Works of M.Zālīte, J.Joņevs and N.Ikstena now published abroad


May 20, 2016

Works of M.Zālīte, J.Joņevs and N.Ikstena now published abroad

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Jānis Joņevs' book "Jelgava 94" was recently published in Norway, Lithuanian publishers put in print Māra Zālīte's novel "Pieci Pirksti" (Five Fingers), and, in January, Nora Ikstena's collection of short stories "Dzīves stāsti" (Life Stories) was published in Hindi. All books were published with the support of the grant programme for foreign publishers publishing Latvian literature, administered by the Latvian Writers' Union.

In early May, Norwegian publishing house “Bokbyen Forlag” put in print Jānis Joņevs' novel "Jelgava 94". This is the first translation of a Latvian author since 1950. It is known that the book was published also in French earlier this year. This debut novel, originally brought out by "Mansards"  in 2013, was widely received among Latvian readers, earning several awards for its author, including the "European Union Prize for Literature". Despite the fact that the novel is set around heavy metal obsessed teenagers in the 1990s, and may seem rather specific, it is capable of attracting readers from outside of this subculture. This was confirmed by the active interest from foreign publishers, who recognised that this novel covers subjects  all of us can relate to, such as hardships growing up, and rebellious drive to confront the world that seems too decent. The translation of the book by Snorre Karkkonen Svensson was printed in 1200 copies.

"Five Fingers" is the first prose work by the celebrated Latvian poetess and playwright Māra Zālīte. It is an autobiographical story of little Laura's return home along with her family from Siberia during late 1950s. The events in the book are heartwamingly depicted from the viewpoint of a child born in exile, experiencing the occupied Latvia after World War II. The book, published first by "Mansards" in 2013, has already been translated into Georgian and Estonian, and, now, into Lithuanian, issued by "Lithuanian Writers Union Publishers" in 1000 copies, translated from Latvian by Erika Drungytė. 

In the beginning of January, Indian "Vani Prakashan" publishing house released a collection of short stories "Life Stories" by Nora Ikstena, first published in 2004 by "Atēna" publishing house. In 2012 the collection was published in Canada, and this translation by Margita Gailītis served as the basis for Indian poetess, essayist and translator Teji Grover who has translated it from English into Hindi for publishing in India. In 1100 copies, this collection of short stories is the first translation of modern Latvian literature into the Hindi language since the restoration of independence of Latvia. "Vani Prakashan" press releases praise Nora Ikstena's stories for the remarkable depiction of reality and mastery that allows readers to immerse themselves in an excitingly deep and subtly emotional world of storytelling. Nora Ikstena's story "Elzas Kuga's Old Age Dementia" has been included in "Best European Fiction 2011" anthology.