Burma: A Land at the Crossroads

Thant Myint-U Ian Buruma

WWB and the PEN World Voices festival present special guests Thant Myint-U and Ian Buruma, in a discussion of one of our world's last truly isolated and closed regimes. More info…



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Olympic Voices: New Literature from China

Ma Jian Xiaolu Guo

Join us to celebrate our April "Olympic Voices" issue with a conversation featuring Ma Jian and Xiaolu Guo about political protest, the new Chinese writing, belonging, escape, rage, heartbreak, and craft. More info…


Favorites from Last Month

Don't miss the five most-visited articles on WWB in April: 1) An excerpt of Magdy El Shafee's The Metro 2) Marina Harss's review of Season of Migration to the North 3) Hu Ying's Footnotes Like Skyscrapers 4) Cynthia Haven's interview with Andrzej Franaszek 5) An excerpt from Christopher Moore's In Other Words.

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WWB: Anthology


Features the work of more than 28 writers from upwards of 20 countries. Here, some of the most accomplished writers in world literature — among them Nobel laureates Wole Soyinka, Gunter Grass, and Naguib Mahfouz — introduce us to dazzling literary talents virtually unknown to readers of English.
Read more…


May 2008 Newsletter

Dear Friends:

May 2008 - Public Lives/Private Lives

Public Lives/Private Lives:
Writing from the PEN World Voices Festival


The ever-fabulous PEN World Voices Festival begins this week in New York City and here at Words Without Borders we've been plotting our own celebration, joining forces with PEN to provide a global take on matters public and private. Is the line between our public and private growing ever thinner? When must private stories be recounted for public good? On Spanish battlefields and Dutch beaches, in Norwegian ships and Hungarian trucks, borders are crossed and boundaries blurred as writers negotiate personal and political entanglements. Jo Nesbø's seafaring captain lands a new route, and Fatou Diome travels to ports of madness. Chenjerai Hove topples tyranny with the power of the word. Yael Hedaya conceives a struggle with infertility, while Amanda Michalopoulou's elderly sisters weather sibling rivalry, and A. B. Yehoshua's son has a soulmate. Antonio Muñoz Molina's displaced academic is stopped in his tracks, and Abdourahman A. Waberi trails Walter Benjamin. György Dragomán smuggles strange cargo; Lieve Joris interrogates the life of an insurgent, Saša Stanišić's architect engineers gossip. Meanwhile, Francesc Serès's general executes crowd control and Anja Sicking's teen clique finds intimacy in numbers. Coral Bracho hears the call of a cliff, while Gonçalo M. Tavares riffs on last rites, and Kristín Ómarsdóttir cooks up two movie stars in the kitchen. A huge shoutout to Elizabeth Weinstein and Caro Llewellyn for their invaluable assistance with our feature this month.

Elsewhere this month, Rosario Sanmiguel peeks under the bridge, Tashi Dawa gazes over the river, and Rubén Darío travels the world.

May Events

Our events in May begin on May 1st, 1:00 pm at the Cervantes Institute, when WWB presents "Burma: A Land at the Crossroads." Very special guests Thant Myint-U and Ian Buruma discuss one of our world's last truly isolated and closed regimes, where the boundaries between private and public take on entirely different dimensions.

And on Saturday, May 3rd, 2:30 pm at the Asia Society, we celebrate our April issue with "Olympic Voices: New Literature from China," with Ma Jian and Xiaolu Guo. Join us for a conversation about political protest, flipping off the Old Guard, the new Chinese writing, belonging, escape, heartbreak, and craft.

Upcoming: We continue our "Tales from the Global Village" event series this fall with two very special installments—we'll be spotlighting immigrant writers on October 22 and Indian women with some twists on November 5. Watch this space.

On the Bookshelf

Alex Wenger finds history written in fire in The Unforgiving Years by Victor Serge, translated by Richard Greeman (NYRB Classics). Robert Buckeye finds a model kit rather than The Model in Lars Saabye Christensen's latest (translated by Don Barltlett). Christopher Cox jumps into The Diving Pool with Yoko Ogawa (translated by Stephen Snyder). Visit the WWB Bookshelf…

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs

This May, WWB bloggers keep us abreast of the goings-on at PEN World Voices. In his latest dispatch from Cairo, Hosam Aboul-Ela writes this month about young and upcoming writers in Egypt. Sophie Powell pens a piece on Welsh writer Kate Roberts. Also, coming next month is a very special blog line-up to celebrate our Global Gourmet issue. From Bombay to Phnom Penh, from Moscow to Buenos Aires, WWB bloggers take it all in and comes back for seconds this June. Visit the WWB blog…

Book Club

The 2008 Words Without Borders / Reading the World book club series launches this June with Susan Bernofsky's much-heralded new translation of Robert Walser's The Assistant. Sam "The Golden Rule" Jones is at the helm for our first installment and participants will include Tom Whalen, Mark Harman and Susan Bernofsky, as well as several other prominent authors, artists, translators and Walser scholars. Save the date—this June is Walser month at the WWB Book Club, and we hope you'll all join in the discussion! Visit the WWB Book Club…

Join us in June, when we'll present our Global Gourmet issue.

—The Editors


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