Interviews

  • Ronit Matalon. Photo by Shay Ignatz.
       May 2015
    Ronit Matalon/Photo by Shay Ignatz Editorial note: An abbreviated version of the following essay appears in the May 2015 print edition of WLT. Who is Ronit Matalon? An Israeli fiction writer, essayist, and literary critic, as a journalist she covered Gaza and the West Bank from 1986 to 1993 for the distinguished left-wing newspaper Haaretz. She is currently a professor...
  • Mohsen Emadi
       March 2015
    Photo: AP Persis Karim: Can you say a little about what finally made you leave Iran? Were you threatened with imprisonment? I know you left in 2009, but in the interview you did with Lyn Coffin, your translator, you were a bit vague. I wonder if you can elaborate a bit. Mohsen Emadi: I wasn’t sure if I had to leave Iran or not. I resisted for ye...
  • Jonathan Wright. Photo by Tom Pilston
    Jonathan Wright. Photo by Tom Pilson The life of this interview began when Hassan Blasim and Jonathan Wright were announced as joint winners of the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi Christ. A writer and filmmaker, Blasim’s stories have come to English-speaking readers via an unusual route: self-published online in Arabic and collected in book form only upon English tr...
  • Cerro Rico. Photo © Kevin Gass
    The gallery above includes photos of Potosi and Cerro Rico Mine, Bolivia. Photos © Kevin Gass Photojournalist Kevin Gass has been creating photo essays that capture countries and cultures in flux for over fifteen years. In 2013 he and author Tom Zoellner traveled to Potosí, Bolivia, to cover working conditions in the Cerro Rico mine; Zoellner’s essay, “The Mountain That Eats Men,” along with...
  • 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....
  • 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...
  •    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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  •    May 2013
    Zvonko Karanović Like the poets of the Beat generation from whom he takes inspiration, poet and fiction writer Zvonko Karanović (b. 1959, Niš, Serbia) has traveled widely throughout Europe, hitchhiking and often changing jobs. He has worked as a journalist, editor, radio host, DJ, and concert organizer and owned a music store for thirteen years. For many years, he has been an un...
  • Kim Kyŏnguk (b. 1971, Kwang-ju, South Korea) earned his bachelor’s in English and master’s in Korean literature from Seoul National University. Since his debut story, “An Outsider,” won the Writer’s World prize for best new writer in 1993, Kim has published six story collections and five novels. One of the most prolific writers and astute observers...
  • “I make literature, not war. . . . Literature is not Jewish, Arab, or American. It tells stories to everyone.” These are the words of Boualem Sansal, an exceptionally brave and talented Algerian writer and recipient of several literary awards in France and Europe, in response to the numerous and violent reactions from his fellow citizens and Muslims around the world when he parti...
  • 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,...
  • Roberto Brodsky (b. 1957) came of age in Santiago de Chile during the revolutionary years of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government (1970–73). Born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants that escaped the pogroms during the first decades of the century, Brodsky grew up immersed in leftist politics and culture. During the Popular Unity he was a young militant in the FER (Frente de Estudiantes Revoluci...
  •    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...
  •    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...
  •    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:...
  •    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...
  •    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. ...
  • 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...
  •    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...

Pages