This International Women in Translation book group started as an idea from a book seller at Idlewild books in New York – a store specialising in language books and classes. I discovered the group during the pandemic, when those lockdowns meant in person meetings were not possible and like many others I was seeking to make connections with other people, reaching out across the internet. I loved the idea of a group reading only work by women and written originally in languages other than English and signed up. I didn’t realise I was the only non American in the group (I think) but everyone was warm and welcoming and Natasha Gilmore would provide links and notes about the books.
Over the months I’ve got to read books I simply wouldn’t have come across otherwise and all interesting and well written. After all in order for a book to be translated it has to be of a high standard. Some of my favourites have been the Japanese authors; The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa and Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada
I cam to relish the discussions and when the focus of the bookstore changed and Natasha could no longer facilitate we carried on ourselves. Natasha left us with the parting gift of suggested titles on bookshop.org One person sets up the polls so we can choose the next book by voting and I provide meeting space on zoom from my professional account. We meet at about six weekly intervals, which gives us longer than a month to choose, acquire and read the next book. We meet at 4pm NY time, 9pm in the UK although it often feels to me like tea time and we discuss the book for about an hour. Our current book is Strangers I know by Claudia Durastanti.
If you are interested in the group and our choices of books leave a comment below. .