It is a truth universally acknowledged that Americans don’t read enough world literature. (We don’t read enough literature period, but that’s the subject for another column.) Although I consider myself well read, and my job at Kirkus certainly keeps me turning pages, I’m the first to admit that I don’t explore what’s being published beyond U.S. borders as often as I’d like. It’s too easy to get caught in the ebb and flow of new releases from contemporary American authors.

That’s one reason I look forward to the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature each fall. I’m grateful to the Swedish Academy for pointing me toward 2022 laureate Annie Ernaux, for example; I’d heard a lot of buzz about the work of this octogenarian French writer, but the prize gave me the push I needed to finally read her. As I wrote in this space at the time, her book Happening—a gut-punch account of her unexpected pregnancy and illegal abortion at the age of 23—was a total revelation to me and many other U.S. readers. Her American publisher, Seven Stories Press, reports a 25-fold increase in sales of her titles in the year after the Nobel announcement.

The same year that Ernaux received the Nobel, South Korean writer Bora Chung, made the International Booker Prize shortlist with her slyly twisted story collection Cursed Bunny. (The International Booker, sibling to the prestigious Booker Prize, recognizes “fiction from around the world [that] has been translated into English and published in the U.K. and Ireland.”) Now Chung has a second collection published in the United States. In a starred review of Your Utopia (Algonquin, Jan. 30), our critic writes that the “imagined worlds here may not be utopian—but the reading experience certainly is.” (Both collections were translated into English by Anton Hur.) Don’t miss our interview with Chung—who has some international reading recommendations of her own as a translator of Polish and Russian science fiction—for the cover story of our March 15 issue, dedicated to international authors and books.

Elsewhere in the issue, we talk with Sandra Guzmán, who edited the groundbreaking literary anthology Daughters of Latin America (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2023); Antony Shugaar, who has been busy translating the children’s picture books of midcentury Italian author Gianni Rodari; and Sámi/Swedish writer Moa Backe Åstot, whose debut YA novel, Fire From the Sky, was honored by the American Library Association in its English translation by Eva Apelqvist (Levine Querido, 2023). And don’t miss our editors’ columns, which spotlight outstanding international titles in fiction, nonfiction, children’s, and young adult literature.

In working on the issue, I stumbled upon my own next international read: a mystery novel, the first in a projected series, by Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov. The Silver Bone, translated by Boris Dralyuk (HarperVia, March 5), introduces detective Samson Kolechko, who’s investigating a theft—and then pursuing a murderer—in the bleak city of Kyiv after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1919. Kurkov, like his homeland, has garnered more global attention since the war with Russia, and his books hold the promise of all international literature: to offer a firsthand perspective on life elsewhere on the planet.

Tom Beer is the editor-in-chief.