European Literature Days 2011
Between 10 and 25 September 2010, the Wachau region in Austria will become a centre for European literature.
Under an initiative by the European literature portal, Readme.cc, the European Literature Days 2011 will take place there.
Bringing together authors, musicians, scientists, journalists and cultural decision-makers as never before, the festival will foster link-building across national borders through literary exchange.
The festival will be held for the third time in 2011. The chief patron of the European Literature Days 2011 is the governor of Niederösterreich Dr. Erwin Pröll.
These are the topics 2011.
- 1 Europe - a culture on the world's sidelines?
- 2 Behind the scenes of the translation market?
- 3 Real people read virtual books - The digital bookmarket here and now?
Europe - a culture on the world's sidelines?
The French journalist, Frédéric Martel, claims Europe is on the verge of being pushed to the world’s sidelines. Mass culture in widespread circulation creates two winners: the USA and, in succession, emerging markets in China, India, Brazil and the Gulf States. Martel identifies two losers: southern hemisphere countries and Europe. He sees Europe’s disadvantages as its division into the member states’ internal markets with an outdated definition of culture as historical, non-commercial, often elitist and excluding the mainstream. Additionally, he points out that Europe lacks a common culture.Lectures previously held during the European Literature Days set a completely contrasting tone, which Jürgen Ritte pertinently summarizes: “This old continent has never forgotten its survival reflexes, practised over many centuries; indeed, it has even refined them. Europe has developed its internal rivalries into an engine for shared progress and has increasingly become pacified.” In this sense, we still live in the shared space of this world within Europe where productivity and the inventiveness of European societies continue to be far advanced in comparison to what the rest of the world can achieve, even with relatively equitable social conditions. Europe’s relationship with other cultures is another matter. According to Mathias Enard and Jürgen Ritte, Europe has always been a powerhouse of assimilation. Europe will only attain a marginal position if it intends to freeze its current status into perpetuity, and to isolate itself. For the first time, Europe would become a loser in historic terms. If Europe is not equivalent to the idea of struggle or not a fixed entity then (so Jürgen Ritte) it is a “mixture, which is constantly expanding, the more ingredients we throw in. The Turks, North Africans and Chinese are next year’s potatoes and tomatoes. If we reject these ingredients, then we will really starve, waste and become marginalized and – ultimately – perish.” Are the world’s literatures with their insights into living together still part of a process of enlightenment and self-criticism, or are they only a small cog in the engine of a globalized cultural industry? Are the literatures of migrant countries the next thing for literature to officially focus on?
Behind the scenes of the translation market?The case study “Diversity Report 2010” presented by Rüdiger Wischenbart shows how the translation market works in Europe with examples from 200 European authors. The allocation of translations according to different languages and language areas is by no means balanced, but akin to a cascade where a few languages dominate. Only English, German and French are qualified as so-called transfer languages, that is, languages fulfilling an intermediary purpose for the translation of literary works into other languages. Nevertheless, the literary map clearly shows the degree to which stories primarily emerging from a very tangible, local context often reach a much wider audience. Meanwhile, what is missing or perhaps functions rather unsatisfactorily is a variety of channels for the dissemination of these stories and their authors. Here, the key factor is not so much the requirement for money and funding as well as the financial or philanthropic support to commission the translations, but rather overcoming a blinkered approach. In other words, we know far too little about the multiplicity of exciting stories, which are written here and there, and are read mainly in the authors’ countries of origin. Frequently, the astonishing and unplanned successes of the stories make it clear that readers’ curiosity is far greater than the “market” and the media would have us believe.
Real people read virtual books - The digital bookmarket here and now?Three introductory presentations about the ongoing digitalization of the book market (Penguin Books), European library holdings (Google and Europeana) and incentives for small companies to experiment (Libroid) highlight the changes occurring in the literary marketplace.
The advent of digital books makes it important to adopt a radically new approach to at least two basic issues. Firstly, the supply of books is not developing along lines that the book trade in each respective country deems appropriate. Instead, every book edition is in direct competition – it only takes a mouse click – with all other editions of any book published in any language. This is not only true for eBooks but also long since applies for paper books, as readers, publishers and book shops have now realized for some time in countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and Slovenia or Romania. There is also an established trend for bilingualism among educated readers, who feel relaxed, and find it easy to switch between their native language and the choice of books available in English. Also, the range of all kinds of titles is expanding at an astonishing pace. Google has now advertised the launch of its own digital book sales program “Google eBookstore” (previously “Google Editions”) under the banner of 3 million new books being issued online. This vast starting quantity is a result of extensive copyright-free library holdings that Google has been scanning in over many years. For readers (and the book trade) this means a single bookstore can occupy the (Internet) marketplace in one fell swoop. At the same time one of the largest libraries will be set up which will also mainly be accessible to consumers free of charge. Areas such as bookstores, second-hand bookstores and libraries, which were previously mostly independent, will immediately become a vast and, at the outset, fairly confusing field.
The recent failure of the Google Books settlement unleashed euphoria on the European literary scene. Celebrations about this rejection obscured the fact that especially in Europe proposals for the settlement involved negotiations with American organizations from the book sector such as publishers and authors. Of the twelve million books, which Google has now digitalized, numerous editions have already been copyright-free for years because seventy or more years have elapsed since the death of the copyright owners. But the real problem about this dispute and the settlement is the many millions of “orphaned” works where copyright holders are not so easily identified. Because these books are not as old, they still have a fairly wide readership. The entire issue is complicated and unclear. Both publishers and authors – and naturally also Google – have a vested interest in overcoming the uncertainty and setting up a proper framework agreement, which implies legal security, to make use of the countless numbers of books that were published and are now out of print. In other words, this is an opportunity for the commercial book trade and for readers.
The way forwards to a digital future is unclear, if there are no definite distinctions between legal monitoring and the required legal adjustments to copyright. The main point is to achieve a balance between the legitimate rights of copyright holders and publishing houses on the one hand, and to access the numerous “orphaned” books on the other.
Is it not feasible for Europeans to adopt a pivotal role in this process? Surely, we want not a showdown with Google, but to lead the way for the benefit of readers, authors and publishers?
The Donauforum at the European Literature Days 2011 - Reading in the digital village
Emerging and following on from our experiences at the first two European Literature Days, on 24 September 2011 at Schloss Spitz/Wachau the Donauforum will be established as an annual conference to be held at subsequent meetings. The Donauforum involves discussions with international authors and literary agents about topics of current relevance in European literature and is set in the context of the globalization of the book and media market. The focus will be the social and political dimension of literature, its communication beyond linguistic limits, the role of electronic media in this process and the idea of a European literary marketplace.
An internet forum will introduce the participants to annual key themes for the Donauforum. Speakers will introduce short presentations at the Schloss Spitz venue. Interpreters at the event will facilitate discussion in both German and English. The discussions will also be reported in the internet forum where there will be an opportunity for interactive discussion and comment. The results of the conference will also be published in an eBook at readme.cc.
In addition to the invited authors and literary agents, all those interested in joining the Donauforum are welcome to participate (registration is required and places are subject to availability).
Programme 2011 - Reading in The digital village
Sat. 24.9. 2011
9.30 to 16.00
Moderation of proceedings: Rüdiger Wischenbart, Journalist, Vienna
Real people read virtual books. Part 1
Practical experience with ebooks
Introductory remarks and presentation of a survey on digital reading with Austrian students, by Rüdiger Wischenbart
Apps - more than a book
Introductory presentations by
Jürgen Neffe, Author, Producer for Libroid Hamburg
Christopher Frahm, Agentur artundweise Bremen
Behind the scenes of the translation market
Diversity Report 2011 – Which European authors are and are not translated?
Introduction of the study Rüdiger Wischenbart and
Yana Genova, Next Page Foundation Sofia
Books in the Global Village, for example Beograd
Reports on online-bookshops, online-writing, online-reading by
Alexander Drakulic, Knjizara.com Beograd
Barbi Markovic, Author Belgrade
Real people read virtual books. Part 2: The digital book market here and now
Max Kaiser, Google project/ Nationalbibliothek Vienna
Nathan Hull, Penguin Books London
Miha Kovac, University of Ljubljana, and publisher, Mladinska knjiga group
15.00 The new questions
Participants suggest topics they regard as particularly critical. This debate will form the basis of the Donauforum 2012.
Uwe Schuette, Aston University Birmingham; Lucien Leitess, Unionsverlag Zürich; Jürgen Ritte, Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris; Hana Stojic, Traduki Sarajewo; Heinrich von Berenberg, Berenberg Verlag Berlin; Rainer Moritz, Literaturhaus Hamburg; Heike Müller, Literaturhaus Bremen; Christopher Frahm, Agentur artundweise Bremen; Dieter Sperl, Author Wien; Indra Wussow, Kunstquelle Sylt; Jurij Andruchowytsch, Author Kiev; Tarik Bary, Ain Shams University; Cairo; Altaf Tyrewala, Author Mumbai/ India; Katharina Narbutovic, Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD; Hans Koch, University of Wuppertal; Sjón, Author Reykjavík; Gwendoline Riley, Author Manchester; Silke Hassler, Author Retz; Peter Turrini, Author Retz; Claus Beck-Nielsen, Author Copenhagen; Barbi Markovic, Author Belgrade; Dana Grigorcea, Author Zürich; Beat Mazenauer, Networker Lucerne; Walter Grond, Author Aggsbach Dorf; Finn Ole Heinrich, Author Hamburg; Jürgen Neffe, Author Hamburg; Jagoda Marinic, Author Heidelberg; Perikles Monioudis, Author Zurich; Katja Lange-Müller, Author Berlin; Anne Zauner, Literaturhaus Wien; Gesine Boesken, University Cologne; Miha Kovac, Mladinska knjiga Ljubljana; Yana Genova, Next Page Foundation Sofia; Alexander Drakulic, Knjizara.com Beograd; Peter Inkei, The Budapest Observatory; Martin Scharfe, volksLesen.tv Berlin