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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Around the world in female writers: why I'm reading 200 books by 2020 | Books blog - The Guardian

Photo: Sophie Baggott
Sophie Baggott, Welsh writer/journalist explains, "The number of novels by women that reach English remains shockingly low, but that still leaves a curious reader with vast scope for adventure."

You don’t have to look far to find plenty of excellent translated fiction by women. 
Photo: Mike Booth/Alamy

One quiet weeknight in June, my phone buzzed. Pause, then another alert. A steady stream of notifications swept in over the evening. What on earth was going on?

Just moments earlier, I had tweeted a request for reading tips. The goal: to make my way through books written by women from every country in the world. Recommendations were flying in thick and fast. My new bookshelf would be piled high in no time! My debit card quivered.

The following days saw a global span of readers, authors and translators nudge me towards women writers from Cameroon, El Salvador, Lebanon, Mauritius … I gathered all of them into a blog and set off on my biblio-travels.

And it’s been quite the journey. My starting point – a realisation that anglocentric and male-dominated reading habits were blinkering my worldview – feels a long way back. Sure, the publishing industry’s gender bias is old news, but I was shocked to learn that male authors dominate more than two-thirds of the translated fiction market...

Three months in, I’m 10% through and on track to finish my lap of the world in 2020. That may sound a long way off, but I want to avoid rushing and be realistic about reading 200 books alongside full-time work and a social life. Will I struggle to commit for the long run? Absolutely not. I’ve staved off any potential non-fiction withdrawal symptoms with the occasional long read online, and am getting by with reading reviews and interviews with British authors whose books I’m missing in the meantime.
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Source: The Guardian