Our #WomeninTranslationMonth Reading Recommendations

August is Women in Translation Month. This annual movement began in 2014, when it was revealed that women made up less than 30% of all authors translated into English. Since then the bookish community has used the month of August to celebrate and highlight incredible works in translation by women.

At Belgravia Books we are always passionate about promoting translated fiction, after all we publish plenty of our own over at our publisher Gallic Books, so we’re sharing seven books we have in-store that we recommend, not just for Women in Translation Month, but all year round. (All books on our website can be purchased with free shipping for UK customers)


The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery 
translated by Alison Anderson

One of Gallic Books’ most iconic authors, Muriel Barbery helped to put translated fiction from women on the map with her internationally bestselling novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Following the intertwining lives of two misfits, a concierge too clever for her post and a teenager disillusioned with her sheltered upbringing, this is a novel of graceful beauty and sharp intellect. A true testament to the power of women’s writing around the world.

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Earthlings by Sayaka Murata
translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

After the success of Convenience Store Woman, Japanese author Sayaka Murata returns with another weird and wonderful offering. Once again she takes aim at the conformity and traditionalism enforced on women in her own country and across the globe, this time through Natsuki, a strange and slightly magical girl who reaches adulthood with no idea how to fit in. Short and sharp and full of surprises, perfect especially for those who love Japanese fiction.

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Empty Houses by Brenda Navarro
translated by Sophie Hughes

An explosive, visceral novel following two women in Mexico City after one steals a child from another. Navarro critiques the expectations and assumptions placed on modern motherhood, as well as the poverty and violence faced by the working class in her home nation of Mexico. Not for the faint hearted, but a novel absolutely worth your time.

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The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez 
translated by Megan McDowell

Written against the backdrop of contemporary Argentina, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is populated by unruly teenagers, crooked witches, homeless ghosts, and hungry women. The urban setting and grisly, magical elements blend into a breathless, unsettling collection of short stories that will itch under your skin long after reading.

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The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante
translated by Ann Goldstein

Like Ferrante’s iconic Neapolitan quartet, her new standalone novel takes place in Naples, Italy. It is a gripping coming-of-age story in which a young girl finds herself growing up in a city, and a family, divided. She learns about the masks people wear in adulthood, the lies they tell each other and themselves. Ferrante’s masterpiece is a thrilling, sensual story, and an insightful meditation on the ways in which we construct selves to hide behind.

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Self Portrait in Green by Marie Ndaiye 
translated by Jordan Stump

Marie NDiaye’s work is never safe, never familiar, and her take on the memoir form is no different. A woman recounts a strange sequence of events in which the significant women in her life are all encountered as strange dream-like characters, each dressed in green. NDaiye’s strange, wonderful incarnation of the autofiction form (a form for which other French women like Annie Erneaux and Violette Leduc are credited as pioneers) reveals the slippery, permeable membrane between memory, imagination and truth.

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Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez 
translated by Christina MacSweeney

Narrated by a woman who calls herself Julia, this little gem narrates a course of events at the height of the Special Period in Cuba, 1993. As the country crumbles around her Julia sets out to prove that the true inventor of the telephone lived in Havana at the time, and assembles a motley crew of allies along the way. Havana Year Zero is part whacky, detective-style novel full of twists and turns, hijinks and betrayals, but it is also a novel about the complexities of human relationships and a beautiful, vibrant ode to Cuba, even at such a difficult period in its history.

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Posted on 13/08/2021 by Isabelle Flynn in

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