11.3.09

SIC

Translation funding: from Buenos Aires out into the world
With growing stability both economically and politically, the Argentineans are becoming more self-confident. A new cosmopolitan openness is also apparent in the book industry, and no crisis in the world is likely to interfere with that.

2010 sees the 200th anniversary of Argentina's independence from Spain. It is no accident that Argentina's Guest of Honour appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair coincides with the national anniversary. The presentation guarantees international attention, making it an ideal opportunity to introduce Argentina's culture and the way it sees itself within the world.
In this context, the Argentinean foreign ministry (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Commercio Internacional y Culto) has launched a funding programme for translations. The "programma SUR" sets out to support the translation of 100 titles by the time of the Guest of Honour appearance in 2010, for which the government has made available a budget equivalent to 250,000 euros.

Interview
We have asked Argentinean publisher Mariano Roca of Tusquets Editores (Barcelona/Buenos Aires) how this sense of a new beginning is being felt in the Argentinean book business.

Frankfurt Book Fair: 2010 will place Argentina at the focus of attention. What's the mood like in the country given the upcoming "Argentina Year"?
Mariano Roca: The climate is promising, and we publishing companies see next year as a unique opportunity to draw the attention of as many international publishing companies as possible to our Argentinean authors.

After the crisis years of 2001 and 2002, the Argentinean publishing industry has been able to show 42 per cent growth in the last six years. The number of exports has also been increased. How do these successes impact on the way Argentinean publishers see themselves?
Very positively! Even if the psychologists think Argentineans are very self-confident. In this case, rightfully so. After the crisis, Argentinean publishing really did manage to make a big effort to get back on its feet. This is also reflected in the establishment of many new publishing companies.

The export of Argentinean literature continues to concentrate on the Latin American region. With SUR, the new translation funding programme, the Argentinean government hopes to raise the standing of Argentinean literature beyond that. Which regions and countries are of particular interest in your view?
In my opinion, the European countries make up the most attractive markets. But nevertheless, no opportunity should be excluded, because the translation of a book, into whatever language, is the highest aim for a publisher and is always a reason to celebrate.

The president of the organising committee for the Guest of Honour appearance, Magdalena Faillace, has announced that they want to bring "Argentina's best writers" to Frankfurt. In your opinion, who are they?
Luckily, I don't have that responsibility because that sort of choice is always a challenge and to some extent arbitrary. There are significantly more than 60 authors who would represent Argentina very well. So I'm very happy not to be in the shoes of the organising committee…

(del newsletter de la Feria)