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Looking back on the publishers tour for fiction

Six years after the last publishers tour for fiction – all the preparations were in place for one in 2020, but unfortunately it had to take a digital form because of Covid – at the start of June we were finally able to welcome foreign publishers to Antwerp. Nine publishers from eight publishing houses in France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the UK, Finland, Ukraine and Israel were immersed for three days in Flemish literature and culture.

PT prose group pic

The participants met fifteen authors, were warmly recommended an additional five titles by translators and the Fixdit collective, and speed-dated with Flemish and Dutch rights managers. A busy schedule, which certainly went down well with the publishers.

"The publishers tour in Flanders is the best way to gain new knowledge about Flemish literature, discover a new culture, make friends and start cooperation with publishers from Flanders and all over Europe. An incredible experience that I will definitely remember. Our series of Flemish literature is expanding, and I hope that Ukrainian readers will love Flemish literature as much as I loved it." - Bogdana Romantsova of the Ukrainian publishing house Tempora

Bogdana has written an article about the publishers tour for ‘The Ukrainian Week’.
Read it now.

A few highpoints:

  • In the centuries-old Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library, the focus was on several new, promising voices in Flemish literature. Tülin Erkan, Aya Sabi and Angelo Tijssens were interviewed about their debut novels.
  • On Wednesday we visited Ghent, and Kathleen Vereecken took the group with her on a walk though the historic centre, showing them the city through the eyes of Margriete van Eyck, the central character of her novel. The walk ended in front of the astonishing Ghent Altarpiece.
  • In De Studio in Antwerp, Tom Lanoye and Maaike Neuville made an impression with their novels, which are set in the world of the theatre.
  • For the tour’s final event we went to the KMSKA, where Saskia de Coster, Sulaiman Addonia and Toni Coppers introduced the publishers, in small groups, to both the museum and their own oeuvres.

"The Flanders Literature publishers tour was an incredible experience. The team organized a brilliant and varied programme, from presentations and interviews through to museum tours. I learned a lot about the wonderful literature of Flanders, and came away with exciting books to discover, new friendships and connections, and very happy memories of our time in Antwerp and Ghent." - Ellie Steel of the British publishing house Harvill Secker

Flanders Literature organizes a publishers tour every year for one or more genres or target groups. Publishers, festival organizers and translators are immersed in the captivating world of Flemish literature. By inviting them to spend a midweek in Antwerp, we are able to build up a lasting professional relationship with them and increase the likelihood that one or more Flemish titles will turn up in their catalogues or onstage at their events.

Oct 3rd, 2023