Works by eight Uruguayan authors will be translated thanks to the IDA 2020 Program

IDA supports publishers and authors in their efforts to internationalize Uruguayan literature.
Publication date: 19/02/2020

With the firm perspective of supporting the internationalization of the Uruguayan publishing industry and within the framework of its continuous work, Uruguay XXI -the agency responsible for the promotion of exports, investments and country image- is carrying out the IDA Program. This action is promoted within its commitment to the cultural industries sector (audiovisual, music, publishing), considered a priority for the country.

The initiative, which is carried out jointly with the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC), launched its second edition in 2020, after a successful pilot in 2019 that exhausted its funds in just three months.

In line with the objectives of the department for the promotion of exports of Uruguay XXI, the IDA Program was created to strengthen the export of Uruguayan literature and trade management, as well as the promotion and dissemination of the Uruguayan publishing sector outside the country's borders.

The program is aimed at foreign publishers who wish to publish Uruguayan works abroad, with acquired copyrights, and who seek financial support for translation into any language, as well as for national publishers and authors who seek to promote their works abroad or produce audiobooks of Uruguayan works.

So far, the 2020 edition has selected works by writers such as Ida Vitale, Fernanda Trías, Carlos Rehermann, Mercedes Rosende and Mario Levrero, which will be translated into other languages by foreign publishers. Fragments of works by children's literature writers Mercedes Calvo and Gabriela Mirza will be translated by national publishers to support them with prospects of reaching international market. In addition, the production of Marcelo Casacuberta and Mercedes Calvo audiobooks will be financed.

On this occasion, the collected poetry of the acclaimed Ida Vitale will be translated into Italian by Bompiani Publishing House and into Portuguese by Roça Nova Editores. The renowned Uruguayan writer and translator, winner of the Cervantes Prize 2018, is doubly honored by this initiative, which not only bears her name, but now counts on her participation as an author.

The writer Fernanda Trías, nominated in 2016 for the "Gabriel García Márquez" Hispanic American Short Story Award for her work No soñarás flores, will have the opportunity to translate her novel La azotea (2001) into English for the first time, by the hand of Charco Press, recognized for translating the most outstanding and original voices of Hispanic American literature.

The novelist and playwright Carlos Rehermann, winner of the Florencio Prize for his work A la guerra en Taxi and author of the acclaimed works Dodecamerón (2008) and 180 (2010) will have the opportunity to translate his latest novel Auto (2015) into French. In this work, the author plays with irony, fantasy and eroticism. The translation will be carried out by the French publisher L'Atinoir.

Mercedes Rosende, a crime novelist, will publish the English version of her book El miserere de los cocodrilos (2016), winner of the German LiBeraturpriessen prize. The complex and suspenseful work will be published by the independent publisher BitterLemonPress.

Mario Levrero's (1904-2004) La ciudad (1970) will be translated into Italian by La NuovaFrontiera. Levrero is one of the most valued voices of Uruguayan literature by international critics. The singularity of his writing positioned him within the category of "rare" writers, named by the Uruguayan critic Angel Rama to refer to those writers who did not fit the literary styles and currents of his time.

As for children's literature, fragments of Pompas by Gabriela Mirza and El viaje by Mercedes Calvo will be translated. The translation of fragments is a vehicle to promote and exhibit the quality of Uruguayan children's literature abroad. In this case, translations will be done by national publishers.

In addition, IDA seeks to promote the production of audio books, as they have become a global trend. For this reason, in its 2020 edition, IDA will finance the production of an audio book on Bitácoras: relatos de fauna del Uruguay, by photojournalist Marcelo Casacuberta, and the children's book El viaje, by Mercedes Calvo.

According to publishing sector specialist Javier Celaya, who visited Uruguay in June 2019 and gave a masterclass on "The publishing industry today: trends, challenges and new business models", the development of both the e-book and the audiobook are key to exporting literature. The specialist observed a growing demand for these formats as a result of the impact of new technologies on the publishing industry.

The IDA pilot developed in 2019 supported the Italian translations of the book Oso de Trapo by Horacio Cavallor, No dejaré memorias. El enigma del Conde de Lautréamont by Ruperto Long, La segunda muerte del negro Varela by Mauricio Rosencof, Los armillones marchitos by Felipe Polleri and Pegame que me gusta by Lalo Barrubia. It also financed the translation of an extract from Boki Ciencias Naturales, written by several authors and published by Edu Editorial, and the production of audiobooks of Pompas, by Gabriela Mirza and El silencio de los pájaros by Horacio Cavallo.

Within next months, these works will be adaptated to different languages and formats, and this is expected to collaborate in the dissemination of Uruguayan literature worldwide. Currently, Uruguay has favorable export conditions for the publishing industry, thanks to the prestige of its authors and its position within the culture at international level. The quality of literature and the low piracy rates reflect the maturity of the sector. Uruguay is the country in the region where most people read and has the highest per capita book production in Latin America.