14 April 09 | Chad W. Post

The British equivalent to the PEN World Voices Festival, the Free the Word! festival kicks off on Thursday night with a discussion on the main stage of Shakespeare’s Globe featuring Nadine Gordimer, Tariq Ali, Samir El-youssef and Tahmima Anam.

Put on by International PEN, the festival runs through Sunday and features a number of great events with authors (and translators) from all over the world. (You can download a pdf version of the complete brochure by clicking here.)

Thanks to the fact that this takes place just before the London Book Fair (wouldn’t World Voices make a great public addition to BookExpo? Just saying, just saying . . .) I’ll be able to attend a few of these events and will do my best to blog about them. Here are some of the panels that caught my eye:

Telling Secret Lives on Friday, April 17th at 7:30pm

Azar Nafisi (author of Reading Lolita in Tehran) will participate, as will Lee Stringer, but I’m most interested to hear from Wen Huang, who translated Liao Yiwu’s The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up. He also translated Woman from Shanghai: Tales of Survival from a Chinese Labor Camp Yang Xianhui, a series of fictionalized interviews with female survivors of the Gansu “reeducation” camp.1

Hell on Earth on Saturday, April 18th at 6:00pm

Lydia Cacho, Christian Jungersen and Carolin Emcke will discuss their recent works, each of which is concerned with human rights and presents information that is hard to listen to and impossible to ignore.

International Futures on Saturday, April 18th at 7:45pm

From the Free the Word! website: A sold-out event last year, ‘International Futures’ is back to celebrate the eminent writers of tomorrow. Kamila Shamsie, the acclaimed author of numerous novels including her latest, Burnt Shadows, talks on the subject of heaven and earth with some of the brightest contemporary international voices whose work already heralds stellar international futures: Bertrand Besigye (Norway), Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe) and Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih (India).

Should be a fantastic festival, filled with interesting events (many of which aren’t listed here). And on a basic level, it’s great to see the PEN World Voices idea spreading to another part of the world, creating new opportunities for readers to hear about international literature.

1 While it’s on my mind, c’mon Random House, how hard is it to include Wen’s name in your online catalog and on the Amazon entries for these two books? Pretty shameful considering the fact that Wen is doing most of the publicity for these titles . . .

Comments are disabled for this article.
The Odyssey
The Odyssey by Homer
Reviewed by Peter Constantine

Now goddess, child of Zeus,
tell the old story for our modern times.

–(The Odyssey, Book I, line 10. Emily Wilson)

In literary translation of works from other eras, there are always two basic tasks that a translator needs. . .

Read More >

I Remember Nightfall
I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio
Reviewed by Talia Franks

I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio (trans. From the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas) is a bilingual poetry volume in four parts, consisting of the poems “The History of Violets,” “Magnolia,” “The War of the Orchards,” and “The Native. . .

Read More >

Joyce y las gallinas
Joyce y las gallinas by Anna Ballbona
Reviewed by Brendan Riley

This review was originally published as a report on the book at New Spanish Books, and has been reprinted here with permission of the reviewer. The book was originally published in the Catalan by Anagrama as Joyce i les. . .

Read More >

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season!

For those of you still looking for something to gift a friend or family member this winter season, or if you’re on the lookout for something to gift in the. . .

Read More >

The Size of the World
The Size of the World by Branko Anđić
Reviewed by Jaimie Lau

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders.

The first and last sentences of the first. . .

Read More >

Island of Point Nemo
Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Reviewed by Katherine Rucker

The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can only hope is what Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s psyche looks like, giant squids and all.

What. . .

Read More >

The Truce
The Truce by Mario Benedetti
Reviewed by Adrianne Aron

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), Uruguay’s most beloved writer, was a man who loved to bend the rules. He gave his haikus as many syllables as fit his mood, and wrote a play divided into sections instead of acts. In his country,. . .

Read More >

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World
I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung Ju
Reviewed by Jacob Rogers

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the. . .

Read More >

Kingdom Cons
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera
Reviewed by Sarah Booker

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally. . .

Read More >

The Invented Part
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >