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Looking back at the publishers tour children’s and YA literature

From Monday 17 to Thursday 20 June, the ninth publishers tour for children’s and young adult literature took place. Ten publishers from Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and Sweden were immersed for three days in Flemish children’s literature and Flemish culture.

The participants met seventeen authors and illustrators, were given an additional four book tips by translators, and speed dated with Flemish and Dutch rights managers. Flanders Literature laid on a busy and varied programme that was greatly appreciated by the foreign guests.

Interviews PT KJ dag 1
Linde Dessoy interviews Evelien De Vlieger, writer of (among others) 'Under the Bridge'.

Literature, art and film

In the Carmelite Monastery in the centre of Ghent, Evelien De Vlieger, Herman van de Wijdeven and Els Beerten started it all off. With Linde Dessoy of Iedereen Leest (Everybody Reads) they discussed their most recent YA novels. Next, Gerda Dendooven, Jacques & Lise, Jan Van Der Veken and Pieter Van Eenoge took the publishers in tow through the Museum voor Schone Kunsten. The illustrators each introduced small groups of publishers both to the museum and to their own work. That evening we organized a full-on film evening in the Kazematten performing arts theatre in Ghent, with animated films based on the work of Pieter Gaudesaboos and Sebastiaan Van Doninck, and with the YA film ‘Sea Sparkle’, for which Wendy Huyghe wrote the script and on which she based her later debut novel.

PT KJ dag 1
Illustrator Pieter Van Eenoge showing his work at MSK Ghent.
Museum voor Schone Kunsten
Gerda Dendooven exploring MSK Ghent with Shadi Doostdar and Susana Ramírez.
It has been an unforgettable and very enriching experience, not only because I now have a broader vision of Flemish literature for children and YA, but also because of the opportunity to meet very nice and friendly colleagues and the fantastic team of Flanders Literature!
Susana Ramírez of Galimatazo Editorial

Translations and foreign rights

In the centuries-old Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library in Antwerp, translators Laura Watkinson and Noëlle Michel each presented two of their favourite books, one that they had already translated and one that is on their translation wish list. Laura Watkinson tipped books by Marita De Sterck and Mattias De Leeuw & Bette Westera. Noëlle Michel put forward work by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem and Tom Schamp.

In the afternoon we took the publishers to Flanders Literature’s garden pavilion, where they met their Flemish and Dutch counterparts. After hours of hard work in the rights centre, they were rewarded with a generous portion of chips. When in Rome ...

PT KJ dag 2
Translator Noëlle Michel (Dutch-French) pitching 'The Biggest and Cheeriest Book of All Vehicles' by Tom Schamp.
PT KJ dag 2 bis
Speeddating with Uitgeverij Vrijdag.
Flanders has such a rich and diverse literary and artistic heritage, and I was so impressed to see how much Flanders Literature supports the industry and empowers creatives. Bravo!
Shadi Doostdar of Oneworld Publications Limited

Drawing, singing and admiring

In the De Krook library in Ghent, journalist Katrien Steyaert interviewed illustrators Françoise Beck, Kevin Sezgin and Ruth De Jaeger about their work and inspiration, referring to specific photographs and illustrations. We visited Carll Cneut’s studio and admired the original illustrations for ‘Oh Pinocchio’, every one of them a masterpiece.

In bookshop Rokko, Aline Sax presented her latest novel, ‘What We Have Left’ and explained why this particular story was best told in a novel in verse. In the beautiful red salon of the Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal en Letteren, Jef Aerts read from his ‘Robber’s Cub’ and sang a song he has written about the book. Leo Timmers taught us how to draw Beer, the central character of his ‘Bear’s Glasses’. We concluded the tour in the Poetry Centre with Bart Moeyaert, who struck a chord with the whole group as he told the story of his life and work.

PT KJ dag 3
Aline Sax talking about 'What We Have Left' in Rokko Ghent.
I particularly liked the author interviews. The interviewers were good and well prepared. It gave us a lot of insight into the books, especially ones that I was considering already. It was such a simple, yet productive way to showcase the books.
Julie Pedersen of Bogoo
Groepsfoto PT KJ KANTL
Last group picture in KANTL Ghent.
Publishers tours

Every year, Flanders Literature organizes a publishers tour 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 Flanders, we are able to build up a lasting professional relationship with them and increase the likelihood that Flemish titles will turn up in their catalogues or onstage at their events.