Contemporary World Fiction

A Guide to Literature in Translation

by Juris Dilevko, Keren Dali, and Glenda Garbutt


What people in North America learn about other cultures and countries is often filtered through Western perspectives and sensibilities. One way to get beyond that sometimes-one-dimensional view is to sample stories of other countries and cultures as told by people who live in those lands and speak their languages.

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Cover image for Contemporary World Fiction

March 2011

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 526
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/Arts and Humanities Literature Reference Tools
  Acquisitions and Collection Management/Arts and Humanities Literature

This much-needed guide to translated literature offers readers the opportunity to hear from, learn about, and perhaps better understand our shrinking world from the perspective of insiders from many cultures and traditions.

In a globalized world, knowledge about non-North American societies and cultures is a must. Contemporary World Fiction: A Guide to Literature in Translation provides an overview of the tremendous range and scope of translated world fiction available in English. In so doing, it will help readers get a sense of the vast world beyond North America that is conveyed by fiction titles from dozens of countries and language traditions.

Within the guide, approximately 1,000 contemporary non-English-language fiction titles are fully annotated and thousands of others are listed. Organization is primarily by language, as language often reflects cultural cohesion better than national borders or geographies, but also by country and culture. In addition to contemporary titles, each chapter features a brief overview of earlier translated fiction from the group. The guide also provides in-depth bibliographic essays for each chapter that will enable librarians and library users to further explore the literature of numerous languages and cultural traditions.


  • Over 1,000 annotated contemporary world fiction titles, featuring author's name; title; translator; publisher and place of publication; genre/literary style/story type; an annotation; related works by the author; subject keywords; and original language
  • 9 introductory overviews about classic world fiction titles
  • Extensive bibliographical essays about fiction traditions in other countries
  • 5 indexes: annotated authors, annotated titles, translators, nations, and subjects/keywords


  • Facilitates the exploration of other countries and cultures, as represented through stories written in the original languages of those countries and cultures
  • Explains how to keep up-to-date with recent publications of world fiction
  • Tells librarians and readers alike where to look for further information about authors of world fiction
  • Provides access to a wide range of bibliographic sources about non-English cultural and literary traditions
Author Info

Juris Dilevko is associate professor in the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. His published works include Reading and the Reference Librarian: The Importance to Library Service of Staff Reading Habits; The Evolution of Library and Museum Partnerships: Historical Antecedents, Contemporary Manifestations, and Future Directions; and Readers' Advisory Service in North American Public Libraries, 1870–2005.

Keren Dali, PhD, is assistant professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Her published works include peer-reviewed articles in Journal of Academic Librarianship, Library Resources & Technical Services, College & Research Libraries, New Library World, and The Reference Librarian, among others. She teaches courses on reading and the foundations of LIS. Her research interests include reading and readers, readers' advisory, and multicultural collections and reference services.

Glenda Garbutt received a master of information studies degree from the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.



"This text, subtitled A Guide to Literature in Translation, offers valuable information on a vast amount of work from Africa, East Asia, the Mediterranean, Russia, Latin America, and elsewhere. For each book covered, the text details common styles and tropes, as well as past reviews."World Literature Today, Nota Bene

"This is an excellent introductory reference work to contemporary world literature not originally published in English. Dilevko, Keren Dali, and Glenda Garbutt, all affiliated with the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, make no attempt to provide an encyclopedic overview but rather present a solid groundwork for both the casual reader and the academic student. . . . Highly recommended for the casual reader wishing to discover international contemporary fiction and for students of literature."Library Journal, Starred Review

"The authors, all connected with the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, have produced a unique and useful reference book. . . . Large public and all academic libraries will find this an essential purchase for their reference collection."Booklist

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