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Issue 28 - September 2006

Monday 25 September 2006 by Maria Velichkova

New translation grants for journals

The East Translates East program of Next Page Foundation is pleased to announce a new competition for translation grants for cultural periodicals. The grants will cover translation and copyright costs of texts, originally written in one of the languages of Central and Eastern Europe, which are to be published in cultural journals in other countries in the region.

At the core of program is the belief that sharing literary and intellectual achievements within Central and Eastern Europe is crucial, and that cultural journals are a key medium that can sustain such an exchange.

Detailed information on the application procedure, eligibility and criteria can be found at

Application deadline: 31 October 2006.

Looking for Young Romani Authors: Mission (Im)Possible?

(JPG) “We are looking for talented people from your neighborhood who haven’t got the chance to be published and get famous. We’ll show to the world that the Romani culture is rich also because there is written Romani literature! You know the prominent writers of the country you live in, but nobody knows that there are Roma authors!” One could hear this from Mozes Heinschink, a well known expert on Romani culture and language, when he and Sofiya Zahova, Romani program coordinator at Next Page, carried out a 10-day research trip in Serbia and Macedonia with the aim discovering and collecting works of so far unknown Roma who write contemporary prose. In order to get reliable and thorough information on young authors, discussions took place not only during meetings with experts from cultural, media, educational and youth Roma organization, Roma authors, critics and journalists, but also in dialogue with other Roma on the musical background of the rich summer weddings in the biggest Romani neighborhood on the Balkans – Suto Orizare.

After having collected almost all of the contemporary Romani literature published in the two countries, the team visited Novi Sad, Subotica, Belgrade and Skopje to explore the situation on the spot. Their observations showed that educated young Roma prefer to dedicate their energy and skills to other activities for the benefit of the community (usually organized around different NGOs) rather than to writing. Early discouragement in literature comes from the belief that there is no interest in Romani literature and also from the lack of support by the more acclaimed authors. In other words, idealistic views that talent can grow in any soil met the reality of literature as a social act that requires proper mechanisms, audiences, publishers and perhaps promotion.

This study trip was part of the the Romani Literature Talents research implemented with the support of the Roma Cultural Participation Project of OSI and will contribute to the development of an integral data-base of contemporary Romani literature in Europe.

First effects of our Vienna conference on promoting translations

The meeting on promoting translations that Next Page and KulturKontakt organized jointly earlier this year (see June issue of Page Back) is already giving results in some of the countries that so far do not have special policies on promoting their literatures abroad.

Iryna Kuchma, the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) participant from Ukraine gave interviews in the Ukrainian press that launched a public discussion on the issue in the country itself. On July 11, the Ukrainian state representative that attended the Vienna conference and the Renaissance Foundation organised a round table for some 20 publishers and book journalists. IRF translated the Literature across Frontiers’s report on promotion strategies and agreed to draft a concept paper on how a Ukrainian promotion agency should look like. For the first time, the state funded collective catalogs of Ukrainian fiction and children books for this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Iryna’s interviews are to be found at and

In Bulgaria nowadays one can hear much more frequent mentions of the issue of promoting translations both in the corridors of the Ministry of Culture and in the media. As in Ukraine, however, the Ministry assigned Next Page for writing the concrete proposal firmly committing itself to the general idea but not (yet) to the funding for it.

Annual report 2005 now available on our web-site

If you want to know what we did last year, in cooperation with whom and for how much money, visit for a full-text version of our annual report.

If you want to obtain a printed copy of the report please, send a message to

New books published

(JPG) Dragan Velikic, North Wall (Kalligram, Bratislava 2006), translation by Karol Chmel, East Translates East project framework

The North Wall, a novel by the widely translated Serbian writer Dragan Velikic, is a paradigmatic postmodern work, as it masterfully inter-relates some key historical events from the beginning of the 20th century, seen through the perspective of fictional characters, with the travels of the Irish writer James Joyce in Pula and Triest. The novel is already translated into German, French and Italian, so its publication into a Slavic language is a good sign of the intensifying cultural exchange between the East European countries. In this sense, Kalligram publishers give a positive example by editing their series ”Balcanica”, in which – besides Velikic – authors such as David Albahari, Mirko Kovač, Drago Jančar, and Alexandar Tišma have been recently published.

(JPG) Anthology of Belorussian Short Stories (Vetrne Mlyny, Brno 2006), East Translates East project framework

This is the first translation of a Belarusian book into Czech for the last fifteen years. It is made possible due to the intensive cooperation between Belarusian bohemists and Czech editors. Given the fact that Belarusian is the only Slavic language, which is not taught at Czech universities, this anthology has a pioneering mission filling some of the blank space in the Czechs’ awareness about the literature and contemporary situation of a neighbor.

(JPG) Judith Butler and Joan Scott, Feminists Theorize the Political (Belgrade Women Studies Center, Belgrade 2006), translation by Adriana Zaharijevic

A work by two of the most eminent feminist scholars, who discuss the political status of poststructuralism within feminism, and enter the contemporary debate over theory. What is theory; what is the ‘authorship’ of theory; are the roots of theory masculinist and Eurocentric; what is the relation between theory and politics – these are just few of the crucial questions, raised in this pivotal study. The translation of this book into Serbian and within the historically dense context of the Belgrade Women Studies Center is a meaningful act, since it flows into the Southeastern European feminist critique of the notion of subject (Zupancic, Kolozova, Arsic, etc.), preserving at the same time the idea of its political efficacy.