A Reading List for Women in Translation Month

This August, and year-round, we’re excited to celebrate women in translation with this selection of titles written and translated by women. Stay tuned for more recommendations as we celebrate National Translation Month in September! Browse this list on Bookshop.

Time by Etel Adnan

Translated from the French by Sarah Riggs

Nightboat Books; 2019

In this poetry collection, which received the Griffin Poetry Prize, “war and love intertwine with coffee and bombs, memory and the present, evoking life in non- linear time.”


Handful of Salt by Kajal Ahmad

Translated from the Kurdish by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse, Mewan Nahro Said Sofi, Darya Abdul-Karim Ali Najm, and Barbara Goldberg

The Word Works; 2016

According to Eve Ensler, these poems are intoxications, sensual rumblings from the core of a woman’s fire, burning through homeland and body.


Suzanne by Anais Barbeau-Lavalette

Translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins

Coach House Books; 2017

Winner of the Prix des libraires du Québec, Suzanne is a fictionalized account of the author’s grandmother, “from Montreal to New York to Brussels, from lover to lover, through an abortion, alcoholism, Buddhism, and an asylum.”


Alpha: Abidjan to Paris by Bessora and Barroux

Translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone

Bellevue Literary Press; 2018

Winner of the Doctors Without Borders Prize and the PEN Promotes Award, this graphic novel follows the journey of a refugee from West Africa.


“Do Not Punish Us” by Chana Blankshteyn

Translated from the Yiddish by Anita Norich

Lilith Magazine; Summer 2020

This short story is from a collection originally published in Yiddish in 1939.


Reborn in Ink by Laura Cesarco Eglin

Translated from the Spanish by Jesse Lee Kercheval and Catherine Jagoe

The Word Works; 2019

In this bilingual edition, Eglin explores the death of her father, the beauty of her country, her Jewish ancestry, and the invisible connections between the living and what’s ‘beyond.’


Echo of the Park by Romina Freschi

Translated from the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas

Eulalia Books; 2019

In conversation with First Dream by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Echo of the Park is “a philosophical long poem that surveys made spaces, both elevated and debased.”


Memories Pretend to Sleep, The Poetry of Julia Gjika by Julia Gjika

Translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika

Laertes Books; April 2020

According to Petraq Risto, these poems are “small pocket mirrors, where time and again each person, particularly women, sees their own expansive world with all its natural cracks.”


Fluxo-Floema by Hilda Hilst

Translated from the Portuguese by Alexandra Joy Forman

Nightboat Books; 2018

Hilst’s experimental first novel, first published in 1969, is “a celestial map to social interaction and the failure of connection, a crafted examination of the distortions of religion and piety.”


A Drink of Red Mirror by Kim Hyesoon

Translated from the Korean by Jiwon Shin, Lauren Albin, and Sue Hyon Bae

Action Books; 2019

In this poetry collection, feminist poet and critic Hyesoon “raises a glass to the reader in the form of a series of riddles, poems conjuring the you inside the me, the night inside the day.”


What are the Blind Men Dreaming? By Noemi Jaffe

Translated from the Serbian by Julia Sanches and from the Portuguese by Ellen Elias-Bursać

Deep Vellum; 2016

In this book, “three generations of women reflect, in their own words, on the Holocaust and bearing witness in Jewish and Brazilian identity.”


The Tree and the Vine by Dola de Jong

Translated from the Dutch by Kristen Gehrman

Transit Books; May 2020

First published in 1954 in the Netherlands, this novel tells “the story of two women torn between desire and taboo in the years leading up to the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam.”


firegarden/ jardín de fuego by Gail Langstroth

Get Fresh Publishing; 2020

Written in English and translated into Spanish by the author, this poetry collection is, according to Yona Harvey, “a collection of intimate and ‘between’ spaces through which a woman honors the life she’s lived.”


And the Bride Closed the Door by Ronit Matalon

Translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen

New Vessel Press; 2019

This novel about a wedding day is a “moving and humorous look at contemporary Israel and the chaotic ups and downs of love everywhere.”


Lovemaking in the Footnotes by Mahsa Mohebali

Translated from the Persian by Saba Riazi

Hanging Loose Press; August 2020

Winner of the Loose Translations Award, this short story collection about life in contemporary Tehran is banned in Iran.


The Paris Review

No. 233

In the summer issue’s Art of Translation interview with the prolific Margaret Jull Costa, she declares, “Translation is writing… each translation you do is a combination of the author’s voice and your voice—you can’t not exist.”


Sacrificed by Chanette Paul

Translated from the Afrikaans by Elsa Silke

Catalyst Press ; 2017

This U.S. debut by the bestselling South African writer explores a character’s search for the truth about her past “from the Congo’s sparkling diamond mines to Belgium’s finest art galleries, from Africa’s civil unrest to its deeply spiritual roots.”


The Last Innocence and The Lost Adventures by Alejandra Pizarnik

Translated from the Spanish by Cecilia Rossi

Ugly Duckling Presse ; 2019

The poems in Rossi’s second and third collections “blend the real and the imaginary, demonstrating the inner torment, deep solitude, and acute vulnerability that would plague Pizarnik throughout her short life.”


Diario Ottuso / Obtuse Diary by Amelia Rosselli

Translated from the Italian by Deborah Woodard, Roberta Antognini and Dario De Pasquale

Entre Ríos Books; 2018

Originally published in 1990, Diario Ottuso / Obtuse Diary is a bilingual collection of three experimental texts that “reveal an ‘unintentional unity’ through trilingual wordplay, experiments in syntactic structure, and the music possible in prose.”


What’s Left of the Night by Ersi Sotiropoulos

Translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich

New Vessel Press; 2018

Winner of the 2019 National Translation Award, this novel follows Constantine Cavafy’s 1897 trip to Paris and “illuminates the complex relationship of art, life, and the erotic desires that trigger creativity.”


A Field of Foundlings by Iryna Starovoyt

Translated from the Ukrainian by Grace Mahoney

Lost Horse Press; 2017

In this collection of her selected Poems, Starovoyt “investigates Ukraine’s suppressed generational memory of the 20th century and the new context of its retelling in Eastern Europe.”


Estoy Tristeza by Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz

Translated from the Spanish by Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz

No, Dear; 2018

This debut chapbook translated by the author “touches on the imprint of intergenerational trauma within her own family in relationship to place and migration.”


Clay and Star: Selected Poems of Liliana Ursu by Liliana Ursu

Translated from the Romanian by Mihaela Moscaliuc

Etruscan Press; 2019

This poetry collection “captures with breathtaking precision the convergence of the sacred with the mundane.”


Words Without Borders

Against the Canon: Urdu Feminist Writing (March 2020)

The six Urdu feminist writers featured in this issue “explore holiday observances and quotidian exchanges, charged relationships and domestic conflicts, confirming the great variety of faces, tones, concerns, and aesthetics within the genre.”