Hello August! The welcoming of this new month also signals the arrival of Women in Translation Month!
Now in its third year, #WITMonth is dedicated to championing women in translation from all over the world.
We don’t need a reason to celebrate the talented, inspiring, and empowered females we get the pleasure of working with, but if ever there was opportunity to it’s with an entire month of blog posts, exclusive interviews, and anthology previews.
Despite the increasing interest in translated fiction, women are still massively underrepresented in terms of what gets published in comparison with more popular male-authored translations.
In order to address this gender disparity, we have adopted Biblibio’s main objectives when they first augmented WIT Month, which are:
- To increase the dialogue and discussion about women writers in translation
- To read more books by women in translation
So, give yourself a month to widen your reading parameters, and give your bookshelf a refresh. This reading list will be in two parts: first up single author short story collections, followed next week by individual stories from some of our anthologies.
Let us know how you get on!
Single Author Short Story Collections
#1 Swallow Summer (Publication date: 18th August)
Written by: Larissa Boehning
Translated by: Lyn Marven
This critically acclaimed German novel from Prenzlauer Berg Literature Prize winner, Larissa Boehning, will be her debut short story collection in English.
Each character experiences a moment where they’re forced to confront how differently things turned out, how quickly ambitions were shelved, or how easily people change. Boehning’s stories offer a rich store of metaphors for abandonment: the downed tools of a deserted East German factory, lying exactly where they were dropped the day Communism fell; the old, collected cameras of a late father that seem to stare, wide-eyed, at the world he left behind. And yet, underpinning this abandonment, there is also great resilience. Like the cat spotted by a demolition worker in the penultimate story that sits, unflinching, as its home is bulldozed around it, certain spirits abide.
Available to pre-order here.
Written by: Sema Kaygusuz
Translated by: Maureen Freely
Award-winning author, Sema Kaygusuz, is internationally recognised as one of Turkey’s leading writers. Translated from Turkish by the President of PEN, Maureen Freely, The Well of Trapped Words is tinged with magical realism, which captures vivid snapshots of Turkish society.
Blending mysticism and modernity, Kaygusuz’s stories demonstrate why she is regarded as one of the most promising writers in Turkey today.
Written by: Empar Moliner
Translated by: Peter Bush
Translated from the Catalan, Empar Moliner’s stories are fast, precise, hilariously timed and mercilessly honest. They lay bare every pretension ever to have offered comfort to the middle class psyche. From the zeal of a mothers’ group staging a world record breastfeeding attempt to couples role-playing their way into parenthood at a third world ‘adoption workshop’, every well-meaning fad and right-on gesture is brilliantly observed and astutely exposed.
#4 Long Days
Written by: Maike Wetzel
Translated by: Lyn Marven
‘Recently something funny happened. There was no summer, no autumn either.’ With this opener Maike Wetzel begins exploring that moment in life when the breakneck experience of growing up suddenly changes gear and slows down. A young woman sees a dead body for the first time; a sister watches her anorexic sibling transform into different person; a girl pieces together the facts of a custody battle she’s not been let in on. Wetzel’s stories catch people when some part of their lives has been put on pause, leaving them so adrift only acts of obsession or self-destruction provide direction.
Written by: Mirja Unge
Translated by: Karl Dickson
Mirja’s arresting and unique style is championed in this debut collection. The characters are all evading something; whether failing to confront the true nature of an encounter, or avoiding responsibilities as a parent, sibling or friend. Abuse, betrayal and neglect lurk beneath a veneer of mutually maintained ‘normality’, waiting for an opportunity to resurface.
Told, in most cases, through the eyes of teenage girls or young women, these stories exhibit a unique prose style that perfectly captures the conversational rhythms, and preoccupations, of their generation. Unge’s soft, winding syntax ushers the reader across the surface of each encounter at an unalterable pace —like the ever-betraying passage of time — whilst deftly hinting at the violence beneath.
Have you read any of these? What did you think?
Let’s keep the discussion going and celebrate our women in translation.