Ten foreign publishers and editors visit Flanders
In June, the Flanders Literature team organised its sixth publishers tour for fiction. A publishers tour brings ten foreign editors and publishers of excellent reputation to Flanders for a five-day stay. They are introduced in person to Flemish authors, to their publishers and to literary organisations in Flanders. This way, they get to know the flourishing Flemish literature first-hand and they also have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with Belgian culture in general. Often, a publishers tour sparks the interest of publishers and editors in acquiring the translation rights of noteworthy Flemish books. For Eva Ferri of the Italian publishing house E/O Edizioni, the recent publishers tour was a memorable experience. We are happy to share her report.
‘I wanted to write a few lines to share my experience at the Flanders Literature publishers tour. It was my first fellowship program, so I was not exactly sure of what was coming. I had only very basic expectations (meeting new colleagues, learning something about a market). Our week in Belgium has fulfilled these expectations, but it has done much more than that.
What I took back to Rome were three boxes of chocolates, the Italian rights of ‘WILL’, the beautiful book by Jeroen Olyslaegers, and some nostalgia.
The programme was very intense, but wisely planned. It was a mixture of professional meetings and encounters with Flemish culture: beautiful cities, lovely homes, interesting museums and delicious food. We met several authors who pitched their novels and shared their creative experiences with us in a number of amazing settings. We also visited the Translators House in Antwerp and had appointments with Flemish and Dutch publishers. The selection of participants was very interesting and the group got along very well.
A passion for literature
In my opinion, the programme has fully succeeded in its aim to spread Flemish literature in the foreign publishing world and to let foreign publishers get a taste of Flemish culture. Moreover, we got to know something about the Flemish spirit! Our guides and travel companions in those days (Elise, Michiels, Jo and Lien of the Flanders Literature team) were so passionate and prepared. All the people that we met seemed to have this passion and this curiosity in common.
What I took back to Rome were three boxes of chocolates, the Italian rights of WILL, the beautiful book by Jeroen Olyslaegers, and some nostalgia. I strongly recommend colleagues who have the opportunity to take part in a future publishers tour to do so. Thanks, again, to everyone who was involved.’