British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, hosted a session on Developing a Market for Translations at the Jaipur BookMark, the B2B section of the Jaipur Literature Festival ’23.
The session was attended by Alice Mullen of Poetry Book Society, UK; Bijal Vachharajani of Pratham Books India; Hélène Butler of Johnson & Alcock, UK; Leonie Lock, Firefly Press, UK; Molly Slight, Scribe UK; Rahul Soni of HarperCollins India; Raman Shrestha of Rachna Books India; Riddhi Maitra of BEE Books India; Sarabjeet Garcha of Copper Coin Publishing India; Sarah Braybrooke, Bonnier UK; Tamara Sampey-Jawad of Fitzcarraldo Editions’ and Yogesh Maitreya of Panther’s Paw Publications. The session was moderated by Neeta Gupta.
Jonathan Kennedy, director Arts India, British Council, said in his welcoming note that publishing and translation play an important role in cultural exchange by making literature, ideas, and information from one culture available to people from other cultures. “The 2022 International Publishing Fellowship, which is part of India/UK Together, a Season of Culture, is a peer-to-peer mentoring and professional development program in which publishers from the UK are matched with publishers from India who are at a similar career stage and have similar publishing interests. Our ambition for the 12 publishing fellows from India and the UK is to develop their skills, an international network to help publishers expand trade, and a global audience and appreciation for works in translation”
In advance of the India/UK Together Season of Culture, the British Council commissioned a new piece of research mapping the Indian literature and publishing sector, with a particular focus on Indian language publishing. The study sought to identify the difficulties encountered by Indian publishers, agents, authors, translators, and industry organizations in making literature written in Indian languages more widely available to an international English-speaking audience.
The report looked at ways to work and collaborate more globally, specifically with the United Kingdom, to promote Indian literature in translation. With a wealth of 19,569 languages or dialects spoken as mother tongues in India, translation into and from Indian languages, has existed long before the invention of the printing press. While translation between Indian languages is common, there is little Indian literature that has been translated into English.
India/UK Together, Season of Culture is a program of arts, English, and education that celebrates India’s 75th anniversary and builds on the British Council’s commitment to creating opportunities between the two countries. One of the season’s themes is ‘India’s Multilingual Literature – The Global Opportunity,’ which aims to showcase India and the UK’s diversity, create international opportunities for emerging writers, and build international networks. Each of the four literature projects focuses on a different aspect of the industry: editors, translators, prose and poetry writers.
The first project is the British Council’s International Publishing Fellowship (IPF), designed and delivered in collaboration with the Art X Company in India. The publishing fellowship is a peer-to-peer mentoring and professional development program that brings together publishers from India and the United Kingdom to share knowledge and expand their networks. The fellows will soon visit Edinburgh, Newcastle, and London to meet with the UK sector, followed by trips to Bengaluru, Jaipur, and Delhi in the coming year. The IPF is in its second edition, following its debut in 2019 with publishers from Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
With the world’s attention focused on it, the Indian publishing industry has grown rapidly with the goal of creating a meaningful B2B platform for publishers. As part of the International Publishing Fellowship, the Roundtable at Jaipur BookMark provided the opportunity to interact with the rest of the publishing industry.