The Beautiful Contradictions of Rosario Ferré’s Flight of the Swan

This month we will be taking in and discussing some of the literature of the island of Puerto Rico, whose beautiful prose is matched by the strength of its people’s character. Rarely have I come across a novel so masterfully layered as Rosario Ferré’s Flight of the Swan. Like the movements of its ballet prima … Continue reading The Beautiful Contradictions of Rosario Ferré’s Flight of the Swan

Norwegian women in translation

I am a librarian and a Norwegian national. Thus, when I meet American readers, they mainly think of Jo Nesbo’s Nordic noir books about Harry Hole, or the historic epic Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. These are not the only Norwegian authors in translation however, and in honor of Women in Translation Month, I would … Continue reading Norwegian women in translation

Strong Women, Soft Power — by Ginny Tapley Takemori

May GLLI Blog Series:  Japan in Translation, No. 24 Photo courtesy of Jonathan Armstrong, for the Documentist Photography   In 2016, I and my colleagues Allison Markin Powell and Lucy North realized we would all be attending the London Book Fair. We decided to take advantage of this to organize a reading at the Society … Continue reading Strong Women, Soft Power — by Ginny Tapley Takemori

International Banned Book: Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi

SUMMARY: The moving, inspiring memoir of one of the great women of our times, Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and advocate for the oppressed, whose spirit has remained strong in the face of political persecution and despite the challenges she has faced raising a family while pursuing her work. Best known … Continue reading International Banned Book: Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi

Three Novels by Nordic Women for the Last Dark Nights of Winter

Just as spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, we turn our attention to a region that values limited supplies of sunshine. Here are three novels by three women—two from Norway, one from Iceland—that radiate with a dark energy more reminiscent of the northern lights than the sun’s warm glow. Love by Hanne Ørstavik (Archipelago; translated … Continue reading Three Novels by Nordic Women for the Last Dark Nights of Winter

International Banned Book: No Man’s Land by Duong Thu Huong

I hadn’t read a literary work with such care for the characters and a narrative that weaves humanity’s impulses, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses with everyday forces of nature. Mien, Hoan, Bon, Xa, and the communities in which they reside are written richly and compellingly. Their often unpredictable actions build layers of smoke, and their relationships … Continue reading International Banned Book: No Man’s Land by Duong Thu Huong

A Warwick Prize Shortlist and Clementine Loves Red

When a translated book for children makes the shortlist of an award also open to grown-up books, my heart leaps. Because yes, children’s literature is literature. And translators of children’s books need plenty of credit and support for their careers, made tenuous by the (currently—we can change this) low demand for #worldkidlit translated into English. … Continue reading A Warwick Prize Shortlist and Clementine Loves Red

Title Pick: Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets

Scattering the Dark offers a lively selection of Poland’s women poets writing before and after the fall of communism. In eight thematic chapters, this book reveals how the influential literary tradition of Miłosz and Szymborska continues to evolve as younger generations turn from their country’s tragic history to a poetry of ordinary experience and language … Continue reading Title Pick: Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets

Ursula Phillips on Zofia Nałkowska

Zofia Nalkowska (10 November 1884 – 17 December 1954) is sometimes referred to as the grande dame of Polish literature. She was an active member of the Polish PEN Club, the only female (and a founding member) of the Polish Academy of Literature (1933-1939) and recipient of major awards including the state prize in 1936 … Continue reading Ursula Phillips on Zofia Nałkowska

When An Author You Translate Gets Death Threats: Polish Writer Olga Tokarczuk Speaks the Truth, Is Attacked For It

Acclaimed Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk has received a steady stream of hate mail and even death threats after questioning her country’s view of itself as “an open, tolerant country.” As one person put it in a post to Tokarczuk’s Facebook page, “The only justice for these lies is death. Traitor.” Many agree that Tokarczuk’s “betrayal” … Continue reading When An Author You Translate Gets Death Threats: Polish Writer Olga Tokarczuk Speaks the Truth, Is Attacked For It