This year, as a contribution to Women in Translation Month, created by Meytal Radzinski in 2014, the PEN America Translation Committee presents a series of blog posts featuring books written by women that have won the PEN Translation Prize and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, as well as books by female authors that were
published after having received a PEN/Heim
Translation Fund grant. 

These works of literature have been judged to represent the finest writing by women worldwide, brought into English—from Russian, French, Polish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, Pashto, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, German, Lithuanian, Swedish, Korean, Italian, and Chinese—by the most skillful translators in the field. The fact that PEN America’s translation prizes have gone disproportionately to books by men over the years illustrates the problem that Radzinski identified in December 2013, when she first noticed, and documented, as she later put it, “this startling skew.”

Click here for an account of how Women in Translation Month came into being, and a look at some of the efforts aimed at getting more female authors translated into English and more people reading them. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the conversation at #womenintranslation and #WITMonth. Also visit Women in Translation, a Tumblr I cofounded with Margaret Carson, where daily updates will be posted throughout August.

We hope you’ll be inspired by these lists of great books to pick some of them up and read them this month—and keep on reading women in translation in all the months to come! 


PEN Award: Poetry Translation Winners

21 total; 4 written by women

2009: Marilyn Hacker, for King of a Hundred Horsemen by Marie Étienne (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), translated from the French
Amazon | Indiebound



2012: Jen Hofer, for Negro marfil / Ivory Black by Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press), translated from the Spanish
Amazon | Indiebound





2015: Eliza Griswold, for I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan by Anonymous (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), translated from the Pashto
Amazon | Indiebound



2016: Sawako Nakayasu, for The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books), translated from the Japanese
Amazon | Indiebound