Collider Internship Placements
20.12.2023
In its 3-year lifespan, the Balkan Translations Collider project worked to boost cross-border literary networks and cooperation within the Western Balkans and with other European countries.

Among the key activities were performing and publishing research on the state of literary translations from Western Balkan languages to other European languages; organizing an international Academy on Literary Management and Translation Promotion; offering internship placements to emerging book professionals from the WB countries in literary organizations in the EU. 

The placements aimed to enable the interns to strengthen ties, develop new partnerships, and receive first-hand knowledge on how similar organizations operate. Six literary managers were sent to one-week internship placements in Germany, Slovenia, Greece, and Croatia.

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Biljana Crvenkovska, writer and publisher at Cudna Suma, North Macedonia, visited the Slovenian publishing house VigeVageKnjige.

The similarities between the two publishing houses - both operating on smaller scale and in the context of small languages - allowed important discussions on market strategies, exploring niche markets, running bookstore chains between Biljana Crvenkovska and Anja Golob, owner of VigeVageKnjige. 



❝ For me, the most beneficial was the exchange of experiences regarding editorial strategy, book sales, sales of rights, tips and tricks of attracting and retaining customers, as well as scouting for the right people to employ at the publishing houses and bookstores ❝

In addition to getting to know the work processes at VigeVageKnjige, Biljana learned about their programme for loyal readers, their challenging policy to never discount book prices, and participated at the preperations for the Ljubljana Book Fair. 

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Irena Toçi, publisher from Albania, had a professional visit at the Athens-based publishing house Psichogios.

❝ My experience gained during the internship is a model of success in running a publishing house. Inspired by it, I will definitely change the way of organization in sales and marketing, and will give more importance to e-commerce ❝




The agenda of Irena Toçi's internship included appointments with the heads of key departments in Psichogios - Editorial, Marketing & PR, Finance, Trade. These meetings provided her with an in-depth understanding of the work dynamics and mechanisms that lead to the selection of titles, marketing and sales strategies. 

      

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Alen Bešić from the Cultural Center of Novi Sad in Serbia carried out an internship placement at the Haus für Poesie and Traduki in Berlin. His visit matched with the 24th edition of the Poesiefestival Berlin

The performance of poets from Pakistan, Japan, Russia, USA, The Netherlands, India, Great Britain, and Germany was attended by 500+ audience - 'a cultural shock to witness so many people gathered to listen to poetry', Alen shares, 'it is not something commonly seen in Serbia'. Incorporating mixed media, the festial includes short video presentations of the authors with German narration and English subtitles. The atmosphere resembles that of theater or music festival, turning it into a truly mind-opening experience.

During his placement, Alen also had the opportunity for professional meeting with representatives of the Traduki literary network. 

❝ The most valuable insight that I've gained from the meetings with Haus für Poesie and Traduki is related to potential avenues for translation financing. I also got acquainted with the possibilities of the Lyrikline, an international website for experiencing the diversity of contemporary poetry, where you can listen to the melodies, sounds, and rhythms of international poetry, recited by the authors themselves but also use it as a tool for real time collaborative translation ❝

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Vlora Konushevci, book professional from Albania, has visited the Berlin-based publishing houses Verbrecher VerlagVerlag Voland & Quist GmbHMÄRZ Verlag, and Suhrkamp Verlag, as part of her placement itinerary. 

The interactions with directors and editors of the publishing houses allowed Vlora Konushevci to comprehend the meticulous processes that underpin the operations in the world of book publishing and expand her understading of the industry's dynamics.

These meetings were 'a glimpse into the dedication and passion required to bring literature to life' , she shares.

❝ The work visits highlighted the importance of staying attuned to evolving reader preferences and market demands ❝

Besides the valuable lessons in the realm of literary translation and publishing, potential collaborative ventures have also been born.

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Anja Davidović, editor of the Student Journal Vesna in Belgrade, Serbia carried out her internship in the alike Student Journal of Literature, Literary and Cultural Theory k, based in Zagreb. Throughout her meetings with the editors of the journal, she gained insight on the process of selecting and curating content for upcoming editions.

       

A further outcome of the internship was the planning of a joint Conference for Undergraduate Students of Comparative Literature that aims to foster connections between students in Croatia and Serbia, encourage academic collaboration and increase cross-cultural understanding. Open calls for submission would be shared between the Student Journal of Literature, Literary and Cultural Theory k and the Journal Vesna.

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Jasmina Topić from Youth center Pančevo in Serbia carried out an internship placement at the Haus für Poesie and Traduki in Berlin.

As an organizer of literary events back in Serbia, the visit at the 24th edition of the Poesiefestival Berlin was an inspiriting opportunity for Jasmina Topić to explore possibilities to apply in her future professional activities. 

The meeting with the literary network Traduki, on the other hand, provided guidance on potential funding opportunities and connections within the literary community, and enabled discussions about concepts on own projects. 

More specifically, Jasmina inquired about the feasibility of organizing an Artist in Residence (AIR) program in her home town Pančevo with the support of the network. 

❝ The seven-day placement in Berlin left me with a renewed appreciation for the power of literature, the warmth of human connection, and the beauty of exploration ❝

— 

The Balkan Translations Collider is a project by Next Page Foundation (Bulgaria) in partnership with ARGH (Serbia), POETEKA (Albania), Sandorf (Croatia), Goten (North Macedonia), and the Municipality of Podgorica (Montenegro).

The Balkan Translations Collider is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and by the National Culture Fund, Bulgaria.

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