Category Archives: Literary traslation 2015

Publishing house Heliks: A journey across diverse literary landscapes of contemporary Europe


The project Trans-Europe: a Literary Journey across the Continent encompasses translation and presentation of eight novels and one collection of stories written in eight European languages (Dutch, French, German, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Turkish and Greek). It was designed with the idea of strengthening cultural bridges and literary dialogues between different coordinates in the European framework, without language boundaries and with a special emphasis on countries whose literature is less present in Serbia (primarily Island and Cyprus).

The project is composed of the following works: Jarðnæði (Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir), Hah (Birgül Oğuz), Marilyn désossée (Isabelle Wéry), Døden kører audi (Kristian Bang Foss), Хμερολóγιο μιας απιστίας (Emilios Solomou), Jón (Ófeigur Sigurðsson), Kirschholz und alte Gefühle (Марица Бодрожић), Maud og Aud (Gunstein Bakke) and De Nederlandse maagd (Marente de Moor). All listed books brought their authors the prestigious European Union Prize for contemporary literature.

These contemporary works represent a literary response to the challenges faced by Europeans today. Another trait of all the books belonging to the project is the exquisite literary quality which is reflected in the choice of topics and the distinctive author expressions, from the experimental ones, at the cross of poetry and prose (as in the Belgian novel Marilyn désossée) to epistolary (the Icelandic title Jón) or a diary form (the other Icelandic title, Jarðnæði). Thematic links with Serbian readers are diverse but easily recognizable, such as wars on the soil of ex-Yugoslavia (the German novel Kirschholz und alte Gefühle written by the author who was born in this area, Marica Bodrožić), the Second World War (the Dutch novel De Nederlandse maagd) or a job as an illusion of modern man’s life purpose (Danish title Døden kører audi).

Experience showed that direct contact with authors is invaluable in approximating a book to the reader, thus, a guest appearance of three authors from the project was planned as a stage of promotion.

Publishing house Clio: Grail in school


The Grail in school project is based on the promotion and presentation of contemporary European literature, which is not sufficiently known to readers in Serbia. Heroes and stories written by the best European writers will help readers to learn about the diverse cultural identities that flow into one – European, and thereby perceive their own participation in it.

The main group that we are addressing is composed of young readers who are forming their reading taste. Works of the contemporary European literature are not included in the obligatory curriculum of secondary schools, and literature is taught in a traditional and often outdated manner. Our goal is to develop a competent audience that knows how to recognize good literature and high quality translation. We are planning to achieve this goal by working with the special target group of mediators who influence the formation of taste for reading of young people and the wider audience. These are university professors and high school teachers, librarians and booksellers, but also gifted and literature oriented students.

This year we selected five novels whose authors are from the Netherlands, France, Italy and the Czech Republic, and their works represent achallenge for experienced translators: De laatste ontsnapping, Jan van Mersbergen, translator Jelica Novaković-Lopušina; En attendant demain, Nathacha Appanah, translator Ljiljana Marković; Ferito a morte, Raffaele La Capria, translator Ana Srbinović; Il pianista muto, Paola Capriolo, translator Elizabet Vasiljević; Dějiny světla, Jan Němec, translator Aleksandra Korda-Petrović.

Publishing house Zavet: Contemporary European Literature: A Kaleidoscopic View


The project Contemporary European Literature: A Kaleidoscopic View includes translation into Serbian language, publication, promotion and distribution of eight books.

The books are contemporary European novels originally written in Slovenian, Swedish, Dutch, German, French and English. The authors are from six countries: Slovenia (Aleš Čar), Sweden (Sara Mannheimer), the Netherlands (Herman Koch), Germany (Iris Hanika and Friedrich Christian Delius), France (Antoine Laurain) and the United Kingdom (Sam Byers and Taiye Selasi). All these novels were written in 21st century, and published in the period from 2009 to 2013.

Although the works were created in different cultural contexts, all selected works have something in common. In each of these works the protagonists are faced with a challenge in their life, they have a need to change their lives, or the circumstances necessitate the change. With each of these challenges a reader living in Serbia can be faced too, in different circumstances and a different environment. In addition to the reader identifying in the novel the challenges faced by himself or people around him, the reader in Serbia will have the opportunity to meet other cultural contexts, to expand knowledge of social processes in the modern world.

In each of the selected works, the protagonists pursue personal happiness that eludes them from different, subjective or objective reasons. The authors of each of these works deal with topics, raise questions and suggest the messages that are universal and thus relevant to readers in other countries and other cultures. Some of the protagonists are faced with a challenge in their family, or suffer due to the disintegration of their family, some suffer due to a loss, some are burdened by historical events from the past and question their attitude toward the past, while some are in trouble because of their attitude toward life and the world which possibly results from belonging to a particular generation.

In the novel by Taiye Selasi, a family of immigrants from Africa has fallen apart, its members have moved to different parts of the world and they suffer from the lack of family relations. Will their arrival at the funeral of the suddenly deceased father of the family give them a chance to recover severed relations? In the novel by Iris Hanika, two middle-aged people are suffering because of the past, burdened by the crimes of the Nazis in Germany, and they are faced with the need to reconsider their attitude towards the past, which turns out to be a necessity of vital importance to them.

Also, in the novel by Friedrich Christian Delius, the reader follows train of thought of a retired German archaeologist who works as a tour guide in Rome. He is sitting in a church not far from the Pope himself and thinking about Italy’s ecclesiastical and political history and the concept of the original sin; he wonders, then, how Italians look to the German tourists in the light of Nazi crimes, and their thoughts finally create a portrait of present-day Italy.  In the novel, which tells about four generations of one family, Aleš Čar comes to the conclusion that true happiness can only be sought in tolerance.

The protagonist of the novel by Sara Mannheimer suffers because of losing her unborn baby and begins to study obsessively the works of philosophy and literature, seeking the lost meaning of life in a library. In the novel by Antoine Laurain, quiet life of the protagonist, an accountant, is changed radically when he takes a hat which President Mitterrand accidentally forgot in a restaurant. It will turn out that this hat does not only change his life but the life of every future owner. Two couples meet in a fancy restaurant to talk about the crime that was committed by their children which disturbs what was until then a peaceful life in the novel by Herman Koch.

In the novel by Sam Byers readers are introduced to three protagonists who are members of the same generation, dissatisfied with their lives and trying to restore the former friendship hoping that will bring about a change. Is their perception of personal happiness wrong, and does it reflect the wrong attitude about personal happiness of an entire generation?

Publishing house Laguna: Prometej


Promoting European literature as a part of the edition Prometej assumes a project which will last for two years. In this timeframe Laguna will publish five titles carefully selected to present in the best possible way the concept that was created. The project was designed to show the Promethean spirit of Europe and to depict every aspect of life of an average European man, primarily the political, social and cultural aspect. Laguna will introduce the reading audience to the most prominent literary heirs of European cultural tradition and promote European values though translation of contemporary European writers’ work. It will be emphasized through literature that we all have similar difficulties and problems and that we are all connected with similar human faiths, everyday habits and heritage.

The selected books are similar in genre and they contain a very important message that should be conveyed to readers so it inspires them to contemplate and provoke their interest for European writers and literature. Laguna decided to apply for the grant for literary translation of 2015 within the Creative Europe project with the following titles:

God is my Witness, written by the Greek writer Makis Tsitas, winner of the European Union Prize for literature, Il desiderio di essere come tutti (The wish to be like everyone) by the Italian writer Francesco Piccolo, A máquina de fazer espanhóis (A machine for making Spaniards) whose author is the Portuguese writer Valter Hugo Mãe. The Austrian writer Arno Geiger fitted into the project with his work Es geht uns gut (We are good), as well as the Romanian writer Varujan Vosganian with his work Cartea Şoaptelor (The book of whisperers).

The most prominent and most experienced Serbian translators will be included in this project. Laguna intends to promote the Prometej edition in all media as a very significant project aided by the European Union. Laguna’s marketing plan was thoroughly developed with the aim to present and approximate this innovative literary endeavour in the best possible way to the audience. The advertising campaign of the edition was intricately designed. Apart from the standard marketing activities Laguna organizes for its authors and their works, in the case of the Prometej edition, the works will be presented on several literary festivals and book fairs in the country and abroad and submitted as parts of applications for literary awards for translation in our country since the aim of this project is also promoting translators – their knowledge, experience and devotion.

Laguna intends to continue the Prometej edition and publish a second round with new titles which will continue the idea of improving the dialogue between the European Union and Serbia, to show through literature that we have the same history, common cultural heritage and based on this to form better relations.

Literary traslation 2015

Publishing house Dereta: Alienation and identity in contemporary European literature


Publishing house Dereta gained the support of the Creative Europe programme for the realization of the project Alienation and identity in contemporary European literature within which they will translate to Serbian, publish and promote eight books of contemporary awarded European authors. The selected works thematize in different ways very dominant problems faced by the modern man – feelings of alienation and loneliness brought about by social networks, generation gap or the past because of which we want to isolate ourselves, but also the search for identity in instable historical circumstances.

Carefully selected, all work have high artistic reaches, starting with Livro до Desassossego, a meditative, almost lyrical diary of one of the most important figures of Portuguese and European literature – Fernando Pessoa, followed by probably the greatest living Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo with his dark humour novel El exiliado de aquí y de allá. Three authors included in the project were awarded for their novels with the European Union Prize for literature: Evie Wyld received this award in 2014 for her work All the Birds, Singing, and in the same year the talended Bulgarian writer of the middle generation Milen Ruskov was awarded for his novel Възвишение, while the Czech author Tomáš Zmeškal was crowned with this award in 2011 for his work Milostný  dopis klínovým písmem. Szczepan Twardoch, a Polish author, was awarded with a significant national award Paszport Polityki for his thrilling novel Morfina which speaks about an anti-hero, cynic and a morphine addict. The significance and quality of prose accomplishments of the Romanian writer Florina Ilis was recognized in her homeland a long time ago, and for her novel Cruciada copiilor she received awards of the Romanian Academy and the Association of writers. A significantly important novel was published by a Hungarian author Árpád Kun, and his work Boldog észak was awarded by the most prestigious Hungarian award – Aegon.