STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE
ALL ABOUT OUR LITERARY TRANSLATION PROJECT
Our project consists of books that will be translated from five different European languages (French, Irish, Spanish, Albanian, Danish) to Greek and three books translated from the Greek into Spanish. This way, we hope to create bonds between the original and target languages. We will translate books from Danish and Albanian, two lesser used languages, into Greek as well as Greek books (yet another lesser used language) into Spanish. We will introduce the work of Spanish Nobel prize-winner, Vicente Aleixandre to the Greek market for the very first time; also, the not so widely known literary, hybrid texts of famous French composer, Erik Satie. We will promote queer literature both in Greece and in Spain through the translation of the book of Antonis Tsirikoudis into Spanish and Bjorn Rasmussen into Greek. Furthermore, most of our proposed books belong to under-represented genres such as short story collections, a comic album, an interdisciplinary prosetry collection, a poetry collection. Through our proposed books we aim to create a network of cultural and linguistic exchange through quality and under-represented literature that also to develop networks in order to create more space for this literary dialogue to expand in the future.
MORE THAN A PROGRAM
We are the only publisher in Greece that functions as a social cooperative enterprise; hence our priority is the quality of our books. Through our International Writing Competitions, our Summer Festival and Three Rock Writers’ Residency we are continuously developing our skills and understanding of the process of translation and have built a network of authors and readers who are interested in foreign literature in Greece and abroad. Through this project we hope to be able to promote our books more effectively to new and wider audiences in Greece and the rest of Europe.
It will be the first time ever in Greece that the European Union Literature Prize will be extensively promoted, while Greek readers will have the opportunity to read three excellent books by contemporary writers from the aforementioned countries.
Our list of books also includes literary works from countries whose literature is rarely translated into Greek (Albania, Denmark, Ireland), books by celebrated classic authors whose work is strangely overlooked in Greece and Greek books of underrepresented genres that will be translated into Spanish. Through this program, we will have a chance not only to publish a series of interesting books but also to create a widely significant literary event for our country and the countries involved as well as nurture the culture of literary exchange and enhance the bonds between European languages and cultures that are considered remote. Achieving this with the Creative Europe’s support will also hopefully set an example for other small publishing firms in Greece and elsewhere.
Our list of proposed books includes literary works that we believe should have already been translated into Greek but unfortunately, probably due to the financial crisis, no publisher has yet taken the risk to publish them, as they mostly belong to under-represented genres, such as poetry, queer literature, cross-genre or books written in languages that are hard to translate into Greek. One of our main objectives is to introduce the Greek public to high-quality books that belong to underrepresented genres but are also relevant to the interests of different communities in Greece at the moment. Our list of proposed books also includes Greek books to be translated into Spanish in order to increase the circulation of books written in the lesser used Greek language in Spain. All three books belong to underrepresented genres that would appeal to different communities of book-lovers in Spain.
We will launch for the first time ever in Greece three very important contemporary European writers whose work has been extensively celebrated in the last few years. It is also important that the three books originate from countries whose writers the Greek audience very rarely has a chance to read. As mentioned above, we select books from countries whose literature is represented very poorly in the Greek book market. In the past 20 years there have been less than 10 books translated in Greek from all of the three proposed countries, that is, Albania, Denmark and Ireland. Donal Ryan’s ‘Spinning Heart’ for instance is a novel that takes place in a financial crisis-stricken Ireland. We believe this work will offer Greek readers a perspective to the issues of life within the conditions of a financial crisis, through the eyes of a European citizen. Bjorn Rasmussen’s book is a fine example of cutting-edge queer literature, written by a young author (this is his first book) whose work will appeal to the new but constantly growing Greek audience for queer literature, a rather underrepresented yet rapidly upcoming genre in Greece. Rudi Erebara’s novel (Epic of the morning sun) will appeal particularly to the large yet underrepresented community of second generation Albanian Greek-speaking citizens, who have experienced (and still are to some extent) considerable racism towards their cultural heritage especially by the far-right in Greece; therefore, the translation of an Albanian book into Greek will be a statement about the cultural closeness of the two neighbouring countries as well as a rare opportunity for this culturally oppressed community to re-approach their cultural heritage within a new context and for Greek readers to appreciate Albanian culture.
We also think that it will be very interesting for the Greek audience to be introduced to the first two books of the series of Classic Books of the 20th century that are unknown in Greece. Spanish Nobel-prize winning poet, Vicente Alexaindre is a poet whose sublime work has oddly enough never been translated in Greek in spite of its undisputed literary quality. We believe there is a rising interest in poetry – especially amongst younger Greek audiences – and we plan to publish a selection of his works in one single volume. On the other hand, Erik Satie was one of the most internationally renowned musicians of the 20th century and a prominent persona of European Art, whose works of writing are lesser known to the public and have never been translated in Greek (apart from a very small volume including very few of his selected writings, which has been out of print for a while). We believe this work will appeal to readers with a special interest in his celebrated music works, revealing lesser known aspects of his personality for the first time in Greece. There has been a significant drop in translations of French literature in Greece in the past 10 years and we believe this book’s unique combination of lightness and quality will be very well received by lovers of French culture as well. The book includes a mixture of genres, where the literary is always inventively present even in texts which are supposed to be non-fictional (such as music critiques, letters etc), making it a one of a kind, cross-genre book.
Regarding the Greek books we are planning to translate into Spanish, we believe all three of them are of high literary quality. Andriana Minou’s ‘Allouterra’ is a collection of prosetry of an unusually experimental nature. The book’s post-modern, surreal, hybridic, transnational style and content would make an appealing read for lovers of the under-represented genre of experimental yet approachable quality literature. The book also contains sketches by the author herself as well as a playlist of music/soundscapes (also created by the author), which is accessible to the reader through a QR code. Excerpts from the book have already been translated into English and included in several American and Canadian literary journals. The book has also been presented in the form of a video installation/performance as part of the Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival 2019 and has proven to be very popular amongst younger readers as well as those interested in hybrid forms and the interdisciplinary/performative aspects of literature. Antonis Tsirikoudis’ ‘When you least expect it’ is one of the few quality short story collections with queer elements, another under-represented genre in Greece, written by an author with a cosmopolitan perspective. We believe that Spanish (especially queer) readers would easily relate to Tsirikoudis’ writing, not as an ‘exotic’ piece of literature, but as a work that could easily have been written by a European author, regardless of ethnicity. Gregory Papadoyiannis’ comic book, ‘Ephemera’ is a rare blend of humour and existential contemplation; darkly funny and unpretentiously intelligent, with some excerpts already translated and published in an American literary journal, ‘Ephemera’ is a pleasant, yet gripping read that could also be described as a hybrid of a comic album combined with philosophical observations and has the potential to become very popular, especially to younger readers.
All translations will commence in January 2020 and will be finished by June 2021 that is, within 18 months after the approval of our project. We are planning to complete this publishing project by July 2021. We have already made the necessary contact and agreements with the translators and proprietors of the books rights in order to be ready to commence our project in January of 2020. Our first three books (European Prize Winner Writers series) will be printed in June 2020 as well as the first book of our Classic European –the second will be printed in September 2020.
This plan will enable us to release our first three books (Rudi Erebara’s book is double the size than the rest, we have therefore allocated additional time for its translation) in June 2020. This is an ideal season for publishing books –in the beginning of the summer- as well as the period before Christmas (at least in Greece) so we are planning to present and advertise our series in May and continue promoting in all our autumn presentations/book events. In December 2020 we are planning to launch the two books of Classic writers and promote the whole project in the Greek book market. So, excluding the months of July and August of 2020, which tend to be an unpopular season for book-releases in Greece, we will continue presenting and promoting our new books from June till December 2020, especially in June, October and December, as these tend to be the most popular months for book sales and launches in Greece.
Our publishing schedule for the three books that will be translated from Greek to Spanish will start on May 2020 and finish in May 2021. We will start promoting the project from the beginning of 2021 an after the completion of all translations in June 2021 we are planning to focus on the promotion of the project as a whole, through book presentations, participation in book fairs, author/translator presentations, which will be prepared during the summer of 2021 and will run throughout the autumn of 2021 where we are planning to participate at Barcelona’s Liber International Book Fair.
Kostis Malousaris has been the President of SDB Social Cooperative Enterprise since it’s foundation in 2013. He has studied Typography Techniques and has been involved with the publication, distribution and promotion of ‘’Walk in the Park’’ fanzine in Athens. Between 1990-1992. He has also worked extensively as a Publishing Consultant in Greek publishing houses and literary journals. As the President of SDB he is responsible for all aspects of the activities of the organisation, from the stage of submissions to the stage of distribution, liaising and promotion. All decisions require approval by the board of directors as well as the annual members meeting.
Gregory Papadoyiannis is the vice-president and official representative (LEAR) of SDB. He is also responsible for the choice of works to be translated by SDB. He is a writer and has worked as a translator end editor since 1990 in several publishing houses, translating both classic and contemporary literature. He is also involved with the distribution and promotion of the books as well as the editing of most of them.
Yannis Petrakis is the Art Director of SDB. He is a painter with a special interest in digital art. He is specialized in desktop publishing and typesetting and has been working with SDB since its foundation. He is responsible for all artistic and aesthetic aspects of our books, promotion material (such as posters, leaflets, catalogues, logos e.t.c.)
Antonis Tsirikoudis (member of Strange Days Books from 2017) is a secondary school teacher and his book of short stories ‘’When you least expect it’’ was published by SDB in 2016. He is also a member of Strange Days Book cooperative from 2017 , he is responsible for our promotion plan in Spain as he speaks the language and has also translated short stories and poems from Spanish to Greek. He is coordinator of Sand Festival
Andriana Minou (Sand Fetival curator) is our external collaborator, a musician and writer whose short story collection “Underage Noirs” was the first book to get a second edition by SDB , while her second book, an experimental (“fragmental” and “performative” as she calls it) novel was published by SDB and Verbivoracious Press (UK). She has been living and working in London since 2004 and her writing has been published in several journals and anthologies in the UK, US, Canada, Greece and Germany. Her latest book was published by Kernpunkt Press, New York in March, 2020. Andriana is our promotion consultant, social media administrator and representative in the UK. She has participated in many literary festivals including several queer projects, organized by the Athens Museum of Queer Art, Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival, Athens Festival of Queer Performance and more.
BOOK 1/ DONAL RYAN / SPINNING HEART/ H ΚΑΡΔΙΑ ΠΟΥ ΓΥΡΝΑΕΙ