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Literature & Fiction - Foreign Language Fiction / Translations Literature & Fiction - Short Stories & Anthologies

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This Is the Language That Was Given to Us: Volume Three of The Bare Life Review: A Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Literature

ISBN: 9781734182309
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 134
Trim: 5.25” x 8.4 inches
Published: 11/15/2019

From The Bare Life Review—the only publication whose sole mission is to publish the work of immigrant and refugee writers—comes a remarkable third volume, This Is the Language That Was Given to Us. Featuring original poetry and prose by fifteen writers from twelve different countries, from established stars to new and emerging talents, This Is the Language That Was Given to Us weaves a many-threaded tapestry, exemplifying the diversity and richness of international literature.

This collection includes Namwali Serpell on the fragility of personal bonds old and new, and what the late Toni Morrison’s seminal novel, Beloved, can teach us about love and intimacy; Sergio Aguilar Rivera’s Kafkaesque evocation of the anxieties that might plague a new mother; poems by Josey Foo, Chekwube Danladi, and others; and newcomer Anna Andrew on seeking both refuge and sustenance across southern Sudan, Uganda, and Egypt.

Of Andrew’s work, editor-in-chief Nyuol Lueth Tong writes, “Hunger itself becomes the very reality of exile… that hungering becomes the deeper hungering for home that plagues the displaced. Anna’s recipes and cooking methods are her grammar of persistence, depository of memories and stories, the language that her survival has given her.”

Prose by:

Anna Andrew
Catharina Coenen
Catherine C. Con
Donna Hemans
Pete Hsu
Mehdi M. Kashani
Sergio Aguilar Rivera
Namwali Serpell
Jesus Francisco Sierra

 Poetry by:

Chekwube Danladi
Siyun Fang
Josey Foo
Anca Roncea
Liwa Sun

And an interview with Matvei Yankelevich of Ugly Duckling Presse (conducted by Etan Nechin)


The Bare Life Review was founded in 2017 as the only literary biannual devoted entirely to publishing the work of immigrant and refugee writers. Led by Editor-in-Chief Nyuol Lueth Tong (There Is a Country: New Fiction from the New Nation of South Sudan, and McSweeney’s 52: In Their Faces, a Landmark), its editorial staff is comprised of working writers, all immigrants in their own right. The editorial advisory board includes Dave Eggers, Akhil Sharma, Paul Harding, Ainehi Edoro, and others. The first two volumes of The Bare Life Review garnered recognition from the Pushcart Prize (Vol. 1, for Hoa Nguyen’s poetry) and the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (Best Debut Magazine). The Bare Life Review is a member of Intersection for the Arts, a non-profit arts organization in San Francisco.


The Bare Life Review has a keen understanding of literary art [as] a necessary space for reacting to global trauma.” -- Scott Tschirhart for Portland Review

“[The Bare Life Review's] very existence point[s] to the emergent urgency of creating a space for migrant writing. More importantly, the journal format proves to be well-suited for the task. Bare Life’s stories, essays and poems are able to explore migrant narrative collectively, in the end producing a richer and more nuanced picture of this narrative...” -- Kris Bartkus for Full Stop