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Celebrating Spring, Books and Women

Posted by Tatiana Ameri, on 11 March 2020. Comments: 0

March has always been the ultimate month to start shaking off the winter slumber. It’s the month to celebrate spring, books, languages and.. women. Every year there are so many great events and occasions to look forward to including the World Book Day, the London Book Fair, the International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and many others.

Unfortunately, the London Book Fair got cancelled this year, but the Language World and the Russian Teachers’ Group Annual Conference are still going ahead, the days are getting longer, daffodils are blooming and spring is definitely in the air.

The International Women’s Day is behind us, but let’s not stop celebrating women! There are so many wonderful, smart, courageous ladies from all walks of life, so being in the book business it’s only natural that we've chosen to start with “les femmes de lettres”. Here at European Schoolbooks we’ve asked our multinational staff to come up with some of their favourite female authors. Below are their choices. What are yours?

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RUSSIAN

Marina Tsvetaeva

Why? Because she was a talented poet, a passionate and experimental chronicler of her times and the depths of the human condition. Her poems are recognised for their unusual syntax, and the influence of folk songs. Tsvetaeva is also known for her portrayal of a woman’s experiences during the “terrible years” of the Soviet regime. Sadly, she had a very a tragic life and committed suicide in 1941.

Books by Marina Tsvetaeva

Guzel Yakhina

Why? She is one of the new stars of Russian contemporary literature who writes about lesser known traumas of the Soviet past, viewing them through the prism of her family experiences. Her book “Zuleiha” inspired by her grandmother's childhood memories of being exiled to the Gulag has been capturing the hearts of readers all over the world. The English translation by Lisa C. Hayden is on the longlist of the EBRD Literature Prize 2020.

Books by Guzel Yakhina

ITALIAN

Elena Ferrante

Why? Because she is cool and she chose anonymity to preserve the creative freedom which resulted in the series of brilliant and bold novels.

Books by Elena Ferrante

Natalia Ginzburg

Why? Because of her amazing literary skill to depict family life, the female experience, postwar hardship and hope. As The Guardian put it: If reading Ferrante can seem like making a new friend, reading Ginzburg is more like finding a mentor”.

Books by Natalia Ginzburg

FRENCH

George Sand (real name Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin)

Why? She was definitely a woman ahead of her time. Controversial, fascinating and massively popular. One of the first female voices in literature who was not afraid to raise questions of sexual identity and transgender issues. Sand’s work influenced such literary mastodons as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Flaubert, and Proust, all men, mind you!

Books by George Sand

Virginie Despentes

Why? Because she is a rebel who doesn’t care about what people think. Her books are a hotbed of controversy and taboo-shattering themes spiced with anger and sarcasm. Despentes is probably not for everyone and there’s certain scepticism from critics about her writing, but whether you hate her or love her she is the voice (and the force) to be reckoned with.

Books by Virginie Despentes

PORTUGUESE

Agustina Bessa-Luís

Why? Because she is considered one of the greatest revelations of the modern and contemporary literature of Portugal. Her female characters are often strong and fearless women, capable of fighting and taking charge in a seriously patriarchal culture. At the same time, her prose makes notions of time and space quite vague and the reality she creates dims the sense of a logical order of events.

Books by Agustina Bessa-Luís

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Why? She was an ultimate poet and the first Portuguese woman to receive the prestigious Camões Prize. She defined poetry as "an art of being" that "does not require my time and labour. It does not ask me to have science, or aesthetics or theories. Instead it demands the entireness of my being, a consciousness running deeper than my intellect."

Books by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

GERMAN

Herta Müller

Why? Because she was brave enough to refuse to cooperate with the Securitate secret police and to face the consequences. Because her works are rooted in her experiences as one of Romania's German-speaking ethnic minority and address an individual's vulnerability under dictatorship, oppression and persecution. She was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009.

Books by Herta Müller

Cornelia Funke

Why? Because she is a masterful storyteller whose stories have enchanted kids (and parents alike). She is also an amazing illustrator. And because we love the “Inkheart” trilogy that celebrates the magic and the power of the written word.

Books by Cornelia Funke

SPANISH

Rosa Montero

Why? Because she had a difficult start as a child having suffered from TB at the age of 5, but didn’t let it beat her and instead focused on her passion for reading and writing. For over 35 years, she has been devoted to writing fiction that captures human struggle and growth, while also making a name for herself as one of Spain’s foremost journalists.

Books by Rosa Montero

Elvira Navarro

Why? Because she wasn’t even 35 when she was included in the magazine Granta's list of the 22 best Spanish-language young novelists. Her La ciudad felíz (The Happy City), a novel that told the story of an immigrant Chinese worker and a homeless Spanish man went on to won Spain’s Jaén Prize for best novel and the Tormenta Prize for best new author. Navarro is not shy to point out to readers the constant duality that exists between the outward appearance of things and their inner reality. "This author's literary talent is a natural gift (...) the subtle, almost hidden, true avant-gardist of her generation." Enrique Vila-Matas, El Pais

Books by Elvira Navarro

 

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