The International Publishing Fellowship 2022 was a unique opportunity for publishers from the UK and India to come together, learn from each other and build lasting connections. The British Council initiated the project in 2021 by commissioning the Art X Company to conduct a research study on the opportunities and challenges of India’s publishing and literature sectors, specifically in regards to internationalisation and collaboration with the UK.
The study, named “India Publishing and Literature Sector Study”, served as the foundation for the International Publishing Fellowship 2022. It was completed by the Art X Company in Dec 2021 and released at the Kalinga Literature Festival (KLF). The release was followed by panel discussions on the study’s findings at both the Kolkata Literary Meet (KLM) and Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in Jan and March 2022, respectively. As a result of the interaction with publishers and translators during these events, the needs of the sector’s professionals were determined.
The Fellowship, a year-long programme that paired UK and Indian publishers at similar career stages and with similar publishing interests, is part of the British Council’s India/UK Together Season of Culture, which marks the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. This project falls under one of the Season’s themes, “India’s Multilingual Literature -The Global Opportunity”, which aims to showcase India and the UK’s diversity, create international opportunities for emerging writers and build international networks.
The fellowship programme included reciprocal study trips, masterclasses, networking opportunities and professional development through workshops and discussions. As a step forward in their pursuit to upskill and network, in Nov 2022, the Fellows went on a study trip to the UK, across Edinburgh, Newcastle and London. The eight-day itinerary was packed with valuable engagements with the likes of agents, independent publishers, booksellers, award-winning organisations and a networking reception at the Nehru Centre in London hosted by Amish Tripathi, the Director.
From 18 to 25 Jan 2023, the Indian Fellows hosted the UK Fellows for a trip to three literary hubs in India: Bengaluru, Jaipur and Delhi. The itinerary included roundtable discussions with independent as well as established publishers of six focus languages, key government organisations such as the Sahitya Akademi and the National Book Trust (NBT), discussions with prominent authors and translators in collaboration with the Ashoka Centre for Translation and a panel discussion that thoroughly examined the trials and tribulations of publishing in South India. At the Jaipur BookMark, the Fellows deliberated on an issue at the core of this Fellowship; developing a market for translations.
One of the key focuses of the Fellowship was the digital programme, which addressed some of the most pressing issues in the industry today. Through the digital programme, the Fellowship has championed some of the most relevant conversations on mother tongue languages, pitching translations to OTT (over-the-top) platforms, and responding to the challenges emerging from the knowledge gap in rights acquisitions of titles between India and the UK.
A masterclass on crafting award-winning applications took place as part of the digital programme. On Feb 24, participants will have the opportunity to hear from representatives of India and the UK’s leading book awards, who provided valuable guidance on the elements of a successful application, specifically for translated works.
In addition to the study trips and digital programme, the Fellowship also included substantial financial assistance to the Fellows in order to support their professional development and build on the knowledge and experiences gained through the Fellowship.
ABOUT THE FELLOWS
The Fellows, selected via open-call application, all demonstrate a commitment to innovation and internationalism in publishing. They work across various genres, including education for sustainable development, climate change, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and essays, in roles including editorial, translations, design and production for large conglomerate publishers and boutique independent presses and bookstores.
The 2022 Fellows are:
● Alice Mullen – Poetry Book Society, UK
● Bijal Vachharajani – Pratham Books, India
● Helene Butler – Johnson & Alcock, UK
● Leonie Lock – Firefly Press, UK
● Molly Slight – Scribe Publications, UK
● Rahul Soni – HarperCollins, India
● Raman Shresta – Rachna Books, India
● Riddhi Maitra – BEE Books, India
● Sarabjeet Garcha – Copper Coin Publishing, India
● Sarah Braybrooke – Bonnier Books, UK
● Tamara Sampey-Jawad – Fitzcarraldo Editions, UK
● Yogesh Maitreya – Panther’s Paw, India
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