Women in Translation Month Ideas

WITMonth15August, for the second year in a row, is shaping up to be Women in Translation Month (hosted by Meytal Radzinski of the Biblibio blog), and it’s an event I’m looking forward to immensely.  Last year saw an impressive range of posts on the blog, and this year I’ll again be going for a whole month of reviews of WIT books.  While I haven’t fully planned my reading as yet, I’ve got a fair few ideas as to what might make the cut; if you want to find out what, then carry on reading 😉

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A good starting point, as always, is to see what review copies are languishing on the shelves, and with a couple by Elena Ferrante (translated by Ann Goldstein) lying around, that’s at least one of the choices sorted.  Another book I’ve been meaning to get to is Machi Tawara’s Salad Anniversary (tr. Juliet Winters Carpenter) – a best-selling collection of (fairly) contemporary Japanese poetry from Pushkin Press.   It’s certainly something different and will bring an extra dimension to my list.

In addition to the paper review copies, there are plenty of likely choices on my Kindle too.  One I really should have got to a long time ago is YMTN_WALL_COVER_CMYKan Ge’s White Horse (tr. Nicky Harman), a Chinese novella which will be good for reading between longer works.  I’ve also got a copy of Marie NDiaye’s Self-Portrait in Green (tr. Jordan Stump); having enjoyed Three Strong Women, I’m looking forward to seeing how this one measures up.  Finally, Alisa Ganieva’s The Mountain and the Wall (tr. Carol Apollonio) is one of the latest books from Deep Vellum Press.  It’s set in the Russian republic of Dagestan and promises to be a fascinating read.

That’s not nearly enough, though, so it’s a good job I’ve got good libraries to help out.  On a recent trip to my local university library, I found a couple of contenders for August.  Yan Gui-ja’s Contradictions (tr. Stephen Epstein and Kim Mi-young) will probably be my K-Lit contribution, a book I’ve seen recommended elsewhere (even if I don’t really know much about it).  Meanwhile, another J-Lit offering is Train de nuit avec suspects (tr. Ryoko Sakaguchi and Bernard Banoun) by Yoko Tawada, an author who writes in both Japanese and German.  So why is the title in French?  All in good time…

deceiverI’m also waiting on a couple of books from the public library system, both prize winners in their own right.  Tove Jansson’s a writer I’ve been meaning to return to for some time, and The Great Deceiver (tr. Thomas Teal), which took out the 2011 Best Translated Book Award, seems a good place to start.  Meanwhile, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize will be represented by its first female winner, Marta MorazzoniThe Alphonse Courier Affair (tr. Emma Rose) won the prize back in 2001, but hardly anybody actually knew that until earlier this year when the online omission was rectified.  Of course, I’m reliant on the two ILLs getting here in time…

Much as I tried to keep my credit card in my wallet, I did end up buying one book for the occasion.  This year I’ve reread two books by Jenny Erpenbeck  – Heimsuchung (Visitation) and the IFFP-winning Aller Tage Abend (The End of Days) -, and that’s led me to order another one, a recent book called Dinge, die verschwinden (Things that are Disappearing).  It’s a non-fiction work, a book of short essays on objects which are fast becoming yesterday’s news – and it should be with me very soon 😉

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So, those are my plans, tentative ones, at least (they’re always subject to change, of course!).  I hope my list has whetted your appetite for the month, and who knows?  Perhaps, you’ll consider one of the books for your own Women in Translation Month list.  Speaking of which, I’d be interested to hear what my readers have lined up for the event.  If you have any interesting books ready to go, please let me know 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Women in Translation Month Ideas

  1. What an excellent array Tony! First time I’m doing this and have to say I’m really looking forward to it.

    Like you I’ve Erpenbeck & Toveson lined up and Ferrante’s Neapolitans having loved her other three. Also Yanagihara, De Beauvoir, Di Grado, Ogawa & Luiselli & 3 Peirenne novellas… Short stories from Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s & Xinran

    Few others in reserve too – so as not to feel hemmed in – might explore those novellas for kindle options😉

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  2. I would like to read “Leonora” by Elena Poniatowka and “Agaat” by Marlene van Niekerk (both fairly long works) and also “Delirium and Destiny”, a non-fiction book by Maria Zambrano.

    I have also lined up some shorter fiction, which I will read if I have time – I have a book by Yoko Tawada there, picked “Naked Eye” for its cinematic connection. Some other names are Lydie Salvayre, Helene Cixous, Irmtraud Morgner, Svetlana Alexievich.

    I am intrigued by the Machi Tawara’s collection that you mentioned. But many other books sound interesting too – I am looking to reading your reviews!

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    1. Stu – I’m already underway with my reading (just started today), so we’ll see how many I end up looking at. I actually didn’t have that many when I started planning a while back, but luckily I’ve acquired a few more since then 😉

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