September 23, 2014 | Jen Rickard Blair

Sculpture of person reading a book in a park with red flowers
Photo by Nèg Foto

Whether you’re looking for a quick escape on your midday break or a quiet lunch with that always entertaining friend, literature, this list includes five short works of fiction that you can read alongside your favorite lunchtime meal. These various translations have appeared in the pages of World Literature Today and range from dryly humorous to absorbingly deep.

1. “Turning Thirty” by Abdellah Taïa

Translation by Daniel Simon...

September 22, 2014 | WLT

A special section on post-Wende central European lit (1989–2014)

  • Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany), an excerpt from The End of Days, tr. Susan Bernofsky
  • Tomas Venclova (Lithuania) interviewed by Ellen Hinsey
  • Julia Fiedorczuk (Poland), 5 poems, tr. Bill Johnston
  • German-language poetry by Durs Grünbein (Germany), tr. Michael Eskin & Karen Leeder; Esther Dischereit (Germany), tr. Iain Galbraith; Raoul Schrott (Austria), tr. Iain Galbraith; Kurt Drawert (Germany), Kerstin Hensel (Germany), and Nora Gomringer (Switzerland/Germany), tr. Paul-Henri Campbell
  • Ana Blandiana (Romania), 5 poems, tr. Paul Scott Derrick & Viorica Patea
  • Milena Michiko Flašar (Austria), “All Souls’ Day” (story), tr. Michael Z. Wise
  • Szilárd Borbély (Hungary), 2 poems, tr. Ottilie Mulzet
  • David Williams essay on Sofi Oksanen (Finland/Estonia)
  • Constantin Severin (Romania), 1 poem, tr. Carla Baricz
  • Web exclusives: an essay by Necia Chronister on post-Wende lit; addi...

September 19, 2014 | Kaitlin Hawkins

News, Reviews, and Interviews

In one of the most controversial articles to circle the web recently, NPR writer and critic Juan Vidal wonders what has happened to political poets. (For an additional perspective, we invite you to read Rachel Tzvia Back’s essay on the poetry of protest in Israel from the May-August double issue of WLT.)

Speculation about the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature has begun! Top contenders for this year’s prize include Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Haruki Murakami, and Assia Djebar.

Samar Yazbek, Rosa Yassin Hassan, and Inaam Kachachi all talk about their experiences as exiled writers in this month’s Words Without Borders issue.

We know it’s possible for books to change readers’ lives for the better, but what about for the worse? Leslie Jamison and Francine Prose provide their input in last week’s New York Times Sunday Book Review....

September 16, 2014 | Arthur Dixon

Antonio Skármeta
Photo: Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle via Wikimedia Commons

Many works of Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta have formed the foundations of further artistic endeavors, including and beyond their own translations. His 1985 novel, The Postman, inspired both Michael Radford’s film Il Postino and Daniel Catán’s opera of the same name. More recently, his unpublished play, El Plebiscito, provided the basis of No, Pablo Larraín’s highly acclaimed film about the 1988 Chilean referendum to oust dictator Augusto Pinochet. Now, yet another of his works is set to receive the movie treatment: his short, intimate 2010 novel, Un padre de película. The novel appears in English translation today from Other Press as A Distant Father, and the upcoming film by Selton Mello will be called A Movie Life. I spoke to Skármeta about A Distant Fath...

September 15, 2014 | Alberto Chimal

for Adolfo Bioy Casares

Adolfo Bioy Casares
By Alicia D'Amico [Public domain or Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

Today, September 15, would have been Adolfo Bioy Casares’s 100th birthday. A protégé of Borges, his science-fiction novel The Invention of Morel is considered a groundbreaking work in Latin American fiction and went on to inspire generations of writer,  filmmakers, and video game designers. This story is inspired by Bioy Casares’s story “The Celestial Plot,” the title story of a collection by the same name published in 1949. Bioy Casares was the recipient of numerous national and international literary prizes, including the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 1991.

The Astros amaze everyone from the moment they enter the field, because only one player enters: Luis Augusto, the goalkeeper, who after putting on his blue jersey, takes to the field enthusiast...