5 Institutions Supporting World Literature
Although language is frequently a barrier to understanding, it can also be used as a powerful tool of global awareness, empathy, and change. World literature, in particular, has the capacity to enlighten readers to cultures and traditions they may never otherwise encounter. In no particular order, here are some groups celebrating diversity by translating, publishing, and championing the works of international authors.
For #1 we have World Editions, which promotes voices from around the globe by publishing English-language translations of Dutch and various international books. Since 2016, it has been part of the independent Libella Group, a European publisher with bases in Switzerland, France, and Poland. Through its work, World Editions aims to foster new connections and enhance dialogue between cultures.
The group publishes both long-established authors and promising debut novelists. Belonging to the former category are Maryse Conde, winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize, and Paolo Maurensig, whose works include "Theory of Shadows" and "A Devil Comes to Town." Rising stars featured by World Editions include Adeline Dieudonne, Pierre Jarawan, and Linda Bostrom Knausgard.
Coming in at #2 is The Caribbean Writer, an international, refereed literary journal with a Caribbean focus. Founded in 1986 and published annually by the University of the Virgin Islands, its mission is to publish quality writing by new and established authors that reflects the culture of the region, as well as to foster a strong literary tradition in which emerging writers can thrive.
Exploring the Caribbean's diverse multi-ethnic cultures, TCW produces poetry, short fiction, personal essays, creative nonfiction, and short plays. These works tackle numerous social, cultural, economic, and frequently controversial issues. Additionally, the group publishes translations, book reviews, interviews, and special sections offering insight into Caribbean society, and also showcases visual art by the region's leading and burgeoning artists.
For #3 we get English PEN. One of the world's oldest human rights organizations, it works to champion the freedoms to write and read around the world. The group is the founding center of PEN International, a worldwide writers' association with locations in more than 100 countries. With the support of its members, it protects freedom of expression whenever it is under attack, campaigning for authors facing persecution and offering respite residencies.
In addition, the organization celebrates contemporary international writing through its online magazine, PEN Transmissions, which features interviews with, and personal essays from, established and emerging authors. English PEN also bestows three annual prizes upon courageous literature, and organizes creative outreach programs to empower disadvantaged youth.
At #4 is Deep Vellum, a not-for-profit literary arts center and publishing house based in Dallas, Texas. Its mission is to bring the world into conversation through literature by publishing underrepresented, marginalized, and vital voices, while building a more vibrant literary community in Dallas and beyond.
Offering original translations, Deep Vellum seeks to connect English-language readers with the world's greatest untranslated contemporary writers. Among its diverse and lauded authors are Zahia Rahmani, Jung Young Moon, Yanick Lahens, and Leila S. Chudori, considered Indonesia's most prominent female author and journalist. Meanwhile, translators include Carol Apollonio, John H. McGlynn, and Emma Ramadan.
Finally, for #5 we find Canada India Education Society, which participates in numerous international and national projects designed to deepen the engagement between Canada and India. The organization awards the annual Dhahan Prize, recognizing excellence in Punjabi fiction. The prize was created by Barj S. Dhahan to inspire the preservation, creation, and appreciation of Punjabi language and literature across borders.
Through the Dhahan Prize, Canada India Education Society strives to call greater attention to the wealth of literary works produced in Punjabi around the world. The Prize encourages new writing by awarding 25,000 CDN annually to one "best book of fiction" published in either of the two Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two finalist awards of 10,000 CDN are also granted.