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Abdellatif Laâbi Finalist for Best Translated Book Award 2017

The Best Translated Book Awards have announced their finalists for fiction and poetry, and Donald Nicholson-Smith’s translation of Abdellatif Laâbi’s In Praise of Defeat: Selected Poems has been shortlisted! The BTBA, founded by Three Percent, aim to bring attention to the best original works of international fiction and published in the U.S. during the previous year. For each award, a $5,000 dollar prize is given to the books author(s) and translator(s). The finalists were chosen by a panel of five judges.


The winners will be announced on Thursday, May 4th at 7 p.m., simultaneously on The Millions and at a live event at The Folly (92 W. Houston Street, New York City). The event is free and open to the public.


Read more about the finalists here.

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Words Without Borders to Honor Jill Schoolman with Ottaway Award



New York City, New York, March 14, 2017—Jill Schoolman, founder and publisher of Archipelago Books, will be the recipient of the 2017 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature, Words Without Borders announced today.

Throughout her career as an editor and publisher, Schoolman has been a leading voice for the promotion of international literature. In 2003, she founded Archipelago Books with the mission to publish essential foreign-language texts in outstanding English translations. The list of international writers she has published includes such luminaries as Karl Ove Knausgaard, Elias Khoury, Scholastique Mukasonga, Miljenko Jergovic, Julio Cortázar, Antonio Tabucchi, Magdalena Tulli, and Wiesław Myśliwski.

“As physical and political borders close in around us, Jill Schoolman’s Archipelago Books offers a safe harbor to literary talent from around the world, infusing our bookshelves with vital and original work in translation,” said Words Without Borders Board Chair Samantha Schnee. “We are thrilled to celebrate her heroic efforts with this year’s Ottaway Award.”

The Ottaway Award will be presented to Ms. Schoolman at the annual Words Without Borders gala on November 1, 2017, in New York City.

Named in honor of the first chair of Words Without Borders, James H. Ottaway, Jr., the annual award recognizes an individual whose work and activism have supported WWB’s mission of promoting cultural understanding through the publication and promotion of international literature. Past awardees include the renowned editor Drenka Willen, the late editor and translator Carol Brown Janeway, and accomplished publishers Sara Bershtel and Barbara Epler.

The 2017 Words Without Borders gala will be held at Tribeca Three Sixty in New York City on November 1, 2017. For more information about the event or to sponsor a table, please contact

Words Without Borders
Founded in 2003, Words Without Borders is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering global understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of the finest contemporary international literature. To date WWB has published over 2,200 pieces of literature by writers from 132 countries, translated from 112 languages. Our publications and programs open doors for readers of English around the world to the multiplicity of viewpoints, richness of experience, and literary perspective on world events offered by writers in other languages. We seek to connect international literary writers to the general public, to students and educators, and to print and other media and to serve as a primary online location for a global literary conversation.

For additional information, please contact:
Contact: Savannah Whiting, Communications Coordinator
Organization Name: Words Without Borders
Telephone Number: (603) 630-7533
Email Address:
Website Address:
Twitter: @wwborders

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Breyten Breytenbach Awarded the 2017 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award

Breyte Breytenbach, a South African poet, writer and artist who opposed apartheid and was a political prisoner for many years, has been awarded the 2017 Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award. The Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award is a global literary honor, largely in the field of poetry, granted annually for outstanding artistic and intellectual achievements linked to the ideas that prevailed throughout the output of Polish writer, poet and moralist Zbigniew Herbert.

The judges, a panel consisting of international poets, writers and essayists, stressed that Breytenbach’s oeuvre recalls Herbert’s words: “Let the anger of the powerless be like the sea / whenever you hear the voice of the humiliated and beaten.”

Breytenbach accepted the award, saying, “I am profoundly humbled by this recognition and accept it with the knowledge that it carries the name of a brave and wise poet and essayist. I hope I can live up to the example he gave us, particularly in this very dark season of anger and disarray. I am proud to be among those who believe that there is, in each of us, a part of humanity and a strive for values worth fighting for – in the example of and inspired by Herbert.”

To read more about the Zbigniew Herbert International Award and Breyten Breytenbach, click here.


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Read the First Chapter of Dance on the Volcano

You can read the first chapter of Dance on the Volcano by Marie Vieux-Chauvet and translated from the French by Kaiama L. Glover thanks to our friends at The Culture Trip. You can read the whole chapter here.


“On that June day, all of Port-au-Prince was at the harbor, joyously anticipating the arrival of the new Governor.

For the past two hours, armed soldiers had been keeping order among an immense crowd of men, women, and children of all sorts. The mulatto and Negro women were gathered a certain distance away, as was the custom; they had pulled out all the stops to rival the elegance of the white Creole and European ladies…”

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Elias Khoury in Contention for 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) has revealed the long list of 16 novels in contention for the 2017 prize, including among others Elias Khoury with his new novel The Children of the Ghetto. My Name is Adam. The novels selected were chosen from 186 entries from 19 countries, all published within the last 12 months. Each of the six shortlisted finalists receives U$ 10,000, with a further U$ 50,000 going to the winner. The longlist was chosen by a panel of five judges chaired by Palestinian novelist Sahar Khalifa.

Link below:


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Read “Instead Of Trump’s Wall, Let’s Build A Border Of Solar Panels” by Homero Aridjis and James Ramey

Homero Aridjis, poet, environmentalist and author of The Child Poet, proposes a border of solar panels between the U.S. and Mexican border as a symbol of unity in the battle against climate change and against Donald Trump’s xenophobic initiatives.

” President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly called for Mexico to build a wall between our countries. There is indeed a way that Mexico could create a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, one constructed exclusively on the Mexican side, with substantial benefits for both countries and the planet: a solar border.”

You can read the full article on Huffington Post here.

Co-authored with James Ramey.

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Cockroaches and The Child Poet Named Best of 2016 by The Irish Times







Both Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from the French by Jordan Stump, and The Child Poet by Homero Aridjis and translated from the Spanish by Chloe Aridjis, have been named to a Best of 2016 list by The Irish Times.

Literary correspondent Eileen Battersby writes about Cockroaches that it’s “[b]eautifully written in graceful, lilting prose” but is also “harrowing reading, made all the more shocking by the way life later went on, as if the genocide had never happened. Mukasonga’s life remains dominated by her ghosts.”

Of The Child Poet, she writes that it is a “[g]lorious memoir explaining how a childhood accident created a major Mexican writer.”


You can read the rest of the list here.

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Angel of Oblivion, Absolute Solitude, and In Praise of Defeat Longlisted for 2017 PEN Translation Awards

Three of our titles have been longlisted for the 2017 PEN Translation Award for two different categories.  Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap and translated from the German by Tess Lewis is longlisted for the PEN Translation Award for a book length work of translated prose.  Absolute Solitude by  and translated from the Spanish by James O’Connor, as well as In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi and translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith, are both nominated for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

You can take a look at the full list here.

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Read a Conversation Between Two Translators: Chloe Garcia Roberts and Chloe Aridjis

Chloe Garcia Roberts, the translator of our forthcoming Feather, a children’s book by Cao Wenxuan, interviews Chloe Aridjis, the translator of The Child Poet by Homero Aridjis for the column, The Critical Flame Conversations.  


“I sometimes wonder how different the result would have been had I finished the translation when I first started it in 1993, rather than over twenty years later, once I’d written two novels of my own. I tried to remain as unintrusive as possible and not succumb to certain writerly instincts that have inevitably developed since then. Spanish is the language of my own childhood and especially adolescence; English is more associated with my adult life (my studies were in the US and UK, I live in England, write in English), so there was a kind of translation taking place at other levels too, and I had to reach into my own past and reinhabit a world that existed purely in Spanish—and of course the vanished world of my father’s childhood, since Mexican villages have undergone all sorts of transformations too. Donkeys have been replaced by cars, every home has a television, every family has someone who’s gone off to seek fortune in Mexico City or the US.”


You can read the full interview here.