Interviews

  • April 2003 WLT For each of Leon Rooke’s nearly three hundred published stories, there are another two unpublished. Those six hundred, Rooke would say, represent the more interesting part. Rooke was born in 1934 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. He and his wife, Constance, moved to Victoria, British Columbia, in 1969, before settling down in Eden Mills, Ontario, where he founded the Eden...
  •  March 2009 WLT Poet, playwright, and neuroscientist Pireeni Sundaralingam considers how migration defines a person’s identity and art’s ability to build bridges and break down the fears that lead to demonizing others. I heard her read at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City in May 2008, and our conversation over lunch led to the following e-mail interview...
  •  July 2006 WLT In 1998 world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma founded the Silk Road Project to explore artistic exchanges and international collaborations along Silk Road lands and around the world. “When we enlarge our view of the world,” says Ma, “we deepen our understanding of our own lives.” The Silk Road Project hopes to plant the seeds of new cultural gro...
  •  March 2010 WLT Jazra Khaleed, born in Chechnya in 1979, lives today in Athens and writes exclusively in Greek. He is among the first of a new generation of Greek writers who were born beyond the borders of Greece, with roots in other cultures and languages, bringing new ideas, directions, and rhythms to Greek poetry. Khaleed is a poet and boxer from Athens’ harsh inner city...
  •  July 2010 WLT Sherman Alexie—poet, novelist, short-story author, screenwriter, film director, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, comedian, and more—visited the University of Oklahoma campus in March as the 2010 Puterbaugh Fellow. It was an exciting time for OU as well as for Alexie. Just before he arrived, he learned he won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for his latest...
  •    July 2011
    Following the performance of her play Mary Stuart at the University of Oklahoma this Spring, Dacia Maraini invited the director, Susan Shaughnessy, and the actresses who performed the roles of Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth, Anna Fearheiley and Emily Jackson, to perform the play at the Festival delle Due Rocche in Arona, Italy, in September 2011. Photo credit: Yousef Khanfar   Arenowned...
  •    July 2012
    ({"video_url": "http://vimeo.com/44478910", video_config: { width: 600, height: 338 } }) Marina CarrThe 2012 Puterbaugh Fellow“Lately I have begun to suspect if there is such a thing as eternity it resides in the hearts and minds of those who have loved us, for time, memory, eternity are merely constructs of this fallen world and it is here among the fallen we...
  •    May 2012
    The novels of Julia Franck (b. 1970, East Berlin) draw on German literary tradition to explore the interconnection of private lives and public histories. Die Mittagsfrau (2007; Eng. The Blindness of the Heart, 2009), which won the German Book Prize in 2007 and was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010, has been translated into more than thirty languages. ...
  • In their recent exchange, physicist Alan Lightman and philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein reflected on “thinking and feeling our ways beyond what we can know,” and how they devise “emotional experiments” in their fiction in order to probe the limits of rational thought. Dear Alan, I want to thank you, first of all, for allowing this conversation to take place electronically, a form o...
  • Maaza Mengiste
       March 2014
    Photo by Simon Hurst In 2010 Ethiopian American writer Maaza Mengiste’s literary debut, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was hailed as a courageous and deft envisioning of the Ethiopian civil war. She is currently writing her second novel, The Shadow King....
  • Carmen Boullosa tr. Kristina Zdravič Reardon Q: Is there a quote you like or think is particularly fitting or relevant to very short fiction, whether by a fiction writer or by someone in a field other than literature, be it the arts, sciences, philosophy, religion, or other area? A: “In the beginning was the Word.” Q: Do you have a favorite flash story or writer,...
  • Daniel Simon  The themes of “Turning Thirty” have an archetypal feel to them—sickness, death, rebirth, forbidden love, truth, happiness, naming, freedom, madness, fear, solitude. Do you equate truth with unhappiness? Abdellah Taïa  Around me and within me, my sense of dissatisfaction is permanent. And a certain kind of sadness, unhappiness, and eternal solitude o...
  • In this exclusive WLT interview, poet Nathalie Handal talks about her new verse collection, the distinction between homeland and home, and her sources of strength. Poet in Andalucía is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in January 2012.   Nathalie Handal. Photo by Ram Devineni. Kaitlin Bankston: In your new collection, Poet in Anda...
  •    March 2012
     LEFT: Photo of Shadid by Nada Bakri. RIGHT: A photo of the ancestral home in Marjayoun by Anthony Shadid. Currently the New York Times' Beirut bureau chief, Anthony Shadid has won two Pulitzer Prizes and many other accolades in the fifteen years he's covered the Middle East for the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and the Times. During that time, Shadid...
  • Laleh Khadivi. Photo by Ariel Zambelich. WLT: What recent book has captured your interest? Laleh Khadivi: W. G. Sebald and Roberto Bolaño call to me again and again. Their work dissolves the membrane between the events of history and the emotional core of our modern lives. They seem to converse with me, from their thoughts to the page t...
  •    March 2014
    Q: Translating humor across cultures is particularly challenging. What difficulties did you confront while translating these essays and how did you resolve them? A: Lithuanian, like most languages, has a number of lovely onomatopoeic words. In some cases, I used a slightly untraditional translation in order to emphasize the sound qualities. For example, my dictio...
  •    May 2012
    Photo by Jörg Winger Anna Winger was raised in Kenya, Massachusetts, and Mexico. She is the author of the novel This Must Be the Place (Riverhead, 2008) and the creator of Berlin Stories, a radio show for NPR Worldwide (berlinstories.org). She lives in Berlin with her family.  WLT: Why Berlin? Anna Winger: I...
  • David Sedaris book covers
       March 2014
    WLT: Translating humor across cultures is particularly challenging. What has surprised you most about how your translators have re-created your work in other languages? David Sedaris: Occasionally I’ll tour another country and sit on stage as a native Italian or German or Spaniard reads a story out of whichever book I’m promoting. I follow along as best...
  • Sudeep Sen I n a WLT exclusive, Ziaul Karim—executive editor of Jamini, an international arts magazine, and former literary editor of the Daily Star—sat down with Sudeep Sen to discuss the many influences that inform Sen’s work: Eastern and Western poetry, architecture, art, music, photography, and dance, most notably. What follows is the full text of their conversation, an...
  •    March 2012
    David Small Introduction by Elizabeth R. Baer The following interview was conducted by Julia Tindell, a student in a course I taught at Gustavus Adolphus College in fall 2010. English 201, “The Art of Interpretation,” is considered the “gateway” course for the English major. Despite its somewhat artsy title, the course is intended to serve as a hard-core introduction to literary theory...
  • Day of the Dead skeleton figurines
       March 2014
    Photo by hjhipster/Flickr I asked myself these questions in a field outside an apartment community in Dallas, Texas. It was cold. The people walking by looked at me strangely either because I was speaking Spanish or because it’s weird for someone to ask herself questions out loud. What surprised me is that the ducks in the pond also looked at me strangely—as if they didn’t...
  •   Photo by Pascale Brevet Alexander Maksik, who moved to Paris in 2002 to write and teach, is the author of You Deserve Nothing, the first book from Tonga Books, Europa Editions' new imprint, edited by Alice Sebold. His writing has appeared in several journals and the anthology Strangers in Paris: New Writing from the City of Light (Tightrope, 2011). The recipient of a Truman C...
  •    July 2012
    Photos provided by John Locke   Technology’s unapologetic march toward a slimmer, sleeker, sexier experience—dominated, and prefixed with, an all-powerful i—has turned payphones into what New York architect John Locke calls “a detriment to the urban experience.” His solution involves another technology he says is on the cusp of obsolescence. John Tyler Allen:...
  • Juan Villoro (b. 1956, Mexico City) is a novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and chronicler whose work addresses an impressive array of topics with insight, dark humor, and irony: canonical Mexican literature; the Zapatista insurrection in Chiapas; the legacy of Mexico’s Cristero War; the intersections of popular television and fiction genres; and the social and cultural functions of spectato...
  •    July 2012
    Photo of Richard Mason by Michael Lionstar Richard Mason’s first novel, The Drowning People, published when he was twenty-one, sold more than a million copies worldwide and won Italy’s Grinzane Cavour Prize for Best First Novel. Born in South Africa in 1978, he is also the author of Natural Elements, which the Washington Po...

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