January 30, 2015 | Kaitlin Hawkins

News, Reviews, and Interviews

To celebrate the start of political relations between the United States and Cuba, Restless Books has begun a new blog series asking Cuban writers what it feels like to be a writer in Cuba today. (For more on this subject, see Leonardo Padura’s essay from the May 2013 issue, “Writing in Cuba in the Twenty-first Century.”)

Wonderful news from Saqi Books this week! The publisher announced that it would once again resume its English-language translation series, despite reports from last year that the publisher was facing an uphill financial battle.

Can’t get enough of literary sensation Karl Ove Knausgård? He recently delivered this speech during the Oxfam Novib/PEN Awards for Freedom of Expression, honoring Libyan writer and journalist Razan al-Maghrabi, Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Jila Bani-Yaghoub and her husband and fellow journalist Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee, and Sudanese poet, writer, and jo...

January 28, 2015 | Najwa Ali

View of Stockholm, Sweden

View of Stockholm, Sweden, from the Södermalm district. Photo by J. A. Alcaide.

In a corner of Stockholm, the Argentinean father of someone who was once, briefly, my lover, stumbles against the grey brick of houses, forgets to cut his hair or his fingernails, hoists himself on the stones lining the harbor. Screams in half-forgotten Spanish into the bright Nordic night. His son crosses the street and pretends not to recognize him. Marries a girl with red hair, shows me pictures of his blonde daughter. Schizophrenia is another name for what happens in the blinding night of cities. 

Schizophrenia is another name for what happens in the blinding night of cities.

Somewhere else in the city, a colony of my countrymen, few women among them, gather and scheme new reversals for our small archipelago. They trade secrets in their mo...

January 23, 2015 | Kaitlin Hawkins

News, Reviews, and Interviews

This week, author Valeria Luiselli sat down with NPR to talk about why she chooses to have her work translated, despite being bilingual. (Luisellis forthcoming novel Stories of My Teeth is one of the books our editors are most looking forward to reading in 2015.)

A hearty congratulations and very happy birthday wishes to our friends at Asymptote Journal! If you haven’t visited their website lately, make sure you don’t miss out on their birthday festivities or their world-class archive of writers and poets.

To celebrate the Threepenny Review’s 35th anniversary, the Paris Review recently re-published Javier Marías’s essay on how a home isn’t complete without stacks of books.

Our congratulations go out to Sinan Antoon, the 2014 winner of the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, an...

January 22, 2015 | WLT

A cover feature on Iranian exile lit featuring Moniro Ravanipour, Omid Fallahazad, Mohsen Emadi, and Mana Neyestani, guest-edited by Persis Karim 


  • Roberto Fernández Retamar’s reading recommendations on Cuba
  • Michael W. Merriam’s essay on Haitian literature and conversation with Frankétienne
  • J. Madison Davis on P. D. James’s mind for murder
  • Poems by Lan Lan, Susan Rich, and Linda Hogan
  • Elise Marubbio on Native cinema
  • J. L. Powers on South African crime fiction
  • Bill Kartalopoulos on Belgian comic Olivier Schrauwen
  • “The Swan Song of a Departing People,” an essay by Mongolian writer Galsan Tschinag
  • “Bacon’s Chicken,” a short story by George Zebrowski
  • Visits to Los Angeles and the Katikati Haiku Pahtway in New Zealand
  • and New books and book reviews spanning the globe

January 21, 2015 | Yahia Lababidi


Certain cherished books are like old loves. We didn’t part on bad terms; but it’s complicated, and would require too much effort to resume relations.

If one’s first love is for Letters, people tend to come second (or possibly third). Yes, books are ink-and-paper relationships that can supplement and, at times, displace flesh-and-blood relations.

Such was my breathlessly intense, and evidently unhealthy, understanding of literature as an impressionable, voracious teenager. I read to get drunk and, to paraphrase Baudelaire, hoped to stay that way. A clutch of slim volumes altered my intellectual landscape and, at the risk of melodrama, saved my life. Past the intoxicating, escapist, aesthetic experience (style always mattered for me), these early loves knew me before I knew myself and confessed my secrets—speaking the yearnings of my still-inchoate soul far more eloquently than I could ever dream at that tender age. Sensing my desperation and need, I b...