This is an archived issue of Belletrista. If you are looking for the current issue, you can find it here
Belletrista - A site promoting translated women authored literature from around the world
photo of Cristina Rivera-Garza; photo credit Yvonne Venegas painting by Paula Cumez Placeholder

Caitlin Fehir interviews Cristina Rivera-Garza, Winner of the 2009 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize.

16 Reviews of Classic and Contemporary Latin American & Brazilian Novels!

Ceri Evans reports from the recent International PEN "Free the Word!" event in London.

Welcome, readers, to the most dazzling issue of Belletrista thus far! In this issue, we feature more great books, and the women who write them, than in any of our previous issues.

This time we've included an exciting Latin American theme so, in addition to the 17 regular book reviews, we also present you with 16 reviews of classic and contemporary Latin American literature written by women. To tie in with this theme, we have a fabulous interview with Mexico's Cristina Rivera-Garza and a special "Trio"—a review of three works by Brazil's internationally acclaimed Clarice Lispector. And there's more: dystopian fiction, an interview with the remarkable Nawal el Saadawi, a reportback of the recent International PEN event, 62 books in the New and Notable section, and a brand new section highlighting the winners and nominees of recent global literary awards.

It's jam-packed with exciting finds on our part. Here's hoping you'll find wonderful and inspiring things within. Enjoy!

Click on 'Reviews' to see the full list of this issue's reviews...
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Adania Shibli
Translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar

This lyrical novella invites you into the world of an observant little girl who lives with her parents and eight sisters in current-day Palestine. She is the littlest one in the family, and one gets the sense that she is loved, but is a tad neglected. Everyone is always busy, so she escapes into a private space where she observes the things that make up her everyday world: colors, silence, movement, and language.

Reviewed by Akeela Gaibie-Dawood
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Annie Ernaux
Translated from the French by Jonathan Kaplansky

The literal translation of the book's title, "Exterior Life" or "The Life Outside", fits nicely with its content, as it is a series of brief observations and random thoughts about people and events that exist outside of the life of the narrator….

Reviewed by Darryl Morris
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Marti Leimbach

I was a child during the American war in Vietnam. I can still conjure images of the time: horrifying photos in Life magazine, correspondents on the nightly news reporting over the sound of mortar fire, while in the background medics bearing stretchers ran, crouching, toward waiting helicopters.

Reviewed by Maggie Oldendorf
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Radwa Ashour
Translated from the Arabic by Wiliam Granara

If there's one time and place I wish I could travel to, it's Moorish Spain; al-Andalus has long had a strange fascination for me, with its extraordinarily developed culture—architecture which continues to amaze us today, some of the greatest thinkers of the time, flourishing literature and music—set against the stunning backdrop of the Spanish landscape.

Reviewed by Rachel Hayes
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Yanick Lahens
Translated from the French by Betty Wilson

It's always good to be reminded of the diversity of talent from places that the rest of the world focuses on only in the most troubled times. Even before this year's terrible earthquake, Haiti was a by-word for poverty and violence. This anthology of short stories by Yanick Lahens, a first English translation for one of Haiti's foremost short story writers, is a timely reminder that the country has so much more to offer the world.

Reviewed by Andy Barnes

Closing Escape Hatches and Emerging Humor
Photo of Storm over Brisbane
Jean Hughes Raber looks at post-millennium dystopian novels by women.
Trio: Clarice Lispector
Photo of Clarice Lispector
Rachel Hayes reviews three books by the internationally acclaimed Brazilian author.
Listening to
Nawal el Saadawi

photo of Nawal el Saadawi
Coming from the International PEN "Free the Word!" festival, Charlotte Simpson introduces us to Egyptian writer, psychiatrist and political activist Nawal el Saadawi.
Awards & Nominations
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Looking for a great book to read? Here we present some of the recent award-winning or award-nominated books by women writers from around the world.