The Assistant by Robert Walser
Moderator: Sam “Golden Rule” Jones; translator Susan Bernofsky
Yalo by Elias Khoury
Moderator: Drake Stutesman, Framework; translator Peter Theroux
Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous
Moderator: Maud Newton; translator Ann Goldstein
The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa
Moderator: TBA; translator Stephen Snyder
Don Quixote by Cervantes
Moderator: Mark Sarvas; translator Edith Grossman
The Girl on the Fridge by Etgar Keret
Moderator: Adam Rovner of Zeek; translator Miriam Schlesinger
It’s hard to imagine that Reading the World is now in its fourth year. RTW grew out of a series of informal meetings of booksellers and publishers—all of whom were interested in finding a way to introduce American readers to more international authors. We had the sense that America’s book culture was becoming increasingly isolated, a feeling that’s been verified by the depressing statistic that only 3% of all books published here are in translation. (And if you consider just adult literature and poetry, that figure is much closer to 0.3%.)
As Goethe said back in 1827, “Left to itself every literature will exhaust its vitality if it is not refreshed by the interest and contributions of a foreign one.” This belief that international literature plays a vital role in book culture is one that is shared by all the publishers and booksellers involved in Reading the World. Our hope is that the following selection of 25 works of literature in translation will serve as an introduction to all American readers, encouraging you to explore some of the great works being written in countries around the world.
The titles included here represent a broad range of cultures, from Portugal to Lebanon, from China to Switzerland, from Chile to Japan. And the fifteen publishers included in this year’s program are diverse as well. In addition to the ten presses from years past (Archipelago; Dalkey Archive; Ecco; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Knopf; New Directions; New York Review Books; Other Press; and Picador) independent booksellers selected titles from five additional presses to include in the program. These five new presses are: Columbia University; Copper Canyon; Europa; Graywolf; and Grove.
All of the presses and bookstores involved in this program are among the best in the country, as are the other stellar partners affiliated with this project. Peter Sis has once again created amazing artwork for the project that perfectly captures the spirit and tone of Reading the World. And starting in June, Words Without Borders (www.wordswithoutborders.org) will be relaunching its Reading the World Book Clubs, featuring reading guides and moderated discussions of several of the titles found on the following pages.
Karl Pohrt, Shaman Drum Bookshop
Chad W. Post, Open Letter/University of Rochester
Jeff Seroy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux