5 days, 139 participants and 64 meetings, workshops and presentations – these are the numbers for the event that inaugurated the CELA project, in which we took between 13 and 17 of January in Brussels. Before us are 4 years of international collaboration on developing the book market in Europe and professionalising the activities of writers and translators in foreign markets.
CELA, or Connecting Emerging Literary Artists, is a programme that offers three emerging authors and translators the opportunity to meet artists from other European countries, take part in educational courses, consult their work with mentors and present it to publishers and literary agents at festivals in Poland and abroad. Krakow UNESCO City of Literature represents the Polish team, who were all in attendance at last week’s meeting of authors and the literary industry from ten European countries. Alongside us, representatives of Belgium, Italy, Spain, Serbia, Portugal, Czechia, Slovenia, Romania and the Netherlands are participating in the project. The week in Brussels was the first opportunity for the participants to get to know each other, exchange good practices in the field of functioning of literary institutions in their countries of origin, and jointly defined an action plan for the next four years. We’re going to roll up our sleeves because our common goals require organised, systematic work by all project partners. As the Dutch organisation Wintertuin – the project organisers – argue, talented writers and translators can only build an international careers based on translated literary works, and the results of their work will not be visible abroad without the right competences and an efficient network within the industry. The defined gaps in the European literary market, which CELA aims to reduce include differences between national and international book markets – especially for the so-called smaller languages – and the gap between the traditional book industry and the system of circulation of literary works in the digital age.
There will be many more opportunities to meet. Specialist courses for writers selected for the project, masterclasses for translators and internships for literary life animators representing partner institutions will be held until March next year. The whole cycle will end with an almost two-week course in creative non-fiction writing in Krakow, UNESCO City of Literature. Three months later, the texts written by the participating writers will be published, translated in each case into the other languages of the project participants. CELA will then change its image – the task for both us and our other partners will be to promote the resulting works. You can expect meetings with the authors at, for example, the 13th edition of the Conrad Festival in 2021.
Last year, the Krakow Festival Office conducted a call for proposals, in which the artists who make up the Polish representation in this edition of the CELA programme were selected. Translators of the selected languages into Polish are Aleksandra Wojtaszek (Serbian), Agata Wróbel (Czech), Gabriel Borowski (Portuguese), Mateusz Kłodecki (Italian), Olga Bartosiewicz-Nikolaev (Romanian), Olga Niziołek (Dutch), Ewa Dynarowicz (Dutch), Katarzyna Górska (Spanish) and Joanna Borowy (Slovenian). The selected translators will translate texts from the native languages of the organisations involved in the project. Three Polish writers will take part in the project: Joanna Gierak-Onoszko (author of 27 śmierci Toby’ego Obeda, Dowody na Istnienie), Aleksandra Lipczak (Ludzie z Placu Słońca, Dowody na Istnienie) i Urszula Jabłońska (Człowiek w przystępnej cenie. Reportaże z Tajlandii, Dowody na Istnienie).
We are thrilled to be part of the team creating the international CELA brand together! We will keep you informed about further activities that are changing the shape of the publishing market in Europe and building bridges between different sectors of the literary industry – regardless of the borders dividing us.
International travels of programme participants, as well as literary courses and residencies are carried out with financial support of the European Union under the Creative Europe Programme.
Photo: Gaby Jongenelen