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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Literary Fiction Guide: Works in Translation

A guide of resources for anyone interested in reading literary fiction


image of a book unfolding in front of other books

Why works in translation? Reading literature from other countries is integral to gaining new perspectives and increasing cross-cultural exchange.
In 2007, researchers at the University of Rochester discovered that just 3% of books published in the United States were works in translation (including non-fiction-- fiction represented .7%)-- and the University set up a site, called Three Percent, in order to address the issue. Three Percent is home to a database that shows the largest U.S. publishers of works in translation,  the Best Translated Book Awards, a monthly podcast, and Open Letter Books, (University of Rochester's nonprofit, literary translation press). 
On this page:

How to Search the Library Catalog

Starting your search:

If you have a publisher in mind, you can simply search that publisher within the library catalog (Image links to catalog). 


Limit your results:

You may find it easiest to limit the search results by using the left-hand column when you have a list of results-- Subject could be limited to Fiction and Translations (choose one, then the other when the results reload). 


Search by Subject: 

You can also choose a region, era, and so on. If you do not have a publisher in mind, you can always use a subject search for "Translations into English," with a country or genre, and narrow from there:


As you can see, there are more than 20,000 volumes of works classified in this way. You can use the limiters on the left hand side to limit your results. 

More Books in our Catalog

Poetry in Translation

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Of all that ends / Günter Grass ; translated by Breon Mitchell.

Location: Literatures & Languages

Call Number: PT2613.R338 V5813 2016

Summary from the catalog: The final work of the Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass--a witty and elegiac series of meditations on writing, growing old, the world In spite of the trials of old age, and with the end in sight, suddenly everything seems possible again: love letters, soliloquies, scenes of jealousy, swan songs, social satire, and moments of happiness crowd onto the page. Only an aging artist who has once more cheated death can set to work with such wisdom, defiance, and wit. A wealth of touching stories is condensed into artful miniatures. In a striking interplay of poetry, lyric prose, and drawings, the Nobel Prize-winning author creates his final major work of art. A moving farewell gift, a sensual, melancholy summation of a life fully lived.

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Wer Lebt : Gedichte = Who lives : poems / Elisabeth Borchers, translated from the German by Caroline Wilcox Reul.

Location: Literatures & Languages New Books

Call Number: PT2662.O68 W47 2017

Summary from the catalog: In this bilingual edition, Borchers, unafraid and comfortable in her skin, confronts the serious quandaries of existence. The book's six sections highlight her penchant for stylistic experimentation, which ranges from sophisticated, subtle political commentary to inventive rhyme and playful personal narratives. Borchers' forty-year tenure as an editor is evident in her authoritative voice, which, even as it boldly leads the reader into fraught territory, remains always affable and open.

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Directions for use : selected poems / Ana Ristović ; translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref & Maja Teref.

Location: Main Stacks

Call Number: PG1920.28.I88 A2 2017

Summary from the catalog: Ana Ristovic's erotic, wry, feminist poems concern daily routines (washing laundry, doing crossword puzzles). In her writing she explores inner and outer worlds, sex, and relationships. This bilingual (Serbian and English) selection unveils a rich embroidery of frank sexuality and lyric images.


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Diaries of exile / Yannis Ritsos ; translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley.

Location: Literatures & Languages

Call Number: PA5629.I7 A2 2013

Summary from the catalog: Called 'the greatest poet of our age' by Louis Aragon, Yannis Ritsos is a poet whose writing life is thoroughly entwined with the contemporary history of his homeland, Greece. Nowhere is this more apparent that in Diary of Exile, a series of diaries-in-poetry written by Ritsos between 1948 and 1950, during Greece's Civil War, while a political prisoner on the island of Limnos and later at the infamous camp on the desert island Makronisos. The poems offer glimpses into the quiet violence of prison life and the struggle to maintain humanity through language.

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Ice floe III : international poetry of the far north / Shannon Gramse & Sarah Kirk, editors

Location: Main Stacks

Call Number: PN6099 .I345 2012

Summary from the catalog: The third volume of the revived Ice Floe series, Ice Floe III features new and exciting works of poetry by authors from Alaska, Canada, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. All work is presented in both its original language and in English translation. The contributors--Nancy Lord, Tom Sexton, Eira Stenberg, and Riina Katajavuori, among others--include established and emerging poets. This dynamic and vibrant collection of voices from the northern latitudes will be a great read for all poetry enthusiasts and devoted readers of international literature.


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Secrets need words : Indonesian poetry, 1966-1998 / edited and translated by Harry Aveling.

Location: Main Stacks

Call Number: 899.221 Se256

Summary from the catalog: The period from 1966 to 1999 represents a distinct era in Indonesian history. Throughout the "New Order" regime of President Suharto, the policies of economic development and political stability were dominant. However, the public opinion of personal expression was consistently under suspicion, and indeed dissent was severely punished.

Secrets Need Words traces the development of Indonesian poetry throughout this entire period. Texts are presented both in the original Indonesian and in careful, stylistically sensitive English translation.

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Dreamtigers / Jorge Luis Borges ; introduction by Miguel Enguídanos ; translated by Mildred Boyer and Harold Morland ; woodcuts by Antonio Frasconi.

Location: Main Stacks

Call Number: 869.3 B64HAEB

Summary from the catalog: Dreamtigers has been heralded as one of the literary masterpieces of the twentieth century by Mortimer J. Adler, editor of Great Books of the Western World. It has been acknowledged by its author as his most personal work. Composed of poems, parables, and stories, sketches and apocryphal quotations, Dreamtigers at first glance appears to be a sampler--albeit a dazzling one--of the master's work. Upon closer examination, however, the reader discovers the book to be a subtly and organically unified self-revelation.

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The rose of time : new and selected poems / Bei Dao ; edited by Eliot Weinberger ; translated by Yanbing Chen [and others].

Location: Main Stacks

Call Number: PL2892.E525 A2 2009

Summary from the catalog: The Rose of Time: New & Selected Poems presents a glowing selection of poetry by contemporary China's most celebrated poet, Bei Dao. From his earliest work, Bei Dao developed a wholly original poetic language composed of mysterious and arresting images tuned to a distinctive musical key. This collection spans Bei Dao's entire writing life, from his first book to appear in English, The August Sleepwalker, published a year after the Tiananmen tragedy, to the increasingly interior and complex poems of Landscape Over Zero and Unlock, to new never-before-published work. 

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The fire was here : poems about mothers and children / Anna Enquist ; translated and with an introduction by David Colmer.

Location: Undergrad

Call Number: PT5881.15.N68 H5413 2003

Summary from the catalog: The poems in The Fire Was Here bring together the three themes of Anna Enquist's adult life - music, psychology and motherhood - in an autobiographical harvest. These are poems about ordinary life written with extraordinary sensitivity and insight. A courageous and insightful collection, it stirs us with powerful and emotional moments we all recognize - the touch of renderness, the ache of longing, and the sweep of passion. Enquist's uniquely intimate and passionate poetic world is opened to the English reader for the first time. She has selected thematically from her previous five best-selling volumes for this significant collection, to focus on mothers and children - poems inspired by her experiences raising her own daughter and son.

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Contemporary Korean poetry / translated and edited by Kim Jaihiun.

Location: Undergrad
Call Number: PL984.E3 C65 1994

Summary from the catalog: This this anthology was prepared with the aim of providing the reader with a bird's-eye view of modern Korean poetry, with its best sampling, from the 1920s to the 1980s, best in the sense that it represents the varied aspects of Korean poetry. 

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Of gardens and graves : Kashmir, poetry, politics / Suvir Kaul ; photographs: Javed Dar.

Location: Main Stacks

Call Number: 954.6053 K163o 

Summary from the catalog: In Of Gardens and Graves Suvir Kaul examines the disruption of everyday life in Kashmir in the years following the region's pervasive militarization in 1990. Kaul's autobiographical and analytical essays, which were prompted by his yearly visits to Kashmir, are a combination of political analysis, literary criticism, memoir, and journalistic observation.

Publisher: AmazonCrossing

Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press

Publisher: Open Letter Books

Publisher: Europa Editions

Publisher: Seagull Books

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