03. 14. 2012. 13:39

Publishing Hungary

Publishing Hungary, a government programme aimed at popularizing Hungarian literature and publishing works in foreign languages, has been launched.

National Resources Minister Miklós Réthelyi has earmarked 100 million forints (roughly 342,000 euros) for this year as well as the next two years for this purpose.

The Hungarian presence at international book fairs will be coordinated by the Balassi Institute—the institute that also coordinates the 19 Hungarian cultural centres abroad—together with the newly founded Office for the Support of Books and Translations, located at the Petőfi Museum of Literature in Budapest. This latter is the successor of the Hungarian Book Foundation, abolished in October 2011, and headed by Dóra Károlyi, who has recently been awarded the Angel of Translators Prize by the Literary Translators Workgroup of the Dutch Literary Association (Vereniging van Letterkundigen, Werkgroep Literair Vertalers). Like its predecessor, the Office will be responsible for the promotion of the publication of Hungarian books.

László L. Simon, head of the National Cultural Fund stressed that there is great competition among Central European countries in this area, and Hungary has slipped behind its rivals in the last two decades. He considers the promotion of literary and non-fiction works of strategic importance for Hungarian culture.

Pál Hatos, director of Balassi Institute said that contemporary Hungarian literature had gained stable ground in several world languages, especially German, but the international promotion of Hungarian books should be made a priority of Hungarian cultural diplomacy. Hungary’s presence at international book fairs is vital, he said. This year Hungary will be guest of honour at the book fairs of St Petersburg, Helsinki, Belgrade and Sofia; plans for next year for similar presences include Peking and Paris.

The Office for the Support of Books and Translations will probably be able to announce their first round of applications for translation grants in April 2012 (15 million forints – 51 thousand euros), followed by a second round in the second part of the year, Dóra Károlyi said.