World Literature Today

World Literature Today is a bimonthly literary journal owned and published by the University of Oklahoma. It has been published since 1927 and is headquartered in Norman, Okla.World Literature Today, which was founded by Roy Temple House under the title Books Abroad, attracts students, scholars and general readers of foreign books from around the world. The publication started with 32 pages in 1927 and grew to 256 pages by its 50th anniversary. In 1977, the name changed to World Literature Today and is now the second oldest literary journal of its kind in the United States.World Literature Today is the sponsor of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which is an award of $25,000 given every two years by an international jury of writers, critics and literary scholars. The publication is unique in its regular reviews of books from every part of the world, including those that are only iavailable in their native languages including Lithuanian, Esperanto, Maori, Basque, and Macedonian, before they are widely recognized. In 1975, World Literature Today published a special issue on the Greek poet, Odysseus Elytis, and four years later, in 1979, he won the Nobel Prize. The Swedish Academy cited the journal's special edition as a primary source for its decision for the prize. Two other famed writers who received the journal's Neustadt award and went on to win the Nobel include Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Czeslaw Milosz, a Polish poet. Daniel Simon is the Editor-in-Chief. The Managing Editor is Michelle Johnson.

Articles from Vol. 90, No. 1, January/February

2084: La Fin Du Monde
Boualem Sansal. 2084: La fin du monde. Paris. Gallimard. 2015. 275 pages.Boualem Sansal often writes about the power of religion in north Africa (see WLT, Sept. 2012, 16-19). In 2084, his seventh novel, which won the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie...
A Book Pervaded by Voices
TRANSLATOR'S NOTEIN AMONG THE BIERESCH, the young narrator, Hans, is sent to his father's ancestral village in the easternmost province of the "Empire" (a surreal postwar Austria). His uncle has died, and local tradition requires Hans to assume his place...
A God in Every Stone
Kamila Shamsie. A God in Every Stone. New York. Atavist Books. 2014. 336 pages.To put this book in any specific genre would be an injustice. A God in Every Stone is firstly a historical fiction, outlining lands long forgotten but legacies forever remembered....
An Exile from the Sea with the Desert in His Mouth
(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)Born in Chania, Crete, in 1938, Iossif Ventura is a prominent Greek-Jewish poet and translator, a member of the Hellenic Authors' Society, and the director of the electronic poetry magazine Poeticanet...
A Perfect Crime
Fiction A Yi. A Perfect Crime. Anna Holmwood, tr. London. Oneworld. 2015. 210 pages.Doused in blood and gushing with ethical conundrums, A Yi's A Perfect Crime is a disconcerting medley of misanthropy, escapism, and media monstrosities. Woven from tales...
Arab Literature Politics and Nothing But?
After a recent book reading in a European city, an American friend in attendance said to me afterward, "You know, it's too bad you had to field so many questions about politics in the Middle East and so few about your fiction." This event was not unusual....
A Second Reunion
GLOBAL FREQUENCYTHE SAROD IS AN INSTRUMENT used in North Indian classical music whose origin is shrouded in mystery and no small amount of controversy. What is not in dispute is Amjad Ali Khan's status as a living master of the instrument and Infinite...
A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write
Melissa Pritchard. A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write. New York. Bellevue Literary Press. 2015. 205 pages.In her new book, A Solemn Pleasure, Melissa Pritchard notes that "The ancient Latin root for pilgrim is per agrum, one who walks...
Atmospheric Embroidery
Verse Meena Alexander. Atmospheric Embroidery. Gurgaon, India. Hachette India. 2015. 70 pages.Meena Alexander is among the most visible of South Asian American poets writing in the US. She is prolific, having to her credit seven books of poetry, a memoir,...
Beirut Noir
Beirut Noir. Iman Humaydan, ed. Michelle Hartman, tr. New York. Akashic Books. 2015. 288 pages.In Beirut Noir, Iman Humaydan has selected a beautiful and often heartbreaking jigsaw portrait of its eponymous city. Like many of the volumes in Akashic's...
Biogenesis
Tatsuaki Ishiguro. Biogenesis. Brian Watson & James Balzer, tr. New York. Vertical. 2015. 240 pages.This first English translation of Tatsuaki Ishiguro's metafictions comprises four stories about the last specimens of exceedingly rare, geographically...
CITY PROFILE: Kolkata
KOLKATA HAS MUCH TO OFFER any traveler, whether history buff, literary aficionado, culture seeker, or wandering flâneur. In several places around the city, all these converge within the spaces of colonial buildings, festivals, and even the streets.Two...
Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings
Joy Harjo. Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. New York. W.W. Norton. 2015. 160 pages.This is not merely a book of poetry. These are instructions for the soul, a song to lead the reader home. With Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, the first lady...
Culture to Free Our Children: Looking Back at My Work over Five Decades
I feel greatly honored in that such a prestigious award, bestowed by a truly distinguished American institution, is an immense recognition of my role in Africa's contribution to children's literature.Unlike most other children in the small town in Ghana...
Curiosity
Alberto Manguel. Curiosity. New Haven, Connecticut. Yale University Press. 2015. 377 pages.In the opening pages of this ambitious memoir-in which its author tracks the career of his own curiosity through a lifetime of dedicated reading within a capacious...
Editor's Note
To celebrate World Literature Today's ninetieth year of continuous publication, I'm pleased to announce the 2016 Puterbaugh Essay Series, a yearlong suite of reviewessays that survey the twenty-first-century literary landscape. The editors have invited...
Falling in Love with Hominids
Nalo Hopkinson. Falling in Love with Hominids. San Francisco. Tachyon. 2015. 240 pages.In this collection of luminous stories, Nalo Hopkinson writes with an observant intensity that makes her quirky, fantastical worlds palpable. A woman watches an elephant...
Fiction: A Transgressive Art
Fiction: A Transgressive ArtA Bangladeshi writer traces his quest to dodge the external and internal censors and considers what fiction at its best can do: "sail past all censors to uncover the tender and transgressive core of what it is to be human."Limits...
Five Poems
ArchipelagoThe enigma is some other thing - no gods live hereJust men and the sea, immovable inheritance.UndeniableBy dowry I received you at birthand I recognize your speech in my voice.At your core, like the seed in the fruitthe verse in the poem,...
Fortepan: Versek
Zsuzsa Rakovszky. Fortepan: versek. Budapest. Magveto. 2015. 64 pages.It was nine years ago that Zsuzsa Rakovszky published her last book of poetry, Visszaút az idoben (Going back in time). Since then, proving her prowess as a writer of fiction, she...
Four Poems
Not Here Right NowAway from home at home. Shadowsunder a canopy of leaves.I sleep in the guest bed,water the neighbors' flowers.A couple of days, cleardown to their ground for being.To which continentdoes Patioland belong.The sheet on the line swells...
Grass Roots: Selected Poems
Xiang Yang. Grass Roots: Selected Poems. John Balcom, tr. Brookline, Massachusetts. Zephyr Press. 2014. 123 pages.The poems in Grass Roots speak almost exclusively of the present moment, which in Xiang Yang's case happens to be the point at which the...
Growing Culture as Essential Knowledge: The 2015 NSK Neustadt Prize Lecture
Speaking before a packed audience at the University of Oklahoma last October, Asare reflected on culture as our 'mandate to live life and express with freedom our being here in the world as human beings."In a world that turns and rolls along on lofty...
Kiwi Crime Writing: A Rich Tradition from a Distant Sea
New Zealand is, relatively speaking, a tiny country with a population half the size of New York City and in a location so remote, a commercial flight from Los Angeles takes over fifteen hours to get there. The closest big city, Sydney, is three hours...
Le Lieu et le Moment
Laurent Jenny. Le lieu et le moment. Lagrasse, France. Verdier. 2015. 125 pages.A professor of literary studies at the University of Geneva, Laurent Jenny is best known as a critic and theorist, with an impressive body of scholarly works to his credit,...
Like a New Sun: New Indigenous Mexican Poetry
Like a New Sun: New Indigenous Mexican Poetry. David Shook & Víctor Terán, ed. Los Angeles. Phoneme. 2015. 240 pages.While exiled in Madrid, the hypercosmopolitan poet Alfonso Reyes wrote Visión de Anáhuac, 1519 (1915), an exquisite narrative of...
Meshack Asare in the Pantheon of Ananse
Parkes read the following tribute at the banquet honoring Meshack Asare as the 2015 NSK Prize winner.Meshack Asare, winner of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature and Ghana's leading children's author, has published several books, and yet...
Nota Bene
Nota BenePedro Carmona-AlvarezThe Weather Changed, Summer Came and So OnDiane Oatley, tr.Seagull BooksThis tragic novel follows the traumas and joys of a family torn apart by the death of two daughters, as seen through the eyes of the third daughter,...
Octavio Paz En Su Siglo
Christopher Domínguez Michael. Octavio Paz en su siglo. Mexico City. Aguilar. 2014. 651 pages.This magisterial biography-already published in an abridged French version with an English one forthcoming-is the painstaking work of an eminent critic of Mexican...
One out of Two
Daniel Sada. One Out of Two. Katherine Silver, tr. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Graywolf. 2015. 88 pages.One Out of Two, by Daniel Sada, describes the lives of the Gamal twins, Constitución and Gloria. They live together, work together in their sewing business,...
One Thousand Things Worth Knowing
Paul Muldoon. One Thousand Things Worth Knowing. New York. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 2015. 117 pages.The first challenging thing a reader encounters in this new collection by Paul Muldoon is the title itself. How literally can we expect the title...
Signs Preceding the End of the World
Yuri Herrera. Signs Preceding the End of the World. Lisa Dillman, tr. London / New York. And Other Stories. 2015. 114 pages.Makina is in charge of a small Mexican town's telephone. A reliable messenger, she knows how to keep a secret and when to keep...
Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology
Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology. Ann Vandermeer & Jeff Vandermeer, ed. Oakland, California. PM Press. (IPG, distr.). 2015. 341 pages.This collection brings together stories from the 1970s onward from new and established...
Smugglers
Ales Debeljak. Smugglers. Brian Henry, tr. Rochester, New York. BOA Editions. 2015. 108 pages.Slovenian poet Ales Debeljak's new bilingual volume, Smugglers, contains five cycles and four nonrhymed quatrains. Each of the individual poems pulses with...
The Big Green Tent
Ludmila Ulitskaya. The Big Green Tent. Polly Gannon, tr. New York. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 2015. 592 pages.Ludmila Ulitskaya's new novel offers an almost ethnographic portrait of Russia's 1960s generation, who came of age during Khrushchev's Thaw....
The Body Where I Was Born
Guadalupe Nettel. The Body Where I Was Born. J. T. Lichtenstein, tr. New York. Seven Stories Press. 2015. 208 pages."We perpetuate unto the newest generation the neuroses of our forbearers, wounds we keep inflicting on ourselves like a second layer of...
The Catacombs
Suddenly, in the middle of life's cozy stagnation, a letter from her sister arrived and she leftoffvacuuming the entryway floor. Her sister was a successful international surgeon. As she read the letter she at first felt a sting of envy so sharp that...
The Color of Smoke
Menyhért Lakatos. The Color of Smoke. Ann Major, tr. Williamstown, Massachusetts. New Europe Books. 2015. 480 pages.Menyhért Lakatos is acclaimed as Hungary's foremost Romani author, and his novel Füstos képek, translated by Ann Major as The Color of...
The Game for Real
Richard Weiner. The Game for Real. Benjamin Paloff, tr. San Francisco. Two Lines Press. 2015. 286 pages.Is there some inherent quality within the Czech lands that favors an inclination toward the absurd in their literature? Fans and adherents of Czech...
The Meltdown
Some years ago a diabolical fire, triggered by lightning, ravaged Donmark cathedral. It was a terrible tragedy, though fortunately no lives were lost and no one was injured. Most of the cathedral, however, was burned beyond repair. The Donmark city council,...
The Physics of Sorrow
Georgi Gospodinov. The Physics of Sorrow. Angela Rodel, tr. Rochester, New York. Open Letter. 2015. 283 pages.Georgi Gospodinov is a Bulgarian writer, poet, and playwright. He was born in 1968 in Yambol, in southeastern Bulgaria, and spent most of his...
The Port Eliot Festival
DEEP IN THE CORNISH COUNTRYSIDE, in the tiny village of St Germans, sits the house and estate of Port Eliot. A plot of land Napoleon himself claimed to be the most beautiful place in England, it is home of the Earl and Countess of St Germans, believed...
The Prophets of Eternal Fjord
Kim Leine. The Prophets of Eternal Fjord. Martin Aitken, tr. New York. Liveright (W.W. Norton, distr.). 2015. 562 pages.Kim Leine struck literary gold with his fourth novel, The Prophets of Eternal Fjord. It is a big book and a great one too: disturbing,...
The Story of My Teeth
Valeria Luiselli. The Story of My Teeth. Christina MacSweeney, tr. Minneapolis. Coffee House Press. 2015. 195 pages.The Story of My Teeth is the third book of Mexican-born Valeria Luiselli, who lives in New York City. Except for the last chapter, the...
The Tsar of Love and Techno
Anthony Marra. The Tsar of Love and Techno. New York. Hogarth. 2015. 332 pages.After the signal achievement of Anthony Marra's first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (2013), one returns with pleasure to Chechnya and Russia for more memorable...
The Wake
Paul Kingsnorth. The Wake. Minneapolis. Graywolf Press. 2015. 365 pages.The Wake is the story of a man caught in the grips of two forces, historical and psychological. The force of history, the Norman Conquest (1066), destroys the home and family of...
The Young Literary Scene in Kosovo
A Conversation with Ragip LutaKosovo is a young and vibrant country striving to prevail in a harsh new Balkan reality. Ragip Luta is the director of Kosovo's Festival of Literature in Orllan. The festival is held annually in July by Lake Batlava, bringing...
Tiger
Ashley Mayne. Tiger. New York. Dr. Cicero Books (SPD Books, distr.). 2015. 400 pages.Ashley Mayne's second novel, Tiger, is a wonderfully empathetic look into the hearts and minds of profoundly damaged people.The novel plunges us deeply into the lives...
Tram 83
Fiston Mwanza MujilaRoland Glasser, tr.Deep VellumTram 83 (2015) is a lively, frenetic novel filled with a motley cast of characters lustful for pleasure, prosperity, and power. It's based in an imagined African mining city with a roiling, seedy underbelly...
Two Poems
Sand WomanA woman was lifted from the sand.She was perfectly intact, not even a split hair.When he left they say she didn't eat or sleep.She didn't diealthough she kept her eyes shutkept her breath held.People came and took her.They stripped her and...
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Salman Rushdie. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. New York. Random House. 2015. 210 pages.In his captivating new novel, the title of which adds up to the magical storytelling formula of 1,001 nights, Salman Rushdie tells a story in which...
Under Brushstrokes
Hedy Habra. Under Brushstrokes. Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Press 53. 2015. 91 pages.It is easy to like Hedy Habra's poetry. She has proven herself a versatile poet and has a distinguished body of poetry to her credit. After Habra, a painter herself,...
Untrustworthy Narrators
untrustworthy narrators twist and turn throughout literature. There are myriad reasons for their lack of reliability. Some are inherently withholding, while others carry on with their lives as we follow them blindly on their wobbly journeys. And it is...
Vise and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture
Miscellaneous Peter Balakian. Vise and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 2015. 279 pages.Highly acclaimed, best-selling author Peter Balakian is the preeminent Armenian writer in...
Why Live? A Question for 21st Century Theatre
Eight performers wearing cheap red cloaks and yellow card-board crowns sit in a row of eight wooden chairs along the edge of the stage. Plainly visible below their cloaks are the performers' everyday street clothes. Footlights illuminate their faces,...
World Literature Today at Ninety: The Cause and the Passion
In 1927 World Literature Today began as what people then called a "little magazine," a noncommercial literary publication-in this case, without staff or funding. A German professor at the University of Oklahoma, Roy Temple House kept this publication...
Writing Yourself into the World
A Conversation with Valeria LuiselliIt may have been fate that one of Mexico's most magnificent recent literary exports led me to another one. Finding Sergio Pitol, whose first English translation, The Art of Flight, was released by Deep Vellum in 2015,...
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.