In our last blog post dedicated to Women in Translation Month, we are looking at one special female author who – according to UNESCO’s Index Translationum – is the most translated author of all times with 7236 translated volumes published in 103 different target languages. And that’s not all, she also holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling author of fiction to date. She was a rather prolific author penning 66 crime novels, 14 short story collections, 19 plays and even 6 romantic novels. One of her plays holds the record for the longest theatrical run. She also received the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature. Can you guess who she is?
Alright, we’ll tell you now: the lady in question is… Agatha Christie!
Agatha Christie (née Miller) was born in Devon in 1890 into a wealthy upper-middle class family. After serving in a Devon hospital during WWI, she moved to London with her first husband, Archibald Christie. Her writing career had a rocky start as she had six rejections before finally The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the now world-famous Hercule Poirot was published in 1920. She had a keen interest in pharmacology and archaeology. Not surprisingly, her second husband, Max Mallowan was an archaeologist whom she met at an excavation at the ancient city of Ur.
She continued to write her stories of Monsieur Poirot and Miss Marple even after her health started to decline in the early 70s but eventually, she had to give up writing shortly before her death in 1976. Most of her stories have been adapted for TV, cinema and radio and there are even some video games, anime and comics based on her books!
Do you have a favourite story by Agatha Christie, the most translated fiction writer of all times? Let us know in a comment below!