Neustadt Prize winner Ismail Kadare transports a reader to the Albania of her grandparents’ generation with his fiction, which speaks to timeless global themes alongside its more localized exploration of the Balkan peninsula.
Reading Kadare, David Bellos finds the whole world in literary form: a masterful blend of myth and folklore with portraits of modern minds and local realities—plus a cunning, wry kind of humor.
As part of the ceremony honoring Kadare as the 2020 laureate—with participants logging in from dozens of countries around the world—Kadare’s nominating juror, Kapka Kassabova, offered a video tribute from her home in Scotland.
“My body too trembles in an inciting devotion song I sneak through the rusty gate at Ibn Shaprut, collecting Gershom Scholem from his home on Abrabanel Street from Gaza to Berlin,” from “Angelus Novus,” by Amichai Chasson (trans. Maayan Eitan)
“What are you holding on to, Embera Wera? / The god who taught you to romanticize misery / who with whipping and witch-burning taught you to love / and who is waiting for you to ‘bless’ your suffering?” from “When Blood Boils,” by Federico Villegas
“The note / from the committee arrived on a listless / afternoon, as the Shah’s requiem dimmed. I had six / weeks to perform a lifetime of music,” from “A Sestina in 1979,” by Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet
“Awl” is from a series titled “Words I Did Not Understand.” Through memory—“the first screen of nostalgia”—and language, a writer pieces together her story of home.
“On his way back home, M. tried to remember why they’d stopped seeing each other; such a nice guy. (One meets so many fools in life, he mused, but truly worthwhile people vanish without a trace.) But when the taxi arrived, he found that his wallet was missing,” from “Old Acquaintance,” by Ariel Magnus
An introduction to the Contemporary Hebrew Literature special section by the section’s editors.
The world English-language premiere of Ismail Kadare’s play Stormy Weather on Mount Olympus took place on October 21 during the 2020 Neustadt Lit Fest. Theater director, actor, and educator Fabrice Conte-Williamson co-translated the play and offers his insights into the unique challenges encountered and overcome during the process.
What is it about the revolutionary that draws our fascinated attention? Whether one calls it the North of Ireland or Northern Ireland, the Troubles continue to haunt the land and those who lived through them.
Peter Constantine interviews South African poet Ilse van Staden, who has been lionized by critics for her work’s “important linguistic and literary reawakening for Afrikaans after the oppressive decades of apartheid that had constricted, regulated, and censored the language and its literature.”
Translator Kit Maude interviews Argentine writer Ariel Magnus, author of well over a dozen books, whose novel Chess with My Grandfather is forthcoming from Seagull Books.
Poet and fiction writer Gloria Susana Esquivel has been quickly positioned in the spotlight of recent Latin American literature. The University of Texas Press recently published Animals at the End of the World, the English translation of her first novel. À propos of the recent translation of her novel into English (translated by Robin Myers), we sat down to chat about her book, her podcast, and being a woman writer in Colombia.