Showing posts with label lists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lists. Show all posts

Thursday, August 30, 2018

WITMonth Day 30 | 15 WITMonth Hits

Well, here we are. Almost at the end of WITMonth, wrapping things up, getting ready for the coming year. But what about books that have already been popular? What about all the books that didn't make it into specific genre lists, or suddenly had a resurgence in popularity among readers, or have remained staples throughout all five WITMonths? Don't those books deserve some attention too? Certainly! And so today's list is a list of 15 books that have been (and remain!) big WITMonth winners among readers. Some are very recent releases, others have been around for a few years, and others still are modern classics that continue to be popular throughout WITMonth. Of course these are not the only WITMonth hits, but I decided to opt for titles that haven't already been listed elsewhere this month in my recommendation lists and go for slightly different choices. Ready?

  1. The Summer Book - Tove Jansson (tr. from Swedish by Thomas Teal): Vignettes of a young girl and her grandmother's slow summer on a small Finnish island.
  2. The Vegetarian - Han Kang (tr. from Korean by Deborah Smith): The gradual erosion of a woman who abruptly decides to go vegetarian.
  3. Go, Went, Gone - Jenny Erpenbeck (tr. from German by Susan Bernofsky): An exploration of the European refugee crisis through the eyes of a German professor.
  4. Flights - Olga Tokarczuk (tr. from Polish by Jennifer Croft): A series of separate stories and anecdotes, building on the idea of flights and travels.
  5. The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yoko Ogawa (tr. from Japanese by Stephen Snyder): Gentle friendship and family blossoms between a professor with an inability to retain new memories, his housekeeper, and her son.  
  6. Last Words from Montmarte - Qiu Miaojin (tr. from Chinese by Ari Larissa Heinrich): The Taiwanese classic of queer love, heartbreak, and sorrow.
  7. My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante (tr. from Italian by Ann Goldstein): Volume one of the international phenomenon, introducing two childhood friends and tracking their lives and struggles as they grow to adulthood.
  8. Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto (tr. from Japanese by Megan Backus): A young woman turns to cooking as a means to channel her grief, as well as finding a new family.
  9. People in the Room - Norah Lange (tr. from Spanish by Charlotte Whittle): An atmospheric, dreamy series of imaginations. 
  10. The Hunger Angel - Herta Müller (tr. from German by Philip Boehm): Political, tense, and unrelenting, the story of a young man sent to a Soviet work camp.
  11. Panty - Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay (tr. from Bengali by Arunava Sinha): The feverish, loosely written account of a woman caught in a fantasy, or perhaps simply reality.
  12. Umami - Laia Jufresa (tr. from Spanish by Sophie Hughes): In a small housing complex, residents fumble through new and changing realities, grief, and moving on, with stories unfolding in parallel and in reverse.
  13. Three Strong Women - Marie NDiaye (tr. from French by John Fletcher): Three stories detailing the lives of three women, living between two worlds and caught in complicated circumstances as they attempt to survive.
  14. Eve Out of Her Ruins - Ananda Devi (tr. from French by Jeffrey Zuckerman): A spare, powerful account of the struggles of young Mauritians, coming of age through violence and anguish.
  15. August - Romina Paula (tr. from Spanish by Jennifer Croft): A young woman returns to her childhood hometown to confront the ghosts of her past.
I could easily have made this list longer. More expansive. Frankly, it could also be more inclusive! But these are definitely among the most popular books in the WITMonth tags and I thought they deserved their moment in the sun. And you, dear readers? What are your WITMonth hits?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

WITMonth Day 28 | 10 Recommended Thrillers/Mysteries

One of the most popular genres across the world is undeniably thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels. Ranging from cozily whimsical to terrifyingly cold-blooded, these genres have become increasingly prevalent in recent years within the literature in translation niche, boosted in large part by an uptick in Scandinavian crime literature in particular. These are also genres that have long been well represented by women writers from all over the world, writing in many different languages!

  1. Out - Natsuo Kirino (tr. from Japanese by Stephen Snyder): A crime sets in motion a psychological thriller set in the lower-middle classes on the outskirts of Japanese society.
  2. Fever Dream - Samanta Schweblin (tr. from Spanish by Megan McDowell): Not a thriller in the most traditional meaning of the word, but a pulsing, eerily suspenseful novella.
  3. The Good Son - You-jeong Jeong (tr. from Korean Chi-Young Kim): This psychological thriller seeks to understand the mind of a killer, from his point of view.
  4. Last Rituals - Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (tr. from Icelandic by Bernard Scudder): When a young man is brutally murdered, a lawyer sets out to investigate, finding herself involved in a world of historical intrigues and dangerous rituals.
  5. Blind Goddess - Anne Holt (tr. from Norwegian by Tom Geddes): A tale of violence, crime, and corruption, led by a lesbian detective trying to uncover the truth.
  6. Thursday Night Widows - Claudia Piñeiro (tr. from Spanish by Miranda France): Three women in an affluent upper-middle class community find themselves widowed, following the murder of their respective husbands.
  7. The Lady Agnès Mystery - Andrea H. Japp (tr. from French by Lorenza García): A historical mystery set in Medieval France, full of intrigue and religious danger.
  8. In the Distance With You - Carla Guelfenbein (tr. from Spanish by John Cullen): A literary thriller centered around Chile's history and a mysterious author.
  9. Confessions - Kanae Minato (tr. from Japanese by Stephen Snyder): After the death of her daughter, a teacher seeks her revenge on those responsible: her students.
  10. Eva's Eye - Karin Fossum (tr. from Norwegian by James Anderson): The "Norwegian Queen of Crime" in a set of two murders and the single mother who gets caught up in the investigation.
You'll perhaps have noticed a few things about this list. First, it's rather high on titles from very specific parts of the world (and much lower from others). Second, it unfortunately doesn't have all that much on the cozy end of the scale. And third, there are, unfortunately, a few cases of dead women here (though I tried to avoid them as much as possible)... However, it's important to remember that with crime fiction going through a major boom right now, women in translation follow. Many prominent women crime writers from Scandinavia have been translated as a result of the increased interest in "Scandi noir", and hopefully many more from the rest of the world will soon follow!

Monday, August 27, 2018

WITMonth Day 27 | More things from other people!

Lots of amazing things still happening around the internet, even as WITMonth begins to wind down:

And of course, as always, there's so much I'm still leaving off. But WITMonth isn't really limited just to August, is it? We'll just keep going into September!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

WITMonth Day 26 | 10 Recommended Kids and YA Books

Literature in translation is, alas, too often associated with stuffy, long, pretentious novels by dead Russian men, and as something uniquely mature. But what most readers don't realize is that many childhood classics from around the world actually do get translated and shared, even in English! Children are not lacking for any literature in translation, whether it's picture books, chapter books, or YA epics. While most of the translated literature by women writers has thus far come out of Europe, there is still plenty from around the world as well. Let's dive in.

  1. Maresi - Maria Turtschaninoff (tr. from Finnish Swedish by A. A. Prime): A dark but ultimately optimistic YA fantasy that marks the beginning of a fiercely feminist series.
  2. Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren (tr. from Swedish by Florence Lamborn, among others): The children's classic full of adventure and excitement continues to charm and delight children to this day, without them even realizing its original language isn't English!
  3. Samir and Yonatan - Daniella Carmi (tr. from Hebrew by Yael Lotan): Two boys - Palestinian Arab and Israeli Jewish - in a children's hospital begin to form a friendship in the shadow of Middle Eastern conflicts of the 1990s.
  4. Tomorrow - Nadine Kaadan (tr. from Arabic by the author): The story of how a child sees war around him and live on. (Expected publication: September 1st, 2018)
  5.  The Happiness of Kati - Jane Vejjajiva (tr. from Thai by Prudence Borthwick): A girl comes to terms with her absent mother's advancing illness, while finding her own path to happiness.
  6. Wonderful Feels Like This - Sara Lövestam (tr. from Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg): A music-loving teen befriends an elderly former jazz player, as their stories unfold side-by-side.
  7. Moriboto: Guardian of the Spirit - Nahoko Uehashi (tr. from Japanese by Cathy Hirono): A prince, his bodyguard, and a hero's journey, wrapped up in mythology and subversive gender roles.
  8. Inkheart - Cornelia Funke (tr. from German by Anthea Bell): The magic of books literally comes alive in a swashbuckling, fantastical series.
  9. An Elephantasy - María Elena Walsh (tr. from Spanish by Daniel Hahn): No adventure can manage to not be whimsical when an elephant is involved!
  10. Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow - Faïza Guène (tr. from French by Sarah Adams): A cynical teenager comes of age in the suburbs of Paris, struggling to understand her place in the world.
It's important to note that this list was also very difficult to compile, and that for a field allegedly "dominated by women", children's and YA literature in translation remain sadly almost as imbalanced as adult literature when it comes to women writers. Kidlit and YA are critical in normalizing the existence not only of literature in translation as a concept, but also in allowing children and young adults to experience worlds utterly different from their own... but also the same! In the same way that kids "need diverse books", kids also need books that reflect the wonderful range and diversity of the whole world (and not just one language).

I've left off a few of the big ones here (Heidi, the Moomins...), but what else do you think is missing? What are your favorite kidlit or YA books written by women in translation? And if you read in languages other than English as well, what kidlit/YA books from your native language by a woman writer would you like to see translated into different languages?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

WITMonth Day 22 | 10 Recommended 20th Century Classics

We've covered older classics, but what about books from last century? Hundreds of thousands of brilliant books by women from around the world were written in the 20th century, so this list will of course be woefully incomplete. But it can be a jumping off point!

  1. The Complete Stories - Clarice Lispector (tr. from Portuguese by Katrina Dodson): A stellar collection of a 20th century icon, spanning works that weird, wonderful, and powerful.
  2. Kristin Lavransdatter - Sigrid Undset (tr. from Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally, among others): The historical epic that remains popular to this day, detailing the lives of ordinary women in late medieval Norway.
  3. The Bridge of Beyond - Simone Schwarz-Bart (tr. from French by Barbara Bray): A transcendent, powerful, and absolutely unique novel about the memory of horror, within a life of beauty.
  4. History - Elsa Morante (tr. from Italian by William Weaver): History, but only of a certain time and place, lingering somewhere between the intimate story of a single family trying to survive fascist Italy, as well as the larger story of Europe during the same period.
  5. Woman at Point Zero - Nawal El Saadawi (tr. from Arabic by Sherif Hetata): What brings a woman to the edge of her life, having murdered a man and remaining unfazed in the face of her impending execution? A stunning feminist exploration of the lives of poor, under-educated women and the struggles that emerge.
  6. So Long a Letter - Mariama Bâ (tr. from French by Modupé Bodé-Thomas): Written in the form of a letter between two friends, a Senegalese woman reflects on her life and her status as a woman.
  7. The Door - Magda Szabó (tr. from Hungarian by Len Rix): A complicated friendship with a complicated woman leads to a fascinating meditation on a writer's relationship with her housekeeper, neurosis, and life.
  8. The Book of Lamentations - Rosario Castellanos (tr. from Spanish by Esther Allen): A fictional account of an indigenous Mayan Mexican uprising, shining light on the racial boundaries, oppression, and violence that dominated the early 20th century.
  9. Masks - Fumiko Enchi (tr. from Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter): Two men seek the love of a young widow, whose life remains intrinsically linked to her former mother in law.
  10. Mother of 1084 - Mahasweta Devi (tr. from Bengali by Samik Bandyopadhyay): A mother remembers and grieves for her son, killed in during an attempted communist uprising.
There are, as usual, many more titles that could have made this list. Some have already appeared in other lists this month (The House of the Spirits, to name but one example), others may yet make future lists (The Summer Book), and others still will just have to wait their turn! What are some of your favorite 20th century books by women in translation? What do you think I've missed in this list?

Monday, August 20, 2018

WITMonth Day 20 | 10 Recommended Pre-20th Century Classics

One of the most common (dismissive) responses to WITMonth's existence is that of course there is bias, since women did not historically write as much as men. While true that women often did not have the same opportunities to write as men did, it is simply not true that women did not write at all. Nor is it true that women only began writing from a certain period and onward. In fact, women have been writing and telling stories for literally hundreds (indeed, thousands) of years. The first credited novel was written by a Japanese woman, Murasaki Shikibu. Some of the finest ancient poetry was written by women. Not being a literary scholar or historian, it's certainly hard for me to point to the best classics by women in translation... but it's not impossible! So here is just a taste. (And keep an eye out for the 20th century edition!)
  1. The Tale of Genji - Murasaki Shikibu (tr. from Japanese by Royall Tyler, among others): The literal first novel, a genuine classic and cornerstone of literary culture at large!
  2. The Book of the City of Ladies - Christine de Pizan (tr. from French by Rosalind Brown-Grant, among others): Before feminism was feminism, there was Christine de Pizan, eloquently arguing for women's rights (albeit through a deeply Christian, European, and at-times narrow-minded lens).
  3. The Clouds Float North - Yu Xuanji (tr. from Chinese by David Young and Jiann I. Lin): One of China's early poets, with poems ranging from the personal to the atmospheric.
  4. The Princess of Clèves - Madame de Lafayette (tr. from French by Nancy Mitford): Romance, intrigue, and drama combine in a novel that is clearly rooted to its time period, but also surprisingly modern.
  5. Indiana - George Sand (tr. from French by Sylvia Raphael): A pre-feminist novel exploring the rights of women (and poor women) in a world that simply does not view them as worthy.
  6. Poems, Protest, and a Dream: Selected Writings - Juana Inés de la Cruz (tr. from Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden, among others): Nun, writer, proto-feminist, and scholar, Juana Inés de la Cruz is not the name of a leading Mexican prize for Spanish-language women writers for nothing!
  7. The Pillow Book - Sei Shōnagon (tr. from Japanese by Meredith McKinney): Musings on life, poetry, art, and boredom by a writer who would probably feel perfectly at home on Twitter... even though she wrote over 1000 years ago.
  8. The Appeasement of Radhika - Muddupalani (tr. from Telugu by Sandhya Mulchandani): An erotic poem about Krishna and Radha, groundbreaking in the sexual liberties its women have, as well as having been a Telugu classic for hundreds of years.
  9. Birds Without a Nest - Clorinda Matto de Turner (tr. from Spanish by J. G. H., among others): A Peruvian novel detailing the struggles of indigenous South Americans, heaping criticism on existing power structures and demanding a better future.
  10. The Book of Mahsati Ganjavi - Mahsati Ganjavi (tr. from Persian by Paul Smith): A 12th-century Persian poet and court-member, whose surviving works primarily focus on love and emotion).
Here's the thing: This list isn't easy to compile. It's not all novels. It doesn't quite cover the entire world. It's limited in terms of the backgrounds of the writers (almost all of whom were at the very top of their respective cultural classes). But it also is a list of classic women writers, and given another hour or two, I could come up with another 10, 20, or 50 more titles (especially if I let myself include a lot more European women!). There are dozens of brilliant women writers from all eras whose works have been translated into English; there are thousands still more who have yet to be translated.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

WITMonth Day 18 | 10 Recommended Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books

I love science fiction and fantasy. I love science fiction and fantasy infused literature too. I love books that have magic in them, books that explore new and invented worlds, and I love books that play around with setting in order to tell their magical stories. I also love women in translation, as you might have noticed, so this overlap was pretty much to be expected. That being said, whatever list I give today will not be able to hold a candle to Rachel Cordasco's brilliant, which covers a whole lot more excellent speculative fiction in translation (including a lot of WIT) than I'll ever be able to recommend. Check it out!

  1. The Wall - Marlen Haushofer (tr. from German by Shaun Whiteside): Post-apocalyptic literature shrunk down to its most intimate, as a single survivor of a mass catastrophe continues to live.
  2. Amatka - Karin Tidbeck (tr. from Swedish by Karin Tidbeck): Queer, dystopic science fiction, exploring individual freedom within an oppressive society.
  3. Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was - Angélica Gorodischer (tr. from Spanish by Ursula K. Le Guin): A tremendous fantasy powerhouse detailing the history of "the greatest empire that never was", beautifully translated by another fantasy powerhouse and legend.
  4. The Queue - Basma Abdel Aziz (tr. from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette): An almost too-real totalitarian dystopia turns its eyes on its people following an attempted revolution.
  5. One Hundred Shadows - Hwang Jungeun (tr. from Korean by Jung Yewon): Shadows quietly begin to rise in the slums of Seoul, as two lonely young people grow closer together in their wake.
  6. The Days of the Deer - Liliana Bodoc (tr. from Spanish by Nick Caistor, with Lucia Caistor Arendar): Fantasy, but from a purely indigenous American perspective, creating a unique spin on the European invasion of the continents.
  7. The Gray House - Mariam Petrosyan (tr. from Russian by Yuri Machkasov): Disabled young boys and teens in an otherworldly boarding school, in which nothing is quite as it seems and neither are its denizens. 
  8. The Core of the Sun - Johanna Sinisalo (tr. from Finnish by Lola Rogers): A "Finnish weird" dystopia in which women are bred for docility, and life is tightly controlled. 
  9. Hybrid Child - Mariko Ōhara (tr. from Japanese by Jodie Beck): A biological specimen escapes, and begins to live an independent life in a world of rogue AIs and cyborgs.
  10. Memoirs of a Polar Bear - Yoko Tawada (tr. from German by Susan Bernofsky): Three generations of entertainer polar bears recount their lives and relationships.
SFF has a problem with publishing women writers, and the overlap with women in translation is even smaller and more disheartening. But as you see, there's still no lack of excellent, exciting, or intriguing books, old and new! Not to mention many YA titles which will be summarized in the next post. What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WITMonth Day 15 | 10 Recommended Poetry Books

Well, we're back to my lists, as always helped by the excellent people of the internet who filled out my WITMonth Recommendation Survey a couple months ago! Today we're moving onto poetry, a category that can include some of the most lyrical writing the world has to offer, as well as some of its most political, powerful, amusing, entertaining, and emotionally wrenching. Not to mention innovative, inspirational, and educational! Let's go.

  1. alphabet - Inger Christensen (tr. from Danish by Susanna Nied): A unique poetry book with its own heartbeat and rhythm, and one that demonstrates the very best of experimental poetry.
  2. Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972 - Alejandra Pizarnik (tr. from Spanish by Yvette Siegert): A comprehensive collection from an author who has attracted a passionate following in the years since her tragic early death, renowned for her lyricism and personal touch.
  3. Wild Words: Four Tamil Poets - Malathi Maithri, Salma, Kutti Revathi and Sukirtharani (tr. from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmstrom): A collection of four controversial Tamil women, whose writing inspired threats against them but also recognition of their strength and power.
  4. A Rain of Words: A Bilingual Anthology of Women's Poetry in Francophone Africa - edited by Irène Assiba d'Almeida (tr. from French by Janis A. Mayes): Too often forgotten in conversations about women in translation, this collection showcases African women writing in French and spanning a continent.
  5. The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova - Anna Akhmatova (tr. from Russian by Judith Hemschemeyer): An iconic writer whose works have become modern classics, exploring horror and beauty and war and peace.
  6. Women Poets of China - edited and translated from Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung: This collection spans Chinese women's poetry from early literature through the early 20th century, showcasing stylistic changes across the eras and the unique perspective women had when writing poetry.
  7. Poems: New and Collected - Wisława Szymborska (tr. from Polish by Clare Cavanagh): A Nobel Prize winning poet in a rich collection (though you can't go wrong with just about any of her works).
  8. The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology - edited by Nathalie Handal (various translators): While not exclusively women in translation, this collection is vast in its scope and variety with women writers spanning the entire Arab world.
  9. Poems - Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (tr. from Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden): An early, pre-feminist writer whose poetry remains powerful alongside her more political works.
  10. The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems - Natalia Toledo (tr. from Zapotec by Clare Sullivan): Poetry's eternal power on display in this collection of Zapotec poetry, through themes of love and loss and mystery.
Any excellent poets in translation missing from this list? Who are your favorites?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

WITMonth Day 14 | WITMonth lists from other people!

One of the most incredible things about WITMonth has been watching it grow over the years. Today, there is no shortage of excellent writers, translators, publishers, reviewers, critics, etc. engaging with WITMonth, reviewing books by women in translation, and writing about the topic. If in 2014 it was possible to keep track of every. single. post, this simply isn't possible anymore (and for the best reason ever). And just as there's been a huge influx in reviews and thoughtful pieces about women writers in translation, there have also been quite a few stellar recommendation lists out there! So to give you all a bit of a break from my ramblings, I'm going to link out today to a few lists that I've seen around this WITMonth:

I'm missing a lot of excellent lists, but there are still plenty more days this WITMonth to explore them. What lists have you been working off? How have you been finding new books to read this WITMonth?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

WITMonth Day 12 | 10 Recommended Historical Fiction Books

Ever since I was a child, one of my favorite genres has been historical fiction. There's just something about sinking into a world that is both richly different from my own (the way that fantasy or science fiction might be), but also rooted in history and delightfully educational. To this day, I love reading historical fiction and then immediately going to the sources: Did this really happen? What was life like in this country during this time? How did the events that affected these characters actually play out? What else was going on during that period? And so on. As a result, I'll often try to get my hands on as many historical fiction titles as possible, especially those from different countries, backgrounds, historical periods, and perspectives. There's so much of the world to explore through historical fiction!

  1. The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende (tr. Magda Bogin): A modern classic of Latin American literature and the epitome of a "sweeping family epic", spanning decades and infusing its history with magical realism.
  2. Segu - Maryse Condé (tr. Barbara Bray): A stunning, expansive, and emotionally pulsing history of Segu (modern-day Mali), exploring religion, changing customs, war, and family.
  3. Little Aunt Crane - Geling Yan (tr. Esther Tyldesley): The history of a Japanese woman left behind in post-WWII China, taken as a secret slave surrogate womb for a childless young couple and gradually becomes a member of their family in a rapidly changing China.
  4. The Doctor's Wife - Sawako Ariyoshi (tr. Wakako Hironaka and Ann Siller Kostant): A quiet and quietly directed story of the wife of Japanese doctor Hanaoka Seishū, her influence on his work, and the lives of Japanese women during the late 18th century.
  5. Dance on the Volcano - Marie Vieux-Chauvet (tr. Kaiama L. Glover): The story of Minette, a young Haitian woman with exceptional singing talent, shunned for her race but admired for her talent, all alongside Haiti's tumultuous history and history of racism.
  6. The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem - Sarit Yishai-Levi (tr. Anthony Berris): Jerusalem through the eyes of the women of the Sephardic Ermosa family, "cursed" never to be loved by their husbands, spanning the Ottoman empire, the British Mandate, Israel's War of Independence, and through modern Israeli history.
  7. The Court Dancer - Kyung-Sook Shin (tr. Anton Hur): A young dancer in the Korean Empire's court finds herself in a new world and new life, but unable to escape the old.
  8. The Queen of Jhansi - Mahasweta Devi (tr. Sagaree and Mandira Sengupta): Something between biography and historical fiction, an account of the epic Queen of Jhansi in her battle against the British.
  9. The Free Negress Elisabeth - Cynthea McLeod (tr. Brian Doyle): The fictional history of Elisabeth Samson, a free black woman in Suriname overcoming racism.
  10. Granada - Radwa Ashour (tr. William Granara): The history of the Spanish-based Muslim-Christian conflict and Arab history at large.

Sidenote for those who notice: Yes, it was intentional.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

WITMonth Day 8 | Reading the world challenge (part 4)

Part 4, here we go! As always, remember that not every country is represented, nor that every country representation is necessarily in novel format! Links provided where I have them. Of course, if you have any recommendations for any of the missing countries (or missing languages), please let me know!

  • Japan (Japanese): Yoko Ogawa - Hotel Iris
  • Jordan - MISSING
  • Kazakhstan - MISSING
  • Korea, South (Korean): Bae Suah - A Greater Music
  • Korea, North - MISSING
  • Kuwait (Arabic): Fatimah Yousif al-Ali - "The Ringing Body"
  • Kyrgyzstan - MISSING
  • Laos - MISSING
  • Latvia (Latvian): Aspazija - Poems
  • Lebanon (Arabic): Hoda Barakat - The Stone of Laughter
  • Lesotho - MISSING
  • Libya (Arabic): Laila Neihoum - Poems
  • Liechtenstsein - MISSING
  • Lithuania (Lithuanian): Giedra Radvilavičiūtė - Those Whom I Would Like to Meet Again
  • Luxembourg (French): Anise Koltz - At the Edge of Night
  • Macedonia (Macedonian): Lidija Dimkovska - A Spare Life
  • Madagascar (French): Bao Ralambo - "Blastomycosis"
  • Malaysia - MISSING
  • Maldives - MISSING
  • Mali - MISSING
  • Malta (Maltese): lare Azzopardi - "Green Line"
  • Mauritius (French): Nathacha Appanah - The Last Brother
  • Mexico (Spanish): Cristina Rivera Garza - The Iliac Crest
  • Moldova - MISSING
  • Monaco - MISSING
  • Mongolia - MISSING
  • Montenegro - MISSING
  • Morocco (Arabic): Leila Abouzeid - Year of the Elephant
  • Morocco (Tashelhit): Mririda n-Ayt Attiq - Tassawt Voices
  • Mozambique (Portuguese): Paulina Chiziane - The First Wife
  • Myanmar (Burmese): Nu Nu Yi - Smile as they Bow
  • Nepal (Nepali): Jhamak Ghimire - A Flower in the Midst of Thorns
  • Netherlands, The (Dutch): Tonke Dragt - The Letter for the King
  • Nicaragua (Spanish): Gioconda Belli - The Scroll of Seduction
  • Niger - MISSING
  • Nigeria - MISSING
  • Norway (Norwegian): Hanne Ørstavik - Love
  • Oman (Arabic): Jokha Alharthi - Celestial Bodies
As you can see, there are still a lot of gaps in this list! Many countries and languages remain unexplored. As always, any recommendations are most welcome, especially since a full version of this list will eventually be published more conveniently. In the meantime, however... happy reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

WITMonth Day 7 | 10 Recommended Nonfiction Books

Typically when we talk about women in translation, we focus on fiction. For me, this mostly stems from the fact that Three Percent database on which I base my statistics is fiction/poetry focused (and thus these are most of the titles to which I'm exposed!), and that I typically personally prefer reading fiction to nonfiction. That being said, nonfiction is a fascinating slice of literature and should not be forgotten! Women writers are often underrepresented in nonfiction writing overall (particularly when it comes to history, science, and politics), and certainly when combined with the women in translation gap, it's worth promoting a few nonfiction books by women in translation!

  1. The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir, tr. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier: A classic of feminist literature that is often regarded as one of the foremost critical texts of the 20th century.
  2. Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets - Svetlana Alexievich, tr. Bela Shayevich: Not a Nobel Prize winner for nothing, Alexievich has long been praised for her oral histories, bringing in individual voices as parts of a breathing tapestry of living history.
  3. Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy - Ece Temelkuran, tr. Zeynep Beler: A fascinating modern history of Turkey, its political turmoils, and hope for its future.
  4. Cockroaches - Scholastique Mukasonga, tr. Jordan Stump: A brutal, beautiful, and unforgettable account of the Rwandan genocide.
  5. Now and the at the Hour of Our Death - Susana Moreira Marques, tr. Julia Sanches: A unique account of end of life care, and the end of life.
  6. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions - Valeria Luiselli, tr. Lizzie Davis and Valeria Luiselli: Written across both English and Spanish, translated and retranslated, this extraordinarily timely account of undocumented children in the U.S. facing deportation looks to the heart of a problem too often dehumanized.
  7. What Are the Blind Men Dreaming? - Noemi Jaffe, tr. Julia Sanches and Ellen Elias-Bursać: Mother, daughter, and granddaughter each grappled - in her own words and language - with the memory of surviving the Holocaust, moving on and staying behind.
  8. In Other Words - Jhumpa Lahiri, tr. Ann Goldstein: The acclaimed U.S. author switches languages for a book-length meditation on language, translation, identity, and love itself. 
  9. In Praise of Black Women - Simone Schwarz-Bart, tr. Rose-Myriam Rejouis, Val Vinokurov, and Stephanie K. Daval: An encyclopedia of black women throughout history, spanning prehistoric queens through modern world leaders across several volumes.
  10. Translation as Transhumance - Mireille Gansel, tr. Ros Schwartz: Further meditations on translations as they relate to humanity, culture, and history.
Those are just a few nonfiction titles! As you might have seen, this list is incomplete - where, after all, are the women in translation writing about the sciences? Writers from Asia? From South America? No list will ever be truly encompassing, so help fill in the blanks! What are your favorite nonfiction titles by women writers in translation?

Friday, August 3, 2018

WITMonth Day 3 | 10 Recommended New Releases

This WITMonth, I'll be trying something new by posting lists of "10 Recommended" (number may vary!) for a wide range of genres, designations, and topics, comprising of titles that either I have heard of or recommendations I received for those specific categories based on the WITMonth Recommendation Survey I conducted a few months ago. As WITMonth begins and people get their TBRs/library holds/bookstore orders organized, I think the first recommendation list should, quite obviously, be of new releases! Each of the following titles is newly published/translated in 2018. While not all of these titles are necessarily available in equal measure across different English-language countries (and certainly are not necessarily available in other languages/countries), this will hopefully be a convenient place to start for a lot of readers!

  1. Disoriental - Négar Djavadi, tr. Tina Kover: One of the biggest hits of the year so far in terms of women writers in translation, Disoriental has been garnering praise from across a wide range of reviewers, bloggers, and readers alike. 
  2. Soviet Milk - Nora Ikstena, tr. Margita Gailitis: A slim, grim, and almost universally admired work about the Soviet Baltics that seems guaranteed to leave a mark on its readers.
  3. Brother in Ice - Alicia Kopf, tr. Mara Faye Lethem: A somewhat divisive genre-bending book that has nonetheless been on the radar of many readers this year.
  4. La Bastarda - Trifonia Melibea Obono, tr. Lawrence Schimel: This short novel is guaranteed to make its reader think and explore new worlds, with its unique status as the first novel by a woman writer to be translated out of Equatorial Guinea, and one exploring a queer coming-of-age at that.
  5. Celestial Bodies - Jokha Alharthi, tr. Marilyn Booth: For another trip to a relatively unexplored country, Celestial Bodies takes readers to Oman and describes the lives of three sisters.
  6. Convenience Store Woman - Sayaka Murata, tr. Ginny Tapley Takemori: Already gathering praise from delighted readers and newfound fans, Convenience Store Woman seems primed to be a summer hit.
  7. Fish Soup - Margarita García Robayo, tr. Charlotte Coombe: An internationally admired and prize-winning Colombian author's short works translated into English, to great acclaim.
  8. The Chandelier - Clarice Lispector, tr. Benjamin Moser & Magdalena Edwards: The classic Brazilian author with a new (old) release.
  9. Waiting for Tomorrow - Nathacha Appanah, tr. Geoffrey Strachan: This novel of culture and family that quietly been gaining traction among book bloggers and readers, with praise for the writing and storytelling.
  10. Little Reunions - Eileen Chang, tr. Jane Weizhen Pan & Martin Merz: A seemingly autobiographically-inspired novel from the iconic, beloved author.
But of course... this list is only a taste of the new books by women writers in translation released in the past year! While there are still distinctly too few books by women writers translated into English (and other languages), there are plenty more - you can find some of them here, in the 2018 WITMonth database! Happy reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

WIT+ meets Pride Month | Queer women, nonbinary, and trans writers in translation

Happy Pride Month!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that one of the main tenants of the women in translation project is that it is broadly inclusive. This means that the title "women in translation" is also fairly misleading - while the project title singles out women specifically, it also includes all trans and non-binary identifying authors. With WITMonth getting closer and Pride month nearing its end, this seemed like a good opportunity to not simply remind readers of the necessity in reading queer writers in translation (in general), but also to highlight a few recently published/publicized prominent (and less prominent!) queer women, nonbinary, and trans writers in translation, as well as select titles that specifically address queer identity.

Note: I have not personally read all of the titles or authors recommended below (indeed, most are on my TBR!). If there are any issues with a title below (or additional comments/notes/corrections), please let me know and I will include that information.

Qui Miaojin: One of the best known lesbian writers out of Taiwan and a Taiwanese queer icon in general, Qui Miaojin wrote cult favorite novels such as Last Words from Montmartre and Notes of a Crocodile (tr. Ari Larissa Heinrich and Bonnie Huie, respectively) exploring lesbian identity and relationships, before her early death.

Trifonia Melibea Obono: Not only is La Bastarda (tr. Lawrence Schimel) the first (very short) novel by a woman writer to be translated out of Equatorial Guinea, Trifonia Melibea Obono explores what it means to come of age through an explicitly queer lens.

Renee Vivien: A 19th-century lesbian poet who was vocal and open about her sexuality, Renee Vivien was perhaps largely forgotten by history until recently, with her works translated in A Crown of Violets (tr. Samantha Pious). She was also well known as a translator of Sappho's poetry.

Raquel Salas Rivera: A writer who translates themself from Spanish, Raquel Salas Rivera frames much of their poetry through a distinctly regional lens. They are currently serving as Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

Anne Garréta: An author whose books Sphinx and Not One Day (tr. Emma Ramadan) touch explicitly on queer identity and relationships, Anne Garréta is well known for her exploration of genderqueer characterization and experimental writing.

Madame Nielsen: A Danish writer and artist who recently came out as trans, Madame Nielsen is best known for once having had herself declared dead and for the recently translated The Endless Summer (tr. Gaye Kynoch).

Catalina de Erauso: A Basque writer, explorer, and soldier, Catalina de Erauso is best known for their autobiography detailing their swashbuckling, cross-dressing and gender-nonconforming adventures in South America.

Négar Djavadi: Négar Djavadi's recently translated Disoriental (tr. Tina Kover) explores politics, Iranian history, family, and bisexuality.

Nhã Thuyên: Nhã Thuyên is a Vietnamese poet and writer whose works exploring gender, identity, and more have been translated in Words Without Borders. Their poetry will soon be published in the Tilted Axis Press' Translating Feminisms chapbooks which you can help fund here.

Sappho: While certainly not a recent release or discovery, no list of queer WIT+ is complete without the original Sapphist herself. Most of what remains of Sappho's poetry is in the form of fragments (with many different translations), but her prominence as one of the great, classic lesbian poets remains.

The truth is that there will never be an exhaustive list of queer women in translation. There are new books being published every day around the world that tackle queer identity, in every language and from every country. And this is a good thing! This list (of which I have read very little myself... and here I'd like to give a huge shoutout to Twitter and to Samantha Pious in particular for help in compiling this list) is meant more as a starting point for a range of queer and genderqueer books in translation, most of them recently released. There are dozens of other recommendations that I received that did not make it into this list today, but will appear in the general WITMonth recommendation list ahead of August. There will always be other lists and other titles and other authors. We should hope for more.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

#WITMonth 2018 resources and goals!

It's that time of year again! The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, the breeze is magical, and WITMonth is just around the corner!

This year, like previous years, the goals remain simple: Read, review, and discuss books by women writers in translation! Support women writers in translation! Try to find solutions for the lack of women writers in translation! 

Of course, as with previous years, the hope is that we will expand our horizons as widely as possible. This, to me, means reading women writers in translation from all across the globe (not just Western Europe or South Korea or Argentina), from all sorts of backgrounds (religious, cultural, ethnic, etc.), who identify in all sorts of ways (queer, disabled, etc.), writing in all sorts of genres and designations (sci-fi, thrillers, romance, young adult, graphic novels, etc.) and reflect all sorts of lives (not just middle class). While it is often challenging to find WIT in each of these categories, one of my goals for this year is to help connect readers with as many choices as possible in each of these (and other) categories.

To do so, I've decided to try something new: Clear, exciting, and decidedly diverse reading lists for WITMonth! The idea behind these lists is to make it as easy as possible for every reader to find the sorts of books that are likely to interest them. This means, for example, compiling lists of genre titles too often ignored by most literature-in-translation blogs/reviews/awards. It means compiling broad, encompassing lists of classics by women in translation. It means having recommendation lists on hand for teens, for kids, for visually-impaired or otherwise disabled readers who rely on audiobooks, for readers seeking queer writers and narratives, lovers of graphic novels, and so on.

This is not a simple undertaking, complicated moreso by the fact that I am only one reader who has not had the chance to read all that many books in her lifetime! And so I have opened a survey, which will run for the next few weeks, with the express purpose of hearing what books you would want to see promoted on a "Top 10" sort of list. This is your chance to list all of your favorite women in translation, across a variety of groups and categories. Check it out!

Additionally, I am again compiling a list of titles by women in translation released since WITMonth of last year through WITMonth 2018! The list is so far at 145 titles (with only a couple publishing redundancies), and will likely be growing as we get closer to August. As with last year, if you spot any titles you think are missing from the list, let me know and I'll add them as promptly as I can.

And as with previous years... what would WITMonth be without a banner? Because we've now reached year five (!!!!!), I have decided to go a little wild with the banners and have a few different options below (as always, displaying my very poor graphic design skills, but whatever), which you may freely use (or make your own...):

If you have any requests, thoughts, ideas, or whatever, please let me know. In the meantime... get cracking on the survey, share it (and preferably this post!), and let's get ready for August! WITMonth, here we come!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Reading the world challenge (part 3)

I've already begun to make progress on my reading... yet haven't finished publishing the titles I hope to read! Here are a few more (of which I've already actually managed to read a couple!):

  • Denmark (Danish): Suzanne Brøgger - The Jade Cat
  • Djibouti - MISSING
  • Dominican Republic (Spanish): Various - Praises and Offenses: Three Women Poets from the Dominican Republic
  • East Timor - MISSING
  • Ecaudor (Spanish): Luz Argentina Chiriboga - On Friday Night
  • Egypt (Arabic): Nawal El Saadawi - Woman at Point Zero
  • El Salvador (Spanish): Claribel Alegría - Woman of the River
  • Equatorial Guinea (Spanish): Trifonia Melibea Obono - La Bastarda
  • Eritrea (Tigrinya): Haregu Keleta - "The Girl Who Carried a Gun" (x)
  • Estonia (Estonian): Kristiina Ehin - Walker on Water
  • Ethiopia (Italian): Gabriella Ghermandi - Queen of Flowers and Pearls
  • Ethiopia (Amharic) - MISSING
  • Finland (Finnish): Eeva-Liisa Manner - Girl Upon Heaven's Pier
  • France (French/Old French): Various - French Women Poets of Nine Centuries
  • Gabon (French): Angèle Rawiri - The Fury and Cries of Women
  • Georgia (Georgian): Various - A House with No Doors
  • Germany (German): Yoko Tawada - Memoirs of a Polar Bear
  • Greece (Greek): Penelope Delta - A Tale Without a Name
  • Guatemala (Spanish): Rigoberta Menchú - I, Rigoberta Menchú
  • Guinea - MISSING
  • Guinea-Bissau - MISSING
  • Haiti (French): Marie Vieux-Chavet - Dance on the Volcano
  • Honduras (Spanish): Clementina Suárez - Clementina Suárez: Her Life and Poetry
  • Hungary (Hungarian): Magda Szabó - The Door
  • Iceland (Icelandic): Ragna Sigurðardóttir - The Perfect Landscape
  • India (Assamese): Arupa Patangia Kalita - Written in Tears
  • India (Bengali): Leela Majumdar - The Burmese Box
  • India (Gujarati): Dhiruben Patel - Rainbow at Noon
  • India (Hindi): Geetanjali Shree - The Empty Space
  • India (Kannada): Mamta Sagar - Hide and Seek: Selected Poems
  • India (Old Kannada): Akka Mahadevi - Songs for Siva
  • India (Malayalam): K. R. Meera - Hangwoman
  • India (Marathi): Shanta Gokhale - Crowfall
  • India (Odia): Susmita Bagchi - Children of a Better God
  • India (Pali): Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women
  • India (Punjabi): MISSING
  • India (Tamil): Amai - In a Forest, a Deer
  • India (Urdu): Qurratulain Hyder - River of Fire
  • Indonesia (Indonesian): Okky Madasari - The Years of the Voiceless
  • Iran (Persian): Parinous Saniee - The Book of Fate
  • Iraq (Arabic): Dunya Mikhail - The War Works Hard
  • Ireland (Irish): Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh - The Coast Road
  • Israel (Hebrew): Leah Goldberg - Poems
  • Italy (Italian): Margaret Mazzantini - Twice Born
  • Ivory Coast (French): Véronique Tadjo - The Shadow of Imana: Travels in the Heart of Rwanda
That's it for now, still working on finalizing the list. As you can see, still many titles missing... still many places where I feel I don't necessarily have the best options picked out. If you have any recommendations for missing titles - or recommendations for India in particular, any language - I would greatly appreciate it! Regardless, feel free to share any titles you might be interested in for these (or any) countries. How would your list look?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

WITMonth Day 22 | Reading the world challenge (part 2)

Announcing the project is great and all, but what about the books I hope to read? Reminder: Not every country is represented by a full-length book, nor is every country or language represented. If nothing else, this is a partial list. For poems or short stories available online, I've included the site at which the work may be read.

So here's the first part of my work-in-progress "Reading the world in women in translation" list! Countries A-C...

Note: Obviously please let me know of any noticeable errors in this list! Also, feel free to chime in with your own personal recommendations for a certain country/language! Your recommendations are worth more than my own random, eclectic collection. Especially since enough of the titles here are either out of print or difficult to track down, any recommendations for the more off-the-beaten-track languages would be much appreciated!

Note the second: Due to an oversight in my own record-keeping, this list will currently be without translator credits. However, as I mark each book off my list and review them, translators will obviously get their due credit! Apologies for now.

  • Afghanistan (Dari): Zahra Hosseinzadeh - Poem (WWB)
  • Afghanistan (Pashto): Parvin Faiz Zadah Malal - "Hate" (WWB)
  • Albania (Albanian): Luljeta Lleshanaku - Child of Nature
  • Algeria (French): Assia Djebar - Women of Algiers in Their Apartment
  • Algeria (Arabic): Ahlam Mosteghanemi - Memory in the Flesh
  • Angola (Portuguese): Ana Paula Tavares - Poem (WWB)
  • Argentina (Spanish): Silvina Ocampo - Thus Were Their Faces
  • Armenia (Armenian): Yessayan Zabel - The Gardens of Silihdar
  • Armenia (Russian): Mariam Petrosyan - The Gray House
  • Australia (Nyulnyul): Mary Charles - Winin: Why the Emu Cannot Fly
  • Austria (German): Adelheid Popp - The Autobiography of a Working Woman
  • Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani): Afag Masug - Short stories 
  • Bahrain (Arabic): Hamda Khamis - Poems (from Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry)
  • Bangladesh (Bengali): Begum Rokeya - Sultana's Dream
  • Belarus (Russian): Svetlana Alexievich - Voices from Chernobyl
  • Belgium (French): Madeleine Bourdouxhe - La Femme de Gilles
  • Belgium (Dutch): Chika Unigwe - On Black Sisters' Street
  • Benin - Women Writing Africa Vol. 2
  • Bhutan - MISSING
  • Bolivia (Spanish): Liliana Colanzi - Our Dead World
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - MISSING
  • Botswana - Women Writing Africa Vol. 1
  • Brazil (Portuguese): Various - Passages: Women Writing Brazil
  • Brunei - MISSING
  • Bulgaria (Bulgarian): Elisaveta Bagriana - Penelope of the Twentieth Century
  • Burkina Faso - Women Writing Africa Vol. 2
  • Burindi - MISSING
  • Cambodia - MISSING
  • Cameroon (French): Werewere Liking - The Amputated Memory
  • Canada (French): Naomi Fontaine - Kuessipan
  • Cape Verde (Portuguese): Orlanda Amarilis - "Nina" (x)
  • Central African Republic - MISSING
  • Chad - MISSING
  • Chile (Spanish): Gabriela Mistral - Selected Works
  • China (Chinese): Can Xue - Frontier
  • Colombia (Spanish): Carolina Sanín - The Children
  • Comoros - MISSING
  • Democratic Republic of Congo - MISSING
  • Republic of Congo - MISSING
  • Costa Rica (Spanish): Tatiana Lobo - Assault on Paradise
  • Croatia (Croatian): Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić - Croatian Tales of Long Ago
  • Cuba (Spanish): Daína Chaviano - The Island of Eternal Love
  • Cyprus (Greek): Myrto Azina Chronides - The Experiment
  • Czechia (Czech): Petra Hůlová - All This Belongs to Me

That's all for today, folks, meet you back in a few days to explore countries D-H! Again, please feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments or on Twitter. The more the merrier!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

WITMonth to WITMonth: New releases!

A lot happens in a year. From August to August, we can identify a lot of great titles by women in translation (though not nearly as many as we'd like!), published in different countries, under different presses.

And so to make things just a bit easier for readers getting ready for WITMonth 2017, I've decided to compile a list of some of the books that I'm aware of... with, of course, a desire to add as many additional titles as possible! Publishers/translators/bloggers: If you know of any other titles published between August 2016 and August 2017, feel free to drop me a line and I will promptly add them to this list! Similarly, if you identify any error in my database, let me know and I'll make sure to fix it. This is definitely just the preliminary list, with many more eligible newly released books by women in translation just waiting to be added.

Please note that the list contains titles available in both the US and the UK! Some do not have the same release dates, so keep an eye out for your local publishers.

Link to the WITMonth 2017: New Releases database!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

WITMonth Day 30 | What have we read? A list!

A cheat post today as we edge closer to the end of WITMonth... Check out the excellent list compiled by @Lillie_Langtry on Twitter to see what people have been reading/reviewing this WITMonth! While the list is incomplete in parts (some of my own non-tweeted-out reads are missing, for example!), it's a great place to start when looking for great women in translation to read, now and in the future. Happy reading!

Friday, August 26, 2016

WITMonth Day 26 | Another (less short) interlude

WITMonth is a lot about reading books, but it can also be about reading reviews, stats posts, ideas, and essays! So here are a few more links of cool things I've spotted throughout WITMonth. As always, I'm unable to link to every single wonderful post or blogger or outlet. But that doesn't make your content any less amazing!

Some cool things to check out, read and explore:

As always, I know I'm forgetting so much excellent WITMonth content... but here's just a taste. There were also lots of great giveaways, photos, tweets, recommendations and lists floating around! It is well worth going through the #WITMonth tag on Twitter, in my opinion, and scouting around for excellent books. Your TBR will come away far richer for it.

We still have a few more days of WITMonth, but that doesn't mean our work is done! More to come...