reading women from around the world

I’m reading a book written by a woman from every country in the world.

My focus is on both fiction and nonfiction books that are:

  1. Written by a woman who was born in the country;

  2. Written by a woman who wasn’t born there, but spent most of her life there; or

  3. Written about women in that country if no translations of female writers exist


the full list

status: 66 of 201 books since september 2018


  • Algeria: The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris by Leïla Marouane

  • Cameroon: Season of the Shadows by Leonora Miano

  • Egypt: The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

  • Ethiopia: Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

  • Ghana: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

  • Morocco: The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

  • Mozambique: The First Wife by Paulina Chiziane

  • Nigeria: Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

  • Togo: Do They Hear You When You Cry by Fauziya Kassindja and Layli Miller Bashir

  • South Africa: Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk

  • Zimbabwe: House of Stone by Novuyo Tshuma


  • Afghanistan: The Favored Daughter by Fawzia Koofi

  • Armenia: The Legacy of Lost Things by Aida Zilelian

  • Azerbaijan: City of Jasmine by Olga Grjasnowa

  • Bangladesh: A Golden Age by Tahmim Anam

  • Cambodia: The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

  • China: The Good Women of China by Xinran

  • Japan: Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami

  • North Korea: The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

  • Russia: The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky

  • South Korea: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

  • Thailand: Letters from Thailand by Botan


  • Albania: Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones

  • Austria: The Wall by Marlen Haushofer

  • Belarus: The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich

  • Belgium: Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb

  • Bulgaria: Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova

  • Croatia: Fox by Dubravka Ugrĕsic

  • Denmark: Mirror Shoulder Signal by Dorthe Nors

  • France: Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye

  • Germany: The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck

  • Greece: Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amanda Michalopoulou

  • Greenland: Last Night in Nuuk by Niviaq Korneliussen

  • Hungary: The Door by Magda Szabó

  • Iceland: Hotel Silence by Auður A Ólafsdóttir

  • Italy: History: A Novel by Elsa Morante

  • Norway: The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

  • Portugal: Now and at the Hour of Our Death by Susana Moreira Marques

  • Slovenia: The Feline Plague by Maja Novak

  • Spain: A Working Woman by Elvira Navarro

  • Turkey: Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

  • Ukraine: Oksana, Behave! by Maria Kuznetsova

  • United Kingdom (Northern Ireland): Milkman by Anna Burns

  • United Kingdom (Scotland): Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay

Middle East:

  • Iraq: The Last Girl by Nadia Murad

  • Iran: To Keep the Sun Alive by Rabeah Ghaffari

  • Israel: Walking Lyons by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

  • Lebanon: Women of Sand and Myrrh by Ḥanān Shaykh

  • Palestine: Amreekiya by Lena Mahmoud

  • Saudi Arabia: Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Al-Sanea

North America:

  • Antigua and Barbuda: Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

  • Barbados: The Best of all Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

  • Belize: The Festival of San Joaquin by Zee Edgell

  • Canada: The Boat People by Sharon Bala

  • Cuba: Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

  • Dominican Republic: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

  • Haiti: Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

  • Jamaica: Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

  • Mexico: The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

  • Nicaragua: The Country Under My Skin by Gioconda Belli


  • Australia: The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

  • New Zealand: The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi

South America:

  • Argentina: Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblim

  • Brazil: What are the Blind Men Dreaming by Noemi Jaffe

  • Chile: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

Book reviews


Much of the inspiration for this project came from other readers. The extremely thorough books lists from A Year of Reading the World, Reading the World, The World Review of Books, and Words Without Borders have been a great starting point for my list. There is also a robust community online talking about #WomeninTranslation. Thank you!