Founded by Meytal Radzinski in 2014, Women in Translation Month aims to celebrate women, and other marginalized genders, in translation from around the world. As noted on their website, only 36% of books translated into English are from non-European countries, and less than 31% of translations into English are written by women. With so few women in translation published every year, #WITMonth aims to highlight works by women from all walks of life whose work has been translated from one language into another.
Women in translation holds a special place in my heart, and for a few years, I’ve co-hosted the #WITReadathon with my friends Matthew Sciarrappa and Jennifer Helinek. To inspire readers to pick more books by women in translation, we have recommended reading lists, prompts to inspire participants, and a group buddy read. Feel free to join us August 8th – 14th!
As a disabled reader who primarily uses audiobooks, I often run into issues finding books by women in translation on audio. These books are often published by small or indie presses that don’t have the resources to make an audiobook for every title. So whenever I see an audiobook by a woman in translation, I add it to my TBR, making a note for later. So if you’re looking for more audiobooks for your Women in Translation Month celebration, here are a few excellent options!
A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos | Translated by Hildegarde Serle | Narrated by Emma Fenney
Emma Fenney’s performance captures the ethereal, fairy tale–like feel of A Winter’s Promise. In this world, giant arks of land float suspended in space, like little countries suspended in air. Ophelia is betrothed to a prince from another ark, which she isn’t exactly thrilled about. But when she arrives, she finds herself swept up in the political machinations of the well-to-do on this Ark in the far North.
Out by Natsuo Kirino | Translated by Stephen Snyder | Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
All-star audiobook narrator Emily Woo Zeller performs this novel about four Japanese women swept up in a crime of passion. When one of their group of ella kills her husband in self defense, what follows is a tale filled with secrets and dangerous mobsters.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto | Translated by Megan Backus | Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Mikage is devastated when her grandmother, the woman who raised her, passes away. Consumed by her grief from her, Mikage moves in with Yoichi and his mother from him. This sets the scene for the novel’s cozy feel as the misfit family makes their home in the warm glow of the house’s kitchen.
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar | Translated by Adrien Kijek | Narrated by Priya Ayyar
Inspired by Iranian folklore, Shokoofeh Azar spins a tale full of seemingly magical happenings. A family flees their home in a major Iranian city to find refuge in the countryside. Each family member undergoes their fantastical awakening, experiencing the world in a completely new way.
Lemon by Yeo-sun Kwon | Translated by Janet Hong | Narrated by Greta Jung, Jaine Ye, and Greg Chun
Greta Jung, Jaine Ye, and Greg Chun perform this gripping tail of betrayal and devastation. Da-on’s life changes forever when her sister de ella is murdered. As the officials’ investigation goes on for years, Da-on loses hope that she will ever feel any peace. Will her sister’s death de ella haunt her forever?
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk | Translated by Jennifer Croft | Narrated by Allen Lewis Rickman, and Gilli Messer
Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, returns with her masterpiece, The Books of Jacob, finally translated into English. This lengthy audiobook clocks in at 35 hours long, but is well worth it. Set in the mid-18th century, The Books of Jacob features Jacob Frank, a young Jewish man with the beginning ability to charm those around him. As the decades go by, he reinvents himself over and over again, each time enthralling his audience all over again.
Eartheater by Dolores Reyes | Translated by Julia Sanches | Narrated by Frankie Corzo
In Argentina, a young woman discovers that when she eats the earth, she’s given a vision of truth. Terrified by her fear of her, she keeps quiet. But she ca n’t resist the visions she sees when the taste of dirt hits her tongue. Soon, others learn of her gift from her, and begin to ask her for help.
Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica | Translated by Sarah Moses | Narrated by Joseph Balderrama
In a world where animal meat is now poisonous, Marcos lives in a world that now eats human flesh. Officials say they have no other option. Now society is divided between “real people” and specimens fit for consumption. When Marcos acquires a female specimen, he begins treating her like a pet and not quite just viewing her as the animal he’s been told she is.
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante | Translated by Ann Goldstein | Narrated by Marisa Tomei
One day, Giovanna’s father tells her she’s ugly. “Ugly like her aunt.” Never having heard of this aunt before, she decided to figure out who and where her aunt is. This search set off a series of events that will inevitably pull Giovanna from her blissful childhood and into her tumultuous adulthood.
The Night Singer by Johanna Mo | Translated by Alice Menzies | Narrated by Kirsten Potter
Detective Hannah Duncker fled her hometown after her father was convicted of murder. Now she’s back and investigating the death of a 15-year-old girl. As she questions witnesses and family members, Hannah must confront the people she left behind.
For more audiobooks by women in translation, check out 6 Audiobooks for Women in Translation Month and 10 More Audiobooks by Women in Translation.