About this project
Words without Borders is a big fan of Guatemalan writer Eduardo Halfon. We first got to know Eduardo in July 2009 when we published an early translation of his short story “The Polish Boxer,” a fictionalized account of his grandfather’s survival in Auschwitz. No description can do it justice, so here’s the first paragraph:
69752. That it was his phone number. That he had it tattooed there, on his left forearm, so he wouldn't forget it. That's what my grandfather told me. And that's what I grew up believing. In the 1970s, telephone numbers in Guatemala were five digits long.
Last September, in our Homages issue, we published his short story “Never Any End to Hemingway.” But that was just a precursor to 2012, which can only be called (by us, at least) The Year of Eduardo. It began when word came from Nebraska, where Eduardo has been residing for the last two years, that the short story “The Polish Boxer” was now the novel The Polish Boxer, and would be published in October by Bellevue Literary Press. In March, Eduardo traveled with WWB’s executive director, Joshua Mandelbaum, to the June Jordan School for Equity in San Francisco, and spent a week speaking to students about Guatemala, his grandfather, creative writing, and the value of being bilingual. We do not believe we could have found someone better for the task. Then in April we published his short story “Good Women, Bad Women” in our Sex issue. But it didn’t stop there, because in May we learned that Pushkin Press would publish, also in October, the UK edition of The Polish Boxer.
Eduardo, who has published nine books of fiction in Spain and whose talents have been recognized by many others, is the eleventh author to receive an English-language book contract thanks to Words without Borders. Unlike many of those writers, though, his fluency in English allows him to promote his work to US and UK audiences.
Words without Borders, together with Bellevue Literary Press, Pushkin Press, and The British Center for Literary Translation, want to bring Eduardo to New York and London for a series of readings, events, and high school talks to help get The Polish Boxer the audience it deserves. But we’re small and we need your help.
Funds raised through Kickstarter will cover five days in New York City and five days in London, and will include the cost of plane tickets, hotels, and a stipend so he can take the occasional taxi and get a cup of coffee in the morning. If we raise more than $5,000, we will hire someone to record and edit all of his readings, we’ll send him to additional schools and additional cities in the winter and spring, and we’ll do everything we can to get The Polish Boxer in the hands of readers.
What are we offering in exchange for your support?
For $10 A Words without Borders tote bag! Wallpaper not included.
For $25 you'll receive a WWB tote bag and a personalized postcard from Eduardo Halfon. From The Polish Boxer:
"His big obsession, Milan had told me at some point, was postcards. He liked sending postcards, not receiving them. In fact, he always refused to give me his own address. I don’t have one, he said jokingly, or on second thought, perhaps seriously. He said: I live on the lungo drom, which in Romany means the long road, with no set destination and no turning back. He said: I travel in a caravan of one. He said: On the road, for my friends, I leave a trail of patrin, which in Romany means signs placed along the way, like a branch broken in a certain fashion, or a handful of twigs tied up in a blue handkerchief, or goat bones sticking out of the ground. He said: Postcards are my patrin."
For $30 a copy of The Polish Boxer. For $50 Eduardo will sign it! For $75 you get the book, signed, and the tote bag!
For $100 you get the tote bag, a signed copy of The Polish Boxer, and a little Words without Borders notebook.
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