Record Number of Translations of Czech Literature

The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic Has Financially Supported a Record Number of Translations

June 28th, 2016

The translation of a total of 135 titles have been funded by the Ministry of Culture this year. Compared to 2014, the volume of funds has increased by 100% and the number of supported titles has increased by more than 120%.

“This is a big success, because each year only about 200 titles of Czech literature are translated worldwide,” said Deputy Minister for the Performing Arts Katerina Kalistova. Literary agent Edgar de Bruin, who represents some of the writers overseas, added: “Regarding support for the translation of national literature, the Czech Republic is currently at the forefront when compared to countries like Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Serbia. Both in the total volume of funding and the number of supported titles.”

The grant program has been in operation under the Ministry of Culture since 1998. It has supported 800 titles since the beginning of the program, mostly of new Czech literature published after 1989. Nevertheless, the works of well-known authors such as Karel Capek, Vladislav Vancura and Ladislav Klima have been translated also. Czech literature deserves its place among foreign literature outside the Czech Republic, but the choice of titles is different among foreign countries. For example, a novel from Milos Urban has been very popular in Spanish-speaking countries, shifting 60,000 copies in Spain alone.

Literature is an integral part of cultural diplomacy that helps people overcome stereotypes. Thanks to literary works we can easily learn about people from different nations and cultures. The works often show commonly known phenomena but in a new light. The Czech Republic possesses some of the densest network of libraries in the world and also has a traditionally lively literary scene. In addition, Prague has been awarded the prestigious UNESCO Creative City of Literature title. Only seven cities have been awarded the title since 2004. With a growing number of people travelling to the Czech Republic, the number of translated Czech books is growing also.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Veronika MecnarowskŠ, CD News