Reflecting on Women in Translation Month

August is Women in Translation Month! (#WiTmonth) A time to celebrate translated literature by women, queer and non-binary authors – groups historically underrepresented in translated literature.

As a team of all-female Project Managers, we couldn’t let such an occasion pass by without taking the time to share some of our favourite works by women in translation. Telling stories of political turmoil, quirky auctioneers and thrilling detectives, the novels listed within our collection feature women of all backgrounds and will be sure to take you on an exhilarating global adventure!

Moonbath by Yanick Lahens.

Moonbath is an award-winning tale written by one of Haiti’s most prominent authors, Yanick Lahens. Translated from French by Emily Gogolak, it centres upon a peasant family living in a small Haitian village.

Why should you read it?

The novel follows four generations of women, recounting the way in which these matriarchs held their family together amidst volatile political and economic climates. It is truly beautiful. How can you not be captivated by tales of superstition and voodoo, and moved by those of romance and violence?

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli.

The Story of My Teeth is a quirky Mexican novel written by Valeria Luiselli and translated by Christina MacSweeney. It centres upon the life of Gustavo ‘Highway’ Sánchez, a trained auctioneer who sells the most unusual items by crafting absurd anecdotes about their origins. His most outlandish act is to sell his teeth under the guise that they once belonged to Marilyn Monroe (yes, you read that right… he sells his own teeth!!!)

Why should you read it?

The Story of My Teeth is one of a kind. It abounds in references to literature and philosophy, and it is simply enthralling. What is more, MacSweeney’s translation is equally powerful. Adding a further chapter entitled ‘The Chronologic’, MacSweeney provides an elegant map of the novel’s time, space and ideas, and allows the translation to possess an identity of its own.

Books representing Women in Translation Month

The Vegetarian by Han Kang.

The Vegetarian is a South Korean novel published by Han Kang in 2007 and translated into English by Deborah Smith. The terrifying tale follows the life of Yeong-he. One day, after dreaming about blood and gore, she gives up eating meat. However, in a country that strictly obeys societal mores, this decision becomes an act of passive rebellion, leading her husband and family to start a crusade against her vegetarianism.

Why should you read it?

More than a novel about modern-day South Korea, The Vegetarian is a novel about shame, desire and empathy. Furthermore, in 2016, it became the first Korean-language novel to win the Man Booker International Prize. Both its author and translator received the award.

Flowers over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti.

Flowers over the Inferno is an Italian thriller written by Ilaria Tuti and translated into English by Ekin Oklap. It is the debut novel in a series centring upon Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, an experienced and instinct-driven detective determined not to let her ageing body prevent her from pursuing a brutal killer.

Why should you read it?

Set in the Italian Alps, the novel paints a compelling portrait of a small Alpine town’s secrets. It is thrilling, fast-paced and a little bit grisly, but well worth a read!

woman reading

This Little Art by Kate Briggs.

This Little Art is an extended non-fiction essay about Briggs’ experience translating Roland Barthes’ lecture notes. Weaving various stories of other female translators such as Helen Lowe-Porter and Dorothy Bussy, Briggs produces a witty, distinctive and refreshing portrait of translation.

Why should you read it?

There is no other book on translation quite like it. It celebrates the art and beauty of literary translation and guides us through its complexities. Reading it will make you fall in love with literature all over again.

These are just a few of our favourites. We’d love to hear your recommendations, though! Please get in touch via Twitter to share your top reads. Let’s get talking about Women in Translation!

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