The Ukrainian cities of Odesa and Kharkiv take the spotlight in World Literature Today’s latest city issue, in which poets, novelists, playwrights, artists, journalists, editors, photographers, translators, and culture workers offer glimpses into their daily lives since the Russian invasion of February 2022. Other highlights include essays and fiction from Austria, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Nigeria, South Africa, and the US; poetry from Peru, Portugal, and the US; lively interviews with Ben Okri and Maša Kolanović; recommended reading lists; as well as reviews of new books by Isabel Allende, Elena Ferrante, Mohsin Hamid, and dozens more. With the latest issue, WLT remains an indispensable guide to the best in international literature
Muses — a special section showcasing writers, artists, and their inspirations, with cover art by Holly Wilson — headlines the May/June 2022 issue of World Literature Today, the 400th issue in the magazine’s 95-year history. Rembrandt, Picasso, Kandinsky, Andrew Wyeth, and David Hockney are among the legends whose visual art inspires the featured writers. Other highlights include poetry, essays, creative nonfiction, and fiction from Canada, England, France, Israel, and Russia, as well as a previously unpublished letter by Boris Pasternak. The book review section also features a wealth of new titles from around the world, including new work by Victoria Chang, Louise Glück, and Alain Mabanckou.
The March 2022 issue of World Literature Today foregrounds New African Voices in a cover feature guest-edited and introduced by Mahtem Shiferraw; poetry, fiction, and essays from Australia, Denmark, Greece, and Mexico; reviews of 30 outstanding new books from all over the world; recommended reading; and much more.
Muscogee writer Cynthia Leitich Smith headlines the January 2022 issue with a reflective essay on “Decolonizing Neverland” in YA lit. Also inside, Fowzia Karimi finds a “small flame” of hope in Afghanistan, while other essays survey Vanuatu women writers, China’s minority fiction, and the new Van Gogh exhibition at the Dalí Museum. Additional highlights include interviews with African writers Masiyaleti Mbewe and Henrietta Rose-Innes, fiction from Iran and Japan, and poetry from Colombia, Ivory Coast, and Siberia. As always, more than twenty book reviews.
More info at World Literature Today website.
In the Autumn 2021 issue of World Literature Today, Sarah Moore interviews Noémi Lefebvre. The two corresponded in May 2021 shortly after Poètique de l’emploi had been published in English and Parle had been released in France. The interview immediately had me interested with as they discuss the English translation of Poètique de l’emploi‘s title:
Sarah Moore: Your most recent work to be translated into English, Poètique de l’emploi, considers the question of employment. The English translation of emploi, which variously means “employment,” “use,” and “labor,” into “work” already shows the tension that you explore between how we earn a living and how we spend our time. How do you feel these different aspects relate to each other? Why were you interested in the subject?
Noémi Lefebvre: First, it’s a subject that affects me. I don’t understand the link between work and salary or why, when I work, I’m not earning much of a living. For example, when I write, I don’t earn much money, but that’s my real job. There isn’t a clear connection between the money we earn and the work we do. Also, work is a social condition that we’re all supposed to accept but one that often significantly restricts freedom. That’s what I wanted to consider. When a baby is born we don’t think, “Oh, super, it’s going to have a wonderful job,” unless, of course, you’re very narrow-minded. We think first about life and freedom, not in terms of paid work. I wanted to explore what remained childlike in me and what retains the desire to always be free in life, while work is often restrictive or creates living conditions that are just impossible—not for everyone but, still, often.
Check out the rest of the interview at WLT‘s website.
Translation takes the spotlight in WLT’s autumn issue, which—for the first time in its ninety-five-year history—is entirely devoted to the craft that makes world literature possible: every poem, story, essay, interview, and Notebook/Outpost contribution has been translated into English, and the entirety of the book review section is likewise dedicated to translated books. Check out what else you can find in this issue at the World Literature Today website.
The expanded Summer 2021 issue of World Literature Today foregrounds Palestine Voices in a cover feature showcasing 30 of the most prominent poets and writers from the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the diaspora, guest-edited by Yousef Khanfar + poetry & fiction from Hong Kong, Hungary, and South Korea.
World Literature Today’s spring issue, “Redreaming Dreamland,” gathers the work of 21 writers and artists reflecting on the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, including Patricia Smith, Joy Harjo, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Tracy K. Smith. Additional highlights in the issue include a special section on Chinese migrant workers’ literature; an essay on how Giannina Braschi’s work keeps “popping up” in pop culture; fiction from Belarus and Iraq; plus reviews of new books by Najwan Darwish, Cixin Liu, Olga Tokarczuk, and dozens more.
San Juan, Puerto Rico, takes the spotlight in World Literature Today’s annual city issue with a powerful selection of poetry, stories, and essays by 17 writers. Other highlights in the autumn issue include Fabienne Kanor’s essay on uprooting the fetishes of white supremacy; interviews with Natalie Diaz and Margaret Jull Costa; a stunning poem by Achy Obejas on “the universe at absolute zero”; fiction by Vi Khi Nao and Lidija Dimkovska; and much more. Reviews of new books by Elena Ferrante, Mia Couto, Kapka Kassabova, and dozens more make WLT your go-to guide for the best in international literature
Magazine Review by Katy Haas
A big fan of graphic novels (and nonfiction and poetry), I’m always thrilled when a literary magazine releases an issue featuring graphic work. World Literature Today’s Spring 2020 issue features a selection of graphic nonfiction by seven artists.
Each piece brings something different to the table. The art styles are all vastly different and each focuses on something unique: politics, history, art, ego, love.
My favorite of these is “Shadow Portrait” by Rachel Ang. Ang’s art is calming and enjoyable to look at, muted tones splayed across the page. She writes of love and ego, the ways in which we see ourselves in art, in stories, in the people we love.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is an excerpt from Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Notorious Prison by Sarah Mirk, illustrated by Omar Khouri. Unlike Ang’s calming tones, this excerpt uses bold lines and an orange color scheme which ramps up the feeling of anxiety the story produces. I’m a little disappointed at the length of the excerpt—the four pages we’re given leave on a cliffhanger that left me wanting more, though I suppose that just highlights the writer’s and artist’s skill.
This selection of graphic nonfiction has a little bit of something for everyone, and each artist/writer utilizes their craft impressively. This issue of World Literature Today is a real treat to read.