Aberystwyth University to lead major new international literary initiative

08 October 2015

Literature Across Frontiers (LAF), an initiative based at Aberystwyth University, has been selected for funding under the new Platforms strand of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union as one of three successful applicants from among forty-seven.

The grant of 455,425 Euro will support the first year of the project Literary Europe Live launched by LAF as leader of the sixteen-member platform.

The funding was announced at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on  Wednesday 7 October, prior to the staging of “Words, Words, Words”, a multilingual poetry event organized by the North Wales International Poetry Festival and featuring poets from Wales, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia and Spain.

The project is co-funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme and by Aberystwyth University, the Arts Council of Wales and the 16 members of the Literature Across Frontiers Platform. The total value of the project is €570,000.

Through the Literary Europe Live project the Literature Across Frontiers Platform will: 

-        create a forum for debate of shared European topics;

-        foster the development and recognition of emerging literary creators by providing them with international opportunities and highlighting the most outstanding talent in all genres;

-        develop a quality label to recognize Europe-wide programming and innovative dissemination of European literary works;

-        cooperate with a range of partners including the organisers of book fairs, literary festivals, national bodies promoting literature and supporting translation, and the organisers of the European Union Prize for Literature, to present European writing in all its diversity to audiences across Europe and beyond, and to give professionals working in the field of literature opportunities to share ideas, experiences and information. 

The first year of the project will see over thirty events organised in the members’ countries featuring more than three hundred literary creators and professionals. There will be also events presenting European literature in China and India, and an international audience development forum which will bring together professionals working in the field of international literature across Europe.

Alexandra Büchler, Director of Literature Across Frontiers, said: “We are delighted to be supported by Creative Europe in our work as a European Platform. The Literary Europe Live project will allow us to focus on developing audiences for European writing in all genres and particularly to support emerging writers, something we have been successfully doing with earlier projects, in cooperation with Wales Literature Exchange, another initiative based at Aberystwyth University. The members of our Platform -- from prominent large festivals to smaller grassroots ones -- will share their expertise in organising literary events and learn from each other about the ingredients of successful pan-European programming. Digital dissemination of literature is another topic we will be focusing on in order to reach young readers in particular. European writing is booming and we are here to help make it travel.”

In congratulating Aberystwyth University on this award, Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture Sport and Tourism said: “I am pleased that this grant will be awarded to the ‘Literary Europe Live’ project led by Literature Across Frontiers at Aberystwyth University. To lead a platform of 16 literature agencies across EU countries is testament to tireless commitment to the field and to the work that has been achieved over the past 15 years.”

Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University with responsibility for Welsh Language and Culture and External Engagement, said: “We’re extremely proud that Aberystwyth University is leading the first major project awarded to a Welsh organization in the EU’s Creative Europe Programme 2014-2020.  We have a longstanding record of excellence in the field of cultural translation and exchange, sustainable partnerships and innovation.  This project builds on a fantastic track record at Aberystwyth University and maintains Wales’s high profile internationally in cultural translation and exchange.”

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones said: “This award will allow us to play a significant role on the development of international creative exchange and to assess the impact of European policy in this field. This is one of the main aims of our research strategy through the newly established Research Centre for Cultural Translation, at the Institute of Literature Languages and Creative Arts. It brings important opportunities to the creative sector here in Wales and across Europe, at a time when international dialogue and cultural exchange must be facilitated.”

Literature Across Frontiers
Literature Across Frontiers - European Platform for Literary Exchange, Translation and Policy Debate was established in 2001 within the Mercator Institute for Media, Languages and Culture (directed by Professor E H G Jones) at Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK, and was supported with subsequent grants from the Culture Programme of the European Union.

The project Literary Europe Live was selected as one of three proposals from among forty-seven under the new Platforms strand of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The key objectives of the Platforms sub-programme are to foster the mobility and visibility of European creators and particularly emerging ones or those lacking international exposure, stimulating a genuine pan-European programming, and providing visibility for Europe’s values and cultures. The grant awarded for the first year of the project is 455,425.56 Euros.

The Platform members participating in the project are:
Aberystwyth University – Literature Across Frontiers – Platform Leader
Anadolu Kültür – Diyarbakir Art Centre, Turkey
Bangor University – North Wales International Poetry Festival
Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture, Catalonia, Spain
Biuro Literackie – Literary Bureau, Poland
Booktailors - Bookoffice, Portugal
Croatian Writers’ Society and Festival of the European Short Story, Croatia
Hay Festival of Literature & Arts
Inizjamed and Mediterranean Literature Festival, Malta
Kulturtreger - Booksa, Croatia
Latvijas Literaturas centrs (Latvian Literature Centre), Latvia
Literaturwerkstatt – Berlin Poetry Festival, Germany
Oslo International Poetry Festival, Norway
Passaporta House of Literature and Passaporta Festival, Belgium
Petöfi Literary Museum, Hungary
Scottish Poetry Library
Slovenian Writers’ Association and Vilenica International Festival, Slovenia