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Issue 34 - March 2007
Monday 2 April 2007
How to achieve greater access to translations of books on media?
Next Page is pleased to announce that the full-text Bulgarian translation of Philip Meyer’s book Precision Journalism, can now be read on the Internet on the Media Development Center’s website: www.mediacenterbg.org.
The printed version by Pygmalion Press that came out 2 years ago is already out of sale and under different circumstances, the interested reader would have a chance to find it only in the under-funded and badly supplied libraries around the country. Not any longer! The book is now just one click away from students in journalism, media experts and other interested audiences.
The experiment once again confirmed all the hurdles surrounding any attempt to complement traditional publishing world with the opportunities of the digital realm. Regardless of whether you are as ambitious as Google or as modest as the Next Page Media Translation Project, you are bound to face them. To mention just a few: diverging views of the rights holders on how to face the challenges of the digital (not surprisingly from publishers but also from authors and translators), in addition to inadequate legal instruments, meager technology, etc.
Precision Journalism is just the first online publication of the translations supported by Next Page within the Media and Journalism Translation Project, a program aiming to assist media professionals and journalism training efforts in Southeastern Europe and launched in cooperation with the OSI Media Program and the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM). A total of 14 other online translations in Albanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Romanian and Serbian are due by the end of the year.
Read Write Now, becomes Read and Write Forever
During February and March, Phases 1-2 of Read Write Now took place in the form of literature festivals in Ramallah and Alexandria and a 5 day authors’ workshop in Cairo. The events were part of Read Write Now (which the participants have promised to make “Read and Write Forever”), an initiative to promote reading and writing for Arab young adults. Read Write Now tackles an issue crucial to the development of healthy civil societies in the Arab world, the lack of quality original Arabic books for young adults, by stimulating interest in reading and supporting the development of new content. It is rooted in the premise that in this era of rising nationalism and cross-culture East-West tension, the need for young people to have access to information, space for creatively and exposure to other people and cultures is vital to the region’s future.
The literature festival in Ramallah, organized by Tamer Institute (www.tamerinst.org), took 40 young people off-site for 3 intensive days of discussion and activities around the subject of reading and literature. The three days were packed with reading and writing activities and debate was lively particularly around issues of preservation of Palestinian culture and heritage through books and electronic media as a way to discover the world of books beyond the confines of Palestine.
This festival was followed by another organized by the Biblioteka Alexandrina in Egypt (www.bibalex.org) who invited 50 young adults from the library groups, public schools and university for a series of discussions and activities. The sessions started with a questionnaire querying young people’s habits and attitudes and preferences for reading. Two interesting statistics that did not make the Next Page readership survey: 60% say their favorite characters in books are “mysterious”, 28% identify with the hero and 40% like the “wise” character best. As for the ending, “open” ranks as the preferred choice at 49%, followed closely by “logical” ending with 45%. Don’t assume Arab teens want a happy ending, only 21% like a happy ending best, less than the 28% who like a tragic ending. The atmosphere during the following 2 days was consistently energized, particularly due to the very active participation of Dr. Sahar El Mougy and Mr. Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, two of Egypt’s most beloved authors who quickly became popular with the young audience as well. Provocative exchanges covered a whole range of topics from censorship to depiction of women in literature. The festivals will lead directly to a number of follow-up activities including a peer review web-site where young adults submit their writing.
Twelve authors from six countries gathered for the author’s workshops, unfortunately without the two Iraqi authors who did not receive visas. The task at hand was to delve into the writing process, specifically for writing for young adults and to develop ideas into viable projects for full-text manuscripts. In addition to sessions on writing, the author’s heard from illustrators and graphic designers on the particular aesthetics of books for young people. The project ideas represented a fascinating mix both in terms of genre and content covering ideas of spaces and presence along with lighter themes of heroism and adventure.
The third and final phase of Read Write Now, which consists of a grant-giving competition for original books targeting this age-group, will begin in April 2007. For more information about Read Write Now, please contact Arabooks Project Coordinator, Natasha Mullins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New books published
Ruediger Safranski, How Much Globalization Can We Bear, translation into Bulgarian by Anetta Ivanova, Vladimir Teoharov (Critique and Humanism publishers, Sofia 2006), supported by the German Language Translations project funded by GTZ (Association for Economic Cooperation) of the Federal Republic of Germany and Next Page Foundation
For the philosopher Ruediger Safranski modern globalization has started with the globalizing threat and terror. Instead of opening spaces and paths for the thinking human being, the ideology of globalism imposes excessive and normative demands towards a more complex world of differences and ambiguities. To present the various forms of globalism, on first place Safranski analyses the neoliberal ideology, which sets the principles of the open market, but at the same time reinforces the claustrophobia in the Third World, where the free capital is somehow never ‘at home’. Secondly, Safranski interprets the ideas of antinationalism and multiculturalism that he considers to some extent as tricks for declining responsibility. Last, the author criticizes the ecological-ecumenical globalism, which pretends to save the world from destruction, but actually dooms it to desperation and perdition. Therefore, the mode, suggested by Safranski, lies in a world where one can hold off the demands of globalization only through reinhabiting one’s own personal history, and upholding one’s own individuality.