August Event: Women in Translation

I've been following Ann Morgan's blog, A Year of Reading the World, since I read her book a few months ago, and today I learned about an annual August event I didn't know about: the Women in Translation reading event.  It turns out that, of the books that get translated into English, men dominate noticeably, with about two-thirds of the titles, despite there being plenty of great women authors writing all over the place.  So this event exists to let you and me know about some neat books we might like to read.

I tend to naturally gravitate toward women authors (it's not really something I worry about much, but that is what happens), but certainly when I read translated books, they are far more likely to be by men.  I went and looked at my shelf of library books, which are mostly translations right now, and yep, most were men.  But I had two women, and so I'll try to read one this month and maybe even two, although that's asking a lot since school starts soon and I have a lot of prep work to do!

If you'd like to learn a bit more about this event, here's a FAQ by the original founder, Meytal Radzinski, a translator and blogger (at Biblibio).  She's also posting about WIT daily, it looks like, so head on over and check it out.

Not that I've been posting a lot about actual books lately (you should see the pile waiting for review!), because I've been trying to get the UK trip down, but I actually have reviewed three ladies in translation recently, which does sort of imply that I am not lacking in this department! 

This month I'll pick up Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, by Dubravka Ugresic, a Croatian novel about four women which is also a postmodern retelling of the Baba Yaga legend.  I couldn't resist that title, and I've had it waiting for some time.

Should there be time, I've also been looking forward to a book that was only just published (by my slowpoke standards, anyway): The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, which made a big splash in Russia.  I really like the cover--green is my favorite, after all.  It's about three boys in the post-Stalin USSR.

What do you think--an event worth participating in?  Sounds like fun to me!


  1. That's a great idea! I'm currently reading a translated Young Adult novel from Swedish with both a male and female author. And, not that it has much to do with this, but I wanted to be a book translator a few years back, but it hasn't happened yet and I don't think I'm up to that challenge anymore haha

    Was The Tale of Genji easy to read? I'm a little intimidated but I'm so intrigued.

  2. Absolutely an event worth participating in! Meytal's great, and this is such a worthwhile project.

  3. Esther, I only read an abridged version, so it was a lot easier to read. I figured if I loved it I'd read the whole thing. This was 12 chapters instead of 52. It wasn't at all a hard read, except that the women don't have names--it's impolite--so they have nicknames or titles, which makes it a little tricky.


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