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Issue 49 - July 2008

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Next Page embarking on its new Encounters project

The Arabooks program of Next Page – the program that became recognized for its unique researches on translation policies and readership habits in the Arab-speaking countries as well as for its support for numerous translations into Arabic, is now launching a new initiative. Somehow unoriginally entitled Encounters, the initiative will aim to create conditions for a cultural dialogue by encouraging translations in both directions between Arabic and the languages of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The project applies the highly problematic concepts of regions such as “Eastern Europe”, “Balkans” or “Arab region” simply to designate an area of very little contemporary cultural communication, beyond the traditional East/West dichotomy.

The initiative is a continuation of an earlier pilot project of Next Page that – in cooperation with the Sphinx book agency from Cairo, supported the translation of 11 titles by East European authors into Arabic. The pilot demonstrated that cultural actors from both regions identify a cluster of topics of common interest ranging from historical ones (such as Ottoman history and legacy, the political project of socialism, etc) to current social issues such as citizens’ participation deficit, sense of political and cultural marginalization, recent experience of war and displacement, immigration, vast social transformations, women rights, the role of religion and the market, etc. At the same time, mutual translations rarely go beyond Aladdin stories and even more rarely – beyond authors such as Kertesz or Mahfouz.

The Encounters program will create a forum for discussion on translations between the two regions, will produce a min of 10 country reports on the state of translations and will ultimately result in the creation of an informal network of publishers, translators and other cultural actors with better understanding of the cultural contexts and the literary developments in the participating countries. It will also support a minimum of 20 titles over its first year of existence.

Seed funding for the Encounters initiative is provided by the MENA program of the Open Society Institute. Next Page will be actively looking to enlarge its partner base and is inviting all interested organizations to contact Yana Genova, director at More information on the program developments is soon to be uploaded on our web-site.

New books published

(JPG) Armin Klein, Kulturpolitik: Eine Einführung, translation from German into Latvian by Una Sedleniece, (Janis Roze publishers, Riga - 2008), supported by the Cultural Policy Translations project

The study of Armin Klein Kulturpolitik: Eine Einführung, presenting the current trends and strategies in cultural policy, gets the best possible translation and adaptation into the socio-cultural context of contemporary Latvia. Both the translator Una Sedleniece and the editor Jolanta Treile are experts of cultural policy in the Latvian Ministry of Culture so they provided the text with references and information, relevant to the cultural sector in Latvia. Besides, there is a significant addition to the original text: a detailed supplement, describing the history, recent development and main trends of Latvian cultural policy, written by Helena Demakova, Latvian minister of culture. Together with definitions of key terms, consistent with the Latvian cultural policy planning documents, the article includes important materials, related to legislation, number of state and municipal cultural institutions, basic data about the budget of the cultural ministry, comprehensive list of information and data sources.

The publication will be of use for everyone involved in cultural policy, but also for students, experts, and cultural journalists.