We’re firm believers in the ‘translator as curator’ credo here at And Other Stories - we know from experience that translators play a vital role in selecting & presenting a given country’s literature, and there are certain translators whose name is a stamp of quality, not just in terms of their translation, but in terms of the original book. With that in mind, we’ve got a list of #WomenInTranslationMonth recommendations, all translated by our own fabulous translators! 
Elvira Navarro’s THE HAPPY CITY tr Rosalind Harvey
An intriguing slow-burner which morphs into a powerfully intelligent, grippingly off-centre presentation of human connection in all its oblique, ambiguous complexity. Reminded us of Viola di Grado’s 70% Acrylic 30% Wool tr Michael Reynolds.
Stella Rotenberg’s SHARDS tr Donal McLaughlin 
Born in Vienna in 1916, Stella Rotenberg fled to Britain after Hitler’s annexation of Austria. The poetry she subsequently wrote stemmed from a desperate need to keep the German language alive for herself, and form a moving testament to the loneliness of her exile. 
Marcela Serrano’s TEN WOMEN tr Beth Fowler
The first book by this award-winning Chilean novelist to appear in English, the all-female protagonists span a full range of age, occupation, ethnicity etc, their stories forming a fascinatingly varied tapestry of female experience in modern Chile. 
Sabina Berman’s ME, WHO DOVE INTO THE HEART OF THE WORLD tr Lisa Dillman 
This debut novel by Mexican playwright, poet & screenwriter Berman is narrated by autistic savant Karen Nieto, but if you’re expecting something Curious Incident-esque you’ll be pleasantly surprised. A charming, positive exploration of ‘neurodiversity’, and a refreshingly different window on the world. 
Bibish’s THE DANCER FROM KHIVA tr Andrew Bromfield
Subtitled One Muslim Woman’s Quest for Freedom, this hard-hitting memoir tells the story of a girl from a deeply religious village in Uzbekistan, who had to use every ounce of her impressive will and courage in order to make her own way in the world. 
Clarice Lispector’s AGUA VIVA tr Stefan Tobler
Hypnotic, poetic meditations from the late, great Brazilian genius. If you haven’t yet immersed yourself in the idiosyncratic world of Clarice Lispector, you’ve got one hell of a ride ahead of you. Fans of high modernism, rejoice! 
Maria Duenas’ THE SEAMSTRESS tr Daniel Hahn
This multi-million-copy bestseller is an old-fashioned tale of intrigue, love and mystery, set against the turbulent backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. Delightful, masterful storytelling. 
Violette Leduc’s THERESE AND ISABELLE tr Sophie Lewis 
Sufficiently shocking as to have been deemed unpublishable until very recently both in Leduc’s native France and in English translation, this story of an adolescent love-affair at an all-girls’ school is far from pornography, yet refuses to shy away from the sexual nature of the liaison. Nicholas Lezard’s guardian​ review explains. 
Sibylle Lewitscharoff’s APOSTOLOFF tr Katy Derbyshire 
Katy Derbyshire deserves special credit for being one of our most prolific translators of women - she also has books by Christa Wolf and Inka Parei under her belt - as do Seagull Books for publishing them. An unsentimental roadtrip through Bulgaria, the prose is one of the best things about this novel. Sentences to make a fellow translator swoon with envy. 

We’re firm believers in the ‘translator as curator’ credo here at And Other Stories - we know from experience that translators play a vital role in selecting & presenting a given country’s literature, and there are certain translators whose name is a stamp of quality, not just in terms of their translation, but in terms of the original book. With that in mind, we’ve got a list of #WomenInTranslationMonth recommendations, all translated by our own fabulous translators! 

Elvira Navarro’s THE HAPPY CITY tr Rosalind Harvey

An intriguing slow-burner which morphs into a powerfully intelligent, grippingly off-centre presentation of human connection in all its oblique, ambiguous complexity. Reminded us of Viola di Grado’s 70% Acrylic 30% Wool tr Michael Reynolds.

Stella Rotenberg’s SHARDS tr Donal McLaughlin 

Born in Vienna in 1916, Stella Rotenberg fled to Britain after Hitler’s annexation of Austria. The poetry she subsequently wrote stemmed from a desperate need to keep the German language alive for herself, and form a moving testament to the loneliness of her exile. 

Marcela Serrano’s TEN WOMEN tr Beth Fowler

The first book by this award-winning Chilean novelist to appear in English, the all-female protagonists span a full range of age, occupation, ethnicity etc, their stories forming a fascinatingly varied tapestry of female experience in modern Chile. 

Sabina Berman’s ME, WHO DOVE INTO THE HEART OF THE WORLD tr Lisa Dillman 

This debut novel by Mexican playwright, poet & screenwriter Berman is narrated by autistic savant Karen Nieto, but if you’re expecting something Curious Incident-esque you’ll be pleasantly surprised. A charming, positive exploration of ‘neurodiversity’, and a refreshingly different window on the world. 

Bibish’s THE DANCER FROM KHIVA tr Andrew Bromfield

Subtitled One Muslim Woman’s Quest for Freedom, this hard-hitting memoir tells the story of a girl from a deeply religious village in Uzbekistan, who had to use every ounce of her impressive will and courage in order to make her own way in the world. 

Clarice Lispector’s AGUA VIVA tr Stefan Tobler

Hypnotic, poetic meditations from the late, great Brazilian genius. If you haven’t yet immersed yourself in the idiosyncratic world of Clarice Lispector, you’ve got one hell of a ride ahead of you. Fans of high modernism, rejoice! 

Maria Duenas’ THE SEAMSTRESS tr Daniel Hahn

This multi-million-copy bestseller is an old-fashioned tale of intrigue, love and mystery, set against the turbulent backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. Delightful, masterful storytelling. 

Violette Leduc’s THERESE AND ISABELLE tr Sophie Lewis 

Sufficiently shocking as to have been deemed unpublishable until very recently both in Leduc’s native France and in English translation, this story of an adolescent love-affair at an all-girls’ school is far from pornography, yet refuses to shy away from the sexual nature of the liaison. Nicholas Lezard’s guardian​ review explains

Sibylle Lewitscharoff’s APOSTOLOFF tr Katy Derbyshire 

Katy Derbyshire deserves special credit for being one of our most prolific translators of women - she also has books by Christa Wolf and Inka Parei under her belt - as do Seagull Books for publishing them. An unsentimental roadtrip through Bulgaria, the prose is one of the best things about this novel. Sentences to make a fellow translator swoon with envy. 

A Requiem for Rural Portugal - Julia Sanches on Susana Moreira Marques

For #WomenInTranslationMonth we thought we’d let one of our uber-passionate translators introduce the author she’s translating for us. We’ll be publishing Now and at the Hour of our Death next Autumn - but you can receive your copy (and our undying love) months in advance if you subscribe! 

Agora e na hora da nossa morte follows journalist Susana Moreira Marques as she attempts to report on a project of palliative home care in Trás-os-Montes, in the Planalto Mirandês.  Susana writes about death in a way no journalist ever has and in a range of generic registers: travel notes, standard narrative, stream of consciousness, interviews, as well as what seem to be personal confessions. Rather than erase herself from the text, as most journalists would, she guides us through her impressions and transformation during her experience “at the end of the world” (or of Portugal) and of life.

Read More

The Business of Literary Translation, or #ETN14: A Day of Nuts, Bolts and Whistles, And A Toolkit in the Making

by Rosalind Harvey, translator of our own Juan Pablo Villalobos (Down the Rabbit Hole, shortlisted for the guardian First Book Award, and Quesadillas). Her co-translation of Enrique Vila-Matas’ Dublinesque was shortlisted for the IFFP and longlisted for the IMPAC. Her most recent translation is Elvira Navarro’s The Happy City - perfect for #WITMonth! 

When I co-founded ETN almost three years ago with Anna Holmwood and Jamie Searle Romanelli, after an excited discussion at the Free Word Centre, we wanted to create a new space for early-career literary translators. The Translators Association, or TA – the subsidiary group of the Society of Authors that acts as a kind of union for translators – provides an essential and excellent-value service for those of us who are lucky enough to have a contract to do a book, and I would urge any translator to join it once they are in a position to do so. 

But Anna, Jamie and I felt there was a gap: what about all the eager would-be literary translators, or not-quite-yet translators (proto-translators?) who did not yet fulfil the criteria to join the TA, but who nonetheless still required answers to their many questions and the backing of a supportive network of peers and colleagues? We wanted this space to be a place where members could ask questions that perhaps some members of the TA hadn’t had to ask themselves for a while: how do I write a reader’s report? What IS a reader’s report, even? What exactly happens throughout the whole process of seeing a book go from something much-loved on your shelf to a fully-finished translation with your name on the cover? What else does a translator do, aside from re-creating texts in another language? How do you let publishers know who you are and work productively with them? Does literary translation pay? And how can I ensure I’m getting the best deal, for the book, for the author, and for myself?

Read More

Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones, in Clarissa Botsford’s wonderful translation, is becoming something of a sensation - we’ve had fantastic feedback from individuals and on twitter, demand has been so high we’ve already had to reprint, and the positive publicity just keeps coming in! We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who’s helped spread the word, and particularly to English PEN for their early support. Here’s some reasons you might want to pick up a copy of this globe-trotting, gender-swapping, Albanian page-turner (if you haven’t already!):
Edward Champion has written this wonderful essay about the Sworn Virgins of Albania and Elvira’s book for his blog Reluctant Habits:
‘Elvira Dones‘s engaging novel, Sworn Virgin (translated from Italian by Clarissa Botsford and regrettably the only Dones novel available in English), not only unpacks these fascinating gender questions, but transplants the issue between two nations.’ Edward Champion, Reluctant Habits
And it’s been a lovely surprise to see Sworn Virgin being featured on Which Book:
‘A gripping, metamorphic tale. The themes of culture, gender, identity and family are explored with real understanding and piercing authenticity in this tender and arrestingly original novel.’ Which Book 
Belinda Farrell reviews for her own book blog:
‘Dones has a light and easy way of writing so that the story sweeps you along … The strength in Dones’s writing is in the characterisation.’ Belinda Farrell, Biis Books
Harriet Addison in The Times:
‘The author puts a light touch on the issues of culture, immigration, gender tradition and race … The novel can be sensitive or brusque depending upon which sex is narrating.’
Jethro Soutar in The Independent:

'The latest hidden gem uncovered by this publisher … There is more to the book than the unearthing of a remarkable tradition: Dones' characters are vibrant and her portrait of life in the mountains and in Tirana, the capital, is vivid … Clarissa Botsford's translation (from the Italian – Dones writes in Albanian and Italian) is elegant and sensitive.'
There’s also this interview with Elvira in The Sunday Telegraph, while Clarissa Botsford sets the novel (and her translation) in context in asymptotejournal. 

Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones, in Clarissa Botsford’s wonderful translation, is becoming something of a sensation - we’ve had fantastic feedback from individuals and on twitter, demand has been so high we’ve already had to reprint, and the positive publicity just keeps coming in! We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who’s helped spread the word, and particularly to English PEN for their early support. Here’s some reasons you might want to pick up a copy of this globe-trotting, gender-swapping, Albanian page-turner (if you haven’t already!):

Edward Champion has written this wonderful essay about the Sworn Virgins of Albania and Elvira’s book for his blog Reluctant Habits:

‘Elvira Dones‘s engaging novel, Sworn Virgin (translated from Italian by Clarissa Botsford and regrettably the only Dones novel available in English), not only unpacks these fascinating gender questions, but transplants the issue between two nations.’ Edward Champion, Reluctant Habits

And it’s been a lovely surprise to see Sworn Virgin being featured on Which Book:

‘A gripping, metamorphic tale. The themes of culture, gender, identity and family are explored with real understanding and piercing authenticity in this tender and arrestingly original novel.’ Which Book 

Belinda Farrell reviews for her own book blog:

‘Dones has a light and easy way of writing so that the story sweeps you along … The strength in Dones’s writing is in the characterisation.’ Belinda Farrell, Biis Books

Harriet Addison in The Times:

‘The author puts a light touch on the issues of culture, immigration, gender tradition and race … The novel can be sensitive or brusque depending upon which sex is narrating.’

Jethro Soutar in The Independent:

'The latest hidden gem uncovered by this publisher … There is more to the book than the unearthing of a remarkable tradition: Dones' characters are vibrant and her portrait of life in the mountains and in Tirana, the capital, is vivid … Clarissa Botsford's translation (from the Italian – Dones writes in Albanian and Italian) is elegant and sensitive.'

There’s also this interview with Elvira in The Sunday Telegraph, while Clarissa Botsford sets the novel (and her translation) in context in asymptotejournal

We’re thrilled to see #WomenInTranslationMonth going strong in the twittersphere, if also slightly daunted by the sheer number of incredible-sounding new discoveries we simply *have* to add to our already-teetering TBR pile. 
After last week’s initial round-up, we wanted to mention some less well-known translated books by women that deserve to be shouted about. 
Merce Rodoreda’s DEATH IN SPRING tr Martha Tennant
Largely unknown despite being *the* great Catalan writer of the twentieth century, Rodoreda has finally started to be brought to the attention of Anglophone readers - Virago recently published a new translation of In Diamond Square, while Open Letter Books were at the forefront with her late masterpiece Death In Spring, which manages to be both accessible and unclassifiable; realist and modernist, its fantastic elements suggesting but not quite aligning with magic realism. 
Mariama Ba’s SO LONG A LETTER tr Modupe Bode-Thomas
There’s a shocking dearth of translated fiction from sub-Saharan Africa, and what little does exist tends to have been originally written in one of the ‘European’ languages spoken on the continent - usually French or Portuguese. Mariama Ba used her fiction to condemn the social injustices she witnessed in her native Senegal - in particular, the lot of women, who had to struggle to gain an education and often lived precarious lives, dependant on the whims of their husbands. 
Emine Sevgi Ozdamar’s THE BRIDGE OF THE GOLDEN HORN tr Martin Chalmers
1966, and a teenage girl from Turkey arrives as a ‘guest worker’ in West Berlin. This semi-autibiographical novel charts the growth of her cultural, sexual and political awareness, while deflating the self-important ideologues of the day with a wonderfully deadpan irony. The translation, published by Serpent’s Tail, was supported by English PEN. 
Mahasweta Devi’s BREAST STORIES tr Gayatri Spivak
Despite being a multi-award-winning writer and social activist, the undisputed grandmother of Bengali literature, Devi just isn’t as widely read as she should be. Her expansive oeuvre ranges from retellings of historical episodes to explorations of contemporary society, all fiercely political. As the title suggests, Breast Stories focuses on female identity; the modern Bengali woman as body, worker, object. 
Carmen Boullosa’s TEXAS tr Samantha Schnee 
Dallas-based press Deep Vellum is the brainchild of translation evangelist Will Evans, who deserves huge kudos for having already signed so many works by women. An excavation and evocation of the historical Tex-Mex border by “Mexico’s greatest woman writer” (pace Bolano, who knew or thing or two), Texas is the perfect launch title - out in October, we think we might have to subscribe in advance! 
Teffi’s SUBTLY WORDED tr Anne-Marie Jackson
Another beautifully-produced forgotten classic rescued and restored by Pushkin Press, alongside a team of translators headed by Anne-Marie Jackson. These ‘clever, funny, reckless tales’ by a pre-revolutionary socialite show exactly why similarly-forgotten female voices demand to be heard - their rediscovery often completely overturns our preconceptions of a ‘canonical’ form, in this case the Russian short story, whose most famous practitioners are almost all male. Not any more. 
Maryse Conde’s JOURNEY OF A CARIBBEAN WRITER tr Richard Philcox
If translated fiction by women is an under-plumbed field in general, translated non-fiction is an even smaller niche, particularly intellectual/academic work as opposed to, say, family memoirs. Step forward, Seagull Press, and take a bow. This collection by Guadaloupean Maryse Conde, most famous for her novel Segu, is a fascinating account of influences - literary, cultural, geographical - and writing practices; Conde brilliantly balances general reception and personal grapples when discussing, for example, the impact of Negritude. Essential. 
Radwa Ashour’s SPECTRES tr Barbara Romaine 
A translator and academic as well as a novelist, Egyptian Radwa Ashour’s marriage to Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti has influenced her interest in the region. Part autobiography, part oral history, part documentary, Spectres shifts back and forth between two women each trying to process the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre. An incredibly clever take on the way forms of history influence content. 
Gudrun Eva Minervudottir’s THE CREATOR tr Sarah Bowen
A strange, surprising, off-beat Icelandic novel of compressed drama and distinctive prose, The Creator is one of those books that creeps up on you, impressing without the need for fireworks. It’s also a welcome relief to something Scandinavian slip through the net *without* the seemingly mandatory gruesome crime/troubled detective combination (thank you, Portobello Books!) - though there is the theft of a life-size plastic doll…

We’re thrilled to see #WomenInTranslationMonth going strong in the twittersphere, if also slightly daunted by the sheer number of incredible-sounding new discoveries we simply *have* to add to our already-teetering TBR pile. 

After last week’s initial round-up, we wanted to mention some less well-known translated books by women that deserve to be shouted about. 

Merce Rodoreda’s DEATH IN SPRING tr Martha Tennant

Largely unknown despite being *the* great Catalan writer of the twentieth century, Rodoreda has finally started to be brought to the attention of Anglophone readers - Virago recently published a new translation of In Diamond Square, while Open Letter Books were at the forefront with her late masterpiece Death In Spring, which manages to be both accessible and unclassifiable; realist and modernist, its fantastic elements suggesting but not quite aligning with magic realism. 

Mariama Ba’s SO LONG A LETTER tr Modupe Bode-Thomas

There’s a shocking dearth of translated fiction from sub-Saharan Africa, and what little does exist tends to have been originally written in one of the ‘European’ languages spoken on the continent - usually French or Portuguese. Mariama Ba used her fiction to condemn the social injustices she witnessed in her native Senegal - in particular, the lot of women, who had to struggle to gain an education and often lived precarious lives, dependant on the whims of their husbands. 

Emine Sevgi Ozdamar’s THE BRIDGE OF THE GOLDEN HORN tr Martin Chalmers

1966, and a teenage girl from Turkey arrives as a ‘guest worker’ in West Berlin. This semi-autibiographical novel charts the growth of her cultural, sexual and political awareness, while deflating the self-important ideologues of the day with a wonderfully deadpan irony. The translation, published by Serpent’s Tail, was supported by English PEN. 

Mahasweta Devi’s BREAST STORIES tr Gayatri Spivak

Despite being a multi-award-winning writer and social activist, the undisputed grandmother of Bengali literature, Devi just isn’t as widely read as she should be. Her expansive oeuvre ranges from retellings of historical episodes to explorations of contemporary society, all fiercely political. As the title suggests, Breast Stories focuses on female identity; the modern Bengali woman as body, worker, object. 

Carmen Boullosa’s TEXAS tr Samantha Schnee 

Dallas-based press Deep Vellum is the brainchild of translation evangelist Will Evans, who deserves huge kudos for having already signed so many works by women. An excavation and evocation of the historical Tex-Mex border by “Mexico’s greatest woman writer” (pace Bolano, who knew or thing or two), Texas is the perfect launch title - out in October, we think we might have to subscribe in advance

Teffi’s SUBTLY WORDED tr Anne-Marie Jackson

Another beautifully-produced forgotten classic rescued and restored by Pushkin Press, alongside a team of translators headed by Anne-Marie Jackson. These ‘clever, funny, reckless tales’ by a pre-revolutionary socialite show exactly why similarly-forgotten female voices demand to be heard - their rediscovery often completely overturns our preconceptions of a ‘canonical’ form, in this case the Russian short story, whose most famous practitioners are almost all male. Not any more. 

Maryse Conde’s JOURNEY OF A CARIBBEAN WRITER tr Richard Philcox

If translated fiction by women is an under-plumbed field in general, translated non-fiction is an even smaller niche, particularly intellectual/academic work as opposed to, say, family memoirs. Step forward, Seagull Press, and take a bow. This collection by Guadaloupean Maryse Conde, most famous for her novel Segu, is a fascinating account of influences - literary, cultural, geographical - and writing practices; Conde brilliantly balances general reception and personal grapples when discussing, for example, the impact of Negritude. Essential. 

Radwa Ashour’s SPECTRES tr Barbara Romaine 

A translator and academic as well as a novelist, Egyptian Radwa Ashour’s marriage to Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti has influenced her interest in the region. Part autobiography, part oral history, part documentary, Spectres shifts back and forth between two women each trying to process the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre. An incredibly clever take on the way forms of history influence content. 

Gudrun Eva Minervudottir’s THE CREATOR tr Sarah Bowen

A strange, surprising, off-beat Icelandic novel of compressed drama and distinctive prose, The Creator is one of those books that creeps up on you, impressing without the need for fireworks. It’s also a welcome relief to something Scandinavian slip through the net *without* the seemingly mandatory gruesome crime/troubled detective combination (thank you, Portobello Books!) - though there is the theft of a life-size plastic doll…

SILENT VOICES - Lesley Lawn on translating Chahdortt Djavann’s “La muette”

Chahdortt Djavann was born in Iran, but now considers herself French and writes in French since she has lived in exile in Paris since 1993. She is a champion of womens’ rights and a self-professed rebel, and has published nine books, both fiction and non-fiction.  “La muette” was published by Flammarion in 2008.

image

It has been a bad year for women (was it ever any better?) — India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Gaza, Sudan, Iran, Iraq — too many countries, too many horrors to mention. Via the media, we all have images in our heads that we would rather never have seen, but the reality is that many women live extremely hard and often brutal lives. Thanks to writers like Chahdortt Djavann, fictional treatments of this reality can open our eyes in a different way.  

Read More

Questionnaire in English
Translated by Laura Garmeson 
mc dressed for the beer festival
darned with fingernail scratches & pinhole rips
echoes of the plough hardened on the skin
(a balloon fit to burst)
in those days well-applied make-up was worth
a course in conversation and charm
a portfolio of briny blood casserole-distilled
briny blood which doubles as a glove
the sandy-end-of-the-beach-glove on my hand
- cloning and streetwalking while the beach
fasts to mask its own mistakes
arranging nature whole and slaughtered on the plate
a kind of combo-meal-number-one for commonplaces –
pilot with renaissance perspectives –
specialist in harmonization techniques


for the colours inside the fridge
Paulo Scott’s novel Nowhere People is out now in the UK, in an English translation by Daniel Hahn. 

Questionnaire in English

Translated by Laura Garmeson 

mc dressed for the beer festival

darned with fingernail scratches & pinhole rips

echoes of the plough hardened on the skin

(a balloon fit to burst)

in those days well-applied make-up was worth

a course in conversation and charm

a portfolio of briny blood casserole-distilled

briny blood which doubles as a glove

the sandy-end-of-the-beach-glove on my hand

- cloning and streetwalking while the beach

fasts to mask its own mistakes

arranging nature whole and slaughtered on the plate

a kind of combo-meal-number-one for commonplaces –

pilot with renaissance perspectives –

specialist in harmonization techniques

for the colours inside the fridge

Paulo Scott’s novel Nowhere People is out now in the UK, in an English translation by Daniel Hahn. 

Paulo Scott’s NOWHERE PEOPLE, tr Daniel Hahn - review by Anne Marie Jackson

As an And Other Stories subscriber, I was sure to read Nowhere People; but because this work has been expertly negotiated into English by Daniel Hahn, one of my favourite translators, it went straight to the top of my to-be-read pile. Seeking out Hahn’s translations has led me to any number of excellent writers … such as Paulo Scott.

Read More

August = Women In Translation Month! 
Readers, it’s time to get excited. We’re obviously huge translation fans here at &OS, and we also love fiction by women - Elvira Dones’ Sworn Virgin tr Clarissa Botsford might be our only crossover so far, but we’re actively working on redressing the balance, and have fantastic books by the likes of Susana Moreira Marques and Anne Cuneo in the pipeline. We plan to bring you more on them during the month, as well as recs for lesser-known #WIT books and ones by our own fabulous cohort of translators. For now, though, here’s some of the bigger hitters:
Angharard Price, The Life of Rebecca Jones, tr Lloyd Jones, Maclehose Press
One of very few books translated from Welsh, a slender and deceptively simple story of one woman’s life in a sheltered Welsh valley. The rhythm of the sentences in Lloyd Jones’ translation are a perfect counterpart to those of the seasons, the days, and human biology, which governed this bygone world. 
Adania Shibli, Touch, tr Paula Haydar, Clockroot Books
A young girl’s coming of age in Palestine, depicted as a collage of sensory impressions, politics rendered imperatively personal - London-based Adania Shibli is one of Clockroot Books’ most impressive authors. 
Tove Jansson, Fair Play, tr Thomas Teal, nyrbclassics
Given that Jansson’s centenary also falls in this month, there’s no more apt writer for #WIT. If you’re only familiar with the Moomins, this novella will surprise you with her frank, unconventional attitudes to life and art as a woman. 
Kristina Carlson, Mr Darwin’s Gardener, tr Emily & Fleur Jeremiah, Peirene Press
Very possibly the boldest book, stylistically speaking, yet to have come from Peirene. Postmodernism as it should be done, without the posturing and gimmicks - we’re incredibly excited to learn that they’ll be publishing another title translated by this mother&daughter duo next year. 
Elvira Dones, Sworn Virgin, tr Clarissa Botsford, & Other Stories
Difficult to praise this one as we’d just be blowing our own trumpet! Luckily, sales and reviews speak for themselves, so we don’t have to - we’ve just had to reprint due to high demand, and only yesterday saw this fantastic review focusing on the “fascinating gender questions” which this intriguing, engaging novel unpicks. 
Can Xue, Five Spice Street, tr Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping, Margellos
If Nobel winner Mo Yan left you cold, don’t despair - Can Xue’s entirely different brand of fiction could prove much more your cup of tea, particularly if you’re looking for literary inventiveness (which she has in spades) over an essentialised representation of ‘Chineseness’. Challenging and frustrating in equal measure, we guarantee you won’t be bored. 
Marija Knezevic, Ekaterini, tr Will Firth, Istros Books
Balkan specialists Istros deserve special mention for their 50% female list - this Serbian writer’s story of the life of an ordinary Greek woman cleverly subverts the more traditional, masculine idea of biography by providing a female-centred perspective on the passage of history. 
Valeria Luiselli, Faces in the Crowd, tr Christina MacSweeney, Granta
Valeria Luiselli is a breath of fresh air in Latin American fiction; rejecting grand narratives and pat conclusions, she straddles the ever-exciting border between fiction and essay. Both her novel Faces in the Crowd & essay collection Sidewalks are brief, vivid, and full of interesting meditations on travel, literature, language and life. 
Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name, tr Ann Goldstein, Europa Editions
If ever there was a contender for #WIT superstar status, Elena Ferrante is undoubtedly it. Her Neapolitan trilogy is every bit as ambitious as a certain Norwegian’s uber-hyped saga…but we’ve yet to hear of anyone being underwhelmed by Ferrante! 
#WITMonth is the brainchild of blogger @biblibio, who recently posted this fascinating essay on the place of women in literature. The ball’s already rolling in the twittersphere: just follow the hashtag for more. 

August = Women In Translation Month! 

Readers, it’s time to get excited. We’re obviously huge translation fans here at &OS, and we also love fiction by women - Elvira Dones’ Sworn Virgin tr Clarissa Botsford might be our only crossover so far, but we’re actively working on redressing the balance, and have fantastic books by the likes of Susana Moreira Marques and Anne Cuneo in the pipeline. We plan to bring you more on them during the month, as well as recs for lesser-known #WIT books and ones by our own fabulous cohort of translators. For now, though, here’s some of the bigger hitters:

Angharard Price, The Life of Rebecca Jones, tr Lloyd Jones, Maclehose Press

One of very few books translated from Welsh, a slender and deceptively simple story of one woman’s life in a sheltered Welsh valley. The rhythm of the sentences in Lloyd Jones’ translation are a perfect counterpart to those of the seasons, the days, and human biology, which governed this bygone world. 

Adania Shibli, Touch, tr Paula Haydar, Clockroot Books

A young girl’s coming of age in Palestine, depicted as a collage of sensory impressions, politics rendered imperatively personal - London-based Adania Shibli is one of Clockroot Books’ most impressive authors. 

Tove Jansson, Fair Play, tr Thomas Teal, nyrbclassics

Given that Jansson’s centenary also falls in this month, there’s no more apt writer for #WIT. If you’re only familiar with the Moomins, this novella will surprise you with her frank, unconventional attitudes to life and art as a woman. 

Kristina Carlson, Mr Darwin’s Gardener, tr Emily & Fleur Jeremiah, Peirene Press

Very possibly the boldest book, stylistically speaking, yet to have come from Peirene. Postmodernism as it should be done, without the posturing and gimmicks - we’re incredibly excited to learn that they’ll be publishing another title translated by this mother&daughter duo next year. 

Elvira Dones, Sworn Virgin, tr Clarissa Botsford, & Other Stories

Difficult to praise this one as we’d just be blowing our own trumpet! Luckily, sales and reviews speak for themselves, so we don’t have to - we’ve just had to reprint due to high demand, and only yesterday saw this fantastic review focusing on the “fascinating gender questions” which this intriguing, engaging novel unpicks. 

Can Xue, Five Spice Street, tr Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping, Margellos

If Nobel winner Mo Yan left you cold, don’t despair - Can Xue’s entirely different brand of fiction could prove much more your cup of tea, particularly if you’re looking for literary inventiveness (which she has in spades) over an essentialised representation of ‘Chineseness’. Challenging and frustrating in equal measure, we guarantee you won’t be bored. 

Marija Knezevic, Ekaterini, tr Will Firth, Istros Books

Balkan specialists Istros deserve special mention for their 50% female list - this Serbian writer’s story of the life of an ordinary Greek woman cleverly subverts the more traditional, masculine idea of biography by providing a female-centred perspective on the passage of history. 

Valeria Luiselli, Faces in the Crowd, tr Christina MacSweeney, Granta

Valeria Luiselli is a breath of fresh air in Latin American fiction; rejecting grand narratives and pat conclusions, she straddles the ever-exciting border between fiction and essay. Both her novel Faces in the Crowd & essay collection Sidewalks are brief, vivid, and full of interesting meditations on travel, literature, language and life. 

Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name, tr Ann Goldstein, Europa Editions

If ever there was a contender for #WIT superstar status, Elena Ferrante is undoubtedly it. Her Neapolitan trilogy is every bit as ambitious as a certain Norwegian’s uber-hyped saga…but we’ve yet to hear of anyone being underwhelmed by Ferrante! 

#WITMonth is the brainchild of blogger @biblibio, who recently posted this fascinating essay on the place of women in literature. The ball’s already rolling in the twittersphere: just follow the hashtag for more. 

Editor’s Dream / Editor’s Nightmare

Our Editor at Large Sophie Lewis reports from Paraty, Brazil

image

Brazilian author José Luiz Passos (Zé) - photo courtesy of Kate Griffin.

I was excited to be asked to attend the bcltuea’s latest translation school. These are week-long affairs, held all over the world, that bring together translators working with English and at least one language associated with wherever they are. BCLT invites one select group of translators to work from English into the other language(s) and another equally select to work from the other language(s) into English. Often people working in the field show up to observe and comment, perhaps to help, perhaps to complicate. These include academics, more experienced translators, publishers, editors. Always in attendance are the writers of the texts that are being worked on.

Read More