Interest in Latvian literature abroad has doubled this year

This year, interest in translating and publishing Latvian literature abroad has been twice as big as last year, platform Latvian Literature representatives said October 26.

In this year's grant program contests, the Latvian Literature platform received 75 applications from foreign publishers to support Latvian literature. That is nearly twice as many as last year when 38 publishers' project applications were received.

This year, 53 applications have also been received for the grant program for translation of Latvian literature, which is about 40% more than last year when 31 translators' applications were received.

The Latvian Literature platform hosts two competitions every year – in January and May – for translation and publishing of Latvian literature abroad. The competition rules provide that all books receiving support in the competition for publishers are to be published this year, as a result, in 2020, 42 Latvian literature works will be published abroad in 23 languages.

"We're happy to have received so many applications this year because the big demand from translators and publishers is the fruit of our platform's work of past years. It shows that our work has a purpose, and interest in Latvian literature continues to grow.

However, this was the first year in which we could not work as intensively as in previous years, and let us see the extent to which the crisis caused by COVID-19 will affect the export of Latvian literature, let us see the amount of applications in the grant program in the coming years.

The grant program for publishers and translators is currently a particularly important support mechanism that needs to be improved and strengthened," said Juta Pīrāga, spokeswoman for the Latvian Literature platform.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, both the Latvian Literature platform's participation in a number of international book fairs and foreign festivals was cancelled. The Latvian Literature platform asked the Ministry of Culture to redirect mobilty funds (EUR 62 460) to grant funding, which the Ministry has also approved.

Despite the limits of COVID-19, the Latvian Literature platform hasn't stopped operating this year. The platform's participation in the Frankfurt Book Market was virtual and authors participated in various foreign festivals. This year the platform has also organized a poetry workshop for poets in the Baltic States, a seminar for Finnish translators, a visit for publishers and journalists in the Baltic States, as well as a translation workshop for Baltic prose. In the second half of October, the Latvian Literature platform announced that the #iamintrovert campaign will represent Latvia in the London design biennale next year.

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