Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Women in Translation Month

Apparently, August is Women in Translation Month. Who knew?

To that end, here is a list of some of my favorite women-writers-who-don't-write-in-English. I hope you find some new favorites.

Ludmila Ulitskaya is probably my favorite translated writer of any gender (or any language besides English). Every time I read one of her books I think, "why can't every book be this good?" Her books include the masterpiece Daniel Stein: Interpreter and the wonderful Medea and Her Children. She's got a new one coming out soon, too. She writes in Russian.

Francesca Duranti is an author who was suggested to me by a friend, and what a great suggestion. Definitely check out Happy Ending, a bittersweet family and love story set in the Italian hills. She writes in Italian.

Marjane Satrapi is the Iranian graphic-novel writer and artist responsible for the wonderful Persepolis and its sequel. She writes in French.

Marguerite Duras is an author whose wonderful books I've been reading since I was a teen. Author of the iconic The Lover, she writes in French.

Alina Bronsky has written three novels published here. My favorite is still her first, the heartbreaking Broken Glass Park, about the effects of family violence on children. She nails it. She writes in German.

Elvira Dones is the Albanian author of the strange and wonderful Sworn Virgin. She writes in Albanian.

Amelie Nothomb is the Belgian author of edgy and boundary-pushing books like Hygiene and the Assassin and Life Form. She writes in French.

Ludmila Petrushevskaya is another boundary-pusher. In English we can find three volumes of her searing short stories exploring the lives of women. She draws blood with her pen. Her latest is There Once Lived A Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In. She writes in Russian.

Elena Ferrante is probably the most famous contemporary author on this list, another boundary-pusher like Petrushevskaya. Her Neopolitan series is burning up the bestseller lists right now, but before she hit it big she was writing womens' lives raw with books like The Days of Abandonment and The Lost Daughter. She writes in Italian.

Nina Berberova was a Russian author who wrote about the privations of Soviet life, especially their effect on women and families. I love her collection The Ladies of St. Petersburg especially. She writes in Russian.

Ai Yazawa is a Japanese manga-ka whose Nana is probably my favorite manga series. It's about two women friends trying to make it in the big city. She writes in Japanese.

Goliarda Sapienza was an Italian writer whose book The Art of Joy was a hot mess I couldn't even finish, but I'm going to recommend her anyway because it is such a magnificent mess. She writes in Italian.

Dubravka Ugresic is a polemical and political Croatian writer of essays, short stories and novels. The Culture of Lies is a reaction to the fall of Yugoslavia. She writes in Croatian.

I'd love some suggestions from you too- especially Israeli and African women, two groups whose books are missing from my reading. 


Mystica said...

Thank you for the list. A good starting point for me.

MaryKate said...

What a wonderful list! Thank you for providing it. I've read almost no translations by women (or men!), so I will definitely be using this list as a starting point. I also would like to revisit the comments section to see if anyone has any recommendations from Israeli and African women writers, as you asked :).