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A new literary translation series featuring contemporary voices from around the world.
A new literary translation series featuring contemporary voices from around the world.
248 backers pledged $9,717 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$9,717

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For over 90 years PEN America has operated on the notion that literature and art can bridge the cultural divide between people and nations. Literary translation plays an important role in the work we do by providing a unique and valuable window into the histories and narratives of other cultures. Unfortunately, in the United States only 3% of books published are works in translation. Internationally, only 9 languages account for approximately 90% of the world’s translations, and a majority of those translations are from English into other languages.

With so few works being translated into English, we have to ask: what’s lost when so many of the world’s other languages and stories aren’t translated?

Passages intends to answer that question, issue by issue, by exploring the literary and narrative trends of some of the world’s least translated territories. Each issue will be co-edited by local editors with knowledge of the most current and relevant arts movements to publish exciting new fiction, poetry, essays, graphic narratives, and new literary forms being developed. We hope that the series will eventually turn into a positive way to bring compelling new projects to English-reading audiences and publishers.

If we meet our modest target of $5500, we’ll be able to cover some of the production costs for future issues and convince our anonymous seed funder that there’s a place in the literary community for a project like this. All backers should know that regardless of the success of the Kickstarter campaign, writers and translators whose work has already been commissioned will be paid, something we are proud of and which, unfortunately, is not the default when submitting work to a literary magazine. Like all Kickstarter projects, we will only receive the money if we meet our target. Otherwise, you will get your money back.

UPCOMING ISSUES:

Brazil

Edited by Words Without Borders editor and translator Eric M.B. Becker and Mirna Queiroz of Revista Pessoa, Passages: Brazil brings us an extraordinary group of contemporary writers pushing the boundaries of poetry, reportage, fiction, and narrative nonfiction—all of them women. We’ll have a sneak peak of Elvira Vigna’s new novel, crônica by Maria Esther Maciel, indigenous narratives by Betty Mindlin, harrowing reportage by Eliane Brume, new poems by Marília Garcia and Adriana Lisboa and Alice Sant'anna, and new work by Ana Maria Gonçalves, Ana Martins Marques, and Noemi Jaffe.

Mainland China

Edited by Pathlight magazine co-founder Canaan Morse and translator Eleanor Goodman (recipient of the 2015 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize). Given the pressures of censorship in China, how have writers and artists circumvented these strictures to comment on and examine contemporary Chinese culture, government policies, and everyday life in this rapidly evolving nation? In this issue of Passages, we offer a satirical fantasy by Sheng Tie, new short-form journalism from dissident Li Chengpeng, sharply observed essays by the celebrated writer Wang Xiaoni, and poetry by Mu Cao, one of the few openly gay poets living and publishing in mainland China today.

PAST ISSUES:

Africa

Co-edited by Billy Kahora of Kwani?, our first issue focused on LGBT literature and featured 16 pieces from across the continent with works translated from Swahili, French, and Portuguese. It was also recently selected as a "Staff Pick" by McNally Jackson bookstore buyer Douglas Singleton.

Contributors: Unoma Azuah, Rotimi Babatunde, Kehinde Bademosi, Eric M. B. Becker, Bree, Efemia Chela, Chimurenga, Mia Couto, Annmarie Drury, Martin Egblewogbe, Clifton Gachagua, Billy Kahora, Euphrase Kezilahabi, Zanele Muholi, André Naffis-Sahely, Mohamed Nedali, and Ribka Sibhatu.

Risks and challenges

Low Risk! We have already published one issue of Passages, which focused on the African continent, and are in the process of producing two new issues focusing on literature from Brazil and China.

The pieces for both the Brazil and China issues have been commissioned by the editors. Editing for the Brazil issue will take place in February and March, and will be sent to the printer in April for publication in May.

Editing for the China issue will take place in April and May, and will be sent to the printer in June for publication in July.

We aim to have print and digital issues of the China and Brazil editions shipped out to backers in September 2016. Any delays in production will be promptly communicated to backers with an adjusted delivery date.

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    Our sincere gratitude and a personalized thank you e-mail

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    Handwritten thank you card + PEN sticker

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    Passages: 1 DIGITAL ISSUE

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    PASSAGES + SWAG

    Yale University Press tote bag
    1 copy of Passages. Your choice of 1 print or digital issue of the Africa, China, or Brazil issues.

    [ Thanks to our friends at Yale University Press! ]

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    PASSAGES + SOROKIN

    The Blizzard by Vladimir Sorokin (translated by Jamey Gambrell)
    1 print issue of Passages: Africa
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    [ Thanks to our friends at FSG! ]

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    PASSAGES + HOUELLEBECQ

    Submission by Michel Houellebec (translated by Lorin Stein)
    1 print issue of Passages: Africa
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    PASSAGES + INDONESIAN NOVEL

    Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan (translated by Labodalih Sembiring)
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    PASSAGES + KUNDERA

    The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera (translated by Linda Asher)
    1 print issue of Passages: Africa
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    PASSAGES + INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

    The Master of Confessions: the Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer (by Thierry Cruveller, translated by Alex Gilly)
    1 print issue of Passages: Africa
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    PASSAGES + PER PETTERSON

    I Refuse by Per Petterson (translated by Don Bartlett)
    1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    PASSAGES + CÉSAR AIRA

    The Musical Brain by César Aira (translated by Chris Andrews)
    1 print copy of Passages: Africa
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    PASSAGES + CHEKHOV

    The Prank: the Best of Young Chekhov (by Anton Chekhov, translated by Maria Bloshteyn)
    1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    PASSAGES + WINDOWS ON THE WORLD

    Windows on the World: 50 Writers, 50 Views (Sketches of 50 writers' views by Matteo Pericoli)
    1 print issue of Passages: Africa
    1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China and Brazil.

    [Thanks to our friends at Penguin Press!]

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + LI ANG

    *Li Ang is one of Taiwan’s most famous feminist writers.*

    The Lost Garden (by Li Ang, translated by Sylvia Li-chun Lin and Howard Goldblatt)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa
    + 1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China, and Brazil.

    [ Thanks to our friends at Columbia University Press! ]

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + BRECHT’S LOVE POEMS

    Love Poems (by Bertolt Brecht, translated by David Constantine and Tom Kuhn)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + NDOWE NOVEL

    Natives (by Inongo-Vi-Makome, translated from the Spanish by Michael Ugarte)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + LUISELLI’S SIDEWALKS

    Sidewalks (by Valeria Luiselli, translated from the Spanish by Christina McSweeney)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + COLOMBIAN "MOSAIC" NOVEL / THRILLER ON IMMIGRATION

    Hot Sur (by Laura Restrepo, translated from the Spanish by Ernesto Mestre-Reed)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
    + 1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China, and Brazil.

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + ARGENTINIAN POETRY

    Diana’s Tree (by Alejandra Pizarnik, translated by Yvette Siegert)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + SLOVENE POETRY

    Skin (by Tone Škyrjanec, translated from the Slovene by Ana Repelnik)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
    + 1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China, and Brazil.

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + VARGAS LLOSA

    The Discreet Hero (by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Edith Grossman)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + PADURA

    The Man who Loved Dogs (by Leonardo Padura, translated by Anna Kushner)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + POLISH EXILE DIARY

    Trans-Atlantyk: an Alternate Translation (by Witold Gombrowicz, translated by Danuta Borchardt)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
    + 1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China, and Brazil.

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + META-LITERARY NOVEL

    A Brief History of Portable Literature (by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Anne McLean and Thomas Bunstead)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + BILINGUAL POEMS FROM CUBA

    Autoepitaph: Selected Poems (bilingual) (by Reinaldo Arenas, translated by Kelly Washbourne)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + MODIANO MEMOIR

    Pedigree: a Memoir (by Patrick Modiano, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti)

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + SWEDISH SHORT STORIES

    The Woman Who Borrowed Memories (by Tove Jansson, translated by Thomas Teal and Silvester Mazzarella)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa.
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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + SWISS SHORT STORIES
    The Country Road (by Regina Ullmann, translated from the German by Kurt Beals)

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + I CHING

    I Ching (translated from the Chinese by John Minford)

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    FULL SET OF PASSAGES | DIGITAL

    Three digital issues of Passages, featuring writing from Africa, China, and Brazil.

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    FULL SET OF PASSAGES | PRINT

    Three issues of Passages, featuring writing from Africa, China, and Brazil.

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    *NEW*: TOTE + FULL SET OF PASSAGES | PRINT

    A complete set of Passages, featuring writing from Africa, China, and Brazil.

    + Community Bookstore tote bag

    [ Thanks to our friends at Community Bookstore! ]

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + McNALLY JACKSON BOOK VOUCHER

    1 print issue of Passages: Africa
    1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China and Brazil.

    $25 McNally Jackson book voucher (Store is located in Soho, New York)

    [ Thanks to our friends at McNally Jackson Books! ]

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    PASSAGES + JANE GARDAM TRILOGY + TOTE

    Old Filth
    The Man in the Wooden Hat
    Last Friends

    + Eimear McBride tote bag
    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa
    + 1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China, and Brazil.

    [ Thanks to our friends at Europa Editions! ]

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    PASSAGES + VALERIA LUISELLI + TOTE

    Faces in the Crowd
    Sidewalks
    The Story of My Teeth

    + Coffee House Press tote bag
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    + 1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China and Brazil.

    [ Thanks to our friends at Coffee House Press! ]

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    *NEW*: PASSAGES + COMMUNITY BOOKSTORE VOUCHER + TOTE

    $25 Community Bookstore Voucher (Store is located in Brooklyn, New York)

    + 1 print issue of Passages: Africa
    + 1 digital issue of Passages. Your choice between Africa, China and Brazil.

    [ Thanks to our friends at Community Bookstore! ]

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    PASSAGES + ELENA FERRANTE + TOTE

    My Brilliant Friend
    The Story of a New Name
    Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
    The Story of the Lost Child

    + Europa Editions tote bag
    + A complete set of your choice of print or digital issues of Passages.

    [ Thanks to our friends at Europa Editions! ]

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    2015 PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE BOOK SET- Winner and Finalists:

    Self-Portrait in Green [Maria Ndiaye, Jordan Stump]
    Texas: the Great Theft [Carmen Boullosa, Samantha Schnee]
    Baboon [Naja Marie Aidt, translated by Denise Newman]
    The Symmetry Teacher [Andrei Bitov, Polly Gannon]
    The Gray Notebook [Joseph Pla, Peter Bush]

    + A complete set of your choice of print or digital issues of Passages.

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    2015 PEN AWARD FOR POETRY IN TRANSLATION BOOK SET - Winner and Finalists:

    Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream [Kim Hyesoon, Don Mee Choi]
    I am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan [Eliza Griswold]
    Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz [Juana Ines de la Cruz, Edith Grossman]
    Breathturn into Timestead [Paul Celan, Pierre Joris]
    Guantanamo [Frank Smith, Vanessa Place]

    + A complete set of your choice of print or digital issues of Passages.

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    *NEW*: COMMUNITY BOOKSTORE VOUCHER + TOTE + COMPLETE SET OF PASSAGES | PRINT

    $50 Community Bookstore Voucher (store is located in Brooklyn, New York)

    + Community Bookstore tote bag
    + A complete set of print or digital issues of Passages, featuring writing from Africa, China and Brazil.

    [ Thanks to our friends at Community Bookstore! ]

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