August marks Women in Translation month, dedicated to amplifying women writers and translators across the globe.

We’ve brought together a selection of books in translation by women or translated by women.
Sex and Lies
Leïla Slimani, Translated by Sophie Lewis

From the prize winning and bestselling author of Lullaby and Adèle: a fascinating and witty collection of essays on the lives of women grappling with sexual politics in a deeply conservative culture.

In a country where the law punishes and outlaws all forms of sex outside marriage, as well as homosexuality and prostitution, women have only two options for their sexual identities: virgin or wife. Sex and Lies is an essential confrontation with Morocco’s intimate demons and a vibrant appeal for the universal freedom to be, to love and to desire.

More books by Leïla Slimani

The Woman in the Purple Skirt
Natsuko Imamura, Translated by Lucy North

The Woman in the Purple Skirt is being watched. Someone is following her, always perched just out of sight, monitoring which buses she takes; what she eats; whom she speaks to. But this invisible observer isn’t a stalker – it’s much more complicated than that.

Clever, bewildering and darkly comic, The Woman in the Purple Skirt is the story of two women whose lives are set to become terribly entwined.

We Know You Remember
Tove Alsterdal, Translated by Alice Menzies

From Swedish crime sensation Tove Asterdal: immerse yourself in the long summer days of this claustrophobic community as detective Eira Sjödin takes on a case guaranteed to keep you guessing to the end.

Lina Stavred went missing twenty years ago. A local boy confessed to her murder – but the body was never found. The case was closed, the records were sealed. Since then, the people of Ådalen have avoided talking about that painful summer, preferring to leave the past untouched. Now Lina’s murderer has reappeared. This is detective Eira Sjödin’s chance to untangle years of well-kept secrets – but the truth is something Ådalen would rather forget.


Sulphuric Acid
Amélie Nothomb, Translated by Shaun Whiteside

Sulphuric Acid tells the story of a reality TV death camp, which has become the nation’s obsession – an amoral spectacle played out through the media. It is a blackly funny and shocking satire on the modern predilection for reality television and celebrity, in which the audience at home develops a taste for blood.

More books by Amélie Nothomb
The Pixels of Paul Cézanne
Wim Wenders, Translated by Jen Calleja

The Pixels of Paul Cézanne is a collection of essays by Wim Wenders in which he presents his observations and reflections on the fellow artists who have influenced, shaped and inspired him. He looks at the dance work of Pina Bausch, the paintings of Cézanne, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth, as well as the films of Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Ozu, Anthony Mann, Douglas Sirk and Sam Fuller. He tries to understand their individual perspectives and, in the process, reveals his own art of perception in texts of rare poignancy.

Pig Tales
Marie Darrieussecq, Translated by Linda Coverdale

Pig Tales is a brilliant satirical novel about a stunning young woman working in a beauty ‘massage’ parlour. She enjoys extraordinary success at bringing home the bacon (in part due to her increasingly rosy and irresistible backside) until she slowly metamorphoses – into a pig. Rejected by her boyfriend, left to wander the sewers and forage for food in public parks, she takes up with a werewolf with insatiable appetites. They share everything (pizza is a particular favourite; she gets the pizza, he gets the delivery boy) until someone alerts the authorities and tragedy strikes . . .

More books by Marie Darrieussecq
Nights of Plague
Orhan Pamuk, Translated by Ekin Oklap

1901. Night draws in.

With the stealth of a spy vessel, the royal ship Aziziye approaches the famous vistas of Mingheria. ‘An emerald built of pink stone’. The twenty-ninth state of the ailing Ottoman Empire.

The ship carries Princess Pakize, the daughter of a deposed sultan, her doctor husband, and the Royal Chemist, Bonkowski Pasha. Each of them holds a separate mission. Not all of them will survive the weeks ahead. Because Mingheria is on the cusp of catastrophe. There are rumours of plague – rumours some in power will try to suppress.

But plague is not the only killer.

Soon, the eyes of the world will turn to this ancient island, where the future of a fragile empire is at stake, in an epic and playful mystery of passion, fear, scandal and murder, from one of history’s master storytellers.

More books by Orhan Pamuk
Night as it Falls
Jakuta Alikavazovic, Translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman

Paul works as a hotel night guard to make ends meet. Amelia, who studies at the same university, is the young woman who rents Room 313. Everything about her is a mystery: where she goes, who she meets – and where she comes from. The two students become compulsively and inextricably entangled, until one day, Amelia disappears.

Night as It Falls is a novel of high passion and low light, tracing two young lovers who must both come to terms with their inherited bonds and the paths that shape the future.

Banana Yoshimoto, Translated by Megan Backus

Kitchen juxtaposes two tales about mothers, transsexuality, bereavement, kitchens, love and tragedy in contemporary Japan. It is a startlingly original first work by Japan’s brightest young literary star and is now a cult film.

Kitchen was first published in Japan in 1987. It won two of Japan’s most prestigious literary prizes, climbed its way to the top of the bestseller lists, then remained there for over a year and sold millions of copies. Banana Yoshimoto was hailed as a young writer of great talent and great passion whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of modern literature, and has been described as ‘the voice of young Japan’ by the Independent on Sunday.

The Festival of Insignificance
Milan Kundera, Translated by Linda Asher

Readers who know Kundera’s earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the unserious in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism – that is The Festival of Insignificance. Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realising his old aesthetic dream in this novel that we could easily view as a summation of his whole work.

More books by Milan Kundera
The Expedition to the Baobab Tree
Wilma Stockenström, Translated by J. M. Coetzee

A young slave girl accompanies her owner on an expedition into the African interior in search of a mythical city. In unfamiliar terrain, the party gets lost. One by one, our narrator’s companions disappear, leaving her to take refuge in the hollow of a baobab tree. There, she finds the space and will to reflect upon her life’s journey, telling her story to the baobab itself. This powerful fable, translated from Wilma Stockenström’s original Afrikaans by Nobel Prize-winner J. M. Coetzee, is a remarkable portrait of dislocation and empowerment.

The Discomfort of the Evening
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Translated by Michele Hutchison

Ten-year-old Jas has a unique way of experiencing her universe: the feeling of udder ointment on her skin as protection against harsh winters; the texture of green warts, like capers, on migrating toads; the sound of ‘blush words’ that aren’t in the Bible. But when a tragic accident ruptures the family, her curiosity warps into a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies – unlocking a darkness that threatens to derail them all.

A bestselling sensation in the Netherlands, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s radical debut novel is studded with images of wild, violent beauty: a world of language unlike any other, exquisitely captured in Michele Hutchison’s translation.