22
Jun
Book Platform Interns in Amsterdam: "No second of our time here is wasted"

From June 18 to June 25, 2014, two interns - one from Armenia and one from Georgia, are doing a one-week internship on Promotion of Literature in Translation in Amsterdam. Their first comments and impressions:

Lianna Aghamyan: "The 19th of June was the first day of our internship. Our first meeting with Mr Bas Pauw, who is in charge of the international literary events in Dutch Foundation for Literature, was so thorough and detailed that we concentrated on the work immediately. He introduced the Foundation, and outlined the main aspects of the promotion of Dutch literature abroad. Other very important aspects discussed during the meeting were financial support, translation grants and major book fairs. Right after that, we met with Alexandra Koch, editor of schwob.nl, which looks for modern classics, cult books, must-reads from all over Europe, which haven't been widely translated, little known classics so to say. In the evening there was another interesting meeting, this time with Victor Schiferli, fiction specialist, grant manager, with whom we discussed Frankfurt Book Fair, copyrights, translation grants, etc."

Irine Chogoshvli: "So we are already 4 days in Amsterdam. The first two days we had very intensive program – we had many meetings, and visited different professionals from the Dutch book sector. I already can say this internship is going to be very useful for me and my job as I already got very concrete recommendations in the field I needed from people who are really the best in what they do. First day in the morning we visited Dutch Foundation for Literature, where we had our first meeting with Mr. Bass Pauw. He was very helpful and answered all the questions we had, telling us everything about the history and structure of the foundation, as well as about the way they promote their literature abroad, and how they prepare for the Guest of Honor program of Frankfurt Book Fair, what I am personally mostly interested in (Netherlands will be FBF Guest of Honor in 2016, and Georgia is preparing to be FBF Guest of Honor in 2018). I was very happy to meet publisher Eva Cossee (Cossee Publishers), who has already visited Georgia during the Literary Forum Dialogue, organized by us two years ago, and, thanks to our support, has already published one Georgian title in Dutch language. After this we had a very important meeting with Mr. Victor Schiferli, the translations grants manager of Dutch Foundation for Literature, who shared with us some invaluable ideas and secrets about what we should and should not do to make foreign publishers interested in publishing the books we are promoting and how to build successful international contacts and relations. 

On the second day we visited CPNB (in Dutch: Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek), a foundation set up in Amsterdam, aiming to encourage the habits of book reading and book buying, where we had a meeting with the marketing expert of the Foundation Mr. Maarten Rademaker. The CPNB staff are very creative and have super smart and fresh ideas how to do more in order to develop reading skills among the citizens of Netherlands, involving in their work as many people as possible from totally different fields. We can definitely apply some of their ideas in our countries as well, which we already discussed with them. Next we visited publishing house De Harmonie, where we had a long discussion with its director and copyrights' manager about such important issues as the role of literary agents in translating and publishing abroad, copyrights' problems, what to publish, how to publish, etc. They were also very kind to share with us their own experience how to build a successful publishing house. And the last meeting on this day was with Willemijn Lamp, organizer of literary events, founder and co-director of Read My World international literature festival. We met at the place, where the festival is going to happen in September – a culture hotspot called De Tolhuistuin, which was a great and very useful experience, as we saw how the modern infrastructure for such important and huge projects can and should look like.

And after the weekend, during which we had some great time all over the city, visiting the Rijskmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, and taking a tour through the canals, we are really relaxed and ready to learn more about how to make books travel around the world."


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