Project to share literary classics across the continent gets EU backing

Twentieth-century literary classics by some of Wales' most renowned authors such as T.H. Parry-Williams and Kate Roberts will be made available to readers across Europe as part of a new project being funded by the European Union.

Wales Literature Exchange is one of seven key European partners involved in Schwob - a project led by The Dutch Foundation for Literature which has recently been granted a €200,000 subsidy as part of the EU’s Culture Programme.

Schwob was launched in the Netherlands in 2011 to facilitate the promotion of literature, not yet translated, from all parts of Europe. It applied for the EU grant to allow it to expand into an international network and become a European portal for the best unknown books of world literature, in partnership with literature foundations in six other countries, including Wales.

Working together, the partners will choose, distribute and promote a selection of 'Schwob titles’, described as “exceptional but hard to find or undiscovered modern classics that whet the appetite” - from each of the participating countries and further afield. The selected titles will be presented to publishers and promoted through Schwob's website, at festivals and through other activities.

Based at Aberystwyth University, Wales Literature Exchange acts as a translation junction connecting writers, translators and publishers in Wales and abroad. The Exchange’s partnership with Schwob signals the introduction of a new arm to its translation network.

Sioned Puw Rowlands, Director of Wales Literature Exchange, said: “The news of support from Europe for the Schwob project is significant for Wales. It’s an opportunity for the Exchange to extend its work promoting the translation of mostly contemporary literature from Wales to Welsh classics. It will also help provide opportunities for readers to discover in Welsh and English, modern classics from other countries”.

Welcoming the news of the EU subsidy, Alexandra Koch, Dutch editor-in-chief of Schwob, said:

“It’s fantastic and important news. It means not just that – in this time of cuts to culture funding – we can continue our efforts to bring ‘art house’ books to the attention of Dutch publishers and readers, but that Schwob can actually be taken to a higher level and become a European movement”.

Notes to Editors

1)      Wales Literature Exchange

Wales Literature Exchange, based at the Mercator Institute, Aberystwyth University, works across the globe to facilitate the translation of Wales' literature. Translation grants are available to foreign publishers for the translation of literary works from Wales. The Exchange also participates in international book fairs, and works with translators, publishers and festivals abroad to promote the literature and writers of Wales internationally. The Exchange initiated a new joint venture – Translators’ House Wales – with Tŷ Newydd, the national writers’ centre for Wales (now part of Literature Wales) in 2009. A sister programme established in 2001, the international platform for literary exchange and translation, Literature Across Frontiers, is also based at the Mercator Institute, Aberystwyth University. The Exchange has been a revenue client of the Arts Council of Wales for over ten years, and is supported since April 2011 by Literature Wales.

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