Wednesday, May 22, 2019

World Literature Today - It's a Big Old World Out There

September/October 2018 issue
In my Sunday afternoon post about that morning's visit to Barnes & Noble I highlighted a new-to-me magazine called World Literature Today.  I mentioned that because the only copy for sale in the store was dated November/December 2018 I was a bit worried that I had just discovered a great looking magazine that was already out of business (these days you just never know).  But boy was I wrong!

It turns out that World Literature Today is one of the very oldest literary magazines being published in the United States today, and that it goes back for ninety straight years. The magazine is published bi-monthly by The University of Oklahoma in Norman, and it is available both in print and digital editions.  I chose a digital subscription over a print one for a couple of reasons: my local mail service tends to mangle about 50% of the magazines it delivers, and the digital subscription allows me to read back issues of the magazine going back to at least 2007.  At $18 a year, I think it is a real bargain coming in at $3 an issue the way it does compared to the cover price of $9 I paid on Sunday.  But World Literature Today is a non-profit publication, so price is not the real issue here (and if you can afford to pay more for a subscription than its suggested price, your money will be gratefully accepted).

If you are interested at all in reading the work of authors from outside the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, (not to say that authors and books from these countries are not also included in WTF's "world") I can't imagine a more perfect magazine for you than this one.  

The $5 Maya Angelou Quote Tote Bag
Most of us read very few translations, but that's not necessarily our fault because too little effort is made by publishers and booksellers to get good foreign fiction and nonfiction into our hands. I suspect that translations are not cheap to produce, and when you combine a more expensive translated book with the  smaller potential audience it naturally comes with, it's easy enough to see why more of them are not published here. The books will probably still not be particularly easy to find even once you learn of their existence, but at least you will have a chance now. First you have to know that they are even out there.

Here's a quick link to the magazine's homepage where you can sample the magazine and find out more about subscription rates and what to expect.


  1. I love bookish magazines, but I hadn't heard of this one before you mentioned it. I'll definitely go check out the website and see about subscribing. Sounds like it offers some great content.

    1. It's very well done, and I wish I could have gotten a print subscription...but my mailman drives me nuts with the way he tears up magazines before I get them. It's either him or the processing center at the P.O. - one of them takes great delight in irritating people like me who still subscribe to physical magazines.