Literary Tributes

  • April 14, 2015 | Theodore Ziolkowski
    Photo: H. Grunert / www.nobelprize.org. The Winter 2000 issue of WLT featured “To Be Continued . . .”, the English translation of Grass’s 1999 Nobel Prize lecture, and his watercolor painting Fruit Grove in Winter on the cover (1996, © Steidl Verlag). Wh...
  • Gunter Grass
    April 14, 2015 | Theodore Ziolkowski
    Photo: H. Grunert / www.nobelprize.org When it was announced on Monday that Nobel laureate Günter Grass had passed away in Lübeck, Germany, at the age of eighty-seven, we asked longtime WLT contributor Theodore Ziolkowski to offer a few words of tribute. We also reprint on the WLT website Dr. Ziolkowski’s earlier essay on Grass, written shortly after the G...
  • Maya Angelou Stamp
    April 6, 2015 | Jen Rickard Blair
    As the United States Postal Service hosts a stamp dedication event tomorrow in Washington, DC, for the release of their Maya Angelou Forever stamp, we’re delighted to share images of the new stamp as well as this handwritten letter that Angelou sent to World Literature Today in 1979, which was known as Books Abroad until 1976. Angelou had been a visiting scholar at the Universit...
  • Astrid Ivask with Octavio Paz
    April 2, 2015 | WLT
    The executive director, editors, and staff at World Literature Today at the University of Oklahoma are saddened to hear of Astrid Ivask’s death.  In her time at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, from 1967 through 1991, along with her husband Ivar Ivask, Astrid was a literary light who welcomed the world’s greatest writers to Norman.  As an accomplished poet and scholar, she helped to...
  • Tomas Tranströmer delivering his acceptance speech for the Neustadt Prize.
    March 30, 2015 | The Editors of WLT
    Tomas Tranströmer delivering his acceptance speech for the Neustadt Prize in June 1990. When news broke late last week that Nobel Prize laureate Tomas Tranströmer had died in Stockholm on March 26 at the age of eighty-three, the editors and staff of World Literature Today joined the rest of the world in celebrating the legendary writer’s life and work, even as we m...
  • Assia Djebar. Photo by Irmeli Jung.
    February 9, 2015 | WLT
    Assia Djebar. Photo by Irmeli Jung. The editors and staff of World Literature Today were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Algerian-born novelist, translator, and filmmaker Assia Djebar on February 6, 2015. In her honor, we reprint below the tribute Mohammed Dib penned in 1996, when she was named the fourteenth laureate of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature—the...
  • Efraín Huerta
    December 22, 2014 | David Shook
    in memoriam Kenny Kahn  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 at...
  • Jim Spurr
    September 5, 2014 | Dorothy Alexander
    Oklahoma writer Dorothy Alexander remembers fellow poet Jim Spurr, a true “everyman poet.” Jim Spurr left this earthy existence on Sunday, August 31, 2014, after having one of the best days of his life. No lingering, no drama. Just fell down dead in an instant. How like him to “step off” in that manner. While he was a small-town kind of guy and the officially appointed Poet Laureate of S...
  • Nadine Gordimer
    July 14, 2014 | Nadine Gordimer
    Photo by Bengt Oberger In honor of Nadine Gordimer, who passed away yesterday at the age of ninety, we reprint here her testimonial from our Winter 1996 issue, devoted to “South African Literature in Transition.” Susan Sontag nominated Gordimer for the 1988 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. When I was sixteen or seventeen—distant youth blurs; years...
  • Maya Angelou
    May 28, 2014 | The Editors of WLT
    Photos by Gil Jain / Western History Collections / The University of Oklahoma The editors and staff of World Literature Today join in mourning the passing while celebrating the life and literary legacy of Maya Angelou, who died earlier today at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the age of eighty-six. Dr. Angelou was a visiting lecturer at the University...
  • Tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    April 18, 2014 | Daniel Simon
    When news broke yesterday about the death of Gabriel García Márquez, the entire staff of World Literature Today paused to reflect on the legacy of a writer who not only redrew the map of world literature but also added a thousand new colors to illustrate its unknown territories. García Márquez received the first of many international awards when he was chosen as the winner...
  • Walter and Alvaro
    September 25, 2013 | Daniel Simon
    Walter Neustadt Jr. (left) and Álvaro Mutis at the Neustadt banquet, University of Oklahoma, October 18, 2002 The editors and staff of World Literature Today were greatly saddened to hear the news of Álvaro Mutis’s passing this week; the celebrated Colombian-born poet and novelist died on September 22 in Mexico City at the age of ninety. We fondly remember...
  • September 3, 2013 | Tony Beaulieu
    Photo Burns Library, Boston College/Flickr In tribute to Seamus Heaney (1939–2013), who passed away Friday in Dublin, Ireland, World Literature Today opened its archives to pay its respects to the lauded poet. Heaney was nominated for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1994, and awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His 1975 collection, North, is consid...
  • Chinua Achebe
    March 23, 2013 | WLT
    Photo by Angela Radulescu/Flickr   In tribute to Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, who passed away this Thursday at the age of 82, we’ve opened the vault to share these compelling and inspiring words by Gabriel Okara in his nominating statement for Chinua Achebe for the 2004 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Achebe was a candidate for the Neustadt Prize in 1994 and 2004, and was a memb...