December 22, 2014 | David Shook

in memoriam Kenny Kahn 

Efraín Huerta
From the archive of Eugenia Huerta Bravo.

A trio of important Mexican writers was born in 1914: Octavio Paz, José Revueltas, and Efraín Huerta. In the English-language world, Paz has obviously come out the winner, in terms of sheer readership and international visibility—for him the complicated process of world literature canonization can be at least partially attributed to the fortunate combination of superbly talented translator Eliot Weinberger, his first English-language publishers at New Directions, and, eventually, the Nobel Prize, which he won in 1990 after winning the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1982. Paz was a formidable presence, an institution in the Mexican literary world, and his shadow still...

December 19, 2014 | Kaitlin Hawkins

News, Reviews, and Interviews

Libyan poet and translator Khaled Mattawa was recently announced as one of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipients, and in an interview with NPR, he talks about the translations that informed and inspired his writing style.

We wish congratulations to 2013 Puterbaugh Fellow Maaza Mengiste and Joanne Leedom-Ackerman for being nominated to the Words Without Borders Board of Directors!

Translator Maureen Freely talks about getting lost in translation for the Guardian this week.

What makes Russian literature of the 19th century so distinctive? Two writers attempt to answer the question in 650 words or less for the New York Times Bookends.

Japan’s book market may be in trouble: reports show declining numbers of publishers, bookstores, and overall revenues over the past 15 years.

This week, the world said...

December 16, 2014 | The Editors of WLT

The editors of WLT are delighted to announce that the following slate of six authors have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize XL anthology:


Julia Fiedorczuk Julia Fiedorczuk (Poland)

Lands and Oceans,” translated by Bill Johnston

Luljeta Lleshanaku Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania)

History Class,” translated by Ani Gjika


December 15, 2014 | Guo Jian

A Review of Ancestral Intelligence, by Vera Schwarcz (Atrium House, 2013)

Ancestral Intelligence
Photo by Eki Ramadhan


Where thought could not be free,
Death was a more welcome companion.
. . .
Only sages are willing martyrs
For mind’s unfettered reach. 

These are lines from Vera Schwarcz’s rendition of a poem by the eminent Chinese scholar-poet Chen Yinke, written in memory of his mentor and friend, the classical scholar-poet Wang Guowei, who committed suicide in 1927 in the face of advancing modernity and the rapid decline of classical culture. In the midst of deep sorrow for his friend’s tragic end and knowing full wel...

December 12, 2014 | Kaitlin Hawkins

News, Reviews, and Interviews

An exciting new discovery was recently made in Northern China: a tomb, dated approximately 1,000 years old, contained no human remains, but was filled with colorful murals and poetry.

In the wake of protests around the world, the Mantle wonders if hashtag activism is actually effective in eliciting real change. In an interactive digital format, the Mantle facilitates three unique global perspectives for debate.

After it was missing for decades, a recently recovered letter from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac—rumored to be the very letter that influenced Kerouac’s writing style—is set for auction on December 17.

Simply reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest can be a daunting task, but translating it can seem impossible. This week at the Millions, translator Caetano W. Galindo talks about his year-long journey in translating the book from English to Portuguese....