Reading Women Authors in Translation by Bronwen Griffiths
Last month was Women in Translation Month. Meytal Radzinksi started WIT in 2014 with the aim of highlighting the brilliant women writers, translators and publishers who bring us literature from around the world. Radzinksi was concerned that women authors made up less than 30% of the books translated into English and WIT has been a means of promoting such women to the wider reading public.
On a positive note are now quite a number of well-known female authors in translation, such as Olga Tokarczuk, whose book Flights (translated by Jennifer Croft) won the Man Booker International in 2018. The same prize was awarded to Jokha Alharthi and her translator Marilyn Booth for , the first book written by an Omani woman to be translated into English. The writer Elena Ferrante is well known for her series of novels set in Naples and her new book is out this month.
I am quite a fan of Japanese writers, male and female. Of the women authors I have read I would recommend Hiromi Kawakami (my favourite is Strange Weather in Tokyo), Sayaka Murata (her novel, Convenience Store Woman is a delight and she has a new book coming out soon) and the books of Banana Yoshimoto and Yoko Onawara.
Of the European women in translation I would definitely recommend the works of the Danish author Dorthe Nors whose quirky books are hard to categorise. I recently enjoyed the spooky Ankomst by the Norwegian Gohril Gabrielsen and the French writer Veronique Olmi’s book Beside the Sea – another haunting book – both are published by Peirene. I’d also recommend Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg from Poland, winner of the PEN award.
Bronwen Griffiths is the author of two novels and two collections of flash fiction. Her flash has been published online and in a number of anthologies.