Dear Friends,

Last month Words without Borders reached a milestone in its history. We became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We have always operated as a nonprofit, but prior to this year, donations were made through our fiscal sponsor, Bard College. Why? Because up until now Words without Borders did not have the resources to operate as an independent nonprofit. Independent tax-free status comes with a lot of time-consuming reporting and other obligations, and up until recently, Words without Borders had only one full-time staff member.

All that has changed. We are now a full-time professional staff of four and our potential is immense. Those of you who have been with us for years have probably noticed some changes, from the small to the significant. I can promise you there is more to come, major changes in the way we publish and the way we interact with our readers that will help us further our mission to translate, publish, and promote the best international literature.  Being a 501(c)(3) helps because it allows us to do more fundraising, to speak to more foundations and government agencies, and, most importantly, it means that we'll be working more closely with our individual donors. 

We'll be taking full advantage of our new status on November 9, 2009, when we host our first fundraiser in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the release of our newest anthology The Wall in My Head. The event will take place at the gorgeous, recently restored Bohemian National Hall in New York City and will feature readings from the anthology by Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, and Peter Schneider.  Dean Wareham, musician and former frontman of the bands Galaxie 500 and Luna will DJ the post-dinner reception. 

We've already sold a lot of tickets in advance, but we want to make sure all of our supporters have a chance to attend, which is why we're making VIP and general admission tickets available right now so that those of you in New York who wish to attend can be sure to reserve a place. It promises to be a great event. 

Finally, I'd like to thank Bard College for their steadfast support over the years. We couldn't have come this far without them and we look forward to a continued partnership in the future.


From The Wall in My Head Blog RSS

by Nathan Furl

13 August 2009
At midnight, the police and units of the East German army began to close the border and by Sunday morning, 13 August 1961, the border with West Berlin was closed. East German troops and workers had begun to tear up streets running alongside the border to make them impassable to most vehicles, and to install barbed wire entanglements and fences along the 156 km (97 miles) around the three western sectors and the 43 km (27 miles) which actually divided West and East Berlin.

An Excerpt by David Zábranský

7 August 2009

Democracy on the loose!-Here I am in the café of the Museo Nacional del Prado, thinking of Vienna.

Bartlett (the guy I flew to Madrid to see) warned me about Vienna. He said that's where Hitler learned to hate the Jews. "He was born in Austria, but to get his show on the road he had to move to Munich. Vienna couldn't stomach his paintings-those amateur daubs of his-or his Nazism. Vienna's way is different: in-depth destruction. Instead of attacking from the outside, it destroys from within."

Quo Vadebas or "The Rubble in Our Heads"

by Alex Zucker

5 August 2009
Martin M. Simečka, primarily a journalist but known to most English speakers as author of the 1993 Pegasus Prize-winning novel The Year of the Frog, published a biting article last May on the Vienna-based site Eurozine titled "Still not free: Why post-'89 history must go beyond self-diagnosis." He begins: [More]

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From the WWB Blog RSS


by Andre Naffis
17 August 2009

Words without Borders is delighted to bring you the second installment in our series of podcasts produced by Andre Naffis. [More]

The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas 
by Emma Garman
13 August 2009
Contemporary French literature outclasses all other nationalities when it comes to melding the popular and the profound, as epitomized by Annie Ernaux's addictively cerebral TMI or Amélie Nothomb's highbrow whimsy. Now Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt-a novelist and playwright best known outside of Europe for his novella Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran, which became a movie starring Omar Sharif-has written an exhilarating short story collection that fits squarely into this tradition. [More]

Summer Jobs in Europe 
by Arnon Grunberg
7 August 2009
Since 2007, I have been doing "summer jobs" every year. The purpose of a summer job is to earn money, obviously, but the purpose of my summer jobs has been to write about my experiences. I worked as chambermaid in Bavaria and then I was a steward in the dining car of a Swiss train. The logical next step for me was to become a masseur. [More]

More from the blog. . .

New Reviews 

Halfway House Cover
Halfway House
by Guillermo Rosales's 
Translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner
New Directions, 2009
Reviewed by Jonathan Blitzer

The Halfway House is one of only two novels Guillermo Rosales-the respected though to date largely unknown Cuban writer-did not destroy before committing suicide in 1993.


Selected Poems
by Friedrich Hol
Translated from the German by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover 
Omnidawn Publishing, 2008


Poems and Elegies
by Friedrich Holderlin 

Translated from the German by Nick Hoff  

Wesleyan University Press, 2008 

Reviewed by Francisco Guevara 
The difficulty of translating Friedrich Hölderlin's poems into English is rooted in the way he forged the syntax and traditions of both the Greek and German languages into a language foreign to, yet complicit in both. more>>>

A Thousand Deaths Plus One

A Thousand Deaths Plus One
By Sergio Ramirez
Translated from the Spanish by Leland H. Chambers 
McPherson & Company, 2009
Reviewed by Andrea Rosenberg 
A Thousand Deaths Plus One interweaves historical fact with outrageous fiction, painstaking truth with barefaced lies more>>>

More from the Bookshelf. . .

Upcoming Events

Book Launch for Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia

Reading and Reception at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street. Monday, September 21st, 2009 at 7:00pm

Join Tin House Books and CEC ArtsLink in celebrating the launch of a new volume of contemporary Russian prose edited by Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker. With readings from the volume by featured authors Oleg Zobern and Natalia Kluchareva. The event is sponsored by the Open World Cultural Leaders Program and The Saint Petersburg Review, with support from the PEN American Center 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 to