Promotion of Literature in Translation Internship - Armenia and Georgia

18-25 June 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Amsterdam Residency House for Writers, Translation Grants, Visitors' Program and Amsterdam Translators' House, meetings with Dutch top publishers – that is just part of the experience of the two interns – Irine Tchogoshvili from Georgia and Lianna Aghamyan from Armenia, who spent a 7-day internship at the Dutch Foundation for Literature from June 18 to June 25, 2014, supported by the Book Platform project. During the internship the host organization shared information on the projects they are doing, and organized meetings with other companies and organization working in the field of publishing and book selling.

The first meeting was held at the library of the foundation. Apart from being very impressed with the library itself – with its design in mixed classical and modern style, and shelves with numerous books creating an atmosphere of European quality literature presence, the interns had the chance to meet Mr. Bas Pauw, who is responsible for international literary events. Mr. Pauw introduced the history of the foundation and its structure and activities, and shared as well some details on how they are preparing for the Guest of Honor program of Frankfurt Book Fair (Netherlands will be FBF Guest of Honor in 2016, and Georgia is preparing to be FBF Guest of Honor in 2018).

The details and procedural description of the grant providing process were introduced by Victor Schiferli, grants manager. "Success and sales" are two words Victor Schiferli described his job with. He shared with the interns some invaluable ideas and secrets about what they should and should not do to make foreign publishers interested in publishing the books they promote, and how to build successful international contacts and relations. The interns also received some practical advice on creating application forms for the Translation grants program. Irine and Lianna met as well Aleksandra Koch, who introduced to the interns the platform with its main mission – to represent European unknown or less known writers.

Another inspiring meeting was with the publisher Eva Cossee (Cossee Publishers), who had already visited Georgia during the Literary Forum Dialogue, organized by the Ministry of Culture of Georgia two years ago, and, thanks to their support, had already published one Georgian title in Dutch language. The interns witnessed some of the processes of the daily routine of the publishing house.

A visit to De Harmonie publishing house was also rather impressive and useful for the interns, as a publisher of one of the most successful world bestsellers such as the Harry Potter series. Irine and Lianna had a long discussion with its director and copyrights' manager about such important issues as the role of literary agents in translating and publishing abroad, copyrights' problems, what to publish, how to publish, etc.

Another organization, which the interns visited, was CPNB (in Dutch: Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek) - a foundation set up in Amsterdam, aiming to encourage the habits of book reading and book buying, where they had a meeting with the marketing expert of the Foundation Mr. Maarten Rademaker. Mr. Rademaker shared with the interns his experience in promotion of reading. A great example of it was the campaign called "Book is a ticket" – buying a book with one free train ticket included, implemented in close collaboration with the Netherlands Railway Company. Another example of cooperation was with population magazine "Linda". A sticker with a discount voucher on the cover of magazine "Linda" was the main idea of the campaign. To attract attention to reading they invite many famous people among the event participants, such as Dutch prime-minister and the princess. These ideas were very useful for the interns, as they can be applied in their countries as well.

The visit to Translator's House was very useful, especially for Lianna, since Armenian Literature Foundation is right now in the process of initiation of Literary Translators' Association and is planning to offer residency programs for translators from Armenian.

And last, but not least, the interns were inspired by their visit to the Athenaeum Bookstore. Being not just a bookstore in the ordinary meaning of the word, Lianna and Irine found it more of a place with a true spirit of books and a hope that the paper books era has not finished yet.

Learn more about the participants and the host organization here.



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