By Edward Nawotka
The London Book Fair has announced Turkey will be its “Market Focus” for the 2013 event. Turkey was the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2008. Some of our past coverage of the Turkish publishing scene includes:
More from the official press release below:
LONDON/ANKARA, UK, 19 September, 2011 (6:00PM) —The London Book Fair and Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism have announced Turkey as the Market Focus partner of The London Book Fair 2013 at an official signing event attended by Turkish Ministry Of Culture and Tourism General Director of Libraries and Publications, Onur Bilge Kula, and the Coordinator of the Turkish Organizing Committee for International Book Fairs, Ümit Yasar Gözüm.
As in past years, the Market Focus programme will be supported by an exciting series of public events across the UK featuring visiting Turkish authors curated by the British Council, the UK’s leading cultural relations organisation.
The London Book Fair Market Focus is a key opportunity for UK and international publishers to liaise with their foreign counterparts, and seek out and capitalise on new business partnerships. The Turkey Market Focus and the associated cultural programme in partnership with the British Council will place a spotlight on contemporary Turkish authors and Turkey as an important publishing arena.
Onur Bilge Kula, General Director of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said:
“Turkey created a new concept for Turkey’s participation in the international book fairs in 2005 to meet the needs of Turkish publishing industry. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism coordinates the efforts of Turkish writers, publishers, translators, literary agents and publishers’ associations to promote Turkish literature and its publishing industry all over the world. The Ministry has organised and supported many different projects to solve the legal and financial problems of Turkish publishing sector and to promote all the components of sector in the international arena. Such projects include TEDA, translation subvention project of Turkey; literary translation workshops with different partners in different languages, literary translation award programs to encourage translators and the construction of literary houses and writers’ houses.
“The London Book Fair will be a good stage in which Turkish literature and publishing sector can show their strength, creativity and dynamism to help increase their market share in the English speaking world, and particularly in the United Kingdom. LBF 2013 Market Focus Turkey and its accompanying Cultural Program will strengthen both cultural relations between Turkey and the United Kingdom, as well as business relations between publishers. Furthermore, LBF 2013 Market Focus Turkey will be a good instrument to increase awareness of TEDA Project, Translation Subvention Project of Turkish Literature. TEDA has subsidized almost 1,000 publishers, including some British publishers, around the world. We hope that more British publishers will apply to be part of the TEDA Project in the run-up and during LBF 2013 Market Focus Turkey.”
Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Books & Publishing at Reed Exhibitions and Director of The London Book Fair, said:
“Market Focus is an ever more important part of The London Book Fair and we’re delighted that Turkey has been chosen for 2013. We look forward to working closely with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and our partners in the UK and Turkey to deliver an outstanding programme that will have a long lasting impact for the industry as a whole.
“Having met leading writers, booksellers and publishers in Turkey, I am convinced that Market Focus 2013 will be a fantastic showcase both for the Turkish book market and for publishers outside Turkey. With over 6,000 bookstores and more than 6,400 publishers registered with ISBNs, the thriving Turkish publishing scene is becoming ever more important in the global book trade”.
Coordinator of Turkish Organizing Committee, Ümit Yaşar Gözüm, commented:
“Being The London Book Fair 2013 Market Focus country will be a good chance for more people to get familiar with long-established Turkish literature and to create business relations with Turkish publishers. With the participation of contemporary Turkish writers, the cultural program will give a new impetus to the Turkish contribution to the international publishing industry and be a fresh taste for all book lovers.
“The cultural program will be prepared by Turkish Organizing Committee composing of representatives of all key organizations of Turkish publishing industry, as well as a representative from the Ministry as a coordinator, in partnership with the British Council. The Turkish Organising Committee has conducted Turkey’s participation in international book fairs to offer new possibilities for Turkish writers and publishers since 2008 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Turkey was the Guest Country. Turkey’s successful participation in Frankfurt Book Fair offered a real boost to Turkish publishing and to the Fair itself. I believe that Turkey will create a similar effect during The London Book Fair 2013.”
Susie Nicklin, Director Literature, British Council, commented:
“Contemporary Turkish literature is as varied as it is strong and there are works by numerous excellent writers from Turkey that deserve to be read and enjoyed in English. In return, there is great potential for Turkish readers to explore and delight in more contemporary British writing. The Market Focus on Turkey at The London Book Fair in 2013 comes at an ideal moment. Leading up to the fair we have the perfect opportunity to work with our partners building markets and audiences in both countries. This will help us create a stronger and deeper literary exchange between the UK and Turkey: two countries whose literature is one of their greatest contemporary cultural assets.”
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive, The Publishers Association, said:
“The PA is delighted to support the London Book Fair’s Market Focus Programme and looks forward to welcoming Turkey in 2013. Links between the UK and Turkey’s publishing industries are strengthening year on year. UK book sales to Turkey have grown 31% over the past 5 years, and more British writers are appearing in Turkish than ever before. The Market Focus presents UK publishers with a fantastic opportunity to learn more about mutually beneficial opportunities, to strengthen relationships with the Turkish book trade and to share lessons and experiences, particularly in the digital space.”
Turkey’s international profile in the publishing industry has risen dramatically in the last decade, not least since Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. The growth in publishing is reflected in Turkey’s huge population and economic growth; it now has a population of 73.7 million and has the world’s 15th highest GDP. The country has an 85% literacy rate, and a young population: the median age is 28, with 17 million students.
Its publishing industry is now large and diverse and worth approximately 1.5 billion dollars in 2010. Turkey has over 6,000 bookstores, 150 distribution companies, and over 6,400 publishers registered with ISBN numbers since the system came into place in 2007, who publish over 35,000 titles published each year, 50% of which are translations. The Government also funds free textbooks for students and 183 million school textbooks have been distributed as part of this scheme.
However, despite the growth in the Turkish publishing industry and the strength and depth of contemporary Turkish literature, numerous excellent writers are almost unknown in the English-speaking world. Many of these Turkish authors have been translated and published with success in a dozen other European languages as well as Arabic, Japanese, Korean and some of the languages of India, but are still not available in English.