Best Baltic literature to be published in all 3 languages

Last week the Culture Ministers of the three Baltic States met in Vilnius and decided on the translation and publication of the Baltic Assembly Prize for Literature award-winning works in all three Baltic languages, Latvian Radio reported July 29.

This means that the awarded works will be systematically translated in the Baltic States, thereby allowing a much wider knowledge of the literature and the creation of a more cohesive Baltic cultural area.

A joint Baltic platform is very important, because the strength of the three countries is much greater than each individual. A good example of this was the success of the Baltic States two years ago in the London Book Fair.

The Baltic Assembly is an institution of cooperation between the parliaments of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. It was created in 1991 and three years later the Baltic Assembly Prize was also established in literature, art and science.

It was originally intended that the prize-winning works in literature would be published in all three languages, but in practice it did not happen. During the entire 25 years of the award, only a few books have been translated into the other languages.

This year's funding – EUR 25 000 – will allow three books from neighboring countries to be translated and published. It is right now that the selection of works is actively taking place, identifying translators' opportunities and plans, as translation needs to be done quickly - by November.

"Publishing works in all three languages would not only help us to get to know each other, but would create a more cohesive room for Baltic literature and also enhance the prestige of the Baltic Assembly Prize, which would be important in promoting Baltic literature internationally," said Arno Jundze, head of Latvian Writers Union.

Nora Ikstena is the most popular Latvian writer in Lithuania – said writer Arvids Jozaitis, Assembly Prize winner from Lithuania. In Latvia, the most popularity seems to belong to Lithuanian writer Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, but from Estonians it could be Andrus Kivirähk.

In order to promote the authors of the Baltic, a further important step has been taken in close cooperation between the Writers' Union of all three countries, the result of which will be seen next year.

“We have obtained funds to issue a magazine called “The Baltic Review”, which will be in English for all three Baltic countries' literature, and this magazine will then be available to both foreign publishers and the whole specific niche interested in Baltic literature; let us try to go together all three countries with a single platform and hope it will work,” explained Arno Jundze.

Jundze hopes that both with the publication of the magazine and the promotion of the Baltic Assembly Prize, the Baltic States are on the right track, because the common market for Baltic States for foreign publishers is more interesting than the individual offer of each country.

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