Die Teilnehmer des Fellowship-Programms. Heute: Andrea Montejo, Indent Literary Agency, New York

Vom 4. bis 19. Oktober 2008 besuchen 16 Fellows auf Einladung der Frankfurter Buchmesse die Verlagsbranche in Frankfurt, München und Berlin – ab heute sind sie auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse unterwegs, wo u.a. das „International Rights Directors Meeting“ stattfindet. buchmarkt.de stellt Ihnen täglich einen der Teilnehmer vor.

Andrea Montejo hat im vergangenen Jahr die Indent Literary Agency in New York gegründet /www.indentagency.com und sich auf lateinamerikanische Literatur spezialisiert. Auch sie hat mit der ablehnenden Haltung des amerikanischen Buchmarkts gegenüber Literatur aus dem Ausland zu kämpfen.

Andrea Montejo

buchmarkt.de: Bitte beschreiben Sie uns die Indent Literary Agency …
The Indent Literary Agency was created in 2007 with the purpose of representing Latin American and Latino authors in the U.S. market and throughout the world. Back in the days when I was an editor, I found that there were very few New York agents who actively sought out and represented authors of Latino or Latin American descent—an astonishing fact, given that there are an estimated 40 million Latinos living in the United States and Spanish has become the country’s unofficial second language.

So I decided to start an agency where Latin American authors looking to enter the U.S. market and U.S. Latino authors looking to be published abroad, could find a home. Today, our list includes approximately 15 fiction and non-fiction authors from countries such as Guatemala, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and the United States, of course, who write in either English or Spanish.

Welche besonderen Herausforderungen stellt der amerikanische Buchmarkt an Ihre Arbeit?
I think that for me, the most significant challenge when it comes to the U.S. market is its aversion to publish (and, more importantly, read) literature in translation. It is estimated that in the United States, only 3 percent of books published are translations, and as someone who has an interest in bringing foreign literature into this country, this number is beyond frightening.

And while I do feel that the insular nature of American culture can be in part to blame, I do not feel it is solely rooted in the fact that American readers have no interest in books in translation. In recent years, the ravaging success of novels such as Roberto Bolaño’s “The Savage Detectives” and Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s “The Shadow of the Wind” have clearly shown that readers aren’t shying away from reading translations just because there is a foreign name (or a “translated by” credit) on the cover.

I feel that the problem runs deeper and that oftentimes it is the editors and publishers themselves who lack the tools to fully evaluate foreign titles. Having to rely heavily on reader’s reports and on the work of a translator—which supposes an additional step in the editorial process—it is not surprising that more often than not, editors will pass on publishing literature from abroad.

That said, I do want to point out that while this is for the most part, the case at large mainstream publishers, there is a growing number of independent presses such as New Directions, Dalkey Archive, Archipelago and the new Open Letter, among several others, who do an excellent job at stocking this underserved category.

Welche Erwartungen haben Sie an das Fellowship-Programm und die Frankfurter Buchmesse 2008?
This will be my first time at the Frankfurt Book Fair and I cannot think of a better way of being introduced to it than the Fellowship Program. I am highly impressed with the list of participants and consider it an honor to be among them.

On a personal level, I see the Fellowship as a unique opportunity to expand my horizons and connect with similar-minded publishing professionals from around the globe thus getting to know more about their respective book markets and interests.

While I am fairly familiar with the Latin American and U.S. book market, I am interested in strengthening my ties with the European industry, and in particular the German one, where there is undoubtedly a great interest for international literature and works in translation.

Das Fellowship Programm wurde anlässlich des 50. Jubiläums der Frankfurter Buchmesse 1998 ins Leben gerufen. In den vergangenen zehn Jahren hat sich ein enges Netz innerhalb der internationalen Verlagsbranche gebildet. Über 165 Teilnehmer aus 45 Ländern konnten bereits von diesem Programm profitieren. In diesem Jahr wird es von Martina Stemann von der Frankfurter Buchmesse organisiert und vom ehemaligen Fellow Laurenz Bolliger vom Berlin Verlag begleitet.

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