Translations of Latvian fiction to be published in the UK
19th–22nd September, Riga is welcoming British publishers. During the visit, eight representatives of British publishing companies will be learning more about the Latvian literature and publishing industry, meeting local publishers to discuss opportunities for publishing works of Latvian authors in the UK, and visiting the Jelgava printing house.
This is the fifth organized visit of British publishers to Riga, and its goal is to introduce the foreign colleagues with the Latvian book market and our contemporary literature, as well as promote opportunities to publish works by Latvian authors in the UK. Representatives of the “Latvian Literature” platform, dedicated to promoting Latvian literature abroad, assure that the previous visits have been successful and have resulted in several publishing deals closed for publishing English translations of Latvian literature in Great Britain.
“This and next year will see 34 books of Latvian authors published in English, and at least 90% of the rights sales come as a result of the previous visits. British publishers usually know little to nothing about Latvia and our literary scene, and they are pleasantly surprised when they arrive. If we want our works to be published in the UK, we have to bring them over, to show and tell about all the books worth publishing. This, of course, would not be possible without state support,” explains Inga Bodnarjuka-Mrazauskas, director of the “Latvian Literature” platform.
During the publishers' time here, they will be attending lectures on contemporary Latvian children's literature (Anda Baklāne), publishing children's literature (Dace Bargā), book industry (Renāte Punka), grant opportunities for foreign publishers (Jeļena Budanceva), as well as a field trip to Jelgava printing house: “Our experience shows that foreign publishers end up not only buying the publishing rights, but also wish to print the books locally, which is a good contribution to our economy,” tells Bodnjaruka-Mrazauskas.
Representatives of “Saraband”, “Norvik Press”, “Arcadia”, “Structo Magazine”, “Little Book Island”, “Maclehose”, “Tate” and “Comma press” will be meeting the editors of such local publishing houses as “Zvaigzne ABC”, “Pētergailis”, “Jumava”, “Mansards”, “Latvijas mediji”, “Neputns” and “Liels un mazs” in order to discuss potential exporting of works by Latvian authors. A visit to the National Library and dinner with Latvian writers is scheduled as part of the event.
The British publishers will also be joined by Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, project manager, Sheerin Aswat, as well as “The Bookseller” and “Modern Poetry in Translation” representatives. Latvia will also be visited by our potential partners at the Norwich Writers Centre, Scottish Poetry Library, and the European Literature Network) who will be meeting representatives from the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia (ILFA), the National Library of Latvia, Faculty of Humanities of the University of Latvia, Poetry Days Festival, and “Poetry without borders”.
The visits of British publishers to Latvia are organized as part of the participation of Latvia in the London Book Fair 2018, in which the Baltic states will be exhibiting as Market Focus. Currently Latvia is laying the groundwork for participation in the fair by working on translations of Latvian literature into English and designing a programme to be offered in London and elsewhere in the UK.