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10 Books by Women in Translation for WITMonth

August is Women in Translation (WIT) Month.  Launched in 2014 by Meytal Radzinski, WIT Month was created in response to Radzinski’s observation that only 30% of books published in translation were by women.  Translated works allow us to be more inclusive of writers who come from different cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds.  Over the years, Radzinski has worked to include and emphasize works from marginalized women (and transgender, nonbinary, or intersex) writers.

You can support and participate in WIT Month by reading, sharing, and discussing books by women in translation.  Suggest these books to your library and book clubs, gift them to your friends and family and share on social media.  To help you get started, we curated a list of 10 books by women in translation for WITMonth!

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

A deeply satisfying thriller cum fairy tale, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is a provocative exploration of the murky borderland between sanity and madness, justice and tradition, autonomy, and fate. Whom do we deem sane? it asks. Who is worthy of a voice?

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

A sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures we all feel to conform, Convenience Store Woman offers a brilliant depiction of a world hidden from view and a charming and fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell

A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein

Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Elena Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its main characters, the fiery and unforgettable Lila and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflicted friendship. This first novel in the series follows Lila and Elena from their fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence.

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez, translated by Megan McDowell

In these wildly imaginative, devilishly daring tales of the macabre, internationally bestselling author Mariana Enriquez brings contemporary Argentina to vibrant life as a place where shocking inequality, violence, and corruption are the law of the land, while military dictatorship and legions of desaparecidos loom large in the collective memory.

The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky

Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Hans Fallada Prize, The End of Days, by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, consists essentially of five “books,” each leading to a different death of the same unnamed female protagonist. How could it all have gone differently?–the narrator asks in the intermezzos.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, translated by Magda Bogin

The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world’s most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family.

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa by Stephen Snyder

Hotel Iris is a stirring novel about the sometimes violent ways in which we express intimacy and about the untranslatable essence of love.

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth

The first novel originally written in Arabic to ever win the Man Booker International Prize, and the first book by a female Omani author to be translated into English, Celestial Bodiesmarks the arrival in the United States of a major international writer.

In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, translated by Simon Pare

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.

What do you think of these books for Women In Translation Month?

Have you read any of these books by women in translation?  What are some of your favorite translated works written by women?  Let me know your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions about books by women in translation in the comments below!

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