Friday, June 13, 2014

#WITMonth updates and (optional) schedule

The results of the survey are in, the calculations have been made, the decisions have been reached and... everyone must spend Women in Translation Month dressed 17th century garb and read only in a language with an alphabet they are unfamiliar with.

Just kidding! What follows is an equally optional schedule for WITMonth (you can, of course, spend it wearing 17th clothes, if you'd like). August is meant to be our opportunity to discuss and enhance the conversation about women in translation, not to remind everyone about high school reading assignments. Read how you want to read. If that means reading only one book by a woman in translation - awesome! If it means reading no books by women in translation, but discussing the matter on your blog or on Twitter or on Goodreads or in the real world (!) - fantastic! If it means posting every day and following the schedule to the letter - amazing! (and unlikely, though anyone who wants to join me in daily posts is most welcome to!)

Basically - do what's right for you. The WITMonth schedule can serve as a nice guideline, but it is by no means a requirement to participate. In response to the person who filled out the survey by only writing in "freedom from rules" - you are free. There are no rules. Only recommendations, and you really do not have to take them to heart.

So without further ado, the proposed WITMonth schedule for those who like a good schedule:
  • Friday, August 1st: Introduction - why is women in translation important to you?
  • Saturday, August 2nd: Favorite women writers in translation
  • Week 1: Western/Northern Europe - France, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain...
  • Wednesday, August 6th: Focus on: Classic literature
  • Saturday, August 9th: Focus on: Poetry
  • Week 2: Asian continent, Africa, and Oceania
  • Wednesday, August 13th: Focus on: Queer literature
  • Saturday, August 16th: Focus on: Children's and young adult literature
  • Week 3: Eastern/Central Europe
  • Wednesday, August 20th: Focus on: Underrated authors/books
  • Saturday, August 23th: Focus on: Genre fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, etc.)
  • Week 4: The Americas (Latin America, Haiti, Quebec, etc.)
  • Wednesday, August 27th: Focus on: Untranslated masterpieces
  • Saturday, August 30th: Focus on: Historical fiction
  • Sunday, August 31st: New discoveries and WITMonth summary
Once again, these dates and weeks and ideas are all entirely optional. If you'd rather spend all of WITMonth discussing specifically East Asian women writers - more power to you. If you're not sure you'll have time to read throughout August, you can definitely schedule some posts now. And if you really feel like mostly talking about the issue of women in translation (and less about actual books or writers), feel free to share your thoughts on the matter and join the discussion. There are no rules, no guidelines, no requirements. This schedule was built with the idea of having as much diversity and breadth as possible (not just focusing on Western European literature, but truly on women from across the globe), but I may have missed some things - please let me know if there are adjustments that need to be made, or additional ideas!

I know, though, that this schedule doesn't cover everything. Here are a few other, bigger-picture ideas for WITMonth:
  • While I personally will not be able to host any sort of readalong throughout August due to exams and whatnot, I definitely encourage other readers and bloggers to take up the challenge! The survey indicating a fair amount of interest in the option, and I think a group-read of this kind would be a fascinating experience.
  • A lot of people expressed an interest in guest-posting and cross-blog conversations. I think this is a great idea, and recommend bloggers start chattering amongst themselves to figure out the details. Hopefully, we'll be able to get interviews with translators, publishers, bookstores, libraries, and other readers, to get as broad a conversation as possible.
  • The "focus on" days are meant as a sort of challenge for us, and an opportunity to bring other readers and bloggers into the fold. I'd love to see YA bloggers share their two cents on authors like Cornelia Funke, Tove Jansson, Janne Teller and others. I'd love to see SFF bloggers discuss authors like AngĂ©lica Gorodischer, Isabel Allende, or even Yoko Ogawa (Revenge does sort of blur the lines!). Let's talk about thrillers and mysteries and crime fiction. Let's talk about poetry and plays. Let's talk about classics, which are unjustly struck from the canon.
  • You can talk about books you like, books you love, and also books you didn't like. Part of the dialogue means also pointing to books that maybe aren't as good as others.  
  • And if you have any other idea... GO FOR IT!
I'll be posting some recommended reading (much of which I personally have not read either!) in the coming days for different topics, and I'm still open for changes to the schedule. There are some topics for which I still hardly have recommendations (a couple people asked to have a focus on queer literature, but right now I honestly can't think of any... which just goes to show the lack of diversity, of course!), and other genres with books that maybe don't make a lot of sense for a single month (many of the classics, for example, are hard to track down, if they at all exist).

Once again, let me emphasize that WITMonth is not about quotas or rules or angry ranting. It's about opening up a dialogue. It's not just about specifically lit-in-translation blogs, or just about anger, or just about feminism, or "just about" anything. Anyone who wants to participate in any way is more than welcome to.

Friday, June 6, 2014

#WITMonth survey

Anyone interested in August's Women in Translation Month - check out the survey for event ideas! I'll be formulating a guideline schedule over the next week or so, so make sure to share all your thoughts and ideas: Any extra recommendations or requests can be passed along in comments as well, or by e-mail.

I'll be posting more updates about both WITMonth and the general Women in Translation project over the next few days. Stay tuned!