, he is a fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.

Elizabeth Rubin, a recent Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Her award-winning reportage from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New RepublicHarper's, and the New Yorker.

Paweł Smoleński is author of seven books in Polish, including Burial of a Butcher, on tensions between Poles and Ukrainians, and Hell in Paradise, on post-Saddam Iraq. He received a 2005 Kurt Schork Award from Columbia University's Journalism School.

Panel II: Literary Reportage Between Self and Other, Fact and Fiction
Tuesday, October 6

If a strictly objective take is self-evidently impossible, what sort of warrant as to strict veracity ought the reader expect from the creator of long-form narrative nonfiction? To what extent, if any, ought that writer's vantage be grounded in a personal "I" voice, and to what extent does even that commitment shade into a sort of fiction?

Lawrence Weschler, Moderator, is concurrently Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival, and author of over a dozen books, including The Passion of PolandCalamities of Exile, and Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences (2007 National Book Critics Circle Award winner).

Alastair Reid is an eminent poet, longtime New Yorker correspondent from Spain, Scotland, and Latin America, and one of the foremost translators of the work of both Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges.

Wojciech Jagielski is author of 4 books in Polish, including Night Wanderers (2009), about child soldiers in Uganda, and, in English translation, Towers of Stone: The Battle of Wills in Chechnya(Seven Stories, October 2009).

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is author of Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx (2003, NBCC finalist), a 2006 MacArthur Fellow, and visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Suketu Mehta is author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (2004), a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, and Associate Professor in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute's Literary Reportage program.

Panel III: Kapuściński's Legacy in the 21st Century
Wednesday, October 7

Ryszard Kapuściński was one of the most celebrated, albeit controversial journalists of the last fifty years, a gorgeous stylist and a rhapsodic, if at times not strictly reliable, witness. To what extent is the kind of reportage he engaged in even possible today? What lessons can the next generation of writers draw from his example?

Robert S. Boynton, Moderator, is Director of NYU's new Literary Reportage concentration, former Senior Editor at Harper's, and author of The New New Journalism (2005).

Breyten Breytenbach teaches at the University of Cape Town, the Gorée Institute in Dakar, Senegal, and NYU's Creative Writing Program. A South African writer and painter of French citizenship, he was a committed opponent of the apartheid and served 7 years in prison for high treason. He has published over 40 books of verse and prose, including, recently, Intimate Stranger (Archipelago, August 2009).  

Ted Conover is the author of Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing (2001 National Book Critics Circle Award winner), a 2003 Guggenheim Fellow, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Klara Glowczewska is Editor in Chief of Condé Nast Traveler, the only travel publication to win a National Magazine Award, and translator of three of Ryszard Kapuściński's books, includingTravels With Herodotus (2007).

Philip Gourevitch is Editor in Chief of The Paris Review, a longtime staff writer at the New Yorker, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families(1998 National Book Critics Circle Award and Overseas Press Club Award) and, with Errol Morris, of The Ballad of Abu Ghraib (2008).

This symposium is sponsored by The Polish Cultural Institute in New York, The National Book Critics Circle, The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, The Literary Reportage Concentration of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU, The Overseas Press Club of America, and Words without Borders

Call for Manuscripts

Hemispheres magazine, the inflight publication of United Airlines, has partnered with Words without Borders to offer our readers a taste of world literature. We are currently looking for translated short stories of approximately 500 words in length for our monthly fiction page. Due to our readership, we cannot print stories with sexual themes, violence, disturbing scenes or obscenities. Nor can we appear to promote a particular religious or political point of view. Stories will be published in English. Submit translations tohemispheres@wordswithoutborders.org.


Get Involved 

Call for Syllabi
Words without Borders would like to hear from high school teachers and university professors who are using the WWB Web site and/or anthologies in the classroom. As part of the expansion of our education initiatives we'd like to build a syllabi library for other educators to use as a reference and are looking for contributions. Please e-mail education@wordswithoutborders.org

Volunteers Needed
Words without Borders needs a skilled videographer in New York City to help us record and edit video of events and interviews with authors and translators. We would normally be recording once or twice a month, and videos are posted on wordswithoutborders.org, YouTube, and Facebook. This is an unpaid, volunteer position. Interested applicants should e-mailjobs@wordswithoutborders.org.


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