FRENCH PUBLISHERS SEARCHING FOR PEARLS OF LITHUANIAN LITERATURE
On 12-15 September, representatives of French publishing houses Le Bruit du Monde, Aux forges de Vulcain, Editis group, Le Tripode and Editions de la Table ronde and AJA Anna Jarota Agency visited Vilnius.
Until now, translations of literary works by Lithuanian authors into French have been rather few and far between. As part of the Translation Grant Programme, the Lithuanian Culture Institute has funded translation of 11 works into French (compared to 56 in German, 44 in English and 23 in Italian). One of such funded projects was the translation of Ričardas Gavelis’ novel Vilnius Poker (publisher Monsieur Toussaint Louverture) published in France in 2014. In 2020, Valdas Papievis’ To Go (French title Un morceau de ciel sur terre, publisher Le Soupirail) became available to French rewaders, following the publication of the graphic novel Siberian haiku by Jurga Vilė and Lina Itagaki (French title Haïkus de Sibérie, publisher Sarbacane) in 2019. In 2003, Paris Expérimental published Jonas Mekas Letters from Nowhere (French title Letters de Nulle Part). Poetry, humanities and other works by Lithuanian authors have also been published in France. For a complete list, visit https://tinyurl.com/22f9p4jp.
French publishers first gathered at Vilnius University where they met with Lithuanian literary specialists and literary translators into French Caroline Paliulis and Marielle Vitureau, paid visits to Lithuanian publishing houses and met with them at the Lithuanian Writers’ House, visited Vilnius University Library and took part in a literary excursion through Vilnius led by journalist and translator M. Vitureau. At the end of the visit, French and Lithuanian publishers and representatives of the cultural field gathered at the French Institute in Vilnius.
Éditions de la Table ronde is a publishing house founded by Roland Laudenbach in 1944. Since 1996, the publishing house, part of the Gallimard publishing group, publishes French and foreign literature, as well as pocket-size books. It has brought to readers works by such authors as Jean Anouilh, Antoine Blondin, Michel Déon and Roger Nimier. It is currently headed by Alice Déon, who participated in the publishers’ visit.
Aux forges de Vulcain entered the French publishing market in 2010. It publishes novels, essays, subject-specific books, art books and electronic publications. The publishing house, headed by David Meulemans, who travelled to Vilnius, also publishes rare old literature. For example, in 2013, it published the literary works of William Morris, a project for which it received the special prize of the jury of the fiction festival Les Imaginales.
Le Bruit du Monde is a young publishing house founded in Marseille in 2021 by Marie-Pierre Gracedieu, foreign literature editor at Gallimard, one of France’s largest publishers, and her partner and head of sales, Adrien Servières. The publishing house is part of the publishing group Editis. The head of the publishing house Marie-Pierre Gracedieu represented Le Bruit du Monde in business meetings with Lithuanian publishers.
Le Tripode Publishing House was founded in 2012 by Frédéric Martin, who still manages it. The catalogue of this publishing house lists such authors as Edgar Hilsenrath, Goliarda Sapienza, Valérie Manteau, Charlotte Salomon, Jacques Abeille, Andrus Kivirähk and others. Visiting Vilnius was Charlotte Brehat, a representative of this publishing house.
Valentin Bouvet, a representative of the Editis publishing group, also visited Lithuania. Paris-based Editis, operating since 2004, is France’s second-largest publishing group, part of Vivendis, a major French media association. The Editis group owns 34 publishers.
Anna Jarota, the founder and CEO of the Paris-based AJA Anna Jarota Agency, was also the LKI’s guest in Vilnius. This agency liaises between French publishers and foreign publishing houses, helping publishers meet new authors.
Visits of foreign publishing houses to Lithuania are organised by the Lithuanian Culture Institute seeking to promote translation, publishing and dissemination of works by Lithuanian authors abroad. Since 2014, representatives of publishing houses from Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Ukraine visited Lithuania, and this year, Estonian and Latvian publishers got acquainted with Lithuanian literature.
Photos by Mindaugas Mikulėnas from the meetings with publishers at the Lithuanian Writers’ Union and M. Vitureau’s literary tour can be seen in this album.