Question of the day.

Who, in your opinion, is an author or poet more people should know about?

My answer:

There’s tons of authors writing in less popular languages than English who don’t get translated, or even if they do, I guess literature translated to English only gets some little bit of the attention that the actual English-language literature gets. Many of these authors are really good, so it’s sad to think what people are missing out on. And it’s not even just English speakers because while I believe there’s more literature that is translated between other languages, it’s still not all, and here in Poland, most of translated literature that we have is from English. I’m now trying to think when was the last time I read a book that was originally written in, for example, Hungarian. I can only think of two. Or say Icelandic. Nothing comes to mind except sagas. Or even, so as not to venture too far away, in some of my favourite languages like Finnish or Dutch. Well, for Finnish there’s mostly just Mika Valtari and Tove Jansson whom I both love, but not much more than that, and with Dutch even less than that. As for non-European languages if I ever read anything in any of them I think it was mostly stuff like fairytales or the like but even that I’m not sure if it’s always been translated directly from the original. Oh wait, I did read a book translated from Arabic earlier this year, but even the translator wrote that there aren’t many books translated from Arabic to Polish. Now I even remember once reading some article in a magazine where it said that it’s quite sad that there aren’t many Polish translations of Czech books, despite we’re neighbouring countries, after all. There are some classics and stuff but it feels like given the relationship between our languages we should share more literature with each other. I don’t think they’ve translated a lot of ours either, . So yeah, there are definitely a lot of great authors and poets that many people don’t know and often they’re only known within their country. I always feel sad that my favourite Polish author, Małgorzata Musierowicz, isn’t better known abroad. I don’t think there are any English translations of her books. There are Italian ones, Japanese ones, I believe even Russian, but not English. Perhaps her colourful language, plus the quintessentially Polish vibe of her books and all the Polish nuances are difficult to translate. Actually not perhaps, but for sure. Still, it’s sad and I suppose if it was possible to transfer into Japanese, there should be a possibility to do it in English and someone who’d be able to do it.

But actually, the first author that sprang to my mind when I thought of the answer to this question was an English-speaking one. Namely another of my all-time, most favourite authors – Lucy Maud Montgomery. –
Yeah, I know, Anne of Green Gables, she’s super popular everywhere, and while I like her very much, I also think she’s a tiny bit overrated compared with her other heroines, and what I don’t like about her is that she’s not very realistic, at least as a child. How many people, who aren’t specifically and very hugely in love with her books, are even aware of those other heroines, or any of her other books existing, or of what they are called? Most people I’ve talked to about her have no idea she wrote anything else. And this is so sad because, like so many authors, she’s just been labelled as children’s author, even though, in my humble opinion, most of her books are actually better to read or re-read when you’re older as you get more out of them this way, and some, like The Blue Castle or A Tangled Web, I don’t think are suitable for children at all. Perhaps only Magic for Marigold is a proper children’s book. Then there are also all those short stories she wrote, some are better, some are worse, but I think they’re also definitely worth reading, perhaps unless you’re the type like my Sofi who needs instantly developing, quick-paced and adrenaline-filled action, then maybe you’ll feel underwhelmed with most of them. 😀 And her diaries are also a very interesting read.

As a bonus, I’ll also add Norwegian author and Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset, because I’ve read several of her books and now that I’m kinda sorta learning Norwegian I feel like I’d like to refresh them soon, not in Norwegian, I’m too scared for that just yet and I don’t know where to get Norwegian books from online, but in Polish or in English. Her books are probably not for everyone but I wish she was better known so that people could at least find out if they like or dislike her books.

Who’s such an author in your opinion? 🙂