It has been a joy and honor to have been the Guest Editor for #WITMonth for the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative blog. I hope you have enjoyed the 26 books I have chosen as much as I have choosing them.
I started this my book project two and a half years ago not knowing where it would take me. I always regarded myself as being well read but I have realised the world of literature beyond English or Spanish speaking authors. What I have loved about this project is I am reading books by authors from countries that I know little about, I am learning about a country’s history, culture and society. That is the beauty of translation; to be taken into a new world that is familiar yet so very different. Two examples of that are Silence of the Chagos or A Spare Life.
I should always stress the importance of the small indie publishers to discover books, authors and translators. They give literature a chance to be read. I have also valued modern tools like Twitter to connect with authors and translators in a way I could never have dreamt of as a child.
I have tried to showcase a variety of authors and not just the best known countries/authors and translators. Of the 26 I have chosen, my top five in no particular order, are:
- 🇨🇴 Holiday Heart is written by Margarita García Robayo, translated by Charlotte Coombe, published by Charco Press. Gender, motherhood, identity, racism, the end of love and dis-belonging are all at the heart of this wonderful novel.
- 🇲🇺 Silence of the Chagos is written by Shenaz Patel and translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman about the plight of the Chagossian people, expelled from their archipelago to enable the United States to build one of their main military bases. It is an eye opening read, it gives a fresh perspective about how the USA’s occupation and colonization impacts others.
- 🇦🇫 Washing the Dust from Our Hearts: Poetry and Prose from Writers of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, translated by Pari and Ahmed Aria. Washing the Dust from Our Hearts: Poetry and Prose is a bilingual anthology, it was first written in English then translated as a whole into Dari (Afghan Persian). The collection is split into five sections: Marriage and Family, Love and Forgiveness, Education, Our Afghanistan and Our Strong Voices. I loved this collection and read it in one sitting. A brilliant insight into life as an Afghan woman. It is a rather poignant selection given the devastating situation Afghan women now find themselves in.
- 🇸🇳 So Long a Letter is written by Mariama Bâ and translated by Modupé Bode-Thomas. This was the very first book I read for this project.
- 🇨🇺 Havana Year Zero is written by Karla Suárez and translated by Christina MacSweeney. Part detective story, part musings of a mathematician, part comedy of errors and part historical novel.
Here are my 26 reads for WIT Month: