07. 17. 2012. 07:58

Support for translation costs: list of winners announced

Works by Ádám Bodor, Miklós Szentkuthy, Miklós Mészöly and Endre Kukorelly are among books to be published in English with the support of The Hungarian Books & Translations Office within the next two years.

The Hungarian Books & Translations Office, located in the Petőfi Literary Museum, was established after the abolishment of the Hungarian Book Foundation in 2011, with the same aim as its predecessor: to promote works by classical and contemporary Hungarian authors (both fiction and non-fiction) abroad, to cooperate with foreign publishing houses and to take part in financing the translation costs.

Ever since its establishment, this is the first time that the Office has issued a call for applications to finance translation costs of works published by foreign-based publishing houses, with an overall amount of HUF 18 million (€62.5 thousand). Seventy-one applications requesting almost HUF 87 million (€300 thousand) were submitted until the deadline, 31 May 2012. On 9 July the board of experts of the Petőfi Literary Museum announced their decision to support forty translations into twenty-one languages, by thirty-three Hungarian authors.

Six of the winners are translations into English. Ádám Bodor’s Sinistra District will be published by New Directions (New York), the publisher of several books by László Krasznahorkai and Dezső Kosztolányi. Miklós Szentkuthy’s Marginalia on Casanova will hopefully be the first in a series to be published by Contra Mundum Press (New York), who intend to come out with more works by Szentkuthy in the years to come. Miklós Mészöly’s Death of an Athlete, a 1966 book by one of the greatest postwar Hungarian masters of prose, undiscovered as yet by the English-speaking audience, will be published by Bluecoat (Liverpool).

A collection of poems by Endre Kukorelly (St Louis: JK Publishing), a major poet of the mid-generation; a memoir by Switzerland-based writer Yudit Kiss, entitled Summer My Father Died (London: Telegram); and a novella by writer, essayist and visual culture scholar Zsófia Bán (New York: Epiphany) are also among the books to be published in English with the support of the Office.

Translations into other languages include contemporary as well as classical authors. Two authors figure on the list with three books, respectively: Dezső Kosztolányi’s Nero will be translated into French, Kornél Esti into Macedonian, and Skylark into Swedish; works by György Spiró will also be translated into three languages: Polish, German and Italian.

The publishers, who will receive 40 to 60 per cent of the translation costs as well as professional support, are obliged to publish the books within two years. The first payments may be due very soon this year, since Szentkuthy’s Marginalia will be published in a few weeks in New York, and Sándor Weöres’s volume of poems in Finnish will come out for the Helsinki Book Fair in October, where Hungary will be the guest of honour.

The board of the Petőfi Literary Museum expressed their hope that from next year on they will be able to call for applications twice a year, as was the custom for fifteen years. László L. Simon, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Culture has announced his intention to allocate another HUF 100 million (roughly €350 thousand) for the publication of Hungarian books.

Tags: Hungarian Books and Translations Office