Founded in 2003, Words without Borders promotes cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of the finest contemporary international literature. Our publications and programs open doors for readers of English around the world to the multiplicity of viewpoints, richness of experience, and literary perspective on world events offered by writers in other languages. We seek to connect international writers to the general public, to students and educators, and to print and other media and to serve as a primary online location for a global literary conversation.

Every month we publish eight to twelve new works by international writers. We have published works by Nobel Prize laureates J.M.G. Le Clézio and Herta Müller and noted writers Mahmoud Darwish, Etgar Keret, Per Petterson, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, W.G. Sebald, and Can Xue, as well as many new and rising international writers. To date we have published well over 2,000 pieces from 126 countries and 105 languages. In 2014, Words without Borders launched an education program that provides educators with resources and content to more readily incorporate contemporary international literature into their classes. The program, Words without Borders Campus, includes a second Web site ( We hope that in reaching out to students we can create a passion for international literature, a curiosity about other cultures, and inspire true world citizens.

In addition, we’ve partnered with publishing houses to release print anthologies. To date we have released Words without Borders: The World through the Eyes of Writers (Anchor Books), Literature from the “Axis of Evil”: Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations (The New Press), The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain (Open Letter), The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Ecco), Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes of the Middle East (W.W. Norton), Spain's Great Untranslated (in collaboration with the Spain-USA Foundation), and the e-anthology Words without Borders: The Best of the First Ten Years.

As part of the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research, Words Without Borders and members of the Translation research group implemented this pilot program in their classrooms at various CUNY campuses, are co-sponsoring and co-editing an issue of the magazine on theater in translation, provided students the opportunity to post on travel, theater, and translation on the WWB’s Dispatches blog, and are collaborating on a staged reading of micro-plays in translation.

Seminars & Working Groups


We investigate how translation can be a process of transformation.