For my initial description of the London Book Fair see Erika Dreifus' blog Practicing Writing. In this post, I just want to expand on something I mentioned in the other one: translation subsidies.
Many of the literary organizations I spoke to, such as Finnish Literature Exchange, Arts Council of Sweden, Norwegian Literature Abroad, Icelandic Literature Fund, and Danish Arts Agency’s Literature Centre (I am just mentioning the ones from the Nordic countries here, since I know the most about them, but I spoke to others as well), offer subsidies to publishers for translation, sometimes for as much as 75% of the cost. Usually, only publishers are allowed to apply, though translators (especially those who have a contract with a publisher) can sometimes apply for grants, too, such as to travel to meet the author whose work they are translating.
In The Deal, the magazine of the book fair, Israeli author Amos Oz is quoted as having said: “As you read a foreign novel, you are actually invited into other people’s living rooms, into their nurseries and studies, into their bedrooms. You are invited into their secret sorrows, into their family joys, into their dreams. Which is why I believe in literature as a bridge between peoples. I believe curiosity can be a moral quality.”
So, I suggest all you translators to find books you love in whatever languages you translate from, and then to try to get publishers to publish these works; telling them about these subsidies, information about which is not always easily accessible, may encourage them to take a chance on books they would otherwise claim not to have money for. Subsidies may also ease the translator’s work, too.
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