Untitled (2014) by Julie Maroh; acrylic on paper
This one is for my friends, who understand this madness.
Erich Maria Remarque
The following commentary was presented at the “Writing War” panel discussion on May 1, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.
Still from the movie version of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
The death of theory, not unlike the end of history, has, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, been exposed as an embarrassingly premature announcement.
I found myself on a windy and rainy evening at the Westbeth Center for the Arts, a massive warren of beautiful apartments crammed full of writers, dancers, visual artists, actors, poets, and other artistic folks. For what the PEN World Voices Festival deemed a Literary Safari, several of these creative-types opened their apartments and hosted visiting writers in mini-salons, where the scribes read for fifteen minutes and answered questions for another fifteen, and then whoosh! Off you go to find someone else’s apartment (crammed floor-to-ceiling with eclectic art) to engage another writer from another faraway land.
Corona is a poetic on-the-road adventure comedy told by me, Razia Mirza, a Pakistani woman from Corona, Queens. When I was ex-communicated from my Muslim community, I hit the road thinking I could live like the Beats.
The world does not need another literary journal.
This might seem like an odd statement from someone who started a literary journal eighteen months ago. Perhaps I should add a “just” in that statement. The world does not need just another literary journal. It’s time for the literary journal to be more than just a book on a shelf or digital real estate on the Internet.
A Short Tale of Shame (Open Letter, 2013) is the first full-length novel from Bulgarian short story writer and critic Angel Igov. Ostensibly it is the story of the damaging connections shared by aged rocker—Boril Krustev—and a tight-knit threesome of high school graduates: Sirma, Maya, and Spartacus. Really, the emotions run deeper than any past misdeed may suggest.
Several months ago I heard a famous literary translator give a talk about the difference between translating and being a translator. The former is the process of taking a text in one language and putting it into another. The latter is everything that comes with doing translation as a profession: building relationships with writers, researching book markets, selling to publishers, promoting books you've published, the list goes on. For a new literary translator like me, the message was clear: there’s a lot more to being a translator than you think.