The translations will be part of the institute’s Translation Grant Program, which was designed to spread Lithuanian culture internationally. “Promoting literary translations is one of the main long-term tools for cultural dissemination. A translated and published book begins new life in another country, where it is purchased and read in libraries,” said Lithuanian Culture Institute director Aušrinė Žilinskienė.
The books will be presented and sold at a number of major international book fairs, including the international Leipzig Book Fair and the London Book Fair.
Because Lithuania will be the primary guest at the Leipzig fair this year, many of the translations will be into German. However, two titles will be translated into English – Jurgis Kunčinas’ “Tūla” (trans. Elizabeth Movickas, Pica Pica Press, USA) and Ričardas Gavelis’ “Jaunojo Žmogaus Memuarai” (trans. Jayde Will, Vagabond Voices, UK).
The grant program was created in 2001. Over the last 15 years, it has funded the translation of 200 books into various languages.
The program has had several success stories. For example, the translation of R. Gavelis’ novel “Vilniaus Pokeris” into French by Margarita Le Borgne received much attention in French literary press. There is great demand for the book’s editions, and the publisher that published the small book, Monsieur Toussaint Louverture, prepared a very detailed distribution plan for the work, meaning that R. Gavelis’ book has graced more than just the country’s main bookstores.
The success of A. Šlepikas’ book “Mano Vardas Marytė” (trans. Markus Roduner) was also significant. Last year, this book was translated into 4 languages – Latvian, Estonian, Polish and German. It received attention in all four countries, and German publisher Mitteldeutscher Verlag predicts that this work on a sensitive topic – the fate of German children left without families in Eastern Prussia – will be a “longseller.” Besides, as soon as the publisher heard about A. Šlepikas’ new book, „Lietaus Dievas ir Kiti,” they immediately signed a contract for the translation and publication of the new book in German. This year, “Mano Vardas Marytė” will also appear in Dutch, and several British publishers are interested as well.
Kristina Sabaliauskaitė’s book “Silva Rerum” (trans. Izabela Korybut-Daskiewicz), which was also financed by the Translation Grant Program, was well-received in Poland. The author’s excellent craft, the masterful translation and the quality publisher allowed the book to become incredibly popular.