Rediscovering Women Writers in Translation

Here at the Women’s Prize for Fiction, we’re committed to celebrating women writers around the world; and we were overjoyed to discover that Penguin are publishing a brand new series of forgotten gems from European writers. The first is Death in Spring, a masterpiece by Catalan writer Mercé Rodoreda and here is Penguin Editor Isabel Wall to introduce them.

Plus! Read on to win one of 5 stunning copies of Death in Spring.

Penguin European Writers is a new series of forgotten classics by European writers, with introductions by acclaimed contemporary authors. As a former student of French and Italian, I felt compelled by the current political climate to begin a new initiative to promote European literature to British readers. Translated fiction offers a unique insight into another culture; it promotes the exchange of ideas between writers, and empathy between readers.

Only around 3% of books published in English are in translation and less than a third of all literary translations published in the UK are written by women, meaning there are so many wonderful writers and translators still waiting to be discovered.

Photo of Mercé Rodoreda at Desk

I am delighted to be launching the Penguin European Writers series with a bewitching and unsettling novel, Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda, brilliantly translated by Martha Tennent and with an illuminating introduction by Colm Tóibín. Often seen as an allegory for life under a dictatorship, Death in Spring is a dark and dream-like tale of a young boy’s coming of age in a remote village in the Catalan mountains. Rodoreda based the novel on her own experiences of exile during the Spanish Civil War and she is widely regarded as the greatest Catalan writer of the twentieth century.

I hope the Penguin European Writers series will not only introduce readers to some of Europe’s most extraordinary authors but also inspire readers to seek out more works in translation from all different countries and backgrounds.

Interested in reading about women in translation? Check out our post for Women in Translation Month and discover more fantastic reading recommendations.

Head to the @WomensPrize Instagram to win one of 5 copies of Death in Spring.

Photo of Death in Spring by Mercé Rodoreda

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