Thursday, May 1, 2014

Women in Translation | Introducing WITMonth!

Introducing Women in Translation (WIT) Month

When I started posting about the lack of women writers in translation, I had one idea in mind: get people thinking. Just as I had never noticed this startling skew, I knew that most readers of literature in translation probably weren't aware of just how bad the situation had become. I wanted to spread awareness, make the issue known, and get readers, reviewers, translators and publishers involved in a discussion.

Thankfully - thanks to all of you - this has been possible. But as I've said before - this project is not one post, thrown to the wind. Over the past few months, this project has become more and more central to my reading. I spent January tracking down a lot of books by women in translation, and February, March, and April reading them. I've been writing more reviews than usual, widening my horizons, and all the while trying to understand what could be the reasons for the overwhelming male-preference in translated literature.

While many of you have voluntarily taken up the challenge to read more books by women in translation, another idea soon cropped up thanks to the wonderful T. Olmsted of BookSexy Review: a dedicated month for championing women in translation.

And so WIT Month is born.

WIT Month will be held in August of this year (2014), with two simple goals in mind:
  1. Increase the dialogue and discussion about women writers in translation
  2. Read more books by women in translation
These two goals are not meant to limit readers by any means. Longtime readers of this blog will know that I am notoriously terrible at planning my reading (or planning my blogging, for that matter), and am never capable of sticking to any sort of schedule. This month isn't actually asking anyone to bend over backwards to only read books by women, or drop whatever else you're reading, or suddenly post only about feminism. The point is to encourage readers who appreciate structure in their reading to have a bit of encouragement and guidance. It's to hear from authors and translators and publishers who may not always make their voices heard in the book blogging world. It's to have a time and place where we can all sit down together to have a discussion, plain and simple. And hopefully, to read some excellent books along the way.

Readers interested in participating can show their stripes using the above button. I'll be keeping a list of participants and all related posts in the new section here on the blog, right next to the newly updating list of recommended literature in translation by women. Links to posts, reviews, thoughts or anything related to WIT Month can be left in comments, emailed to me (biblibio at gmail), tweeted to @Biblibio or using either the #WITMonth or #WomenInTranslation tags on Twitter. This is a growing project, with no fixed schedule yet, so make your voices heard! If you have any ideas for specific events or topics to discuss over the course of August, please share them. We'll be trying to build some kind of loose schedule over the coming weeks, and your input is not only helpful, it's necessary.

Any and all feedback welcome! We would love to hear your ideas in an effort to make Women in Translation Month interesting, educational, entertaining, and enlightening. Spread the word, tell your friends, neighbors, dogs and cats. Stock your bookshelves and get your bookmarks read. August is coming.


  1. I'm sure I'll be able to find one or two to join in (I'm currently reading one...).

  2. A great initiative! I'm sure I'll be joining as it fits right in with my interests.

  3. Sounds like it'll be a great month! I'll try and find something good to read during it -- thrilled to see the conversation continuing!

  4. I'd like to join this. A great initiative.

  5. I'd love to try and join in with this, great idea. Recently read a wonderful novel in translation, The People in the Photo.

  6. The "overwhelming male-preference in translated literature" is very interesting, considering that (in the UK at least?) most readers are women, and most translators are also women. Anyway, my attempt to redress the balance is Sunflowers by Murai Shimako: see - it's short & inexpensive, but it's also a play and about Hiroshima so might not suit everyone's taste.

  7. Great initiative. This men/women ratio in translated literature has been bothering me for a long time, so I'm definitely joining you :D


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