Making Catalan Literature Travel for International Publishers and Agents is now in its 17th year, having consolidated its position as one of the key events in promoting Llull’s ongoing work to make Catalan literature global.
Over five days, Llull is bringing together 18 publishers and agents from 16 countries (10 specialising in literary fiction and 8 in young adult literature) for a complete immersion in our literature.
The Making Catalan Literature Travel programme features a series of conferences on the Catalan-language publishing sector and an overview of its literary tradition, as well as that of illustration in this region, from the first through the latest works published.
The guests will also have the opportunity to share informal meals with writers, illustrators, institutional representatives and cultural journalists. In the afternoons, they will go on guided tours of bookshops in Barcelona, both general and specialised, to see what’s new and hear what bookshop owners recommend. Participants interested in illustrated books also have a chance to take a peek inside an illustration school and learn about their educational programme.
The more professional side of the event takes places at COAC, right next to Avinguda de la Catedral, where Catalan Book Week will be held from 6 to 15 September. This is where participants will meet with Catalan-literature publishers and agents from 10 to 13 September. Over this period, the 18 participating foreign professionals will hold more than 450 30-minute meetings, as is the industry standard, with roughly fifty Catalan agencies and publishing houses. These meetings will follow the model used at international book fairs, which makes this programme and the Book Week, in practice, a book-rights marketplace with Catalan literature centre stage.
Making this event part of Catalan Book Week gives participants the opportunity to get a first-hand feel of this publishing sector’s vitality, wandering through the stands and readers, flipping through the books they are considering and, in short, meeting with a wide variety of professionals from the sector: publishers, agents, writers, illustrators, translators and cultural journalists.
How are participants chosen?
Each spring, Institut Ramon Llull holds a call for applications open to all international publishers and agents. Those interested must apply online, explaining their professional profile and publishing interests, to participate in the programme. As many applications come in from all over the world, Llull makes its selection based on their knowledge, in line with the preferences of local publishers and agents. So, applicants are chosen with a view to putting together a group that reflects the wide diversity present in the international publishing sector while still targeting the commercial and literary interests of the Catalan publishing sector. This year, over one hundred applications were received and 18 of them were chosen to participate in the 2019 programme.
To choose the local professionals who will take part, through the Association of Catalan-Language Publishers, Llull puts out a call for them to send in their profile, list of priorities for meetings with foreign guests and availability in order to make the most of the time and put together an agenda with as many publishers and agents as possible. So far, everyone interested has been able to participate in these professional meetings. 450 meetings involving the bulk of the Catalan-language publishing sector interested in selling translation rights.
After hosting this programme for 17 years, the past three in collaboration with Catalan Book Week and always in conjunction with the Catalan-language publishing sector, it is fair to say that the number of translations has been rising steadily (with exceptional peaks after special events like Frankfurt 2007 or Bologna 2017). This growth has been spurred on by this yearly exchange between local and foreign professionals, who for five days every year have the chance to get together in the same city, share projects and celebrate Catalan literature.