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For International Women’s Day, Nine Translated Books by Women to Read in 2020

By Words Without Borders

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re looking ahead to the translated literature by women that we’re most excited about in 2020. Here are the books at the top of our list:


1. Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette 

In Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette and forthcoming from New Directions in May, a young woman in modern-day Ramallah is haunted by the rape and murder of a Palestinian teenager in the wake of the 1948 Nabka.


2. Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell

Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin creates an uncanny alternate universe in her newest novel, Little Eyes, translated by Megan McDowell and forthcoming from Penguin Random House in May.


3. The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana by Maryse Condé, translated from French by Richard Philcox

Maryse Condé’s newest novel traces the fraught relationship of a set of twins as one of them joins the police academy and the other becomes radicalized. Translated by Richard Philcox, The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana will be published by World Editions in May.


4. Bluebeard's First Wife by Ha Seong-nan, translated from Korean by Janet Hong

Secrets, suspicion, and obsession run through Ha Seong-nan's newest collection of short stories, translated by Janet Hong and forthcoming from Open Letter in June.


5. The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante, translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein 

Translated by Ann Goldstein and forthcoming from Europa Editions in June, Elena Ferrante’s new novel tells the story of a girl struggling through adolescence in a divided Naples. 

6. Slash and Burn by Claudia Hernández, translated from Spanish by Julia Sanches

A woman struggles to protect her daughters through war and revolution in Salvadoran writer Claudia Hernández’s Slash and Burn, translated by Julia Sanches and forthcoming from And Other Stories in August.


7. Igifu by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from French by Jordan Stump

Scholastique Mukasonga’s Igifu, translated by Jordan Stump and forthcoming from Archipelago in September, features autobiographical stories set in the author’s native Rwanda.


8. Women Dreaming by Salma, translated from Tamil by Meena Kandasamy

Salma’s Women Dreaming, forthcoming from Tilted Axis in November, follows three women in a village in southern India as they grapple with patriarchy and traditional values.


9. My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree by Yi Lei, translated from Chinese by Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi

Forthcoming from Graywolf in November, this collection of poems introduces American readers to Yi Lei, a poet who pushed by boundaries in China by writing openly about women's desire and criticizing unjust laws.

Published Mar 6, 2020   Copyright 2020 Words Without Borders

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