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The importance of literary translation for global recognition

 

Before the establishment of the Lontar Foundation, there was virtually no place in the world where one could find translated versions of Indonesian literature. (Lontar Foundation/File)

Since 1987, the Lontar Foundation has been one of the most active independent institutions in translating Indonesian works into English, quietly developing and making local literature accessible abroad as a result.

Before the establishment of the Lontar Foundation, there was virtually no place in the world where one could find translated versions of Indonesian literature, and the foundation itself has remained the only organization since 2009 that focuses on promoting translated Indonesian literature abroad.

But while the foundation itself had a productive few decades behind it, as it celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, Lontar has also fallen victim to the indifference of Indonesians toward the importance of translating those works into English.

Lontar Foundation co-founder John McGlynn once mentioned that even after three decades and the support of many notable Indonesian authors, it remains hard for the arts in general to get sponsored by the government or private investors due to the fact that it has to compete with more lucrative fields that can guarantee higher returns on investment, such as sports.

“The fact is that sales of our books only account for one third of our income. The rest of it comes from contributions from friends and projects that we get asked to do. For example, if someone comes up to us with a book that’s very interesting and is willing to pay us a lot of money, we’ll do that,” McGlynn explained.

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India: Parag Initiative will try to connect publishers

As part of its initiative to promote local languages and create awareness at pan-India level, the Tata Trusts (TT)s Parag Initiative will try and connect local publishers to bring out childrens literature in other languages.

“We have realised that there are many English translations available of many gifted authors but nobody knows about them. So as a first step, what we can do is to procure these books for our libraries, even that itself is going to increase the reach of these books,” head Parag Initiative, Tata Trusts Swapna Sahoo told PTI today.

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India’s Book-Buying Habits Say A Lot About The Country’s Economy

By Iain Marlow

Controversial politicians. Celebrity cricket players. Spiritual gurus. India’s publishing industry, like the country’s broader economic story, has a lot to work with.

So it’s perhaps no surprise India’s GDP growth of 7.1 percent — the fastest among major economies — is fueling a boom in book sales. Indian publishing successes, in return, can help provide insights into the country’s growth and consumer confidence. It is a land where the travails of a saucy, soon-to-be-married Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker — in Chetan Bhagat’s fictional One Indian Girl — is a runaway best-seller.

Nielsen estimates the sector is now worth $6.76 billion. Led by educational books, the sector is set to grow at an average compound annual growth rate of 19.3 percent until 2020.  That compares to compounded growth of less than 2 percent for global book publishing over the next five years, according to PwC.   Read more

Source: Bloomberg


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The ‘middlemen’ who are changing India’s publishing scene

 

India’s publishing industry is as ruthless as it is dotted with glitz. With debutant authors often taking years to find a publisher, the journey of the manuscript to a full-fledged book is not a cakewalk. Changing this trend is the rise of literary agents in India.

Commonly known as “middlemen” in the publishing industry, the literary agents offer their expertise to authors to reduce their struggle in getting books published. Take 34-year-old Kanishka Gupta, one of the youngest literary agents in the South Asian belt whose big break came in 2013 with Anees Salim’s book “Vanity Bag”.

Gupta’s firm, Writer’s Side, was set up in 2010 and he claimed that his agency has sold more than 500 books to publishers in the last six years. Read more

Source: The Indian Express


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Calcutta Club USA to host Third Annual Sanskriti LitFest and Book Fair on June 10th

ACTON, MA–Calcutta Club USA will host its third annual Sanskriti LitFest and Book Fair on Saturday, June 10th, at Parker Damon Building in Acton MA from 12 PM to 5 PM, the organizers said in a statement.

This novel event in North America, which brings together literature, art, cuisine, thought leadership and family fun within a single venue, has risen in prominence in just three years and attracts the top literati and South Asian authors to participate either in person or over videoconference, the statement said.

Books of prominent Indian sub-continent authors are available for purchase in English, Bengali and Hindi. A key innovation of the book fair is the Authors’ Direct program – the popular platform to reach Boston’s reading community leveraged by over 50 rising authors.

The Keynote Speaker will be the globally renowned Shashi Tharoor, India’s bestselling author, former UN UnderSecretary General and member of parliament, who is traveling to Boston to speak at the Calcutta Club USA book fair. Read more

Source: India New England News


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Dear Independent Bookstores, Thank You For Everything!

By Tanu Shree Singh

The year: 1985

The place: Delhi.

The occasion: Nani gave some pocket money to two grand-kids who were now itching to go to the nearby market and splurge.

I remember the excitement. I remember the trip to the market. I remember us being in a hurry to step out of the car, and I remember the towering bookshelves. I definitely remember the smell of books, the glossy, new ones that the fat pocket money could buy, and I remember the bliss. Trips to bookstores were few and far between, mostly because we stayed far away and splurging was not an option. But those few trips to those tiny bookstores tucked away in inconspicuous corners are etched in our hearts forever.

The year: 2015

The place: Leh

The occasion: Nothing. The younger one spotted a bookstore.

“Can I go in, please?”

All I could do is smile.

We entered the tiny bookstore that also doubled as a stationery shop. The younger one ran his hands over some books, took some out, flipped a few pages, and when no one was looking drew a deep breath in. I caught him, and sheepish, understanding grins were exchanged.

When we stepped outside, he smiled and whispered, “I find bookstores calming, and reassuring. Sort of addictive — one can never pass one by without going in, no?” Read more
Source: Huffington Post


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Abu Dhabi International Book Fair writes another successful chapter

By Saeed Saeed

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair completed its 27th edition on Tuesday. On the surface the event did what it was designed to do. Thousands of books were sold, literary awards were handed out, a new publishing house was announced, publishing deals were signed and authors’ works were snapped up in languages ranging from Chinese to Turkish.

But it is only when you spend a serious amount of time at the fair, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, that you witness the little moments and see the threads that make it unique.

Make no mistake, the book fair is a travelling circus.

There are the book traders who function almost like roadies, with Abu Dhabi being part of an established route that includes Cairo and Doha earlier in the year and Tehran and Lagos next week. All that travelling, packing and unpacking of books can be tiring at best; hence Idriss Mears’s decision to carve himself a space on the floor for coffee breaks beside his Blackstone & Holywell stand, which specialises in spiritual literature. Read more

Source: The National


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Chinese bookstores adapt to social changes

By Xinhua

For Gao Hengrui, 20, going to a bookstore is no longer only about buying books, rather, it is a “culture hunt.”

Wine tasting, photo exhibitions, themed lectures — cultural events like these have made bookstores a “must-go” for young Chinese.

“Bookstores today are not just stores, but public spaces where people can relax,” Gao said.

As China’s consumer spending on culture grows, the country’s bookstores are reinventing themselves. Redefining themselves as “knowledge centers” or “cultural hubs,” physical bookstores are reviving an industry in a downturn.

CITIC Books, the book chain owned by Chinese conglomerate CITIC Group, for example, offers value-added services to meet the demand of a niche market.

CITIC Books targets a group of customers it calls “the rising class,” offering them new products in its bookstores, such as drones and 3D-enabled phones. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2017: Highlights include China as ‘Guest of Honour’, The Audiobook Experiences, and more

By Rym Ghazal

This year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will be a special hub of philosophical exchanges as it hosts China, the home of Confucius, and honours one of this region’s most known scholars and philosophers, The Great Sheikh Muḥyiddin Ibn Arabi.

China’s literary participation in the 27th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be the country’s largest in foreign book fairs to date, and its pavilion is expected to reflect its cultural depth and weight, with special participation of Chinese publishers, elite authors, artists and others from all fields of creativity.

“We hope the public will gain a better understanding of our culture and its many features,” said Xiao Guanglu, the representative for China as ‘Guest of Honour’.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Mr Xiao listed some of the activities to be held inside the Chinese pavilion from April 26 to May 2. Read more

Source: The National

 


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China to feature at Cuba’s int’l book fair in 2018

By Xinhua

China will be the guest country at the 27th International Book Fair in Havana, Cuba, in 2018, the president of the Cuban Book Institute, Juan Rodriguez, announced on Sunday.

Rodriguez, who also chairs the fair’s organizing committee, said it will be a great opportunity to showcase the cultural richness of the Asian nation, from its literature to music and other artistic expressions.

The Caribbean island is home to a sizable Chinese community of more than 162,000 residents of Chinese ancestry, and the fair will allow them and others to learn more about their Asian roots, Rodriguez told Xinhua.

The featured personality at the fair will be Cuban historian and writer Dr Eusebio Leal, who received the National Award for Social Sciences in 2016, and is considered a “fervent guardian of the island’s culture.” Read more

Source: China Daily