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Issue 2 — February 2004

February 2004

Between Neighbors. Next Page has announced East Translates East 2004 competition

In the beginning of February, Next Page foundation has announced its new program East Translates East. As its title shows, the program will support dialogue and publishing exchange between the countries of Eastern Europe. The mission of such a project is to offer a perspective towards the “neighbor”, which to subvert the nationalistic attitudes and to differ from the freshly developed competitive moods, provoked by the EU accession. If you are interested to participate in this initiative between neighbors, go to the project announcement and check the application requirements, the deadlines, and the list of eligible countries.

Big Cairo and its fair

In January this year, as part of a preparatory phase of its project on Arabic publishing and translations, Next Page Foundation visited the Cairo International Book Fair. The biggest fair in the Arab world at a first glance was just an enormously big book bazaar rather than a business forum for publishers: hundreds of halls of various sizes, located on an area nearly as vast as the one of Frankfurt Book Fair, enjoyed the attention of crowds of book-buyers. Parallel to the retail sales, however, a rich program of cultural and book-related events was taking place.

Next Page and OSI Information Program staff had meetings with publishers, authors, translators and the Arab Publishers Union to discuss the needs of the sector. The research in the past few months has shown that there are a significant number of books available in Arabic translation from European languages, although systematic information about these is not available. As a first step in its activities in the Arab region, Next Page commissioned a survey on the existing translations support schemes and an assessment of lessons learned from their work so far.

Newly Published Titles: Highlights

Mark Mazower, The Balkans: A Short History, (Fenix Press, London, 2000); Translated in Macedonian by Aneta Markoska Cubrinovska, Euro Balkan Press, 2003; supported within Balkan History Project. The reviews of the book in the Western press are more than applauding. What Mazower is praised for is his being concise and at the same time not pretending to present a “master narrative” about the Balkans. He manages, however, to get “the flavor” of the region as he seeks for the roots of the conflicts not in the “ancient hatreds”, but in the “modern nationalisms”, which were imported both as concepts and as weapons for self-destruction from Western and Central Europe. What Mazower differs from the other westerners who have recently dealt with the region (see Misha Glenny’s The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers: 1804-1999, and John B. Allcock’s Explaining Yugoslavia) is the accent he places on the premodern period, or the early centuries of the Ottoman Empire. According to Mazower, the Empire was a “polyglot” space, practicing tolerance and accepting coexistence. Although most of the reviews present Mazower’s study of the Balkans as brilliant, one should not skip some “regional” controversial reactions to the statements he made (outside of the book) in relation to the last Serbian war. We would only mention the article “What do we do now?”, published in Casopis za knizevnost i kultutu i drustvena pitanja (June, 1999) by Drinka Gojkovic, a founder and current director of Documentation Centre “Wars 1991-1999”, also translator of Said’s Orientalism. She criticizes Mazower’s “view from outside”, and more generally his “specter of morality”, which allows him to acquire the right of judging and punishing. Just or not, such opinions can only enhance the interest towards the works of Mazower, including this particular publication. It is not accidental that the promotion of the book within the New Year’s Book Fair at Skopije University Library “St Kliment Ohridski” was attended by lots of journalists. President Boris Trajkovski also visited the Fair and got a copy of the book as a present. Keeping in mind his “dynamic” profile: a Methodist affiliation, education in theology in the USA, pro-European rhetoric, plus the fact that he won the second president elections with the support mainly of the ethnic Albanians, we do not have any doubts that he will read Mazower’s book. Among its great qualities, about which the Western reviews inform us, this study is very experimental, since it is “imagining” the Balkans this time in a pocket edition. …Which makes it easy to digest and put to use by busy politicians.

Moldova publications hit high quality

The newly published titles in Moldova, supported by the Translation Project, among which we read translations of Douglas North, Jean Flori, and Albert Borgmann, are remarkable with their high publishing quality and graphic design. Since 1996 the Translation Project has supported about 300 publications in Moldova, which were also distributed in Romania. What we have been facing for these seven years is the gradually increasing quality of the publishers and graphic designers. According to the Program coordinator of the Soros Foundation-Moldova, these accomplishments in the publishing enhanced also the social impact of the supported titles.