Thursday, August 14, 2008


At the beginning of July, I attended the WALTIC conference in Stockholm. It is a bit late to write about it, but I did want to say that it was an enjoyable opportunity for translators, writers, and others interested in literature and literacy, to meet and discuss things.

There were several sessions on translation and I attended as many of those as I could. Some were rather disappointing, as people were not always as well-prepared as they should have been, but I enjoyed learning about, for example, Russian literature (as I mentioned in my last post) and about writing in Mongolia. The latter presentation was read by a translator on behalf of Khaidav Chilaajav, a Mongolian poet who started
the Union of Mongolian Writers. Mr. Chilaajav passed out copies of The Poetry of the Steppe, which afforded us a chance to experience Mongolian writing.

The keynote speeches by authors Mia Couto and Nawal El Saadawi were enjoyable. Around the city during the conference, there was a free literature festival as well. I attended one on children’s literature that included authors and/or story-tellers Philip Pullman (who spoke well about
age banding, among other issues), Gcina Mhlophe, and Sonia Nimr.

My biggest criticism is that the conference was very expensive to attend, and I knew many people who would have liked to go but could not afford it. Since many writers and translators don’t necessarily earn much money, I think the price of future WALTIC conferences would have to be significantly lower.

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