International interest in Scottish translations
Translations of Scottish writing are proving such a phenomenal success that the Scottish Arts Council is to examine the feasibility of setting up a National Centre for Literary Translation.
The Scottish Arts Council’s Literature Department has received £25,000 top-up funding from the Scottish Executive to help meet unprecedented demand during recent rounds of funding for the translation of Scottish work. Countries applying in the last round included Spain, Italy, Slovakia, France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Sweden and Portugal.
The increased demand for funding literary translations can also be linked to the growing success of Scottish publishers in selling rights internationally. Canongate has done particularly well, selling international rights to several countries for Michel Faber following the huge popularity of The Crimson Petal and The White which was in the New York Times Top 10 Bestseller list, with film rights being sold to Hollywood.
Welcoming the extra funding, Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council, said: ‘Scottish writing is benefiting from a heightened profile overseas, and translation plays a central role in the promotion of Scottish culture abroad and in fostering creative exchange. The Scottish Arts Council would like to be more proactive in seeking a broader range of applications for translation, so we are keen to investigate whether the establishment of a National Centre for Translation could perform an important reciprocal role in raising the already burgeoning prestige of Scottish literature worldwide, and promoting a greater understanding and awareness of literature from the rest of the world in Scotland.
‘There are substantial returns from quite modest investment. A couple of years ago, we gave a grant of £7,500 to Editions Metailie in Paris for the first translation into French of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark. Its print run of 6,000 copies sold out within four weeks of hitting the shops and attracted extremely positive reviews in the French press. In a recent round of applications, Editions Metailie were granted a further £2,000 towards supporting the translation of Gray’s The History Maker and we funded Alasdair to go out to Paris for the book launch. We now have a high proportion of application requests from France, which is almost certainly partly attributable to the profile-raising effect of the Lanark translation.’
In recent years, two showcases of Scottish writing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, backed by British Council Scotland and the Scottish Arts Council, have helped international promotion of a wider range of authors, with more writers in demand at overseas literature festivals. Most recently, festivals in Norway and Canada have approached the Scottish Arts Council for support for Scottish-themed programmes.
During the most recent round of translation awards, grants totalling £32,841 were awarded to the following publishers:
||Towards the cost of translating The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber into Spanish
||Towards the cost of translating Childish Things by Robin Jenkins into Italian
|Drewo A Srd
||Towards the cost of translating Under the Skin by Michel Faber into Slovakian
||Towards the cost of translating The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh into French
|Editions De L’Olivier
||Towards the cost of translating Everything You Need by A L Kennedy into French
||Towards the cost of translating Nero’s Heirs by Alan Massie into German
||Towards the cost of translating The Peacock Manifesto by Stuart David into German
|Grupo Editorial Random House Mondadori
||Towards the cost of translating Everything You Need by A L Kennedy into Spanish
|Gyldendal – Denmark
||Towards the cost of translating The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber into Danish Although a little less than 50% of the total translation fee, this was the most the Sub-Committee felt could be committed in the context of severe pressure on funds, and the pressure caused by the number of applications from around the world to translate this book.
|Kastaniotis Edisions SA
||Towards the cost of translating The Courage Consort – The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps by Michel Faber into Greek
|Le Serpent A Plumes
||Towards the cost of translating Born Free by Laura Hird into French
||Towards the cost of the translation of Negative Space by Zoe Strachan into Swedish
||Towards the cost of translating The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh into Swedish
|O Meu Joelho – Agenciamento E Consultoria, Lda
||Towards the cost of translating Stitching by Anthony Neilson into Portuguese
|Temas E Debates
||Towards the cost of translating Pfitz by Andrew Crumey into Portuguese
Notes to editors
- The Scottish Arts Council champions and sustains the arts for Scotland, investing £56 million from Scottish Executive and National Lottery funding to support and develop artistic excellence and creativity throughout Scotland. Further information is available from our website on www.scottisharts.org.uk
Issued by: Scottish Arts Council