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Issue 59 - June 2009

Tuesday 30 June 2009

Encounters grants for translations – results now available!

The grants competition for translations that supplements other activities of the Encounters program for a dialogue between Arabic and the languages of Eastern Europe, is now completed. We have recieved applications for co-funding the translation of 30 books and 3 journals’ publications from a total of 8 countries. East European publishers were visibly much more active and willing to translate from Arabic. Due to the surprisingly low interest on behalf of the Arab publishers towards the grants opportunity Next Page will reopen the call for Arab publishers only in July this year.

The program advisory committee took into account the literary quality of the texts but also the past track of the publishers and their capability to access reading audiences, the context of the recipient country and not least, the financial aspect of the applications. The surveys on “Translations from Arabic in Five East European Countries” undertaken earlier by Next Page were also very instrumental in the selection process.

Here is the final list of supported projects:

1. Naguib Mahfouz, Arabian Nights and Days to be translated into Albanian by Zenit Publishers

2. Elias Khoury, Little Mountain to be translated into Albanian by Zenit Publishers

3. Mohamed Choukri, For Bread Alone to be translated into Bulgarian by Panorama Publishers

4. Alaa Al Aswany, The Yacobian Building to be translated into Bulgarian by Prozoretz Publishers

5. Gamal al-Ghitani: Pyranmid Texts to be translated into Slovak by Baum Publishers

6. Naguib Mahfuiz: Dreams to be translated into Slovak by Drewo a srd Publishers

7. Translation and publication of 18 texts in the Arabic special issue of Apokalipsa Magazine - Slovenia

8. Abd ar-Rahman Munif, The Wilderness to be translated into Polish by Smak Słowa Publishers

Average grant size for this competition is 3000 US, with the largest grants being provided in Poland and Slovenia. Applications by Arab publishers will be considered in the next call for proposals that will be open for translations into Arabic only.

Telling Our Stories in Books or How to Attract Roma Kids to Reading

Second International Workshop within the Our Stories project

(JPG) What if you are a girl or a boy living in a ghettoized Roma settlement somewhere in the suburbs of your city? What if the only books that you see are the ones in the school library which hasn’t got new acquisitions ever since the fall of communism? What if the books that you read never ever mention anybody of Roma origin and if they do, it is rarely in a positive light? And if they never ever refer to your own way of living, your own family situation, your own moral or practical dillemas.

These are some of the basic questions that Our Stories project of Next Page took on board some two years ago when the program was conceived. Since then, we have gathered a group of dedicated Roma organizations, reading and writing experts and writers to discuss how can we contribute to the social inclusion of Roma youth via reading and writing.

Young talented Roma working with children were involved in a series of creative writing workshops to tell stories that deeply affected their own life and touched their feelings. A dozen of stories about the contemporary life of Roma children, their problems, difficulties and successes were created in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania. Three of the stories were selected for illustration and publication – My Grandma and the Wild Swans by Tossen Ramar that narrates on the ups and downs of a Roma boy searching for a book that he once saw at his friend’s, Friends by Irfan Martez – a commix story about a Roma boy unjustly accused of stealing from a fellow and My Little Red Shoes by Fatime Demir that shows the difficulties a Roma girl living in a ghetto faces when she goes to school.

The workshop Telling Our Stories in Books that took place on 26-27 June 2009 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria closed the circle of stories creation and discussed the final illustrated editions of the three titles. The workshop participants were the stories authors, advisors and publishers and they outlined strategies intended to help Our Stories books get into the bookshops, schools and Roma mahalas and reach young readers audience.

The workshop was organized within the framework of the Our Stories supported by the European Cultural Foundation. For more information on it, follow the news on our web site or contact Sofiya Zahova, project coordinator.