A strategy for literary exchange in the Euro-Mediterranean region

Literature Across Frontiers has a solid background and extensive experience in promoting literary exchange and translation in the Euro-Mediterranean region, as a way of encouraging intercultural dialogue between Europe and the South-East Mediterranean. LAF projects in this field have been carried out with a range of partners over the last decade, and have included:

  • co-organisation and development of several new literary festivals in the region;
  • inclusion of authors from the South-East Mediterranean in European literary events;
  • cooperation with book fairs in the region;
  • poetry translation workshops;
  • professional training seminars for publishers and translators;
  • a book donation initiative;
  • developing  testing models for the recruitment and training of young literary translators from European languages into Arabic and Turkish.

A key element in LAF’s commitment to improving all aspects of translation and literary exchange in the region is the development of a clear strategy built on a foundation of extensive research and broad multilateral consultation. With this in mind, LAF has undertaken a number of specific activities over the last three years.

  • Becoming a partner in the Euro-Mediterranean Translation Programme (EMTP), an initiative of the Anna Lindh Foundation organised in cooperation with Literature Across Frontiers and Transeuropéennes in 2010-2012.
  • Convening a two-day international symposium on writing, publishing and translating in the minority languages of nations without their own state in the Euro-Med region, held in Istanbul in January 2011.
  • Convening the international conference ‘Literary Exchange and Translation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region: Challenges of the next decade,’ co-organised with the Turkish Ministry of Culture in Istanbul in May 2011.

Strategy consultation workshops
To take our crucial strategy consultation work forward, a LAF Euro-Med working group was established following the Istanbul conferences, and a further series of three strategy workshops were planned. The first workshop was held in Beirut in July 2012 on the occasion of the inaugural Hay Beirut Festival, the second in Istanbul on the occasion of the Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival in October 2012, and the third and concluding conference was held in Valletta, Malta, on 5-7 April 2013.

The key aim of the first two strategy workshops has been to bring together literary actors from the Euro-Mediterranean region to discuss possibilities for future cooperation across the Mediterranean, and identify the obstacles literary exchange and translation faces. In addition to this, feedback on the original recommendations has been obtained, and areas for work identified. Perhaps most significantly real communication has been facilitated, new contacts formed, and future collaboration projects initiated between independent cultural associations, larger, more established literary festivals and venues, individuals and networks.

Download a summary and the recommendations of the 2011 conference recommendations in French or English

Échanges et traduction littéraires dans la région euro-méditerranéenne: défis de la prochaine décennie (.pdf)

Summary and recommendations from LAF 2011 Euro-Med Conference – English (.pdf)

Towards a Euro-Mediterranean Translation Hub
Participants at the meeting in Valletta in April 2013 discussed setting up a Literature and Translation House in Malta – a proposal which was included in Valletta’s successful bid to host the Capital of Culture 2018. This hub could become a true Euro-Mediterranean translation hub located in the very centre of the region.

Read the blog, watch films of the discussions and find out more about the Valletta  strategy conference, on this blog http://euromedlit.wordpress.com

Download LAF’s research reports on literary translation of Euro-Mediterranean literature in the UK and Ireland.