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19 November 2018

Grant to scout for foreign-language books

Arts Council England have awarded a one-off grant for a new project to take a group of UK editors to the 2019 Bologna Children's Book Fair to scout for foreign-language books.

The project follows two successful years of BookTrust's "In Other Words" scheme, among other initiatives that seek to encourage the availability of more translated children's books in the historically under-served UK market.

Eight editors - chosen by an open process of expressions of interest - will travel to Bologna on April 1st 2019; the cost of flights, accommodation and admission to the Fair will be covered by this scheme, and there will be a subsistence per diem. In addition, a small fund will be available upon the editors' return to commission sample translations of work that might have been of interest.

Translator Daniel Hahn, who is running the project, says: "Over the last few years, many great UK children's publishers have expressed an eagerness to acquire more work in translation for our market. Following a number of successful introductory schemes - in particular BookTrust's 'In Other Words' programme - we're keen to move on to the next step in helping publishers find their way into this exciting new field. So we'd welcome expressions of interest from any editors, whether very junior or very senior, working in any area of children's/YA trade publishing, who wouldn't otherwise be going to Bologna 2019 but for whom this first exploratory trip might be a valuable opportunity. The only stipulation is that they don't already have extensive experience publishing work in translation but have an interest in doing so."

Editors are invited to submit an expression of interest outlining very briefly (no more than 400 words) why they would like to be a part of the scheme, how they might benefit from it and what sort of work they might be looking for at the Fair.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday 19 November 2018.

For more information, contact Daniel Hahn at


This new initiative is being supported by BookTrust, The British Council, Words Without Borders and the Bologna Children's Book Fair, among other partners.

The British Council will be running an open publishers' event in London on the morning of November 14th, looking at how to make foreign-language acquisitions easy and successful. The programme for this event will be announced in the coming weeks. Cortina Butler, Director Literature, British Council says: "Creating opportunities for more children in the UK and around the world to learn about other countries and cultures through reading is a vital part of cultural relations. We are delighted to support this initiative to take UK editors to Bologna and broaden their network of international contacts in children's publishing. Attendees at the event on November 14th will also be able to see our new exhibition Drawing Words, showcasing the work of UK children's illustrators, which will be touring the world over the next 18 months."

BookTrust will produce a set of resources to help non-English publishers pitch to UK editors, as well as a guide to help UK editors spot international excellence. The resources will be launched at an international networking event for publishers. Jill Coleman, Director of Children's Books, BookTrust, says "The lessons learned from 'In Other Words' have been distilled in this highly practical guide, which will support the connections made between publishers at the Bologna Book Fair and beyond."

Following the trip, Words Without Borders will publish a children's literature special issue.