In Praise of the Republic of Letters

I really enjoy reading World Literature Today. When it arrives in my mailbox every other month, I can’t wait to check out which countries are represented in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry translations. While I could certainly seek out translations online, it feels so much nicer to get a glossy spread with a sampling of work from other countries–many of which I would never have been aware of without WLT.

One of my favorite sections is the extensive book review section. It spotlights translations as well as new books written in English but that are set in foreign (read: non-Anglophone) countries. And those are two of my favorite things.

But I get the most excited when I notice the name of an author I know–either in reading, or personally. This was the case with Aleš Debeljak, whose name was mentioned in a brief spotlight on a new contest that WLT is holding. During the month of May, you can go online and vote for the best fiction, poetry, and non-fiction pieces of the past 10 years. Aleš, who became a friend when I was living in Ljubljana last year, is nominated in the category of non-fiction for his piece “In Praise of the Republic of Letters.” 

I could explain his essay here, but it’s a short piece, and worth reading, so instead, I encourage you to click on the link and read it.

And, of course, if you like it, consider clicking on the contest link and voting for it! 

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