7 Classic and Contemporary Books by Phenomenal Women Writers
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Tania Ganho is one of Portugal’s most respected literary translators with an impressive number of authors and their books to her name. Her list includes Anaïs Nin, John Banville, Gay Talese, H.G. Wells, E.L. Doctorow, Siri Hustvedt, and Garth Risk Hallberg; she also translates books from French such as the best-selling author Marc Levy. But she is especially attuned to women writers, finding a certain literary sisterhood, because, she says with a touch of impatience, she lives in a very traditional society. Bookwitty spoke with her during the Literatura em Viagem festival in Portugal, where she took the stage with the British author Rachel Cusk, who she also translates, to talk about the importance of literary classics. We are living such troubled times, Ganho said, who added that she had been re-reading Virginia Woolf. “It’s so important not to forget the classics, what people have been through. We can read about what Virginia Woolf saw in the 1930s. It’s essential to revisit what it means to be human in the classics and build on top of this.”
But Ganho, who has written several books of her own which are considered examples of new feminist writing in Portugal, also likes Virginia Woolf because she finds her writing about women still so relevant to women’s place in society in Portugal today. I asked Ganho if she could recommend Classic or contemporary Portuguese women authors, unfortunately very few of them (including Ganho’s books) have been translated into English. In fact she could only find three: Lídia Jorge (b. 1946), Teolinda Gersão (b. 1940) and Dulce Maria Cardoso (b. 1964). Publishers take note, there’s work to be done here!
So I asked Ganho for a reading list that she would recommend to a daughter (she has a son). Following is a list of her authors, with Ganho's comments.