WALTIC proudly presents
Mr Mia Couto and Mrs Nawal El-Saadawi.
Photo: Ulla Montan Photo: Cato Lein
Keynote Speakers listed here.
Invited Speakers listed below.
Chairpersons listed here.
Ann Louise Bardach
Ho Anh Thai
Jonas Hassen Khemiri
Rodrigo Rey Rosa
Alfian Bin Sa’at
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Wu Ming I
Türker Armaner (born in 1968 in Istanbul) is the author of three collections of stories: Kýyýsýz (“Shoreless”, 1997), Taþ Hücre (“Stone Cell”, 2000), Dalgakýran (“Breakwater”, 2003), and a novel: Tahta Saplý Býçak (“Wooden-Handled Knife”, 2007).
Apart from literary works he has translated Vita Brevis from Norwegian (Jostein Gaarder), Begrebet Angest from Danish (Søren Kierkegaard), and co-translated Other Inquisitions (J.L. Borges) and The Ideology of the Aesthetic (Terry Eagleton) from English.
Armaner has studied philosophy at various universities and was awarded his Ph.D. from Saint-Denis University (Paris 8), France (Le concept de l’état politique chez Fichte, Ph.D. dissertation, ANRT, 2004). Since 1996 he has taught philosophy at universities in Istanbul. Currently he is associate professor at the Philosophy Department of Galatasaray University, Istanbul.
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Arslan Photo: Fumagalli
Antonia Arslan (born in Padova in 1938) has a degree in archaeology and was professor of modern and contemporary Italian literature at the University of Padua. She is the author of pioneering studies on genre and serial fiction (Dame, droga e galline: Il romanzo popolare italiano fra Ottocento e Novecento [Ladies, drugs and birds: Italian genre fiction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries], Unicopli 1986) and on the "submerged galaxy" of Italian women writers (Dame, galline e regine: La scrittura femminile italiana fra '800 e '900 [Ladies, birds and queens: Italian women's writing in the 19th and 20th centuries], Guerini 1998).
Through the work of the great poet Daniel Varujan--whose collections Il Canto del Pane (Guerini 1992) and Mari di grano (Edizioni Paoline 1995) she translated (with Chiara Haiganush Megighian and Alfred Hemmat Siraky)--she rediscovered her deep and unspoken Armenian identity. She edited an informative booklet about the genocide (Metz Yeghèrn: Il genocidio degli Armeni [Metz Yeghern: the Armenian genocide], by Claude Mutafian) and a collection of eyewitness accounts by survivors who took refuge in Italy (Hushèr: Voci italiane di sopravvissuti armeni [Hushèr: the Italian voices of Armenian survivors]), both published by Guerini. Antonia lives in Padua, Italy.
La Masseria delle Allodole (Skylark Farm), her first novel, was very successful in Italy and has now been translated into 14 languages, including Swedish and Japanese. The Taviani Brothers directed the film in 2007.
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Youssef (Yusuf) Azemoun, a Turkmen, was born in 1939 in Iran. He has studied in Iran, America and Turkey. He is a Turkologist specialising in Turkic languages and literature. He worked as a lexicologist for a Turkish encyclopedia in the 1960s and taught Persian Language and Literature at Ankara University (1974-1981). He worked as a linguist for the BBC as a linguist translating from Turkish, Turkmen, Uzbek, Azeri, Tajik and Crimean Tatar into English (1981-1995). Since 2000 he has been teaching a variety of subjects ranging from such subjects as Turkish and Ottoman languages (Phonetics, Morphology and Semantics) and Turkish Classical Literature to Turkic Languages and history of Turkish Language. He has also run a course on Turkmen language and culture at Oxford.
Youssef Azemoun has published books and articles on Turkmen language and literature and especially on Makhtumkuli, the 18th century Turkmen classical poet. He was awarded the Makhtumkuli State Prize for Literature, the highest literary prize in Turkmenistan (1991). He founded the Society of Friends of Makhtumkuli in 1995 in England to promote Turkmen and Central Asian culture in Britain and Europe. The Society has since published the Journal of Makhtumkuli Studies and a translation of selected poems of Makhtumkuli into English entitled Songs from the Steppes of Central Asia with translation, introduction and explanatory notes by Youssef Azemoun and versification by Brian Aldiss. The Society continues its work. Youssef Azemoun has recently been working on the linguistic aspects of the Turkmen carpets and semantic relations between Turkish language and Persian.
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Barber Photo: Private
Karin Barber (born in 1949) is Professor of African Cultural Anthropology at the Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham, England. Her research has focused on the verbal culture of the Yoruba people of western Nigeria, where she lived and worked for eleven years before moving to Birmingham. She has written on oral praise poetry in its social context (I could speak until tomorrow: oriki, women, and the past in a Yoruba town, 1991), on Yoruba written genres such as novels and poetry, and on African popular culture across the continent (Readings in African Popular Culture, 1997). She also travelled and performed for several years with a popular Yoruba itinerant theatre company, giving rise to a detailed study of the ways in which the performers generated elaborate theatrical texts from their everyday experience (The generation of plays: Yoruba popular life in theatre, 2000). With Africanist colleagues, she engaged in a collaborative project on the significance of writing and reading among non-elite people in colonial Africa. This project focused on the letters, diaries, memoirs and other writings of obscure village schoolteachers, clerks, catechists, herbalists, and others, and on the value they placed on reading as means of self-betterment (Africa’s hidden histories: everyday literacy and making the self, 2006). Most recently, she has undertaken a general comparative study of the anthropology of texts, both oral and written (The anthropology of texts, persons and publics: oral and written culture in Africa and beyond, 2007).
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Ann Louise Bardach
Ann Louise Bardach is the author of the highly acclaimed Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana and the forthcoming Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Washington, Miami and Havana to be published by Scribner at the end of 2008. She is also the editor of The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro/Cartas del Presidio (2007) as well as Cuba: A Travelers Literary Companion. Her work has been anthologized in KILLED: Journalism Too Hot To Print and Mexico in Mind (Vintage). She was a Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair for ten years and has written for The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, Today, Dateline, CNN, The O’Reilly Factor, Charlie Rose, National Public Radio and PRI's Marketplace. She has written the Global Buzz column for Newsweek International and the Interrogation column for Slate. She is CBS News' special correspondent on Fidel Castro.
She has won the PEN USA Award for Journalism in 1995 for her reporting on Mexican politics, and was a finalist in 1994 for her coverage of women in Islamic countries. Her book Cuba Confidential was a finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism and the PEN USA Award for Best Nonfiction, and named one of Ten Best Books of 2002 by the Los Angeles Times. She was a finalist for the 2005 PEN USA award for Journalism for her ground breaking story on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ties with the tabloids,- published in Los Angeles magazine. She started the International Journalism class at University of California at -Santa Barbara's Global Studies Department and is on the board of PEN USA and UCSB's Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television and New Media.
Abdelkader Benali (born in 1975 in Ighazzazen, Morocco) has lived in the Netherlands since 1979. He studied history in Leiden and now lives in Amsterdam. Apart from his novels Wedding by the Sea (Bruiloft aan zee), Feldman and I (Feldman en ik) and The Long-Awaited (De langverwachte), Benali has also written the very successful theatre plays The Unlucky One (De ongelukkige) and Yasser (Yasser), and the short story collection Reports From Maanzaad Town (Berichten uit Maanzaad Stad).
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Bernstein Photo: Jill Kramer
“The active networks of writers exchanging works through an engagement with translation is the most important counterweight to nations, states,and transnational corporations. The Internet makes possible an unprecedented scale, depth, and quality of exchange; but these possibilities will only be realized through complex organization and editorial imagination. In this brave new world, literacy is necessary but not sufficient. We have also to consider the role of activist literary writing and translation in our post-literate world, where readers and writers need both cultural and technological literacy to be fully enfranchised in the global and local polis. These are some of the themes I expect to see addressed at WALTIC 2008.”
(born in 1950) is a forefront figure in American poetry. In addition to several influential collections of poetry and essays – e g The L=A=N= G=U= A=G=E Book (1984), My Way. Speeches and poems (1999) and Girly Man (2006) - he is also one of the engines driving the Electronic Poetry Centre (EPC) and one of the originators of PENNsound, two Internet-based networks that have contributed greatly to his renown as one of the prominent figures in digital literature.
In 2002 Bernstein was appointed SUNY Distinguished Professor, and he is currently Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Beyala Photo: Frédéric REGLAIN / GAMMA / Albin Michel, Droits cédés 1 an à partir 01/04/2007
Calixthe Beyala (born in Douala in 1961) was the sixth of twelve children. She spent her childhood with one of her sisters, four years older than herself. She left Cameroon for France at age 17, where she got married and passed her school-leaving certificate. Beyala’s literary career began in 1987 with the publication of C’est le soleil qui m’a brûlée (translated The Sun Hath Looked Upon Me), followed by Tu t’appelleras Tanga (translated Your Name Shall be Tanga) a year later.
Calixthe Beyala is one of the most controversial figures on the contemporary African literary scene, and she is also one of the most prolific Francophone writers of African origin. Starting with her debut novels Beyala addresses a number of taboo subjects, such as domestic violence against women, prostitution and female circumcision. She has published twelve novels and two essays at major French publishing houses and has been awarded several prizes, such as the prestigious Grand prix du roman de l’Académie française (1996).
Beyala is also engaged in a number of causes: the collectif Égalité, the fight against AIDS, the promotion of “La francophonie”, the house of the African peoples. She is a member of the sponsoring committee of the French coordination of the Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
Giannina Braschi, Puerto Rico’s premier poet, essayist, and novelist, defies definition and dogma with a rare blend of radical politics, humorous gusto, and sheer erotic energy. Written in the code-switching half-Spanish, half English that is the daily language of millions of Latinos in the United States, Braschi's melange of prose and poetry forms a hybrid linguistically and structurally. She is best known for the cutting-edge poetry collection Empire of Dreams
(Yale University Press) and the experimental, bilingual novel Yo-Yo Boing!
which has been hailed a tour de force and a linguistic revolution.
Based in New York City, Giannina Braschi won the PEN American Center’s Open Book Award and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation, Danforth Scholarship, New York Foundation for the Arts, El Diario/La Prensa, Reed Foundation, and Instituto de Cultura Puertoriquena. The English translation of her collected poetry won the Columbia University Translation Centre Award and inaugurated the Yale Library of Literature in Translation. Her work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in literary journals such as Agni, BOMB Magazine, The Evergreen Review, and The Best of Review.
Brookshaw Photo: Private
David Brookshaw (born in 1946, London), is Professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies at Bristol University, UK, with a specialist interest in postcolonial literatures in Portuguese, comparative literature, literature and migration, and literary translation. He has written widely on Brazilian and Afro-Portuguese literatures, and more recently on depictions of China in modern Portuguese literature. His translations include the following titles from Mia Couto: Voices Made Night (Vozes Anoitecidas) (1990), Every Man is a Race (Cada Homem é Uma Raça) (1994), Under the Frangipani (A Varanda do Frangipani) (2001), The Last Flight of the Flamingo (O Ultimo voo do Flamingo) (2004), Sleepwalking Land (Terra Sonâmbula) (2006), and River of Time (Um Rio Chamado Tempo).
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Cãrtãrescu Photo: Cato Lein
Mircea Cãrtãrescu (born in Bucharest in 1956) graduated from the University of Bucharest Faculty of Romanian Language and Literature in 1980. Between 1980 and 1989 he worked as a Romanian language teacher, then as a civil servant at the Writers' Union and as an editor at the Caiete Critice magazine. Since 1991 he has been an assistant teacher at the Chair of Romanian Literary History, part of the University of Bucharest Faculty of Letters. Between 1994-1995 he was a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam.
The first time his novel Nostalgia was published in his native country (1989) it was severely censored, and not until after the fall of the dictatorship was the full version published. At the moment he is working on a monumental trilogy, Orbitór, of which part 1 and 2 have already been published. Mircea Cãrtãrescu is considered to be one of Romania’s leading novelists and poets.
Mauro Covacich (born in Trieste in 1965) lives and works in Rome. Covacich is an author of highly eclectic publications. He made his literary debut in 1993 with the novel-enquiry Storie di pazzi e di normali. He writes regularly for several newspapers and magazines (Corriere della Sera, L’Espresso), mainly travel literature, reports and news. His short stories have been included in the most recent anthologies of Italian literature. He has produced a few radio documentaries and the radio play Safari for RAI (2001). In 1999, the University of Vienna awarded him the Abraham Woursell Prize.
Mauro Covacich has written several novels. The last three ones, published by Einaudi, are a kind of trilogy about the suffering of living, loving and running across the cultural differences in modern society. A perdifiato ("At breakneck speed", 2003) is a novel where everybody runs, but it is not a sports novel…. Here running is rather an escape. Fiona (2005). When the world crashes in into my living room / Television man made me what I am / People like to put the television down / But we are just good friends / I'm a television man. These verses from the musical group Talking Heads introduce Mauro Covacich's Fiona. These few lines are appropriate in describing the life of Sandro, the narrator and major character of the novel. Sandro appears to have a complex personality. Prima di sparire ("Before disappearing", 2008) is the traumatic end of this trilogy: the histories of the main characters in the previous novels are melting together with the author’s live, arising a very troubled and bold performance.
Photo: Alice Tavaya
Tsitsi Dangarembga (born in Mutoko in 1959) spent parts of her childhood in Britain. Before turning to writing, she studied medicine at Cambridge and psychology at the University of Harare. She returned to her homeland of Rhodesia in1980, just before it became Zimbabwe under black-majority rule. At age twenty-five Dangarembga achieved great success with the publication of the novel Nervous Conditions
: a partially autobiographical story of Tambu, a young girl who lives on an impoverished Rhodesian farm during the late 1960's. Tambu has great aspirations for her personal education despite the obstacles that stand in her way: race, class and sex. The topics of education and its relation to gender are important facets of this novel. The novel also follows the story of Tambu's cousin who suffers from anorexia, an illness not usually associated with African countries. This disease is used in the novel as a form of control for Tambu's cousin who is torn between two cultures, Rhodesia and Britain. The story also discusses the many facets of poverty and how it affects people. Poverty affects each character in the novel creating in each of them a type of nervous condition.
Nervous Condition was the first novel to be published in English by a black Zimbabwean woman. In 1989 it won the African section of the Commonwealth Writers´ Prize for Fiction. As Doris Lessing predicted, Nervous Conditions went on to be read by millions, translated into thirteen languages and acclaimed as one of the top twelve titles of Africa´s ”100 Best Books of the 20th Century”. In 2006 the sequel The Book of Not was published.
Having studied at the German Film and Television Academy, Dangarembga now also works as scriptwriter, consultant and film director. She is currently working on the third novel in the trilogy.
Djebar Photo: Copyright G.A.F.F./Sipa
Assia Djebar (born in Cherchell in 1936) is an Algerian novelist, translator and filmmaker. After her studies at the Lycée Fénélon in Paris, she became the first Algerian woman to be accepted at the École Normale Supérieure.
Djebar made her debut with La Soif (“The Mischief”) in 1957. The novel was written in two months during the student uprising in 1956. Fearing her father's disapproval, she adopted the pen name she has kept ever since.
During the war of liberation, Djebar collaborated with the anti-colonial FLN (National Liberation Front) newspaper El-Moujahid, conducting interviews with Algerian refugees in Morocco. She pursued her work in history as a teaching assistant at the University of Rabat and participated in various Algerian cultural activities. After Algeria gained independence, Djebar was criticized for writing in French, when writers were supposed to switch to the national language, Arabic. In her later novels she has manipulated the French language, giving it the sounds and rhythms of Arabic. When Djebar began to write her autobiographical works, she had to overcome the "impersonality of French" and the fact that she was using "the language of the Others".
In books like Les Femmes D'Alger dans leur appartements (1980), L'amour, La fantasia (1985) and Ombre sultane (1987), Djebar explore the struggle for social emancipation and the Muslim women's world in its complexities. Several of her works deal with the impact of the war on women's minds, and her strong feminist stance has earned her a great deal of praise.
Assia Djebar has received numerous awards and honors. In 2005 she became a member of the French Academy.
Gamal El-Ghitany was born in 1945 in the district Jamalyya in the Upper Egypt governorate of Suhadj, and he is regarded as one of Egypt’s most prolific contemporary writers. In general, El-Ghitany’s work articulates a consciousness of his time – particularly the confusing feelings of loss and anger that followed the 1967 defeat in the war with Israel. Hence, the detention experience he went through in 1966 as a result of his oppositional political views had greatly affected his work. In his later attempt to get away from the severe censorship of the 1960s and 1970s, El-Ghitany created new narratives that would help him safely and freely describe and criticize Egypt’s contemporary historical reality in a manner that led his works to reflect the country’s socio-political realities.
Gamal El-Ghitany has won various local and international prizes, such as the Laure Bataillion, the 2006 Grinzane Cavour, the 2007 Grand State Prize, the 1997 UAE Sultan Al-Awais Prize, the 1994 Prize De l’Amitie Franco-Arabe, and the 1987 French Chevalier De L’Ordere Des Arts Et Des Lettres. He is also the founding editor of the weekly newspaper Akhbar Al-Adab
Engdahl Photo: Ulla Montan
Horace Engdahl (born in 1948 in Sweden) is a literary critic and writer whose scholarly areas of specialization are the Romantic and early modern periods. Between 1977 and 1988 he founded and was co-editor of the important aesthetics journal Kris, and he has written numerous essays on historical and theoretical problems related to literary form. In 1997, he was elected to the Swedish Academy and has been its permanent secretary and a member of its Nobel committee since 1999. He has also done translations (the plays of Heinrich von Kleist and the essays of Maurice Blanchot). His collection of prose fragments, Meteorer (2003), was recently translated into German and published by Kleinheinrich.
James English (born in 1958 in Connecticut, USA) is Professor of English and of Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently stepped down as Chair of the English Department there, and has also served as Director of the Film Studies Program. He took his Bachelors degree from Amherst, his Masters from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. from Stanford, where he specialized in modernist and postmodernist British fiction. His first book was Comic Transactions: Literature, Humor, and the Politics of Community in Twentieth-Century Britain, published in 1994. His more recent work focuses on the sociology of literature and especially on its institutional and transnational dimensions. The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value (Harvard UP) was named Best Academic Book of 2005 by New York Magazine. Also published in 2005 was the Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction, from Blackwell. English is currently a visiting professor at King's College London, where he is completing research for a study of cultural trade and translation between the UK and the US in the age of “global English” culture.
Photo: Cato Lein
Filip Florian (born in Bucharest in 1968) has worked as a journalist and editor for the Cuvîntul (The Word) and as a correspondent for the Free Europe and Deutsche Welle radio stations. He spent five years in the Romanian mountain town of Sinaia writing his first novel Degete mici (Little Fingers)
, which was published in 2005 and awarded the România literarã (Literary Romania) magazine Prize for Debut, the Writers' Union of Romania Prize for Best Prose Debut, and the National Union of Employers Prize for Excellence. Little Fingers
was also selected by the Romanian Cultural Institute as one of twenty titles, drawn from the whole history of Romanian literature, to be awarded financing for translation into other languages. Most recently Little Fingers was published in Hungarian, and the forthcoming dialogical novel The Bãiuþ Alley Lads
, written in collaboration with his brother Matei Florian, will be published in 2009.
In 2006 Filip Florian was a guest at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, and in 2007 he was invited to appear at the Basle Literary Festival (May) and European Borderlands Festival (June). He has given readings in Berlin, Vienna, Bonn, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Budapest and Bratislava.
Guédon Photo: Private
Jean-Claude Guédon (born in 1943 in Le Havre, France) is "professeur titulaire" (full professor) in the Department of Comparative Literature of the Université de Montréal in Canada. Trained in history of science (Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison), his interests, for the last fifteen years have focused on the digitization of culture and networked approaches to cultural production. His association with the Internet Society led to his writing a small best-seller on the network of networks, La planère cyber - Internet et le cyberespace (1996), Italian translation 1996, second edition 2000 under the title Internet - Le monde en réseau. In 2001, his essay "In Oldenburg's long shadow: Librarians, Research Scientists, Publishers, and the Control of Scientific Publishing" was translated into several languages and published as a book in Italy in 2005. Dr. Guédon was behind the creation of the first electronic (and Open Access) scholarly journal in Canada in 1991. He participated to all the original meetings accompanying the launch of the Open Access movement (Budapest, Berlin, Bethesda). From 2002 until 2006, he was on the Sub-Board (Information Programme) of the Open Society Institute and from 2003 until 2007, he was on the Board of eIFL (Electronic Information for libraries). Since March 2006, he is the Vice-President (dissemination of research) of the Canadian federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. His research focuses on the political economy of scholarly and scientific publishing as well as the effects of digitization and networking on communication modes and publishing methods. Winner of several prizes (including an international francophone prize and a prize from the Society for Digital Humanities), he regularly lectures on various issues related to digital culture all over the world.
Photo: Tom Langdon
Josef Haslinger was born in 1955 in Lower Austria. As a boy he was a chorister in the abbey school in Zwettl before turning his attention to philosophy, drama, German literature - and politics. He is highly regarded as a writer of essays, fiction and drama, often based on the Austrian social and political scene, and has received many literary prizes in Austria and Germany for his work.
In his home country he is respected for his willingness to confront Austria’s past in writing that contemplates the second world war’s effects on Europe’s current social and political forces. Opernball
(1995), a best-seller in Germany, was translated into thirteen languages and adapted for television. A subsequent novel, Das Vaterspiel
(2000), portrays Holocaust survivors and perpetrators living in the United States. It was adapted for a film in 2008, directed by Michael Glawogger. His last book, Phi Phi Island
(2007), is a report about surviving the tsunami on the island of Phi Phi in Thailand. He has been Professor of Literary Aesthetics in Leipzig, Germany, since 1996.
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Rafael Hernández (born in Havana in 1948) is the editor of Temas
, a Cuban quarterly in the field of social sciences and the humanities; he is also a published poet, essayist and playwright. His university training was in French Literature and History of Philosophy (University of Havana, 1973), and he holds a Masters degree in Political Science (El Colegio de Mexico, 1977) and Latin American Studies (PhD program, UNAM, Mexico). He has been professor and researcher at the University of Havana and the Higher Institute of International Relations; director of US studies at the Centro de Estudios sobre América for 18 years; and a Senior Research Fellow at the Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural “Juan Marinello”, in Havana. He has been a guest professor and conducted research at Harvard, Columbia, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Johns Hopkins, and other academic institutions in the U.S.; the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico (ITAM), and the University of Puerto Rico. He has published several books and essays on Cuban and U.S. policies, inter-American relations, international security, migration and Cuban culture, society and politics. He was founding editor of Cuadernos de Nuestra América
, the journal published by the Centro de Estudios sobre América, and coordinator of the Cuban exchange program with LASA (the Latin American Studies Association). His books of poetry include Versos del soldado
(26th of July National Literary Award, 1973), Cantos a la naturaleza cubana
(1978) and En carne vivo
(1985). His most recent books are Looking at Cuba. Essays on Culture and Civil Society
(1999, 2001), Outside the Glass Urn. Social Thought and Culture in Cuba Today
(2003) and The History of Havana
(coauthored with D. Cluster, 2006).
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Ho Anh Thai Photo: Vivek
Ho Anh Thai
(born in 1960 in Vietnam) is among the most noted and most widely-read of the writers who have brought renewal to Vietnamese literature since 1986. He published his first work at the age of 17 and has since written with a style and imagination unique among contemporary Vietnamese writers.
His themes concern the freedom of the individual and the price of freedom – his voice is sometimes described as sarcastic and coarse. Among his books translated into English are Behind the Red Mist (1998) and The Women on the Island (2001). Ho An Thai has a vast production of novels and short stories behind him, and in addition to being an author, he is president of the Hanoi Writers’ Union.
Uzodinma Iweala is the author of the novel Beasts of No Nation
. A Nigerian American born in Washington DC in 1982, he attended St. Albans School for Boys and Harvard University where he majored in English. Beasts of No Nation
, his first novel about child soldiers in an unnamed West African country, was published soon after his graduation from university. It has been translated into numerous languages and has won a number of prizes in the United States and the United Kingdom including the John Llwellyn Rhys prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters First Fiction award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award and the LA Times First book award. Beasts of No Nation
was named a best book of the year by Time Magazine and was selected as a New York Times 100 Best Books of the year. His writing has appeared in Granta, the Paris Review, the New York Times Magazine, the Financial Times Magazine, and the New Statesman. He is Executive Editor of the Nigeria based publication Farafina Magazine, and serves as an advisor to the Elders Project. Iweala has worked with internally displaced peoples in Northern Nigeria and the Millennium Villages Project at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is currently working on a book about HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and is a first year medical student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Photo: Elena Cardona
Clara Janés (born in Barcelona in 1940) has written more than twenty volumes of poetry, three books of essays and a large number of articles and studies about poetry, particularly on Spanish and Iranian mystics.
Janés is also a well known translator of poetry from a wide variety of languages, especially from Czech but also from Portuguese, Italian, German and, as co-translator, from Turkish and Persian. In 1997 she was honoured with the Spanish National Translation Prize, in 1992 with the Turkish Tutav Foundation Prize, and in 2000 she was awarded the First Category Medal of Merit from the Czech Republic. She has participated in several international translations seminars.
Julien Photo: Private
Eileen Julien (born in 1949 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a professor of French and comparative literature at Indiana University Bloomington, where she teaches twentieth century literature and culture, especially those of Africa, the Americas, and Europe in their relationships to one another. Recent publications include articles on Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Richard Wright; “world” literature; the “extroverted” African novel; gender and national identity in postcolonial West African texts; and the art of New Orleans gumbo. An article on Josephine Baker’s French films of the 1930s; a co-edition, The Locations of African Literature: Humanists and Social Scientists in Dialogue; and a memoir, Travels with Mae: Recollections of a New Orleans Girlhood and Beyond are forthcoming. She has translated a play, Mor Lam's Bone, and selected stories by Senegalese writer, Birago Diop; is co-organizing a retrospective on the works of Senegalese artist, Kalidou Sy (Dakar, November 2008); and an African film festival (New Orleans, October 2008). She is completing a study, Modernity and Multiple Imaginaries in Literature and the Arts: The Example of Senegal.
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Photo: Leif Hansen
Jonas Hassen Khemiri
Jonas Hassen Khemiri (born in 1978) has published two novels, highly acclaimed by critics as well as readers. His debut, One Eye Red
(2003) was filmed, dramatized, and sold over 150.000 copies. Montecore
(2006) has been translated into numerous languages, among them French, Dutch and German. This spring, Khemiri’s third book was published, a collection of short stories and plays. One of them is Invasion!
, his debut play which will soon be premiered in France, Germany and the UK. This autumn Khemiri’s new play Fem gånger Gud
(“Five Times God”) will tour Sweden.
Khemiri has been awarded several Swedish literary awards.
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Kincaid Photo: Kenneth Noland
(born in 1949 in Antigua) is one of the most important female writers in the West Indies today. She published her first collection of short stories in 1983, At the Bottom of the River. In her breakthrough novel Annie John (1985) she examines the search for identity of coloured girls and the desire amongst West Indians to migrate in order to achieve emancipation from the oppressive colonial context.
Other themes are issues of race, gender and mother-daughter relationships. Her highly poetic literary style has been celebrated for its rhythms, imagery and characterization. Kincaid has received numerous awards and honours. She now lives and teaches in Vermont, USA.
Photo: Karina Tur
Antjie Krog is a poet, writer, journalist and Extraordinary Professor at the University of the Western Cape. She has published twelve volumes of poetry in Afrikaans, two in English and two non-fiction books in English: Country of my Skull, on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; A Change of Tongue about the transformation in South Africa after ten years. Her work has been translated into English, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, Swedish, Serbian and Arabic. Country of my Skull is being widely prescribed at universities as part of the curriculum dealing with writing about the past. She was also asked to translate the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom into Afrikaans. Her current project at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin is to translate poetry from the indigenous languages of South Africa into English. Krog had been awarded most of the prestigious awards for non-fiction and poetry in both Afrikaans and English as well as the major translation prize for literary translation in South Africa.
Lehto Photo: Walter Di Morales
Leevi Lehto (born in Asikkala in 1951), is a Finnish poet and poetry activist. He has published six books of poetry in Finnish, a novel, an experimental prose work, Päivä (“Day”) (2004) and a volume of poetry in English, Lake Onega and Other Poems (2006). He is also known for his experiments in digital writing, such as the Google Poem Generator. He has worked as a translator into Finnish from English, French and Swedish, and is currently working on a new translation of Ulysses by James Joyce. His work has been translated into many languages. Leevi Lehto runs his own, net-based press, ntamo.
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Photo: Cato Lein
Swedish writer Henning Mankell (born in 1948) gained bestseller status with his series of crime novels featuring inspector Kurt Wallander. Internationally acclaimed, his books have been published in 33 countries and consistently top the bestseller lists in Europe, receiving major literary prizes and generating numerous international film and television adaptations. As one of three prominent Swedish originators, he has established the unique collection scheme, Writers to Writers Initiative
, in order to enable writers and translators from developing countries to attend WALTIC. Henning Mankell divides his time between Sweden and Maputo, Mozambique, where he works as the director of Teatro Avenida.
Photo: Giovanni Lign
Ana Menendez (born in 1970 in Los Angeles) is the daughter of Cuban exiles. She is the author of two books of fiction, which have been translated into several languages. Her first book, In Cuba I was a German Shepherd, is a bittersweet magical and true-to-life collection of short stories that chronicles the struggles of Cuban-Americans to make a living, maintain dignity, preserve identity, cope with new surroundings, and find humour in modern Miami.
Ana Menendez was a journalist for several years, first at The Miami Herald, where she covered Little Havana until 1995, and later at the Orange County Register in California. She has also lived in Turkey and South Asia, where she reported out of Afghanistan and Kashmir. Since 1997, she has taught at various universities including, most recently, as a visiting writer at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Bachelors degree from Florida International University and a Masters from New York University.
Gcina Mhlope (born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 1960) has been writing and performing on stage and screen for over 20 years. She has written children's books, poetry, short stories and plays as well as music for the SABCTV series Gcina & Friends where she performed her own stories for television audiences.
Her work has contributed to preserving storytelling as a means of keeping history alive and has encouraged South African children to read. In 2001 her CD and book of Nozincwadi Mother of Books was produced as part of her nationwide reading road show to South African rural schools. She has received Honorary Doctorates from the London Open University as well as the University of Natal, and similarly her work has received awards from BBC Africa Service for Radio Drama, The Fringe First Award in the Edinburgh Festival, the Josef Jefferson Award in Chicago, and OBBIE in New York.
Gcina Mhlope lives in Johannesburg.
Rosa Montero (born 1951 in Madrid, Spain) has a degree in journalism from the Official Journalism School of Madrid and has studied psychology in the Complutense University of Madrid.
She has worked as a journalist since 1970 on TV, and for newspapers and magazines. Since 1977 she has been working exclusively for EL PAIS, the main Spanish language newspaper. She has been special correspondent for EL PAIS in several countries (India, Australia, USA, Latin America, etc) and was Editor-in-chief of the Sunday Magazine of EL PAIS from 1981 to 1982. Currently her journalism appear regularly in EL PAIS as well as in several of the main newspapers and magazines of Latin America, such as Clarin (Argentina) and El Mercurio (Chile)
She published her first novel (La crónica del desamor) in 1979. Since then, she has published ten novels, two volumes of biographies, three interview compilations, a book of short stories and several children's books. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages.
Among other prizes, she won the National award for Journalism in 1980, the Primavera Prize for the Novel in 1997 for her book La Hija del Canibal, the “Qué Leer” Prize for the best Spanish book in 2003 for La loca de la casa, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign book published in Italy in 2004 also for La loca de la casa, and again the “Qué Leer” Prize for the best Spanish book in 2005 for Historia del Rey Transparente.
She has been Visiting Professor at Wellesley College, Boston, (MA) and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, (VA), and she has participated at numerous conferences, and symposiums and lectured all over the world.
Mukherjee Photo: Emma Dodge-Hanson
(born in 1949 in Calcutta, India) has won international fame by using the narrative to investigate the concept of national identity and, using an immigrant perspective, considering whether the concept is at all relevant in a world distinguished by pluralism and diversity. Among her many novels are Jasmine (1989), The Holder of the World (1993), Leave It To Me (1997), Desirable Daughters (2002) and The Tree Bride (2004).
She is currently living in the USA and is Professor in the department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
Müller Photo: Bettina Flitner
(born 1953 in the German-speaking village of Nitskydorf, Romania) is a highly prolific novelist and essayist considered one of the most important German-speaking writers of today. After speaking out publicly against the Romanian dictatorship at the Frankfurt Book Fair, she was forbidden to publish in Romania. In 1987 she went into exile in Germany. Many of her works reflects aspects of her own history and the rootlessness of the political exile.
In the stylistically striking Der König Verneigt sich und Tötet (2003) she uses fear as the point of departure for an examination of how dictatorship and oppression affect human-beings in the long term. With eerie sensitivity she shows how we are forced to retain our experiences of violence, and to carry them with us for the rest of our lives. Herta Müller has received a wide range of prizes, most recently the Würth European Literature Prize. She currently lives in Berlin.
Murray Photo: Private
Dr Simone Murray is Senior Lecturer in Communications and Media Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. Her research focuses on the interface of the book with other communications media, particularly via digital multiformatting of content. Her book Mixed Media: Feminist Presses and Publishing Politics (Pluto Press UK) was awarded the 2005 DeLong Book Prize by the international Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing for the best book on print culture published during 2004. In 2007 she won the International Award for Excellence in the Development of the Book for her article ‘Books as Media: The Adaptation Industry’. Her current research focuses on the industrial substructures of book-to-screen adaptations of literary prize-winners, and how such research can combine media studies, print culture and book history perspectives. She has recently begun a three-year Australian Research Council Discovery project on the adaptation industry, titled ‘Books as Media: The Cultural Economy of Literary Adaptation’.
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Nimr Photo: Private
Sonia Nimr (born in 1955 in Jenin, Palestine) has a PhD in Oral History from the University of Exeter and is currently lecturer in history and philosophy at Birzeit University. Apart from her highly praised teenage novel A Little Piece of Ground (together with Elizabeth Laird) she has written a vast number of Palestinian folk tales for children, some of which have been collected in Ghaddar the Ghoul and other Palestinian Stories (2007). Sonia Nimr lives in Ramallah on the West Bank.
Paker Photo: Private
In 2006 Saliha Paker initiated the annual Cunda International Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature, a joint venture with the Ministry of Culture, and in 2007 she was the coordinator of the First International Symposium of Translators and Publishers of Turkish Literature, jointly organized by the Ministry of Culture and Bogazici University. Her academic work has appeared in various publications such as Language, Society, History: The Balkans (2007), Translating Others (2006), Translations: (Re)shaping of Literature and Culture (2002) and Crosscultural Transgressions. Research Models in Translation Studies II: Historical and Ideological Issue (2002). In addition, professor Paker has published numerous translations of both poetry and fiction.
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Pjatrovitj Photo: Maria Söderberg
Barys Pjatrovitj (Satjanka)
Barys Pjatrovitj (Satjanka) was born on the 17th of July 1959, in the Homel-region of the area, later severely contaminated by the Chernobyl catastrophe. He has a degree in journalism from the Belarusian State University in Minsk and subsequently worked at different state-owned literary magazines, but left his job in 2002 in protest against the re-introduction of state censure, and founded the independent literary magazine Dziejaslou. He writes prose and has been, since 1993, a member of the Union of Belarusian Writers. Today, the Union is tyrannized by the state and has virtually become an underground organisation.
He is editor-in-chief of Dziejaslou and the first vice president of the Union of Belarusian Writers (since 2002). Since 1997, he has been working for human rights and is a member of the MR-organisation Vjasna. Pjatrovitj is the author of five books and writes in Belarusian. His works have been translated into some ten languages, among them Russian, Spanish, German and English. Barys Pjatrovitj lives and work in Minsk.
Poniatowska Photo: Paula Haro
Elena Poniatowska (born 1932 in Paris) is the author of various novels, short stories, essays, a play and “testimonial narratives” (chronicles of events compiled from eyewitness interviews). She moved to Mexico during World War II.
A collaborator and contributor to various Mexican media outlets throughout her career, Poniatowska was one of the founders of Cineteca Nacional (National Film Archives), the newspaper La Jornada and Siglo XXI, one of Mexico’s most prestigious publishing houses. She also helped found the feminist magazine Fem in 1976.
Poniatowska is best known for La Noche de Tlatelolco [Massacre in Mexico] (1971), which chronicles the lives and deaths of Mexican students who were protesting police repression one week prior to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Another of Poniatowska’s well know works is Hasta no verte Jesus mio [“Here’s to You, Jesusa”], which was published in 1969 and focuses on Mexico’s revolution of 1910 as shown through one woman’s personal struggle, becoming the collective portrait of thousands of oppressed Mexican women during that time period.
In 1979, Poniatowska was the first woman to receive Mexico’s National Journalism Prize, which she was awarded for her outstanding contributions to the diffusion of Mexican cultural and political expressions. She holds several honorary degrees and has won various other awards, including the Alfaguara Prize, the Premio Internacional Rómulo Gallegos, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 and the Mazatlan Prize for Literature twice, in 1972 and 1992. Poniatowska was also honored with the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize in 1971 for La Noche de Tlatelolco but declined it, arguing that no award went to those who died in the massacre.
Dedicated in promoting equality, humanitarianism and human rights, particularly among women, Elena Poniatowska has written more than 20 books, and her work has been translated into numerous languages.
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Pullman Photo: Rolf Marriot
Philip Pullman (born in 1946) is one of the most renowned authors of literature for children and young people in the UK today, owing to the diversity of genres in which he writes. A winner of a plethora of literary prizes, Philip Pullman is probably most well known for his fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials but he is also known for his commitment to the battle against illiteracy, and for his claim that narratives have an inherent force. In 2005 he and Ryôji Araiwere were jointly awarded the ALMA-award, in memory of Astrid Lindgren.
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Restrepo Photo: Mauricio Anjel
Laura Restrepo (born in 1950 in Bogotá, Colombia) is one of the most prominent women writers in Latin America today. In 1983 she was appointed member of the Commission for Peace Negotiations between the government and the M-19 guerilla. Since 1986 she has been active as a writer and published a large number of books, some of which are well-known novels, such as Leopard in the Sun (1993), Sweet Company (1995), La novia oscura (1999) and Delirium (2004) – winner of the 2004 Alfaguara Literary Award. In her novels she often deals with issues of violence and social class, and investigates how the Colombian civil war and drug traffic have affected the country and the Colombian people.
The works of Laura Restrepo has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
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Rey Rosa Photo: Maria José Alvarez
Rodrigo Rey Rosa
Rodrigo Rey Rosa was born in Guatemala in 1958. He began working toward a literary career at the age of 19 and continued to write while studying under American writer Paul Bowles. He made his literary debut in 1986 with El cuchillo del mendigo and is the author of four collections of short stories and eight novels. In addition to his work as a writer, Rey Rosa is active as a translator of American literary works and has also debuted as a film director and scriptwriter in a film based on his own work.
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Rosling Photo: Sveriges Radio
Hans Rosling (born in 1948) is the developer of the nonprofit software Gapminder, although he began his wide-ranging career as a physician, spending many years in rural Africa tracking a rare paralytic disease (which he named konzo) and discovering its cause: hunger and badly processed cassava. He co-founded the Swedish branch of Médecins sans Frontièrs (Doctors without Borders), wrote a textbook on global health, and, as a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, initiated key international research collaborations. His current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the West. In fact, most of the third world is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the West did. He has also personally debated with many heads of state, including Fidel Castro.
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Bin Sa’at Photo: Private
Alfian Bin Sa’at
Alfian Bin Sa’at (born in 1977) is Resident Playwright with W!ld Rice, one of Singapore’s most recognized theatre companies. He is also the Artistic Director of Teater Ekamatra, a Malay-language theatre company. His published works include two collections of poetry, One Fierce Hour (1998) and A History of Amnesia (2001), as well as a collection of short stories, Corridor (1999).Alfian has been nominated five times for Best Script at the Life! Theatre Awards, eventually winning in 2005 for his play, Landmarks. He has also been nominated for the Kirayama Asia-Pacific Book Prize and the Singapore Literature Prize for A History of Amnesia. In 2001, Alfian won the Golden Point Award for Poetry as well as the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature.
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Spivak Photo: Image courtesy and copyright: Dara McGrath and National Sculpture Factory
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (born in Calcutta in 1942), University Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, she teaches English and the Politics of Culture. She was educated at the University of Calcutta, and came to Cornell University in 1961 to finish her doctoral work. Her books are Myself Must I Remake (1974), In Other Worlds (1987), The Post-Colonial Critic (1988), Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999), Death of a Discipline (2003), and the forthcoming Other Asias (2007). An Aesthetic Education: or, Globalizing the Curriculum? is in press. She has translated Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology (1976) and Mahasweta Devi's Imaginary Maps (1994), Breast Stories (1997), Old Women (1999), and Chotti Munda and his Arrow (2002). She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto and the University of London, as well as many other honors. She is active in the International Women's Movement, the struggles for ecological justice, and rural literacy. Her influence has been felt in art and architecture, law and political science, in curatorial practices here and abroad. Her work has been translated into many languages. Her focus has remained education in the Humanities as the best lasting weapon to combat imperialism.
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Sobel Photo: Paul Schneck
Highly acclaimed and award winning writer Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, is the author of Longitude (Walker 1995 and 2005, Penguin 1996), Galileo's Daughter (Walker 1999, Penguin 2000) and The Planets (Viking 2005, Penguin 2006). In her thirty years as a science journalist she has written for many magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life and The New Yorker, served as a contributing editor to Harvard Magazine and Omni, and co-authored five books, including Is Anyone Out There? with astronomer Frank Drake.
In 2001 she received both the Individual Public Service Award from the National Science Board “for fostering awareness of science and technology among broad segments of the general public,” and the Boston Museum of Science’s prestigious Bradford Washburn Award for her “outstanding contribution toward public understanding of science, appreciation of its fascination, and the vital role it plays in all our lives.”
From January through March 2006, she served as the Robert Vare Nonfiction Writer in Residence at the University of Chicago. She holds honorary doctor of letters degrees from the University of Bath, in England, and Middlebury College, Vermont, both awarded in 2002.
Ms. Sobel is the editor of the collection Best American Science Writing 2004, published by Ecco Press.
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Sodré Photo: Globo
Muniz Sodré de Araujo Cabral has a B.A. in Law from Universidade Federal da Bahia (1964), a Masters in Sociology, Information and Communication from Université de Paris IV (Paris-Sorbonne) (1967), Doctorate in Brazilian Language and Literature (Literature Science) from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (1978). Associate Communications Professor at UFF. At present he is Full-Professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Chairman of the Fundação Biblioteca Nacional, (National Library Foundation), under the jurisdiction of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture. Author of over 30 published books in Communications and Culture.
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Stanišic Photo: Peter von Felbert
Saša Stanišic (born in 1978 in Višegrad, Bosnia-Herzegowina) has lived in Germany since 1992. He has written several audioplays, short stories, poems, essays and theatre plays. How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, his first novel, was published in 2006 to wide acclaim. Translations into 24 languages are forthcoming. Stanišic lives in Leipzig, Germany and Langenthal, Switzerland.
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Photo: Lars Öberg
Krister Stoor, Ph.D. Assistant Professor at the Deptartment of Language Studies, Umeå University, Sweden.
Krister teaches Sámi Culture, courses like Traditional knowledge, Oral Traditions, Folklore, Handicraft, History, and Indigenous Studies, and seeks to bring Sámi elders as co-teachers in his classes. He has been an invited lecturer at Gustavus Adolhpus College, MN, U of California-Berkeley, Harvard U, U of Wisconsin-Madison, U of Texas-Austin, U of Colorado-Boulder, Columbia U, U of Manitoba-Winnipeg, U of Washington-Seattle, U of Oregon-Eugene, Minnesota State U-Mankato, Eastern Connecticut State U-Willimantic, Humboldt U-Berlin, U of Vienna, U of Tromsø. Research: Yoik Tradition, researching for the moment the use and making of Sámi and Dakota drums, a comparative study. Free time: performer of yoik (solo and with groups like Trio Moivi).
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Taheri Photo: Private
Farzaneh Taheri (born in 1958 in Tehran) studied English literature at Tehran University and is currently editor of humanities university textbooks at Iran University Press, as well as a freelance literary translator and translator of literary theory and criticism. Taheri is also a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, and one of the founders and general manager of the Hooshang Golshiri Cultural Foundation, established after the death of the great Iranian writer (Taheri’s husband) Hooshang Golshiri, in 2000, to promote contemporary Persian fiction. Farzaneh Taheri has published a variety of translations, including works of Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, Robert Scholes, Raymond Carver and Patricia Highsmith. She lives in Iran.
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Shaun Tan (born in 1974) grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his partner Inari Kiuru and a small yellow parrot.
Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Shaun’s most recently published book, The Arrival, a wordless story about a migrant travelling to a strange new country, has been the subject of much critical discussion, winning an Honourable Mention at the Bologna International Book Fair, a World Fantasy Award, and a place in the New York Times top ten illustrated books for 2008.
Other books such as The Rabbits, The Red Tree, and The Lost Thing
have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and a concept artist for forthcoming films with Passion Pictures, Blue Sky Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.
Tawada Photo: Thomas Karsten
Yoko Tawada (born in Tokyo in 1960) has lived in Germany since 1982. She studied literature in Tokyo and Hamburg, and in parallel with her literary work, Tawada obtained an MA from the University of Hamburg in 1990 and a PhD from the University of Zurich in 2000. Her first work, Missing Heals, won the Gunzo Prize for New Writers in 1991. She writes in both Japanese and German, and an English-language translation of her collection of stories, Where Europe Begins, was named Best Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement in 2005. In addition to short fiction she writes poetry, essays and plays in both German and Japanese.Yoko Tawada has been the recipient of several literary prizes including the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize (1996), the Tanizaki-Junichiro Prize (2003) and the Goethe Medal (2005).
Ugrešic Photo: Walter White
“I am impressed by the wide spectre of issues that are going to be discussed at this first WALTIC congress. There are many questions which provoke me, confuse me and can’t be easily answered: namely a new status of literature in modern globalized and digitalized world; the problem of literary values and literary evaluation; the question of canon (which canon? whose canon?); the power of cultural market (which establishes its own values); the question of cultural domination; the new problems of old literary theory; the problem of expansion of literacy and illiteracy, all at the same time.
I hope that the upcoming WALTIC congress will give us, the citizens of the global republic of letters, some answers.”
(born in 1949) left Croatia in 1993 and is one of the former Yugoslavia’s foremost writers. She has published a range of novels, short stories and essays which, in a playful and at the same time intrusive manner, deal with issues of identity, exile, language, memory and reconciliation.
Among her most recent books translated into English are The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (1998), Thank You For Not Reading (2003), Lend Me Your Character (2004) and The Ministry of Pain (2005) for which she was also shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, U.K. Ugresic is currently living in Amsterdam.
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Photo: Nella Escala
Leonardo Valencia was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1969. He is one of the most notable Equadorian writers. He has published a collection of short stories, La luna nómada
(1995), a progressive book where he adds new tales in each new re-edition, as well as the novels El desterrado
(2000) and El libro flotante de Caytran Dolp
hin (2006). The latter is a very innovative Internet project of collaborative writing by the readers: www.libroflotante.net
. Valencia has also been director of the Creative Writing Program of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona since 2005.
Binyavanga Wainaina (born in 1971 in Nakuru, Kenya) is a writer, journalist and winner of the 2002 Caine Prize for the short story Discovering Home
. He is the founding editor of Kwani?
one of the most important sources of new writing from Africa. In 2003 Wainaina was awarded by the Kenya Publisher's Association in recognition of his services to Kenyan Literature. In January 2007, he was nominated by the World Economic Forum as a "Young Global Leader" – an award given to people for "their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world." He subsequently declined the award, with the words: “The problem here is that I am a writer. And although, like many, I go to sleep at night fantasizing about fame, fortune and credibility, the thing that is most valuable in my trade is to try, all the time, to keep myself loose, independent and creative…it would be an act of great fraudulence for me to accept the trite idea that I am ‘going to significantly impact world affairs’."
Binyavanga Wainaina is presently a Writer-in-Residence at Union College in Schenectady, NY (USA), where he is teaching, lecturing and working on a novel.
Westerman Photo: Bert Nienhuis
(born in 1964 in the Netherlands) is a well-known journalist and non-fiction writer. He wrote his first book The Bridge Over the Tara while working as a correspondent during the war in the Balkans in 1993. Three years later, together with fellow journalist Bart Rijs, he wrote a revealing book about Srebrenica: The Darkest Scenario. In El Negro and Me, a travelogue on race, culture and identity, Westerman outlines the broad sweep of history by telling the stories of individuals. His latest book Ararat has been short-listed for the prestigious AKO-Prize for Literature 2007.
Wu Ming I
Wu Ming I
Wu Ming 1 is a founding member and active ambassador of Wu Ming (aka the Wu Ming Foundation), a collective of writers loosely based in Bologna, Italy. Most members of the collective were deeply involved in the Luther Blissett Project, an international experiment in culture jamming, new media literacies, radical pranksterism and guerrilla mythography that took place between 1994 and 1999. During that period, a group of LBP activists wrote a controversial novel entitled Q
, published to much acclaim in 1999 and translated into many languages. In January 2000 the authors of Q
founded the Wu Ming Foundation. In more recent years, they have written more books, both individually and collectively, thus establishing their presence in the cultural debate in Europe and the Americas. They also collaborate with musicians, actors, comic authors, playwrights, filmmakers, graphic artists and academics in a plethora of transmedia projects. Their biggest international success since Q
has been 54
. Their latest novel, Manituana
, is soon to be published in several European countries. All of Wu Ming's books are freely downloadable from their website
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