Only a small fraction of fiction published in English comes to us from authors in other countries, and just a quarter of that is written by women.
Women in Translation Month, launched by blogger Meytal Radzinski in 2014, celebrates the work of women authors in translation while encouraging readers to read more, translators to translate more, and publishers to publish more women in translation. Since then, efforts have increased both to document and to correct the disparity between the number of women and men translated into English, and that work is ongoing.
This year, for the first time, the PEN America Translation Committee is holding a reading and discussion to mark Women in Translation Month, co-presented with WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn. The evening will showcase the work of authors and translators alike, while also shining a spotlight on gender disparity as a constraint on free expression.
As Jennifer Clement said, in 2015, when she became the first woman president of PEN International, “As a writer and activist I have advocated for those silenced by gender, race and class. Global gender censorship is escalating. It is time for PEN to lead in this area in a more visible way.”
Madhu Kaza: moderator. Born in Andhra Pradesh, India, Madhu Kaza is a writer, translator, artist and educator based in New York City. She has translated the contemporary Telugu women writers Volga and Vimala. She is the editor of Kitchen Table Translation, a volume that explores connections between translation and migration, and is currently at work on a novel titled Afterlife.
Bonnie Huie translates Chinese and Japanese. Her most recent work is Notes of a Crocodile, Qiu Miaojin’s coming-of-age novel about queer friendship in late-’80s Taipei, published by NYRB Classics. She received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant, and her excerpt of Okinawan political novelist Tatsuhiro Ōshiro’s “To Futenma” appears in The Brooklyn Rail’s InTranslation.
Elisabeth Jaquette: translator of Egyptian writer Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue (Melville House Books). Elisabeth Jaquette is a translator from the Arabic. She received an English PEN Translates Award for her translation of The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, and a 2017 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant for Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun. She is managing director of the American Literary Translators Association.
Julia Sanches: translator of Portuguese writer Susana Moreira Marques’s Now and at the Hour of Our Death (And Other Stories). Julia Sanches is a translator of Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Catalan. Her book-length translations are Now and at the Hour of Our Death by Susana Moreira Marques and What Are the Blind Men Dreaming? by Noemi Jaffe. Her shorter translations have appeared in Suelta, The Washington Review, Asymptote, Two Lines, Granta, Tin House, Words Without Borders, and Revista Machado. She is a founding member of Cedilla & Co., a collective for literary translators.