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World Book Day: women and literature

World Book Day and literary translation

Literature, in its broadest sense, helps us improve our reading comprehension and personal communication skills as well as develop creativity and imagination, among many other benefits. But let’s put aside such a costs-and-opportunities-driven logic: who hasn’t enjoyed a good book in their free time? Who hasn’t become attached or absolutely despised a fictional character?

Rocio Sileo, our LGBTIA+ Division Leader, began their career translating novels in e-book format. They have worked on horror, thriller and sci-fi books.

Our colleague Natasha Besoky worked on the English translation of many different poems for the online magazine Ophelia. Check out one of them in our Instagram post.

Paving the way in Literature during the 19th Century: the Brontë sisters

On May 21th, Charlotte Brontë would celebrated another birthday. Under the pseudonym “Currer Bell”, she published the renowned classic Jane Eyre in 1847. As it happened with Mary Shelley and her Frankenstein, anonymity protected her work: publishing Literature under a woman's name was seen as scandalous during the Victorian era.

She wasn't the only writer in her family: her sisters, Emily and Anne, published Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey respectively. Her father, Patrick Brontë, was an Anglican priest who raised his children to love culture, art and games.

There are historical records which show how the three sisters, together with their brother Patrick, created a safe space for themselves in the shape of fantasy worlds and imaginary kingdoms. For many years, they wrote short books about the chronicles of these fictional worlds.

Jane Eyre is considered as Charlotte's sort of autobiography. It was a hugely popular novel back in her days and, as time went on, it became an absolute classic piece of English Literature.

Literature as a weapon: Belén López Peiró

“One of my first texts ever written was about my aunt, who asked me why I kept coming back every summer. Later on I realised that it wasn't a question, it was a statement. ‘Explain this to me, tell me the truth of why you kept coming back every summer. What made you come back despite all that happened?’ Those questions serve a specific purpose: they place the blame on the women who dare report their abusers. The prosecutor asked me how it feels, being abused. I don’t know, why don’t you tell me why you’re asking that? I’m doing this so that people who read my book and then meet a person who’s been abused won’t say something like that ever again.”

Belén López Peiró is a journalist living in Buenos Aires. In recent years, she has deviated from that profession to dive right into Literature. While participating in a workshop by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, she took the opportunity to open up about the abuse she had been through during an assignment on the topic of “identity.” From that assignment came to be Por qué volvías cada verano (“Why you came back every summer”) (2018), published by Madre Selva editorial.

Recently, she published “Donde no hago pie” (“Where I lose my footing”) (2021), by Lumen. This book narrates what comes after reporting abuse by a family member, which includes facing both social prejudice and the obstacles preventing her access to justice.

Image: Freepik

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