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Contemporary Global Literature Series

Topics related to translation studies and contemporary international literature published in the 21st century.

In This Guide

Contemporary Global Literature Series

“Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.”

~ Paul Auster

Literature opens doors to other cultures and perspectives different from our own. Reading books written by authors in other countries and in other languages gives us a glimpse into the unique stories and traditions of these cultures. Ideally we would be able to read all of these works in their original languages. Since this is not possible, a vast amount of international literature remains inaccessible to English speakers.

Translated texts can open up a whole new way of seeing the world, increasing access to international literature for English readers. A highly skilled translator serves as a bridge between different cultures, bringing the author’s world to a new audience. 

Unfortunately, only about 3% of all books published in the United States are works in translation. Of those books chosen for translation into English, the vast majority are originally written in Indo-European languages by male authors. This means that many literary works from underrepresented languages never reach English readers. 

The Contemporary Global Literature Series is a collaboration of the English Librarian and the Languages Librarian at the Consortium Library. Through this ongoing series we will highlight:

  1. literature from around the world that has been translated into English since 2000, particularly new and underrepresented voices 
  2. resources and topics related to the often complex art of literary translation

Upcoming Events

August is Women in Translation Month

Graphic for Women in Translation Month, August 2021 #WITMonth Twitter: @read_WIT Instagram: @readWIT

Founded by Meytal Radzinski in 2014, Women in Translation Month is dedicated to raising awareness of women authors from around the world who write in languages other than English and to promote gender and cultural diversity in literary publishing.

Join us throughout the month of August as we discover, share, read, discuss, and celebrate women in translation. Follow the #WITMonth social media (Twitter: @read_WIT or Instagram: @readWIT) or attend one of the following free virtual events taking place internationally:

August 1, 2021: Launch of Women in Translation Month. Follow the Consortium Library on Facebook and Instagram.

August 3, 2021: Charco Press Women in Translation Month Event (Instagram livestream): Translators Annie McDermott and Frances Riddle discuss translating Latin American women authors. Hosted by Charco Books. (10am AK time)

August 8, 2021: Women Writers in Translation (on Zoom):  Join The Muse and the Poetry Society of Virginia as we celebrate the work of women writers in translation in this multi-genre panel. With Pichchenda Bao, translator Kurt William Hackbarth, and Dr. Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda. Hosted by the Muse Writing Center. (3pm AK time)

August 12, 2021: PEN America's Women in Translation Reading Series (Virtual) : Bilingual readings (Hebrew, French, Swedish, Spanish, Japanese). (10:00-11:30am AK time)

August 19, 2021: PEN America's Women in Translation Reading Series (Virtual): Bilingual readings (Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese). (10:00-11:30am AK time)

August 26, 2021: PEN America's Women in Translation Reading Series (Virtual): Bilingual readings (Spanish, Japanese, German, French, Czech). (10:00-11:30am AK time)

August 27, 2021: Consortium Library Women in Translation Month panel (Virtual). Free Zoom event. (12:00-2:0pm AK time) Registration required:



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Christie Ericson
Electronic Resources Librarian
Languages Liaison
Consortium Library 116D

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Anna Bjartmarsdottir