Words without Borders Features New Dutch and Flemish Writing on Taboos

1 May 2014 — 31 May 2014

Words without Borders, the online magazine for international literature, announces the release of an issue of Dutch and Flemish writing on taboos. The May issue brings eye-opening new work by fourteen Dutch and Flemish authors into English for the first time. The publication also features newly translated poetry by Liu Xia, who lives under house arrest in China.

The May issue about Taboos 

“This is a rich and voluminous selection of young and new voices, circling around the theme of the taboo—old ones and new ones—to show something of a once so famously tolerant society in a Europe that is rapidly changing,” said Victor Schiferli, who guest edited the issue with Sanneke van Hassel.

The writers presented address forbidden topics—from drug and sexual addiction to parental resentment and unfiltered speech—in an attempt to reveal the complexity of a culture often stereotyped as exceedingly permissive.

Arnon Grunberg, winner of the AKO Literary Prize and author of the critically acclaimed Tirza, addresses infidelity over the phone in an extract from his novel Huid en Haar. Annelies Verbeke, whose novels have been translated into 20 languages, takes on a tangled body hair issue in “The Bearded Lady.” In “The Way to the Sea,” Elke Guerts’s perfectionist narrator finds her expectations of motherhood upended. The issue also features new work by Thijs de Boer, Esther Gerritsen, Ton Rozeman, Peter Terrin, Manon Uphoff, Anton Valens, Walter van den Berg, Mensje van Keulen, Maartje Wortel, Sanneke van Hassel, and Yves Petry.

“From homicide to incivility, the legal and social violations depicted here represent situations both universal and deeply personal,” noted Words without Borders Editorial director Susan Harris. “We’re delighted to bring these Dutch and Flemish perspectives to our readers.”

The issue includes poetry by the Chinese poet and artist Liu Xia, who has been imprisoned under house arrest since her husband, the writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. The selection of three poems, in new translations by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern, is introduced by Madeleine Earp.

Read the online issue here

About Words Without Borders

Founded in 2003, Words without Borders is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of global understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of international literature. To date WWB has translated over 1,700 pieces of literature and poetry representing 101 languages by writers from 124 countries. WWB has been featured in the New York Times, the New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, the Guardian (UK), Vanity Fair, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as in various foreign-language papers and numerous literary blogs. Our anthologies of international literature include Literature from the Axis of Evil, Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, and The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. Our most recent e-anthology is Words without Borders: The Best of the First Ten Years.

Words Without Borders

The issue received support from the Nederlands Letterenfonds // Dutch Foundation for Literature, the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, Flanders House, and the Flemish Literature Fund.