For the Czech Literary Centre (CLC), a section of the Moravian Library, 2022 is a year that will focus on literary translation (more HERE). The objective is to increase support for translators (at home and abroad) and promote awareness of their profession. The motto the CLC will use for this year’s activities in the Czech Republic and abroad is “Expanding Horizons through Translation”, the illustration for which was created by Toy_Box.
Events organized since January 2022
A new feature of the CLC’s focus this year on translation is the summer residencies at Broumov Monastery for translators living in the Czech Republic. 17 translators applied for a residency and in April the CLC commission selected six names: Elena Buixaderas, Daniela Mrázová, Blanka Stárková, Lukáš Jiřička, Petra Diestlerová and Jitka Hanušová.
From February to April the CLC welcomed to Prague and Brno five international translators and Czech scholars from France, Spain, Sweden, Japan and Poland. The Czech scholar from Japan, Junko Shimada, met students from Masaryk University during his stay, while Tora Hedin from Sweden discussed translating with students from Charles University’s Department of Scandinavian studies.
This year the CLC also organized other events where translators were at the centre of attention. At the Bologna Book Fair, Tereza Horváthová, representing the Czech publishers Baobab, and the German translator Lena Dorn, who over the past two years has been awarded prestigious prizes for her Czech translations, discussed the different roles translators have. In the Czech Republic and Spain, the CLC helped with the book launch of the anthology De sombra y terciopelo. Diecisiete poetas checas (1963-1988), in which 17 Czech female poets are represented. The bilingual Czech-Spanish anthology was compiled and translated by Elena Buixaderas and published by the Mexican-Spanish publishing house Vaso Roto.
The CLC along with the British literary journal Modern Poetry in Translation organized a showcase of Central and East European poetry in English translation at the March StAnza Poetry Festival in Scotland. In addition to featuring six Czech poets, there were also writers from Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary and elsewhere.
At the end of April, the CLC and Czech Centres organized a four-day translation seminar for the winners of the 2021 Susanna Roth Award, a competition designed for new translators from Czech. Part of the programme for the fourteen winners from fourteen countries was a translation workshop with Blanka Stárková, a lecture by Kateřina Klabanová about the practical aspects of the translation profession, a trip to Karlovy Vary and Jáchmov, and a visit to Prague National Gallery.
Forthcoming activities (spring and summer 2022)
Participants in the international CELA (Connecting Emerging Literary Artists) project, which the CLC has been involved in since 2019, will meet in Madrid in May. A total of 79 translators from ten countries in Europe are part of this project. With the help of their mentors they each translated six texts by new writers. The meeting includes a series of lectures and workshops about translation work, one of which will be led by the Czech translator Jitka Hanušová.
Over the spring the CLC and international Czech scholars will hold four meetings with Czech writers and their translators. In May, Hana Hadas and Viktorie Hanišová will discuss translating into German at the University of Munich. Roben Höppner, who translates into German, will be meeting Matěj Hořava at the University of Regensburg, while there will be a discussion between Andrzej Jagodzinsky and Martin Jiroušek at the University of Katowice. Bianca Bellová will be taking part in an online debate at the University of Bucharest.
In June the CLC will also be supporting a translation seminar in Slovenia, where the role of translator is taken on by three Czech poets; Jan Škrob, Magdalena Šipka and Adam Borzič, who will translate three Slovenian poets into Czech.
The CLC has prepared an afternoon session of discussions focusing on translation for the Professional Forum at the Book World fair on Friday 10 June. In addition to debates on monitoring and translating, the CLC is also offering a panel discussion featuring representatives from literary and cultural institutions from Latvia, Belgium, Italy and Germany. They will talk about the availability of grants for people translating from these countries’ languages.
Literature in translation will also feature in the regular “Monthly features” section on the CzechLit.cz website. Three review articles have already been published there since the start of the year. In the latest one, Markéta Pilátová writes on how Czech literature is received in Spanish-speaking countries. Jan Lukavec has written a two-part study on the theme of “Searching for the Paths of 20th Century Czech literature for the German Reader.”
The CLC is also working with the magazine H7O on a joint project whereby an article is published each month this year by leading translators from Czech on the theme “What I’m Working On”. Each translator explains what they are translating and the joy or stress that the particular work is bringing them. In January, Laura Angeloni described her work translating Bianca Bellová’s A Sentimental Novel. In February, Eva Profousová wrote about translating the novel The Hours of Lead by Radka Denemarková. In March, Benoît Meunier let readers into the secret of how he was translating a dog and a cat (I Had a Dog and a Cat) by Karel Čapek, while Flóra Peťovská featured in the April edition. Readers in the following months can look forward to articles by the translators Khalid El Biltagi, Julia Sherwood, Eurydice Antolin, Mirko Kraetsch and Kepa Uharte.