by Gabi Reigh
Gabi has selected a superb range of poetry, prose and essays in this anthology. She offers an introductory overview which gives context to the selected contributions from women writing about the rise of the New Woman, and/or expressing their hopes for freedom and autonomy during the early part of the twentieth century.
The anthology includes stories and poems by well-known authors such as Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Gertrude Stein, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zelda Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, Emma Goldman, Katherine Mansfield as well as many new translations of international women’s writing from the same period.
These include writers such as Colette, Maria Messina, Antonia Pozzi, Fani Popova Mutafova, Magda Isanos, Gabriela Mistral, Carmen de Burgos, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, May Ziadeh, Yenta Serdatzky and others.
The Author and Editor
Gabi Reigh was born in Romania and moved to the UK in her teens. Her translations and fiction have been published in Modern Poetry in Translation, World Literature Today and The Fortnightly Review. She has won the Stephen Spender prize for poetry in translation and was shortlisted for the Tom-Gallon Society of Authors short story award. She is currently engaged in a translation project called Interbellum Series focusing on works from the Romanian interwar period, including the poetry of Lucian Blaga. Gabi’s translation of ‘The Town with Acacia Trees’ by Mihail Sebastian was awarded an English Pen Translates Award in 2019 and was published by Aurora Metro in September 2019. Her translation of Sebastian’s ‘Women’ was published in 2020 and her translation of Sebastian’s hit play’ A Star of my own’ was published in 2021 , all by Aurora Metro Books. In 2022 her translation of ‘The Illuminated Burrow: A Sanatorium Journal’ by Max Blecher was published by Twisted Spoon Press in the UK.
Reviews of other works
“Sebastian gives a remarkably sensitive, candid portrayal of the coming of age of a girl seen through the eyes of a suitor. The author’s sensitivity to the emotions of his heroine Adriana is captured vividly in this translation in such passages as “every kiss was a wound, in which their lips, their breath, their teeth, the tips of their tongues drowned, warm and wet, and parted slowly, with a final hesitation, leaving on each mouth a blurred, faded smile.” – Dennis Deletant, Ion Ratiu Visiting Professor of Romanian Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC
“Reigh handily preserves Sebastian’s supple, languid syntax, shaping each sentence to accentuate his exquisite lyricism, as when the couple remains unable to yield entirely to their desire “to be held in such a way that it obliterated everything apart from the ecstasy of the flesh. An endearingly wistful story of young love.” – Kirkus Reviews
“In The Town with Acacia Trees, Mihail Sebastian writes with the sensibility of a master jeweller. He crafts with precision and delicacy his characters’ intricate souls. Sebastian’s profound humanism, his utopian universalism, is as refreshing and urgent in today’s climate of rising nationalisms as it was in the interwar period. Gabi Reigh’s riveting translation matches Sebastian’s writing like a glove.” –Alex Boican, PhD in Romanian Literature
“He wonderfully captures the atmosphere of prewar Romania in all its complexity, all the beauty and the horror… I love Sebastian for his lightness, for his wit…”
– John Banville, Booker prize-winning author, BBC4
“Nothing I have read is more affecting than Mihail Sebastian’s magnificent, haunting 1934 novel, For Two Thousand Years.” – Philippe Sands, Guardian Books of the Year