Translate This! Samar Yazbek’s ’19 Women’

Samar Yazbek’s The Blue Pen will be published in French translation as La marcheuse at the end of August 2019. The prolific PEN Pinter Prize winner — whose The Crossing, Woman in the Crossfire, and Cinnamon are available in English translation — also has another book, also has several other books awaiting translation:

Among those represented by Raya Agency are In Her Mirrors, Clayand 19 Women: Tales of Resilience from Syria.

Over at the Raya Agency website, Yasmina Jraissati writes:

In this non-fiction book, Samar Yazbek tackles two topics that are close to her heart: Syria, and women. In her previous works on the Syrian uprising, Yazbek gave us an unprecedented view on the Syrian conflict, reminding the world that those who were suffering the civil war were ordinary people who just want to get by and lead dignified normal lives.

In 19 women: Stories of resilience from Syria, Yazbek focuses on the silent, or silenced, actors of the revolution: Women. While they were massively present on the field, and often even on the frontline, the women of Syria had to fight not only the Regime, or ISIS or other Islamist rebels; they had to fight the whole of a patriarchal society, including male revolutionaries.

The site also offers a sample excerpt, translated ranslation by Robin Moger. It opens:

We had no experience of dealing with something like this. The smell from the hospital was like the stench of rotten eggs. We gave people the standard facemasks but it did no good. Across the street women were fitting and screaming hysterically, and so were the men. We poured water over them and some people brought vinegar and lemons they’d plucked from the trees, but the numbers of those affected just grew. People came to assist us.

I was affected by the chemicals myself, but it didn’t happen straight away: it was a while before I lost my sight, which lasted for a week, and I suffered from asphyxiation, but at the time I could move about.

Read more at the Raya Agency website.

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