The Bitch

Finalist, National Book Awards 2020 for Translated Literature

ISBN 9781642860597
World Editions
Pilar Quintana

Pilar Quintana is a Colombian author. In 2007, Hay Festival selected her as one of the most promising young authors of Latin America. Her previous novel, The Bitch, won an English PEN Translates award and was a Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature. More about this author >

Translator photo of Lisa Dillman. (Photo credit: April Hunt)
Lisa Dillman

Lisa Dillman lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she translates Spanish, Catalan, and Latin American writers and teaches in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University. More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

From the publisher:

Colombia’s Pacific coast, where everyday life entails warding off the brutal forces of nature. In this constant struggle, nothing is taken for granted. Damaris lives with her fisherman husband in a shack on a bluff overlooking the sea. Childless and at that age “when women dry up,” as her uncle puts it, she is eager to adopt an orphaned puppy. But this act may bring more than just affection into her home. The Bitch is written in a prose as terse as the villagers, with storms―both meteorological and emotional―lurking around each corner. Beauty and dread live side by side in this poignant exploration of the many meanings of motherhood and love.

Judges Citation

The Bitch distills entire social, ethical, and cultural universes into a potent short novel, thanks to Pilar Quintana’s remarkable eye for detail and Lisa Dillman’s spare yet stirring translation. Set in a coastal town in Colombia, this novel is populated by complex characters outlined with minimalist strokes of absolute precision, and offers a startling, profound portrait of frustrated desire that will stay with the reader for a long time to come.