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On Women Writers, by Núria Añó

Dimitris Vetsikas

Did you know that the Women Writers Day was born four years ago on an initiative of the National Library of Spain (BNE), among others, to compensate for the historical discrimination of women in literature?

This text by Núria Añó is part of a longer essay titled “The Mother Tongue in Foreign Lands”. It was read at Shanghai Writers’ Association in China on September 11, 2016, and published at Wenhui Daily. 

Languages constitute my job as a writer, a translator, even as a reader.

French writer Marguerite Duras wrote in La vie matérielle the following sentence: “A writer is a foreign country.”

When I was young, her books made me feel many things while reading. It was not only because of her stories and characters, but the language with brief sentences and the depth of her writing! I felt this through a translation; it wasn’t her own words.

It happened again with the Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek. The importance of her voices in novels and plays are so extraordinary that I had to learn German to read her work in her native language to find many witty wordplays that usually are not translated.

Even so, literary translations construct cultural bridges and enlarge our horizons. Readers and writers around the world have a cultural commitment with our time.

About the author

Núria Añó was born in Lleida, Catalonia, Spain, in 1973. She is a Catalan/Spanish writer, a translator and a regular speaker at conferences and symposia, where she gives papers on literary creation, films, cities or authors like Elfriede Jelinek, Patricia Highsmith, Salka Viertel, Karen Blixen, Alexandre Dumas or Franz Werfel at the University of Lleida (UdL), Tunis University, University of Jaén (UJA), International University of Andalucía (UNIA), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC-Madrid), Sysmän Kirjasto Library in Finland, Shanghai Writers’ Association (SWA), Fudan University in China, East China Normal University, Sinan Mansion, Instituto Cervantes in Shanghai, Conrad Festival in Poland, Massolit Books, Baza or Instituto Cervantes in Krakow, also in libraries, secondary schools or in higher education. She also acts as a juror for international competitions.

Her novel Els nens de l’Elisa was third among the finalists for the 24th Ramon Llull Prize for Catalan Literature and was published in 2006. L’escriptora morta [The Dead Writer, 2020], in 2008; Núvols baixos [Lowering Clouds, 2020], in 2009, and La mirada del fill, in 2012. She is the author of a biography on screenwriter Salka Viertel, El salón de los artistas exiliados en California [The Salon of Exiled Artists in California, 2020] Jewish salonnière and well-known in Hollywood in the thirties as a specialist on Greta Garbo scripts.

Some of her novels, short stories and articles are translated into Spanish, French, English, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese, Latvian, Portuguese, Dutch and Greek.

Her writing focus on the characters’ psychology, generally antiheroes. The characters are the most important in her books, much more than the topic, due to “an introspection, a reflection, not sentimental, but feminine”. Her novels cover a multitude of topics, treat actual and socially relevant problems such as injustices or poor communication between people and frequently, the core of her stories remains unexplained. Añó asks the reader to discover the “deeper meaning” and to become involved in the events presented. Read more

Literary Prizes/ Awards:

  • Awarded at International Writing Program, by the Academy of Literature in China.
  • Awarded at International Writer’s and Translators’ House in Latvia.
  • Fourth prize of the 5th Shanghai Get-together Writing Contest in China.
  • Selected for a literary residence in Krakow UNESCO City of Literature, Poland.
  • Awarded at the International Writers’ and Translators’ Center of Rhodes in Greece.
  • Awarded at the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators in Sweden.
  • Awarded at the Shanghai Writing Program, hosted by the Shanghai Writer’s Association in China.
  • Awarded by the Culture Association Nuoren Voiman Liitto to be a resident at Villa Sarkia in Finland.
  • Third among the finalists for the 24th Ramon Llull Prize for Catalan Literature.
  • Finalist for the 8th Mercè Rodoreda Prize for Catalan Short Stories.
  • Awarded the 18th City of Almenara Joan Fuster Prize for Fiction.

Other books by Núria Añó in English

The Salon of Exiled Artists in California, Núria Añó (ebook) READ AN EXCERPT

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Lowering Clouds, Núria Añó (ebook) READ AN EXCERPT

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The Dead Writer, Núria Añó (ebook) READ AN EXCERPT

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Núria Añó: Núria Añó cursó estudios de Filología Catalana y Lengua Alemana. Compagina la escritura con la traducción, además de la participación en coloquios y becas internacionales, donde suele hablar de su obra, de creación literaria, cine, ciudades o bien analiza la obra de escritores como Elfriede Jelinek, Patricia Highsmith, Karen Blixen, Salka Viertel, Alexandre Dumas (hijo) o Franz Werfel. Sus novelas, relatos y ensayos han sido traducidos al español, francés, inglés, italiano, alemán, polaco, chino, letón, portugués, neerlandés, griego y árabe. La novela 'Els nens de l'Elisa' (2006) queda tercera finalista en el XXIV Premio de las Letras Catalanas Ramon Llull. Siguen 'L'escriptora morta' ([La escritora muerta, 2018], 2008), 'Núvols baixos' ([Nubes bajas, 2021], 2009), 'La mirada del fill' ([La mirada del hijo, 2019], 2012) y 'El salón de los artistas exiliados en California' (2020). Gana el XVIII Premio Joan Fuster de Narrativa Ciutat d'Almenara, el cuarto premio internacional de escritura 2018 Shanghai Get-Together y ha sido galardonada con las prestigiosas becas: Nuoren Voiman Liitto (Finlandia, 2016), Shanghai Writing Program (China, 2016), Baltic Centre (Suecia, 2017), IWTCR (Grecia, 2017), Krakow UNESCO City of Literature (Polonia, 2018), IWTH (Letonia, 2019) y IWP (China, 2020). Más información en https://www.nuriaanyo.com