Which Latvian book do you want to read?

Take note – story published 7 years and 4 months ago

Latvia's famous English-language bookstore is asking visitors which work of Latvian literature they would like to see translated into English.

Robert's Books is an oasis of literary culture in the center of Riga, providing the simple pleasure of browsing used books while sipping a cup of coffee.

But according to manager Edgars Lielausis, the shop has to constantly disappoint English-reading visitors looking for classic Latvian literature in translation for the simple reason that very few works have actually been translated.

In a bid to fix that deficit, the bookshop is canvassing opinions on which book people would be keenest to see in translation in order to undertake the project themselves ahead of Latvia's centenary next year.

"Lots of here are involved in linguistics, writing and translation. So we got a few friends together and wondered if we might be able  to translate and publish a book ourselves. So we're carrying out a small survey in social media to see which books people recommend," says Lielausis.

Among the current leaders are Māris Bērziņs' bestseller from last year "Svina garšu", Valentīna Freimane's "Ardievu, Atlantīda”, Rūdolfs Blaumaņis' "Velniņus”, Andrejs Pumpurs' "Lāčplēsis” and Kārļis Skalbe's "Kaķīša dzirnavas”.

If you'd like to add your suggestion, let Robert's Books know your thoughts via their Facebook page or drop in to their premises and tell them in person.

Meanwhile writer Vilis Lācītis told LSM about his hugely popular 2010 book - Stroika with a London view - just having been translated into English. 

Translated by the author with the pen name of William Foreignerski, it is described as a "down-to-earth account of the firsthand experience of pioneering Eastern-European immigrants in the UK". 

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