Huzzah for August, Women in Translation Month! This is the month to read works in translation by women, trans, and non-binary folk. Precious few books in English are translations, and only a quarter or so of those are by women. Summer is the perfect time to highlight these amazing books and let the world know how awesome women authors (and translators!) are.
Looking for a place to start? Here are some #womenintranslation books I’ve read over the past year:
The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette
A dystopia set in modern day Egypt where a new centralized authority demands that all citizens line up at The Gate to ask permission for even everyday affairs. The line grows longer and longer… but will The Gate ever open?
Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations ed. by Sarah Cleave, translated by various
Short stories, some by women, commissioned after Trump’s discriminatory ban of immigration from Muslim-majority nations. The pieces range from realistic to fantastical and explore themes of exile, travel, and restrictions on movement.
The Farm in the Green Mountains by Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer, translated by Ida H. Washington
Translated non-fiction, huzzah! Alice and her family came to the US as refugees, fleeing the Nazis during World War II. By chance they end up in Vermont and fall in love with the place despite the hard winters, relative isolation, and less-than-smart livestock. It’s everything I wanted The Egg and I to be – funny and heartwarming, you’ll fall in love with the Green Mountains just as much as Alice does.
Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami (I can’t find the translator, gah)
This one is a cheat – it’s my first review for #WITmonth, posting Friday! Chi is a lost kitten that finds a home and is everything cute and adorable. A perfect pick-me-up for cat lovers, which, judging from twitter, is everyone.
And here’s my reading list for this month. It tends heavily Japanese because… I’m me. 🙂 I doubt I’ll finish off everything but I’m looking forward to getting to as many as I can.
The Master Key by Masako Togawa, translated by Simon Grove
A puzzle mystery by an LGBTQIA+ author who has been called the Japanese P.D. James. I know many people like curling up with mysteries in the fall but I like tackling them during the summer – I’ll take any shiver I can get, even if it’s from fear!
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
A very buzzy book at the moment! I’m using the Japanese cover because holy cow, lookit that.
Keiko is anything but normal, working at a convenience store for 18 years where most people leave after one or two. But what is normal, anyway? I’ve already started reading this one in Japanese and I’m loving it so far.
Ten Women by Marcela Serrano, translated by Beth Fowler
Nine women who share a therapist, but little else, meet and tell their stories. In the process they form bonds and transform their lives, and we get insight into many corners of Chilean society.
The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya, translated by Asa Yoneda
Forthcoming from Soft Skull Press. Motoya has won all kinds of awards here in Japan, including the Akutagawa Prize for a piece featured in this collection of stories. It’s billed as inventive, with reality slipping into the fantastic, which is just my kind of thing.
False Calm: A Journey Through the Ghost Towns of Patagonia by María Sonia Cristoff, translated by Katherine Silver
Another upcoming release, this one from Transit Books. The jacket copy says it’s part reportage, part personal essay, and part travelogue… which is all non-fiction, yea! A look at the towns lost after the oil boom in Patagonia.
It’s going to be a great month! Do you have any books lined up for Women in Translation Month? How about some recommendations? Let’s have a chat in the comments 🙂