During the two grant competitions this year, the “Latvian Literature” platform received altogether 75 applications from foreign publishers wishing to publish Latvian literature abroad, which is almost double the last year’s total of 38 projects submitted.
This year, 53 applicants also submitted their projects for translating Latvian literature, which is around 40% more than last year when only 31 translators applied. The “Latvian Literature” platform organizes two competitions for grants for translating and publishing Latvian literature abroad every year – one in January, the other in May. In 2020, the grant programme allocated EUR 87 600 for supporting 42 projects received from publishers and EUR 87 860 for supporting 36 projects from translators. The competition guidelines require all books receiving the grant to be published the same year, therefore by the end of 2020 Latvian literature will see 42 new works translated into 23 languages and published abroad. The most successful projects this time were Anete Melece’s book “Kiosks” (Liels un mazs, 2019) which received 6 grants, and Semyon Hanin’s books of poems which were supported 5 times. For the first time ever, a book of Latvian literature (Nora Ikstena’s “Soviet Milk”) was translated into Faroese.
“We were happy to receive so many applications this year because the great response from translators and publishers meant that our work throughout the years has paid off. It meant that our work is meaningful and that the interest in Latvian literature keeps growing. This year we were not able to work as intensively as the previous years, and the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on exporting Latvian literature abroad will mainly be reflected in the numbers of grant applications in the years to come. Currently, our grant programme for translators and publishers is an especially important support mechanism that requires strengthening and developing,” explained “Latvian Literature” representative Juta Pīrāga.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the “Latvian Literature” team had to miss out on several international book fairs and writers have had to cancel their readings in festivals abroad. Due to these circumstances, “Latvian Literature” sent an official request to the Ministry of Culture inviting the EUR 62 460 previously allocated for the mobility of authors and other industry professionals to be redirected to support the grant programme. This decision was approved by the Ministry. Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, the “Latvian Literature” team has not stopped its operations. They represented Latvia digitally at the Frankfurt Book Fair and ensured that our authors could participate in various international festivals online. This year, the platform also managed to organize a poetry translation workshop for Baltic poets, a seminar for Finnish translators, a visit for Baltic publishers and journalists to Latvia, and a Baltic prose translation workshop. Last week, “Latvian Literature” also announced its participation in the London Design Biennal 2021 with the #iamintrovert campaign.
The grant applications for publishing and translating Latvian literature abroad were judged by a select committee consisting of five industry experts: literary critic and editor Sigita Kušnere, project manager at the International Writers’ and Translators’ House Ieva Balode, translator Dace Meiere and literary critics Jānis Ozoliņš and Ojārs Lāms. Works of Latvian literature will be published this year in Hungarian, English, Ukrainian, Korean, Estonian, Lithuanian, Faroese, German, Mongolian, Croatian, Arabic, Macedonian, Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, French, Rumanian, Czech, Finnish, Russian, Slovenian and Swedish.
More about the results of the first competition: HERE
More about the results of the second competition: HERE