Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day: Female Authors from Around the World

It's International Women's Day. We're celebrating rather literally today with a list of books by female authors who aren't from the US. I always try to list the translator when there is one, but sometimes books really hide that information. Let me know if I've missed one!


The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This graphic novel autobiography follows Satrapi's childhood in Tehran after the overthrow to the Shah, her schooling in Europe, her return to Iran, and her eventual emigration. Published for adults, this is a stellar comic book that teens enjoy.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier, translated from the German by Anthea Bell. The women in Gwen's family are time-travelers, but it skips some people, including Gwen. It's her cousin Charlotte who's been training, so imagine Gwen's surprise when she's yanked into the past. The third book in this very popular series, Emerald Green, comes out in October.

Sita's Ramayana by Samhita Arni, illustrated by Moyna Chitrakar. This gorgeous book retells the epic poem, the Ramayana from Sita's point of view.


Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda by Elisabeth Combres, translated from the French by Shelley Tanaka. When her mother is murdered, Emma (a Tutsi) survives, plagued by memories of that night. When the war is over and reconciliation begines, Emma, along with the rest of her country, must try to find a way to keep going.

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis, translated from the German by Miriam Debbage. Good girl Anna falls for bad boy Abel, a boy trying to care for his little sister, who spins her a fairy tale based in their reality. But Anna begins to worry when Abel's enemies start turning up dead.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto, translated from the Japanese by Megan Backus. Two novellas explore the grief that comes with losing someone close to you, and the eventual healing. Published for adults, serious readers will enjoy Yoshimoto's gift with sparse prose that seems simple and sweet on the surface, but isn't when you did into it.


Nothing by Janne Teller, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken. When Pierre Anthon declares that life has no meaning and walks out of class, his friends and classmates fear that he's right. Unwilling to contemplate the idea that their lives don't matter, they set out to prove him wrong, but their search for meaning quickly turns dark and violent, and in the end, will it be enough to quiet Pierre's ringing words?

Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat. This memoir starts when Barakat is detained on a bus trip home to Ramallah and then flashes back to her early childhood during the 6-day War and its aftermath. Barakat's story is engaging and helps shed light on the current issues in the MidEast and is filled with a longing for peace.

Princess and the Captain by Anne-Laure Bondoux. This one's out of print, but it's worth checking to see if your library has it. Malva is a princess with an unhappy home life, so she runs away, cutting off her hair and disguising herself on a ship that is quickly overtaken by pirates. A fun, epic, and sweeping adventure.

What are your favorite books by international women?

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