The Latin American Breakfast


Enjoying a breakfast at the book fair and listening, over some coffee and sandwiches, to what is new in the Latin American literary world, constituted an ideal start into the book fair's second day.

"As probably most of you know, this Latin American style breakfast is not a mere coincidence but has its very good reason - the fact that Latin America is next year's main guest at Book World Prague. We hope to be able to bring the most outstanding of authors, which is why preparations are already under way," Radovan Auer, the Book World Prague director, explained. Then came the turn of Anežka Charvátová, a renowned translator, Hispanist and Romanist, who introduced the audience to a detailed analysis of the situation on Latin American book market. After a brief introduction of the most interesting contemporary authors, she naturally also focused on their Czech translations. 

"I am happy to say that all the great authors from Latin America have already been published in Czech. The sixties, for example, are pretty much complete." With a smile she added that some works have never been translated simply because no Czech translator mustered up the courage to try. "This is the problem for example with the Cuban author José Lezama Lima. No translator is quite ready to commit professional suicide." 

Later Anežka Charvátová described the possibilities of winning support for translations. "There are several programmes, not only in the Czech Republic but also directly in Latin America. The most important programs are in Argentina, Chile and Columbia. We have also established excellent co-operation with Mexico. The most translations we get is from Argentina, not only thanks to their support programme but also because of the vibrant Czech-Argentinian cultural relationship." This address was followed by contributions from representatives of the Chilean and Argentinian embassies, who personally introduced the individual programmes. 

Anežka Charvátová concluded by adding that due to Latin America's guest of honour status at Book World Prague, Czech Republic's ministry of culture has allocated support to translations of Latin American authors. "Next year we hope to introduce not only as many newly translated books as possible but of course also the authors themselves. I hope we will be successful," Anežka Charvátová added. Until next year, then, together with Latin American literature.