Friday, August 31, 2018

Women In Translation Month: a review and overview

So it has been a full month of reading and reviewing and adding books to the reading list, and celebrating the wonderful books we've all discovered written by women, in translation.

It's also been full of talking about the dearth of women in translation overall when looking at translation rates. Meytal Radzinski, the founder of WIT Month, has once again shared a series of posts looking at the stats around women in translation (spoiler: they haven't budged from that 30% average!) and calling for more action from publishers and on the part of readers to request more women to be translated.

What are my own numbers this month? Well, 23 books reviewed, 3 more books finished but not yet reviewed (more if you count the Moomintroll series I have nearly completed!), and 3 books on the go presently. And more staggeringly, I have added over 90 new titles to my TBR on Goodreads!  But everyone's reviews under the #WITMonth and #womenintranslation tags on twitter were irresistible. There's also the 2 WIT Month displays and 3 booklists I created at my library, and the 57 books that were checked out from those resources -- and only 3 of those by me ;)

I've really enjoyed the focus on women in translation this month -- while we shouldn't limit our WIT reading to a niche month, I feel that the increased focus and group energy around a reading challenge like this jumpstarts a lot of people (see: goodreads tbr!)  As Meytal says, it would be wonderful to see the WIT Month activities become more mainstream next year, with more publishers, reviewers, and people "in the biz" taking notice and supporting the effort.

From all the wonderful books I've read and reviewed this month, these have been my favourites:

The Green Chamber / Martine Desjardins

Disoriental / Négar Djavadi

Baba Dunja's Last Love / Alina Bronsky

Go Went Gone / Jenny Erpenbeck

Suzanne / Anais Barbeau-Lavalette

Brazen / Pénélope Bagieu

And I've just finished Sofi Oksanen's Norma, which I'll be reviewing soon & is one I'd put on this favourites list as well!

Looking forward to next August and the next big push, but I do want to encourage everyone to keep reading WIT, keep asking publishers and librarians for more WIT, and keep sharing your finds all year long. Happy Reading!

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