Latvian Literature plots next chapter of ongoing story

The state-backed Latvian Literature (LL) platform, which has had a busy couple of years promoting the country's literary output, outlined some of its future plans April 29.

A briefing at the Latvian National Library saw representatives of LL joined by Culture Minister Dace Melbārde and Andris Ozols of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency for a review of recent achievements and some hints as to future directions - though the overwhelming message, in common with many other agencies, was rather that it all depends on the budget.

Over the last two years LL has been involved in selling the overseas rights to 45 works by Latvian authors, and has had a hand in staging some 99 different events as well as generating plenty of column inches in the international press.

But after a couple of years focused on the London Book Fair in order to access anglophone markets, the post-Brexit emphasis will shift to the Frankfurt Book Fair where Latvia's design and printing expertise will have the opportunity to generate more exports.

"There's a lot of homework still to do, but Frankfurt is the biggest fair and is important not only for book printing but also for things like tourism, marketing and spreading the word about Latvia more widely," said LL's executive manager Inga Bodnarjuka-Mrazauskas.

Dace Melbarde & Andris Ozols on Latvian LiteratureMike Collier/LSM

    Author Rūta Briede said LL had helped her go from budding author to translated success, with books in English schools, in rapid time, and also underlined how Latvia has become a center fo excellence for book illustration, particularly in children's books.

    "This is a Latvian success story and it will continue. We have real European-level stars in illustration," Briede said, adding "The foundation has been laid and now we need to build on it."

    However, that is likely to come with some budgetary constraints as the extra cash allotted for Latvia's centenary celebrations in 2018 starts to wind down, though as Melbārde told LSM, the government already has its spending plans pencilled in for the next few years. 

    The award-winning #IAmIntrovert campaign was praised by all sides, but whether or not it will continue remains to be seen, with Ozols quipping that perhaps Latvia has finally graduated to "extrovert" status.

      

     

      

      

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