Writer and translator Edgar Garbelotto speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his short story “A Fourteen-Hour Lesson in Theosophy,” which appears in Issue 20 of The Common magazine. The story imagines the final hours of author Clarice Lispector’s life. In this conversation, Garbelotto talks about the process of fictionalizing a real person and bringing her to life in the streets of Rio. Garbelotto also discusses the experience of writing and translating in English, which is his second language, and the way that experience has changed his approach to writing original work. Portuguese is a more playful, allegorical language than English, Garbelotto says, and he’s learned to approach each language differently.
Podcast: Edgar Garbelotto on “A Fourteen-Hour Lesson in Theosophy”
Casey Walker speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his short story “Vigilância,” which appears in Issue 20 of The Common magazine. In this conversation, Walker talks about writing World War II-era Lisbon through the eyes of a police informer who trades in secrets. Walker also discusses the complex nature of complicity in his novel Last Days in Shanghai, and the historical and personal background behind his current project Mexicali, a new novel set in the Mexican-American borderlands.
Katherine Vaz speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her short story “The Treasure Hunt of August Dias,” which appears in Issue 20 of The Common magazine. In this conversation, Vaz talks about her long career of writing novels and short stories about Portuguese and Portuguese-American characters and their rich, complex communities. She also discusses her current project, a heavily researched historical novel about Portuguese immigrants set during the Civil War.
Podcast: Katherine Vaz on “The Treasure Hunt of August Dias”
Bina Shah speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her short story “Weeds and Flowers,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common magazine. In this conversation, Shah talks about how the people she observes and encounters in her life in Karachi, Pakistan, inspire her work in fiction. She also discusses her 2018 feminist dystopian novel Before She Sleeps, and the sequel she’s working on now, in addition to her work as a journalist.
Translator Jethro Soutar speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about three pieces he translated from Portuguese for Issue 20 of The Common magazine. These pieces appear in a special portfolio of writing from and about the Lusosphere—Portugal’s colonial and linguistic diaspora around the globe. In this conversation, Soutar talks about the complexities of translating poetry and prose: capturing not just the meaning of a piece but the feeling and atmosphere of it, and the culture behind the scenes. He also explains a little of the colonial and racial history of Portugal, Cape Verde, and Mozambique, and how those events echo today through the literature and language of modern Lusophone countries.
Tanya Coke is a lawyer, writer, and philanthropy executive at the Ford Foundation. She speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about “Brother Love,” her essay from Issue 19 of The Common magazine. Coke discusses both the beautiful and the difficult parts of writing about her own family, the process of being a writer and an artist, and what it means to helm the Ford Foundation’s Gender, Race & Ethnic Justice division.
Translator Elisabeth Jaquette speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about four stories she translated from Arabic for Issue 19 of The Common magazine. These stories appear in a special portfolio of fiction from established and emerging Sudanese writers. In this conversation, Jaquette talks about the delights and difficulties of translating from Arabic, as well as her thoughts on form, style, and satire in literature from the Arab world. She also discusses translating Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, which is currently a finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature.
Podcast: Elisabeth Jaquette on Translating Sudanese Fiction
Writer Omer Friedlander speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Operation Tamar,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common magazine. “Operation Tamar” is set in Israel, where Friedlander grew up. In this conversation, Friedlander talks about the setting and inspiration for this story and others, and the editing and revision that went into “Operation Tamar” before publication. He also discusses his current projects, a novel and a short story collection recently sold to Random House for publication.
Tara Skurtu is an American poet and writer, writing coach, and public speaker. She speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about “Offering,” her poem from Issue 19 of The Common magazine. “Offering,” and many more of Skurtu’s poems, are set in Bucharest, Romania, where the poet has lived for several years. Skurtu discusses the inspiration and process behind the poem, her thoughts on teaching creative writing, and her time studying with poet Louise Glück. This conversation also includes the story behind the International Poetry Circle, an online poetry-reading initiative Skurtu started on Twitter in the early days of the pandemic.
Writer David Moloney speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Counsel,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common. “Counsel” is an excerpt from Moloney’s novel-in-stories, Barker House, set in a correctional facility in New Hampshire. The book follows nine correctional officers over the course of one year on the job. Moloney discusses his own experiences as a correctional officer in a New Hampshire facility, and the work of turning those complex experiences into stories for the novel. Barker House was published by Bloomsbury in April 2020, so this conversation also includes discussion of what it’s like to publish during a pandemic.