Interviews

  • Blue wrinkled tarp. Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography
    November 18, 2014 | Jeremiah Gentle
    “By staging their dialogue underneath the tarp’s camouflage, the play merges past and present.” Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography In June 2000 a group of soldiers from the Dominican Republic opened fire on, and killed, seven people in a tarp-covered truck they were pursuing in Guayubín. The cadavers of the six Hait...
  • Antonio Skármeta
    September 16, 2014 | Arthur Dixon
    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 More recently, his unpublished play...
  • Enid Shomer
    July 10, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    In the middle of the nineteenth century, both Gustave Flaubert and Florence Nightingale traveled in Egypt. Enid Shomer imagined them meeting, and the result is her debut novel, The Twelve Rooms of the Nile. Also the author of two collections of short fiction and four poetry collections, Shomer is a master of all forms. It is no wonder the Florida Humanities Council awarded h...
  • Denise Newman
    July 1, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    This October, Two Lines Press will release Baboon, the first book-length translation of Danish author Naja Marie Aidt. That story collection, Bavian, won the 2008 Nordic Council Literature Prize. “The Woman in the Bar,” a story from the collection, is available on WLT’s website as part of its Summer in Translation Reading Supplement. Here, WLT tal...
  • Cate Kennedy
    June 18, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    Often called Australia’s “queen of the short story,” Cate Kennedy is the award-winning author of novels, poetry, short fiction, and travel memoir. Her two short-story collections are Dark Roots (2006) and Like a House on Fire (2012), winner of the Queensland Award for best short-story collection and shortlisted for the inaugural...
  • EJ Van Lanen. Photo by Anthony Schuber.
    June 17, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    EJ Van Lanen. Photo by Anthony Schuber. Which is better, print or online? Which is more helpful to the cause of advancing translated literature, starting a publishing company or something else? The literary world is abuzz with debate. Two years ago EJ Van Lanen, already at work publishing translated literature, began a new venture: publishing translated literature, but only...
  • Left: Anne Portugal. Right: Pierre Alferi
    May 14, 2014 | Sophie L. Thunberg
    Left: Anne Portugal. Right: Pierre Alferi Within the rather polemically suggestive title “Translating the Untranslatable” hides a wide array of opinion and diverging thoughts. In the world of poetry, an effective translation is regarded as an infamously difficult task to achieve, and the translatability of poetry itself into multiple languages is often brought into question. On April 25 at NYU’s...
  • Front of a bookshop in Norway
    April 15, 2014 | Sarah Smith
    A Conversation with Don Bartlett A bookshop in Stavanger, Norway. Photo by Marie Guillaumet/Flickr In Norway, many bookstores carry a wide variety of translated fiction, noticeably more than one might see in a UK or US bookstore. Don Bartlett and other translators of the Norwegian language work on translating the culture of Norway into English. I spoke to Bartlett about the...
  • Vladimir Lorchenkov
    March 18, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    New Vessel Press recently released The Good Life Elsewhere, Vladimir Lorchenkov’s scathing satire from Moldova. Born and currently living in Moldova, Lorchenkov is a laureate of Russia’s 2003 Debut Prize and the 2008 Russian Prize. For ten years, he was the crime section editor of a Moldovan newspaper. The Good Life Elsewhere follows the tragicomic efforts of the citizens o...
  • Inga Abele
    January 7, 2014 | Inara Cedrins
    Photo Flickr/Latvian Foreign Ministry A Poem by Inga Ābele  what are you my beloved night pragmatistdarkness in ringswine and an ancient harpsichord in the corner snakes sleep in alcohol do you seeyou said –how profligacy sleepswaiting for the kiss of awakening there’s such a profession – to attract looksand to spin away in the...
  • Rise of Digital Repression Graphic
    December 12, 2013 | Jen Rickard Blair
    A Q&A with Deji Olukotun   See the full interactive infographics at PEN.org. Deji Olukotun is PEN’s inaugural Freedom to Write Fellow, and he’s helping to lay a universal foundation at all PEN centers to protect and defend writers who are using digital technologies. A practicing human-rights attorney, he is also a passionate fiction writer with his novel Nigerians in Space to be...
  • Diwali: A Cultural Adventure
    October 30, 2013 | Janny Gandhi
    Sana Sood is an Indian American woman living in Washington, D.C. Growing up in India, Sood has always been very close to her culture and to its religious holidays. In order to expose her baby boy to Indian culture and teach him the significance of the upcoming Hindu holiday of Diwali, she has written a children’s book titled Diwali: A Cultural Adventure.     Janny Gandhi...
  • Joshua Safran
    October 28, 2013 | Michelle Johnson
    Joshua Safran Writer, lawyer, and occasional rabbi Joshua Safran’s new book, Free Spirit: Growing up on the Road and off the Grid, chronicles a childhood spent on the road with his unconventional mother. Though much of his legal practice focuses on land use and real estate law, Safran has received many awards for his advocacy on behalf of women’s rights and domesti...
  • Jane Hirshfield
    October 16, 2013 | Chard deNiord
    Jane Hirshfield and Donald Hall at the Hall-Kenyon Prize ceremony (Concord, New Hampshire, October 24, 2012) This interview was first conducted on October 24, 2012, at the Concord Public Library in Concord, New Hampshire, on the occasion of Hirshfield receiving the Donald Hall–Jane Kenyon Award in American Poetry; it then continued by email.  Chard deNiord: You graduated from Pr...
  • September 16, 2013 | WLT
    A Conversation with Chuck Beard  With independent bookstores closing even in those cities where they typically thrive, opening a new bookstore is an act of bravery, perhaps even faith. When Chuck Beard founded East Side Story, he not only opened a new bookstore but also Nashville’s first bookstore dedicated exclusively to local authors. What was he thinking?  Chuck Beard inside...
  • Evoking Magritte
    September 11, 2013 | Inara Cedrins
    Photo: Evoking Magritte by sleepyneko/Flickr In June I went for my interview with Latvian writer Jānis Einfelds accompanied by Sigma Ankrava, professor in the Department of Literature and Culture, The University of Latvia, who has brought me a tram card and leads the way to Mieru (peace) iela and Meness (moon) iela in Riga. She tells me again on the way that Jānis is in poor health, and...
  • August 6, 2013 | Michelle Johnson
    A Conversation with Peter Orner Today marks the release of Peter Orner’s second short-story collection, Last Car over the Sagamore Bridge. (This collection includes a story from WLT’s January 2013 issue, “Renters.”) In the conversation that follows, WLT’s managing editor asks Orner about his work, the writers we should b...
  • A Conversation with Boris Dralyuk
    June 25, 2013 | Saul Alpert-Abrams
    A Conversation with Boris Dralyuk  I recently interviewed Boris Dralyuk, translator of A Slap in the Face: Four Russian Futurist Manifestos (now on pre-sale from Insert Blanc Press), about futurism, Russian politics, translation, and horses! Boris holds a PhD in Slavic languages and literature from UCLA and, among other things, is the translator of Leo Tolstoy’s ...
  • Alda Sigmundsdottir
    June 20, 2013 | Michelle Johnson
    Photo: Annie Atkins Last Christmas Day, NPR ran a story about the preeminence of the book among Christmas gifts in Iceland. In a country that has the most books per capita in the world, publishers release a majority of these books between September and early November, just in time for the “Christmas Book Flood.” But what of this flood is available in English translation? And why is reading so po...
  • May 15, 2013 | Sara Wilson
      Left: Anita Amirrezvani  Right: Persis Karim Perhaps best known to the American public for the memoir genre, Iranian American literature has expanded considerably since the late twentieth century. Noting a trend away from memoir, poet and professor Persis Karim has worked to showcase a wide variety of new forms in Iranian and Iranian American literature. Since she co-edite...
  • Ben Myers
    April 29, 2013 | Sara Wilson
    Ben Myers and his newest book Lapse Americana April means tax stresses and spring, whether for you spring involves heavy snowfall or seasonal allergies. But in the U.S. April is also national poetry month. For Oklahoma poet Benjamin Myers, poetry can inhabit the past and present simultaneously; it can rescue and engage; it can even teach you to be yourself. Myers’s second book of poetry...
  • Karla Gruodis
    April 9, 2013 | Michelle Johnson
    A Q&A with Translator Karla Gruodis This month, Guernica will publish A Small Map of Experience: Reflections and Aphorisms by Lithuanian writer Leonidas Donskis, a philosopher, cultural critic, and currently a member of the European Parliament. Last week’s blog featured excerpts from this book. In this Q&A, WLT talks with Karla Gruodis, who translated the book from Lithu...
  • March 5, 2013 | Sara Wilson
    Illustration by Jen Rickard On March 13 fiction star Amelia Gray will perform in Boston at the seven-year anniversary of the raucous phenomenon known as the Literary Death Match, a monthly competition between four writers with three judges, two rounds, and one often-insane finale. According to its home website, a match “marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, ra...