This year, at least three significant memoirs are forthcoming in translation, all of them intimately relevant to women’s lives in 2018, from #metoo to intersectionalism and global solidarity to the fraught spaces between the performance and experience of motherhood.
“I was keen on exploring the theme of “new” personal and political realities being lived and confronted by women in the Arab world and the diaspora in recent years, especially in the aftermath of the wars and revolutions the region has undergone on multiple levels in the new century.”
“And remember: talking about periods in fus7a is not insulting, because periods are not insulting!”
Saturday Summer Re-runs: On Translating ‘A’ishah al-Ba’uniyyah, Perhaps Arabic’s Most Prolific Premodern Woman Writer
“When she’s in Cairo and she’s having these exchanges, she’s a widow. She’s probably in her fifties. Her son is with her, and he’s working as a secretary for the Sultan, and she’s living in the quarters of a family friend with his wife. Certainly somebody’s going to take exception, you’re always going to have conservative elements, but we don’t know of it.”
August is Women in Translation month. Eight to read or put on your to-read list.
“Bakr also critiqued the representation of women in literature, criticizing both men and women authors for failing to write good female characters.”
“The way the world works — it’s designed such that we’re transformed into consumers, and it consumes the individual by making them into a consumer. By entering into this cycle, we lose ourselves and the true voice we hear in our heads when we experience setbacks in this world. It’s upon the writer — all of us actually, not just writers — but writers in particular to go up against this way of life.”
“Poetry always springs from the darkest areas in our subconscious, which lives on the anticipation of loss. Loss is what makes up the chemistry of poetry.”
“If translated literature as a whole is underrepresented on the British book market, then women’s voices in translation are even more peripheral. The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, for example, was awarded 21 times, but was won by a woman only twice.”
In Morocco, “[a]bout a quarter of all books are self-published, and 86 percent of the authors are male.”
“A nadwa such as this reaffirms to us that writing is an activity worth travelling and taking time out for in an isolated location, something that has become an unthinkable luxury in today’s world.”
“Women writers represent only about 30 percent of what’s translated into English.”