Specimen is a multilingual web magazine that embraces our multifaceted world through translation and a heightened dialogue among languages. Texts can be in every language and alphabet, potentially translated into and from any other language. With an inclination for second languages and hybrid forms, Specimen engages an ever-expanding network of writers, artists, and thinkers, fostering relation and linguistic hospitality as the core of its approach.
Favoring a slow pace, Specimen publishes an average of four new texts and various new translations every month. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or rely on our Newsletter for a monthly recap.
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At times Specimen returns to the physical world in the form of limited editions or on-demand publications, as well as public debates on the occasion of special events and festivals.
Specimen is a publication of
Babel. Festival di letteratura e traduzione
CH – 6501 Bellinzona
The founder members and inner core of the magazine are:
Born in Locarno, Switzerland, in 1977, he is the author of four poetry collections in Italian, Faura dei morti, Ora prima, Il passo dell’uomo, and Sono due le parole che rimano in ore. In 2016 he published his first English language prose book, London as a Second Language (Humboldt Books), and in 2021 the prose collection Tarmacadam (Nottetempo). He was awarded the Schiller Prize, the Marazza Prize for translation, and was shortlisted for the European Poet of Freedom Prize 2016. He has translated works by W.H. Auden, William Faulkner, W. Somerset Maugham, Denton Welch, Erich Fromm. He’s the main founder of Babel festival and the director of the cultural programs of RSI.
Born in Milan, Italy, in 1970, he is the author of a book of poems, In una notte fortunata (Casagrande, 2010), a play, Dioniso a Tebe (2012), a travelogue, Dispacci dai Caraibi (with photographs by Stefano Graziani, Quodlibet/Humboldt, 2015) and the screenplay for the short movie Il grande freddo (Italy, 2018). He has edited and translated works by Derek Walcott and Joseph Brodsky, among others. He was awarded the Mario Luzi Prize for poetry, and the Marazza Prize for translation. His work has appeared in various newspapers and magazines in Italy, Switzerland, England, and the US. He is the artistic director of Babel festival. www.matteocampagnoli.com
Born in Bellinzona, Switzerland, in 1970. Among his various publications, the collections of prose pieces La terra e il suo satellite (Quodlibet 2019), and Ufficio proiezioni luminose (Quodlibet, 2013; Swiss Literature Prize 2014, published in Germany by Brotsuppe, under the title Amt für Lichtbildprojektion, in 2015), the pamphlet on silence in literature La gag del cappello (Biblioteca cantonale di Bellinzona, 2015) and the chapbook Gotthard Super Express (with a text by Peter Weber and photographs by Laurence Bonvin, Humboldt Books, 2015).
She studied foreign languages and literature (English and Russian) at the University of Pisa. She then spent various years in England, teaching Italian and working as a translator. In 2010 she completed a second-level professional master’s degree in Translation of Post-Colonial Texts at the University of Pisa. She has published translations with various publishing houses and magazines (Metropoli d’Asia, Zona Editore, Humboldt Books, Lo Straniero, ISSA: Italian Studies in Southern Africa). She is the chief operating officer of Babel festival.
Born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1975. His writings include the novels Le Zoo de Rome (Actes Sud, Arles 2019, winner of the 2020 Swiss Literature Prize), and L’Invisible (Editions Buchet-Chastel, Paris 2009), a book of prose poems, Coléoptères (Editions Samizdat, Genève 2007), and a collection of fictionalised letters, À toi, in collaboration with Kim Thuy (Libre Expression, Montréal 2011, and Liliana Lévi, Paris 2011), translated into several languages. He has contributed to different French, Swiss, and Italian cultural magazines. Having spent many years in Bangladesh, and in various countries of the Middle East, he currently lives in Rome.
Born in Locarno in 1991, she studied literature and art history at the University of Zurich and now works as a freelance editor and journalist in Ticino, Switzerland. She collaborates with festivals such as Babel and the Locarno Film Festival. For Edizioni Casagrande she edited the book Bellinzona Grand Tour (2018).
A literary translator from French and English, she works with the main Italian publishing houses. Among the authors she has translated: J-M.G. Le Clézio, Emmanuel Carrère, Aleksandar Hemon, Cormac McCarthy, Martin Amis, Mary Gaitskill. Her version of Suttree by Cormac McCarthy won her the Premio Vallombrosa Von Rezzori 2010. In 2014 she was awarded the Premio Schiller–Terra Nova for the translation of the novel Rapport aux bêtes (Cuore di bestia) by Swiss author Noëlle Revaz. She has been teaching the French-Italian translation course at the Scuola di specializzazione per traduttori editoriali in Turin since 2003. She currently lives in Paris.
A Canadian writer born in Batoumi, Georgia, she graduated in journalism at the University of Tbilisi. She subsequently worked as a sports journalist and wrote scripts for documentary films. She is the founder of a new genre in literature, “roman sténographique”, or “stenoromanco”. In this very particular style she wrote eight books in Russian, which have been translated into French, Italian, Czech, Romanian, Portuguese, Norwegian, and Georgian. She is the recipient of the Russkaya Premiya 2015 and was made Journalist Emeritus of Georgia in 2016.
Born in 1969 near Milan, I have been happily translating fiction, mainly from English into Italian, for the past twenty-five years, working on contemporary writers – Jenny Offill, Teju Cole, Sarah Manguso, Siri Hustvedt, Paula Fox, Ottessa Moshfegh, Carmen Maria Machado and many others – as well as on classics such as Iris Murdoch, Wilfred Thesiger, and Saki. NNeditore, Contrasto, Einaudi, Saggiatore, Mondadori, Feltrinelli, Codice are some of the publishers I collaborate with.
After spending about two decades exploring urban India and South East Asia, I edited an anthology of under 40 Indian writers while organising workshops on translation or publishing and occasionally writing for magazines. Recently I have been working mainly on North American literature and every year I spend several months in writing residencies in the States and Canada or just traveling. Besides collaborating with various publishers and pitching fiction, I am currently working on a project promoting literatures from Africa and editing a collection of essays on translation written by many of the writers I translated.
is a Mexico-based literary translator, translating between Arabic, Spanish, and English. He has introduced and translated a number of Latin American authors from Spanish to Arabic, as well as speeches and declarations from the EZLN in Chiapas. He pursued Latin American Studies in the United States (Swarthmore College) and Mexico (UNAM) and currently teaches Arabic literature in Spanish translation at the Colegio de México in Mexico City. The Arabic translation of José Emilio Pacheco’s Las batallas en el desierto (Palestine, 2016) was his first novel-length work.
Maria Sozzani Brodsky was born in Milan. She lived for many years in New York, where she still chairs the Joseph Brodsky Fellowship Fund, which supports annual residencies for Russian writers and artists and cultural exchanges between Italy, Russia, and the US. Since 2004 she lives and works in Milan.
Is a London-based Eritrean-Ethiopian writer. Addonia grew up in a refugee camp in Sudan, where he lost his hearing at the age of twelve. He then migrated to Saudi Arabia and to London some 20 years ago. After directing several digital animations and two short films, he is now dedicated to writing. His first collection of short stories, still unpublished in English, has been published in Italian translation under the title Lei è un altro paese by Edizioni Casagrande in 2018.
Adania Shibli (Palestine, 1974) currently lives between Jerusalem and Berlin. She has written three novels, several plays, and many short stories and narrative essays, which were published in various anthologies, art books, and literary magazines worldwide in different languages. She has twice been awarded the Qattan Young Writer’s Award-Palestine, in 2001 for her novel Masaas (translated into English as Touch. Northampton: Clockroot, 2009), and in 2003 for her novel Kulluna Ba’id bethat al Miqdar aan el-Hub (translated into English as We Are All Equally Far from Love. Northampton: Clockroot, 2012). Her third novel, Tafsil Thanawi (translated into English as Minor Detail), will be out in Arabic in 2016. Shibli is also the editor of Dispositions (Ramallah: Qattan, 2012), an art book about contemporary Palestinian artists, and is engaged in academic research and teaching. Since 2012 she is a visiting professor at Birzeit University, Palestine.
Born in Moscow, Russia, in 1981, he graduated from the Gorky Literature Institute in 2007 and received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literary Studies from the Russian State University for the Humanities in 2011. In 2008 he was awarded the Zhukovsky Prize for young translators from German by the Goethe Institut. From 2011 he has been promoting Swiss literature in Russia. In 2016, together with two colleagues, he started the first Russian spoken word festival at the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow (http://post-babel.ru).
Novelist and film-maker Xiaolu Guo’s artistic career spans both China and the West. Her novels, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction), I Am China (longlisted for Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize ), and her recent novelistic memoir Once Upon A Time In The East (Penguin Random House, 2017), have been translated into more than 26 languages. In 2013 she was named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. She also directed several award-winning films, among them: UFO in Her Eyes, Once Upon a Time Proletarian (Venice Film Festival), and She, a Chinese (Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival). Guo currently lives in London and Berlin. www.guoxiaolu.com
Born in North Carolina, U.S.A., in 1976, Stephanos Papadopoulos was raised in Paris and Athens. He is the author of three poetry collections: The Black Sea (2012), Hôtel-Dieu (2009), and Lost Days (2001). He is editor and co-translator with Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke of Derek Walcott’s Selected Poems in Greek, and he has translated into English works of Greek poets, Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, Yiannis Ritsos, and Kostas Karyotakis among others. His work has appeared in journals such as The New Republic, The Yale Review, Poetry Review, Stand Magazine and he writes regularly for the Los Angeles Review of Books. He was the recipient of the 2014 Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize selected by Mark Strand. www.stephanospapadopoulos.com
Born in Bern, Switzerland, in 1974, Barbara Sauser studied Slavic literature in Freiburg (CH) and Kazan (RU). She worked at Rotpunkt publishing house in Zurich. She now lives in Bellinzona, where she works as a freelance literary translator from Italian, French, Russian, and Polish. www.barbarasauser.ch
Anna Banfi was born in Milan, Italy, in 1980. A classical philologist, she worked at the University of Oxford as Research Associate in Classics. In 2013 she completed a second-level professional master’s degree in publishing. Since then she has been working as a freelance editor for different Italian and Swiss publishers. She writes regularly for Qui Touring and contributes to various other magazines. Previous to Specimen, she has been on the editorial boards of Engramma and Dioniso.
is British, born in Eritrea to an Eritrean mother and an Ethiopian father. His first novel, The Consequences of Love, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and has been translated into more than 20 languages. He currently lives in Brussels and is writing a new novel.
was born in Fribourg, Switzerland, where she studied geology and geography; after that, she studied librarianship in Lyon and art in Geneva, where now she teaches at the Art and Design University. She published books of essays (Ça prend : art contemporain, cinéma et pop culture, 2013 / Oh là mon Dieu, 2015), micro-fictions (Cent titres sans Sans titres, 2014), and a novel (C’est quelque chose, 2017). She also produces posters and artist books. She has three children. She has an inclination for folds and for hairdos. She likes to travel by train. She lives in Geneva and often visits Gruyère. www.fabienneradi.ch
Born in Locarno in 1978, Filippo Filliger moved to Geneva in 1999, where he graduated in History and Aesthetics of Cinema and studied film-making at the Academy of Fine Arts. During his studies, he directed several short films, shown at international festivals. He also wrote and directed several plays, and produced a number of installations and performances for contemporary art spaces with his wife Dorothée Thébert.
Giuseppe Sofo is Tenure-track Assistant Professor of French language and translation at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. His research focuses on translation and Caribbean literatures, and he has taught French, English, and Italian language and literature in Italian, French and American universities (L’Aquila, Parma, Urbino, Avignon, Dickinson College). He has translated literary works from French (Aimé Césaire, Douna Loup, James Noël), English (Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Edwidge Danticat, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw) and German (Dragica Rajčić) and has published works of fiction, travel writing, and essays on literature and translation.