Announcing the publication of and seeking submissions for:
Words Without Borders: An Anthology of Modern Literature from the Muslim World
In 2009 Norton Publishers, in association with the literary journal "Words
Without Borders" (WWB), will release Words Without Borders: An Anthology of
Modern Literature from the Muslim World. This book will feature translations of
important literary contributions of the twentieth century in Arabic, Persian,
Turkish, Indonesian, Dari, and Urdu. This volume, with an estimated length of
400 pages, is intended to provide students and general readers with an
accessible introduction to a rich and varied literary tradition that is all too
unfamiliar to most Americans. The aim is to help move the American
consciousness of the Muslim world away from the terrorists and fanatics, and
thus open a window into the lives of that portion of the Muslim world.
Organized by language/region, the book will present samples of the major
literary writing forms that have come to dominate modern literature: short
story, free verse lyrics, plays, novel excerpts, and memoirs.
WWB has invited Reza Aslan, author of No God But God: The Origins, Evolution,
and Future of Islam, (Random House Trade, Jan 2006) to be guest editor of the
anthology. He will be aided by a team of five sub-editors specializing in the
literatures of specific languages and regions. I, John McGlynn, have been asked
to serve as country editor for the section on Indonesia.
In the process of gathering together materials for the above publication, I
would like to learn from Indonesian authors, literary critics, and other
interested parties which authors they think would best represent Indonesia. If
you fall into one of those categories and would like to weigh in on this
matter, I hope you will take the time to fill in the questionnaire found below
and return it to me.
In weighing your choice of authors, there are a number of things of which you
should be aware:
1. Given the limited amount of space/pages that will be allotted for
the Indonesia section-approximately 100-it is unlikely that more than 10-12
authors can be included, comprising, perhaps, 7 prose writers (with short
stories, essays, or excerpts from novels of 10-12 pages each in length) and 3-5
poets, each with 3-5 poems. An excerpt from a play or two would also be
2. Because the volume editor (Reza Aslan) is using the end of the
Ottoman Empire as the starting date for works to be included in the volume,
country editors will not be able to consider works that were written or
published prior to 1950.
3. If possible, the country editor would like to include works spanning
the last half of the 20th century period with samples of work from each decade.
The country editor would also like to include both male and female authors.
4. Thus far, the volume editor has set no restriction on the religion
of the authors-i.e., that they must be Muslim. Therefore, please do not use
religion as a factor when making your choices.
Titles of works chosen for selection in the anthology may have been published
in translation previously. Both authors and translators will be paid an
honorarium of US$100 per 1000 words for up to 1500 words.
1. What is your name, position, and mailing address?
2. What Indonesian authors of short fiction do you think should be
represented in An Anthology of Modern Literature from the Muslim World? Please
list up to ten authors and specific titles for each author.
3. What Indonesian poets do you think should be represented in An
Anthology of Modern Literature from the Muslim World? Please list up to five
poets. (You need not cite specific titles of poems.)
4. What other authors do you think should represent Indonesia in An
Anthology of Modern Literature from the Muslim World? Name up to three. Your
choice may include dramatists, essayists, and writers of memoirs.
After you have filled out this questionnaire, please return it to John McGlynn
by email to
or by post to Jl. Danau Laut Tawar No. 53, Pejompongan, Jakarta 10210. All
persons who complete the questionnaire and return it to John will receive a
voucher for the purchase of books from the Lontar Foundation.