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March 2009 Issue of Words Without Borders

Lots of interesting pieces in the new issue of Words Without Borders, which focuses on Greece this month.

I have to admit that I haven’t heard of many of these writers (although the pieces by Thanassis Valtinos, Margarita Karapanou, and Ioanna Karystiani look particularly interesting), I am familiar with both Karen Emmerich, who translated a number of these pieces for this issue. Karen’s a great translator (her translation of Amanda Michalopoulou’s I’d Like was on the 2009 Best Translated Book Fiction Longlist), and in addition to translating a few pieces for this issue, she also guest edited it and wrote an introductory essay — Modern Greek Literature, Inside (and) Out:

The handful of pieces included in this issue represent only a small sample of recent Greek prose dealing with emigration and immigration, and with the challenges they pose to national, cultural, and ethnic identity. The selection is also, by design, rather eclectic, in style and form, and in the particular ways in which these works engage the issues I have been outlining. I have brought together texts about Greeks living abroad and texts about foreigners living in Greece; the selection as a whole deals with migration on a number of socio-economic levels and in a variety of historical situations. Many of the pieces included already juxtapose the figures of the emigrant and the immigrant in an attempt to make sense of the experiences of the cultural “other” by way of analogy; by presenting these writings as a group, I hope to further enable that work of empathetic comparison.

And just to put this in context—according to our translation database, four Greek books came out in the U.S. last year (in addition to the Michalopoulou, Green Integer did a collection of poetry by Nikos Engonopoulos, Etruscan Press published Alexis Stamatis’s American Fugue, and Parmenides did Pythagorean Crimes by Tefcros Michaelides) and only two titles (poetry collections by C. P. Cavafy and Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke) are on the list for 2009 . . .



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