The Jakarta Post
UK publisher representatives join a sharing session at the studio of visual artist Hanafi in Depok, West Java, on May 1 as part of a literature visit program. (British Council/File)
Representatives from United Kingdom-based publishers are taking part in the “Literature Visit” program supported by the British Council held from April 30 to May 6 that aims to expand cooperation and networks in literature and creative thinking.
The program, which includes taking the participants to the Jakarta and Makassar International Writers Festival, which runs on May 2-5 in Makassar, South Sulawesi, is part of the British Council’s support for Indonesia’s participation as the market-focus country at the London Book Fair 2019.
“We are grateful to be able to collaborate with the executive committee of Indonesia Market Focus at London Book Fair 2019 [...]. This program is important to increase UK’s understanding on contemporary writings in Indonesia and build new strong relationship between UK and Indonesia in literature [...],” said British Council Indonesia arts and creative industries director Adam Pushkin in a statement. “This first visit is a brilliant start to provide opportunity to UK prominent publishers to learn about Indonesia’s writing culture and literature, identify publishing opportunity and create new collaborations.”
Among the participants of the Literature Visit are MacLehose Press editor Paul Engles, Portobello Books junior editor Ka Bradley, Tilted Axis Press associate publisher Saba Ahmed, Wrecking Ball Press editor Shane Rhodes, Oneworld Publications publisher and editor Juliet Mabey, Harvill Secker editor Ellie Steel and Cortina Butler and Harriet Williams, both from British Council UK.
Previously on Tuesday, the participants visited the home and studio of visual artist Hanafi in Depok, West Java to meet with young writers, as well as the archive exhibition of Pramoedya Anantar Toer in Dialogue, Kemang, South Jakarta. Meanwhile on Wednesday morning they met Indonesian publishers in a “speed dating” event that featured a sharing session as well as presentations of Indonesian literature works. Among the publishers participating were Yayasan Lontar, Mizan Pustaka, Kelompok Kompas Gramedia, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, Penerbit Baca, Penerbit Noura, Banana Publishing, Penerbit Basabasi, Yayasan Obor Indonesia, Afterhours Books, Grasindo and Buku Antar Bangsa.
The UK group is scheduled to fly to Makassar on Wednesday night to experience the festival’s literature activity there.
During last year’s London Book Fair, Indonesia reportedly sold 14 book titles and secured a potential purchase of 134 book titles and four series to 14 countries. This number was a significant increase from 2017, when two titles were sold during the event, followed by 19 titles after the fair.
At the London Book Fair 2019, Indonesia is set to bring along 30 publishers and copyright agencies to the event, targeting to sell at least 50 translated copyright titles. (kes)