Translate This! Sotto il velo / Beneath the veil

Today on the blog, we welcome Georgia Wall to introduce us to an Italian graphic novel that’s looking for a publisher in English….

Title: Sotto il velo / ‘Beneath the veil’
Author: Takoua Ben Mohamed
Year of Publication: 2016
Pages: 107
Age group: YA/crossover
Genre: Book-length comic
Publisher and country of origin: BeccoGiallo, Italy
Original language: Italian

About the book:

Intimate, witty and thought-provoking, Takoua Ben Mohamed’s book-length comic Sotto il velo [literally, ‘Beneath the veil’] is a portrait of the everyday life of a Muslim girl in Rome. She recounts with frustration and a dry humour the prejudice she faces wearing the hijab out and about in her home city. In a series of manga-style vignettes covering typical situations — shopping trips, going to the hairdresser, taking the metro, a job interview — the charismatic narrator reveals and dismantles the stereotypical image of a young Muslim woman that she is constantly forced to confront. At the same time, she emphasises how young women of different cultures might share certain experiences and anxieties, dealing with issues of self-esteem, body image, and fending off unwanted attention. A beautiful, refreshing and inspiring book.

Images courtesy of BeccoGiallo, Italy and
Takoua Ben Mohamed

The author already has an English version of this text; interested publishers can get in touch via Instagram @takoua.b.m.

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Takoua Ben Mohamed was born in Tunisia in 1991 but her family, like many others, fled under the authoritarian Ben Ali regime, a story she tells in her graphic memoir La rivoluzione dei gelsomini [The Jasmine Revolution, published by BeccoGiallo, 2018]. She moved to Rome, where she lives today, when she was eight years old and began creating comics while she was still at school — she set up the ‘Il Fumetto Intercultura’ blog, now on Instagram @intercultural_comics, when she was fourteen. In her work, which among other accolades received the 2019 Evens Journalism Prize, she mixes languages (Arabic, Italian, Roman dialect) and images to promote empathy and challenge stereotypes.

Georgia Wall is a translator working from Italian to English. Previous jobs as a nursery assistant, language tutor and children’s bookseller helped spark her enthusiasm for children’s and YA literature. She was awarded a National Centre for Writing Emerging Translator Mentorship for Italian (2020/2021) and has a PhD in Italian Studies (2018, Warwick). Twitter: @cascettara

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