General Assembly 2015
Visby, March 27–28
1) The Chairperson of the Council Janina Orlov opened the meeting at 13:05 on Friday March 27th. The participants presented themselves.
2) Following some changes in the order of items the Agenda was approved by the Assembly.
3) Ms. Orlov was elected chairperson of the assembly and Ms. Nikula was elected secretary.
4) The Chairperson presented her Activity report:
“Since our 5th Baltic Meeting scheduled for 2013 was transferred to the end of March 2014, the year began in a hectic mood. Economical facts led to the decision of having the event in Visby, at the Almedalen library which provided us with facilities without cost. Applications for funding were sent to the Swedish Arts’ Council, Nordic Culture Point and the Swedish Writers’ Union. The Finnish Writers’ Union provided us with 1000 euros, The Finnish Swedish Writers’ Association promised us the same amount. The Swedish union gave us 20000. Finally, the board of BWC decided to add 1500 euros from the organization’s own budget. Hence we had a small but solid cashbox. In fact the whole event costed us ”only” 28.000 Swedish Crowns.
The Double Core of Europe, as the event was called, focused on double identity; linguistic, cultural, and geographical, as well as the relationship between censorship versus freedom of expression, minority-majority and centre- periphery. As keynote speakers we had invited Sofi Oksanen (”Swinging on the iron curtain” and Dmitri Plax ”Triple espresso”). The whole programme is available on our homepage hence I will not go into any further details. But I would once more like to thank all participants who made the meeting one of the best in the history of BWC and also proved a good fingerpost for the future.
Through its chair person BWC was represented at the international book fairs in Gothenburg, Turku, Frankfurt, Helsinki, and Sofia. Throughout the year informal discussions about different forms of activity took place, the regular issues were the homepage, not paying members and the council’s posts on Facebook. The importance of intensified collaboration with the centre was stressed upon. At the end of he year the financial of the council situation was even better than expected.”
5) Ukraine’s possible membership was discussed. It was decided that the new board will try to contact Ukraine e.g. through PEN.
6) To get more visibility to the translators the name Baltic Writers’ Council was changed into Baltic Writers’ and Translators’ Council, abbreviation BWTC.
7) BCWT was presented by Lena Pasternak, the Director of BCWT. 13-24 March the magazine Caravan arranged a creative writing workshop at the Centre. The participants came from Uganda, Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Niger, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia, and among them were writers with a few titles already published and those on the way to debute publishing. The participants had experience within writing for film, theatre and/or teaching. Few of them worked with the human rights issues, and specifically with rights of women and children as well as gender questions. The workshop was organized in cooperation with FEMRITE, the Uganda Women Writers’ Association, whose mission is training, promoting and consolidating women writers. More events of BCWT www.bcwt.org
Wednesday 18 March at 19.30. Reading and talk by the workshop participants at Almedal Library in Visby
8) Membership fee was discussed since Georgia has never paid and Kaliningrad has not paid after 2009. Mr. Degesys volunteered to contact Mr. Bartfeldt, the Chair of Kaliningrad writers. When it comes to Georgia it was decided that they’ve never been a member in the first place due to lacking payment. They’re welcomed to apply for a membership though. Counting from 2015 a member-organization which hasn’t paid the fee for two years in a row is considered to be a non-member.
9) Candidates to the new board presented themselves. Ms. Orlov and Ms. Nikula had informed earlier that they will not continue. Mr. Sinijärv was also unwilling to continue (he was reached by the phone and sent best wishes to everyone). Mr. Degesys wasn’t willing to continue either. From the present board only Ms. Treimane would continue. The other candidates to the new board were: Yulya Tsimafeyeva, Heidi von Wright, Stefan Ingvarsson and Kazimiera Astratoviene as the new Chairperson.
Candidates to the Centre’s board were: Liutauras Degesys, Yulya Tsimafeyeva, Heidi von Wright and Hannu Niklander and Piret Viires as deputies.
The session was ended at 15:40.
10) The session was resumed on Saturday March 28th at 10:05. The Treasurer Ms. Treimane presented the budget. She found the economics quite good. Ms. Pasternak pointed out that in the budget there should be money for networking as well.
11) The Auditors Lars Magnus Lahne and Suvi Oinonen gave their report. They found the books in excellent order and the board was granted freedom of responsibility.
12) Mr. Ingvarsson was not present on Saturday but he had sent a message to the GA in which he proposed a change of intervals.
“Let’s consider the benefits of a GA every other year instead of once a year. It would increase the importance of the meeting and we could stress the importance of a representative of every member organization. The GA should also be linked to an activity such as a workshop or lecture with a broad regional appeal. A larger GA would close the subject of what to make of the Baltic Meetings. A larger GA would be a meeting resembling the last one we had.
This would mean that the next GA would be in 2017 and that Modite should also be elected for two years, as well as the other members of the board. In the year in between the board would meet once to plan and prepare the GA.
The BWC has been felt to be lacking a clear purpose and a definition and I would like to stress that it is of great importance to the centre. The staff of the centre, as well as it’s board, needs the close link to BWTC’s member organizations. The other purpose of our meetings is the contact and exchange between member organizations through interaction and dialogue. I suggest that the dual purpose of the biannual GA should be strengthening the centre and it’s regional network as well as meeting over a common issue during a workshop or similar form.“ He also pointed out the importance of having Russia with the Council: “Because of the increased political tensions in our region it is vital to have Russian participants in our meetings. If it isn’t possible to co-operate with the regional writer’s organisations, perhaps we should look at inviting individual Russian writers or translators as lecturers and panelists during our discussions. As writers and translators we should be at the forefront of exchange of ideas and experiences and co-operation with our Russian colleagues.”
A lively discussion followed. Mr.Vainonen found the idea “basically good” but Ms. Viires was sceptical since the budget must be approved every year and she felt Mr. Ingvarsson’s proposal would only complicate things even more and would call for changes in the statutes. Ms. Treimane found the proposal confusing. Mr. Degesys thought a great assembly every other year would be a good idea, it would be a sort of Baltic Meeting. Ms. Astratoviene also liked the idea but was doubtful about the funding. Ms. Orlov reminded that funding means a lot of work to the board, it takes a lot of time and energy. The possibilities of opening up to the Visby community was discussed. Visby book fair would be a good venue to meet the locals, also co-operation with the university and local schools should be examined. The session was ended at 12:55.
13) The session was resumed after lunch break at 14:10. Reports from member-organizations followed. (See Appendix ).
14) The membership fee will be 150 Euros.
15) Kazimiera Astratoviene was elected new Chairperson of the Council. The new board-members are: Mudite Treimane, Stefan Ingvarsson, Yulya Tsimafeyeva and Heidi von Wright. No voting was needed. Whereas the election of two representatives to the Centre’s board was voted upon. A ballot was held. On the first voting round Ms. Tsimafeyeva received 10 votes and both Mr. Degesys and Ms. von Wright 6. On the second round the numbers were the same 6–6. On the third round Ms.Pasternak picked a name from a hat and the two representatives are Yulya Tsimafeyeva and Heidi von Wright. Deputies are Liutauras Degesys and Hannu Niklander. Ms. Viires withdrew.
16) Merete Jensen and Lars Magnus Lahne were elected Auditors. Deputies are Suvi Oinonen and Lena Pasternak.
17) The date of the next GA was settled on April 22–23 2016.
18) Instead of gifts to the resigning board members the GA decided to donate 150 Euros to PEN International.
19) Ms. Astratoviene was wondering about the funding of BM and whether it should be arranged in participation with another event.
20) The session and GA was ended at 16:40.
Janina Orlov Jaana Nikula
The reports from The Finnish Association of Non-Fiction Writers, The Union of Finnish Writers, The Union of Belarusian Writers, Swedish Writers’ Union, Estonian Writers’ Union and Latvian Writers’ Union.
BWC report 2015 March 2015
The Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers
Last year, 2014, was the most successful one in the history of the Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers; this applies to both finances and activities. More events than ever before were held all round Finland and the number of Association members grew to over 3,100.
The Association awarded a record total of over EUR 2.1 million in grants. These grants are financed out of copying fees collected by the Kopiosto Copyright Society.
A course for writers of non-fiction was held for the second time. The topics of the six-day training were non-fiction culture in general, non-fiction writing skills, copyrights and publishing agreements, being a non-fiction writer, publishing skills, and digital publication. Training in other subjects was also arranged.
The Association published an article collection entitled “The book in the changing information environment”. Another collection, “QUALITY! Teaching materials in the changing information environment” was also published at the EDUCA National Training Event for Educators in Helsinki at the end of January 2015.
Parliamentary elections are to be held in Finland on April 19, 2015. One of the primary topics of the Association’s lobbying has been the importance of quality teaching materials in an increasingly digital format. Though natural, this trend is not without its downsides.
The general belief is that digital materials mean lower costs. This is not true. While eliminating the costs of printing and logistics, the digital platform requires competences of a different kind in, for example, handling moving images.
The Association commissioned an investigation into Finnish non-fiction exports and the German book markets. Finland was the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in autumn 2014. The Association also commissioned a survey of textbook research in Finland.
Some major decisions were made in 2014 the credit for which goes to our politicians, civil servants and university officials. Parliament rejected a citizens’ initiative demanding reform of the copyright law by 147 votes to 27. Had this initiative been passed, it would have endangered the future of royalties and copyright remuneration from teaching and research.
Parliament doubled the sum set aside for fees payable on loans from libraries, to become effective in 2015. It now stands at over EUR 8 million. Promises have been made that it will be raised to the level of the other Nordic countries in the next few years; this would require an increase of at least EUR 6 million. Remuneration is at present paid only on loans from public libraries. It is our hope that the scheme will in future be expanded to include loans from teaching and research libraries, too.
For the first time ever, the Ministry of Education and Culture purchased photo- and digital copying rights for Finland’s comprehensive and senior high-schools. UNIFI and Arene, representing the Universities and the Universities of Applied Sciences, respectively, purchased the rights for the Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. These are fine examples of Finnish agreement culture. Our copyright law does not need separate exceptions on teaching and research because the copyright societies and users can agree among themselves. A good example of this is the Kopiosto Copyright Society’s extension of digital user rights. When it was discovered that researchers needed broader licence to use, the conditions were relaxed.
The pirates never seem to be satisfied, even if the holders of rights surrender. People expect free access to almost all copyright material. Writers earn little. Book sales are falling. Royalties are small. Hence the need for library lending fees, copying fees and grants. Luckily quite a few non-fiction writers have a second occupation, as teachers, university lecturers, researchers, journalists, coaches and consultants. The number of freelancers, i.e. self-employed persons, has risen rapidly due to, among other things, the sweeping changes taking place in the media.
Despite the difficulties, non-fiction writing is experiencing a golden era. Some 6,700 non-fiction titles were published in Finland in 2014. Digitalisation has lowered the printing costs. Thanks to online sales and social media, even writers who are not best-sellers can achieve visibility in their own their potential reader circles. Numerous new publishers providing viable options for non-fiction writers have also emerged in Finland. More and more writers are publishing at their own expense, and the quality of author’s editions is improving.
The project demanding the biggest effort in 2015 is the two-day non-fiction event (TIETOKIRJA.FI) scheduled for August and now to be held for the fifth time. The speakers will again be over a hundred writers and lovers of non-fiction.
Baltic Writers’ Council in Visby 03/2015
Proceedings in Finland in 2014
“Usually we have 30 to 40 translations from Finnish or Finland-Swedish to German per year. 130 new publications from Finland in German exceeds all our expectations, and we have hereby taken a further step to achieve our principle aim of making Finnish literature more well-known in the world book markets“, stated Iris Schwanck, Director of FILI and the Guest of Honour’s project Finnland. Cool.
- 34 new publications for the Anglo-American market
- In the pavilion approximately 60 Finnish authors on stage
- Satellite programme Cool2014 extends to over 200 events in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in more than 30 towns.
- First evaluation report at May /June, made by Foundation for Cultural Policy Research Cupore
Public Lending Right Compensation
The PLR compensations for authors are handled and dealt in Finland by copyright society Sanasto. In 2012, Sanasto carried out an extensive and highly successive campaign in order to get the total sum of the compensation raised. The figures are as follows:
2012 3,6 million €
2013 3,8 million €
2014 4,1 million €
2015 8,2 million €
All Finnish political parties have now committed themselves to raising the compensation and their aim is € 14,2 million in 2018.
Book’s Year 2015
In Finland we celebrate year 2015 as a special Book’s Year. Hopefully it will bring much welcomed focus on the book branch. The idea of a special year for the book has two goals: First, to inspire new parties (for example music festivals) to pay attention also to book as a part of their activities, and secondly, to bring the whole line of book business together and produce general information on what happens in our branch in Finland. For the purpose, a website with a thorough event guide for 2015 was established: www.kirjanvuosi.fi.
2014 Annual Report of the Union of Finnish Writers
The Union of Finnish Writers, founded in 1897, is an organization for Finnish-language fiction writers. At the end of 2014 the Union had 699 members.
The Board of the Union consists of a President, currently Jyrki Vainonen (Tuula-Liina Varis in 2014), and of eight members and four deputy members. The executive director is Suvi Oinonen, and the office staff consists of a lawyer, a secretary and a communications officer.
Highlights in 2014
Together with some other writer organizations the Union campaigns for such changes to the copyright legislation that will ensure fair compensation for the writers and also fair terms for the transfer of copyrights. Writers are in a disadvantaged position in negotiations with their contract partners, mainly publishers. This sorry situation leads into unfair contract terms. The copyright law should ensure a fair position and a fair compensation for the disadvantaged contract partner, in this case the writer. We succeeded in achieving a few minor changes. However, the lobbying work must be carried out also in the future.
The Union also gave four official statements to Ministry of Culture on copyright law.
Information services for writers
The Union has a lawyer, whose main task is to help members to solve their various professional problems with contracts, social security issues, or taxes.
In 2014, six events were arranged and conducted by the Union for the members on various themes and issues.
Social and political objectives for the next parliamentary season 2015-2019
The Union of Finnish Writers defined its social and political objectives for the next four-year period. They included, for instance, promotion of better economical working conditions for writers, raising both the amount and the number of state grants for writers, clarifying artists’ social security issues, steering of copyright policy into fairer direction, promotion of reading (libraries) and the operating conditions of book industry in general by reducing the value-added tax (VAT).
- Hey writer, we have a job offer for you! Oo, How much do I get….
- We offer you reputation (publicity) and honor!
- It was really worth it, yam yam (honour and reputation on the plate.)
The Union launched a campaign against work without payment. A brochure and a bookmark were made and handed out on a book fair in Turku. More than 80 different target audiences (libraries, publishing houses, organizers of literature festivals and events etc.) were reached by post and by e-mail, and the adjacent social media campaign reached nearly 6 000 people. This work the Union will continue in 2015.
The Union planned and organized a several-day literary programme for both of the two major Finnish book fairs, in Turku and in Helsinki, in October. More than 100 writers, most of them members of the Union, participated as lecturers or readers, interviewees etc.
The Activity Report of the Union of Belarusian Writers
Perhaps I will start with good news. Last year in June 2014 the political prisoner and the member of our Union Alies Bialiatski was amnestied and released from prison. Alies Bialiatski is an essayist and critic, the head of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, vice-president of FIDH, and an official nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. The presidential elections are coming and we have one ex-candidate from the previous elections Mikalai Statkevich still in prison. In all now we have 6 political prisoner in Belarus but none of them is a writer or our Union member.
During this year two prominent Belarusian poets Ryhor Baradulin and Henadz Buraukin died. Ryhor Baradulin was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature.
Last year I told you that one of the biggest and most active independent publisher Ihar Lohvinau was withdrawn his publishing license by the Ministry of Information. Ihar Lohvinau managed to register his business in Vilnius and now he is officially a Lithuanian publisher. Following this event, Ihar Lohvinau won the International Publishers Association’s Freedom to Publish award for courage in defending freedom of expression.
But Lohvinau is also a bookstore. In 2014, book distributors in Belarus must acquire a state registration. Throughout the year Lohvinau Bookstore has been trying to get it six times, being rejected each time for far-fetched pretexts. In January 2015 the the economic court of Minsk obliged Lohvinau Bookstore to pay about €56,000 fine for working without registration. The civil campaign was organized and almost all the money is collected at the moment.
But Lohvinau is not the only independent publishing house we have. Galiyafy is also one of them. And in 2014 they made an attempt to open their one little bookstore. They repaired the premises but managed to work only for some months, the owner of the building asked them to go away.
On the whole we still have problems with book distribution with a governmental monopolist distributor in Belarus. Also the black lists of writers are still in use.
In October 2014 Belarusian president Alexandr Lukashenka met with the represantatives of Belarusian writers’ organization. We have two writers’ unions in Belarus: an independent Union of Belarusian writers (our union) and pro-governmental Union of writers of Belarus. Also the president of Belarusian Pen-centre was invited to the meeting. I must say that such meetings are not too common. Last time Lukashenka met with independent writers’ representatives about 12 years ago. But we can see no positive effect after this meeting
These were the main literary life events in the country. As for our union activities this year we went on publishing books in the book series “Writer’s bookstore”. Overall we have about 30 editions published, among them regional branches almanachs, childrens’ books, dedute books, etc.
This year together with Belarusian PEN-centre we organized the International Mihas Stralcou Poetry Festival “Poems on the pavement” for the 4th time. During four days we had poetry readings, book presentations, a poetry slam, literary discussions, a festival within the festival – “Magnus Ducatus Poesis” and other events. Poets from Belarus, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and took part in the festival.
Some more international literary events took place with our help. The representatives of the Swedish writers’ union non-fiction branch came to Belarus in the beginning of March and they have had some discussions with Belarusian non-fiction writers, as we also have such a branch at our Union.
The School for young writers still works at our Union. It’s our third yera. About twenty students who prefer prose writing attend the practical classes and master-classes from established Belarusian authors, literary critics and translators, among them Svetlana Alexievich, Uladzimir Niakliaeu, Ales Razanau and others.
We also have had a competition for young writers “ExLibris”, this year it’s named in honour of poet Ryhor Baradulin. And authors under 30 can send their poems and poetry translations for the prize.
We are also one of the coordinators of the project Books from Belarus. Its main aim is to present the best contemporary Belarusian literature abroad at different international bookfairs. For example, during this and last year Books from Belarus stand was in Frankfurt. Leipzig, Warsaw, Vilnius, Lviv and other places.
We also have close connection and cooperation with Lithuanian, Ukranian, Polish, Swedish Unions of writers.
Swedish Writers’ Union
In spring 2014, with the help of SIFO, the Swedish Writers’ Union conducted an income survey of its members which showed that the financial situation of the profession has become even more precarious. The results have attracted a great deal attention in the media, and among the relevant public agencies and organisations. In 2015, we will be using these results as the basis for a drive to improve the social insurance system and pension options as they relate to our members’ professional circumstances.
The activities of the Swedish Writers’ Union in 2014 were strongly affected by the general election and the change of government. A major focus on cultural policy ahead of the election, including employing a project manager, a cultural policy focus for the guest editor of the union’s magazine Författaren and a visit to the Almedalen Week of political meetings, brought considerable public attention and new and more in-depth contact with politicians.
Work relating to the government’s cultural policy included the Swedish Writers’ Union’s written protests to the Government Offices and public appeals against a raft of decisions on cutbacks.
In early summer 2014, negotiations with the coalition government on Public Lending Rights stalled, but after mediation and the general election, there were positive signals from the new government about raising the payment rate by SEK 0.04. In January 2015, the Swedish Writers’ Union met the new Minister for Culture, who announced a continued improvement to the Public Lending Rights programme.
Protecting copyright is a major challenge in this age of rapid digitisation. Autumn 2014 marked the start of a collaboration with the Authors Guild in the USA. The union attended the annual general meeting in New York. The Swedish Writers’ Union decided to provide financial support for the legal case that the Authors Guild is pursuing in an attempt to prevent Google from publishing millions of books for free on the internet.
The Swedish Writers’ Union has continued to work with the regional union representatives to give literature a clearer role in the Cultural Partnership Model. Over the year, the role of literature has been reinforced in the cultural plans through the Swedish Arts Council making literature an eighth mandatory area. The chairman’s commitment to visit all the regions has continued with visits to Gävleborg, Lund, Halmstad and Jokkmokk. The visit to Jokkmokk also prompted a decision to add a Sami representative to the Swedish Writers’ Union.
Negotiations with the publisher Bonniers on a new framework agreement continued throughout 2014, but in winter 2015 they moved into a more intensive phase. The lawyers have begun reviewing the terms. Hopefully agreement will be reached with Bonniers in 2015.
The fact that both 2013 and 2014 were strong years for the stock market has resulted in major capital gains and an increase in the value of the share portfolio.
Work on the new Författaren magazine entered a busy phase following a workshop at the Executive Committee’s strategy meeting in late summer 2014. A new editor-in-chief and a design agency were appointed in the autumn. The first issue under the new regime will be published in May 2015.
The union review of the translators’ role in the organisation led to the recruitment of a union representative in the field, who has been given a very positive reception. The translators have a major conference coming up in April 2015.
The international work continues to take shape through the International Council. A new chairperson has been appointed. In 2014, a delegation from the union visited Ukraine, as part of which it held talks on freedom of expression. The position of guest writers (persecuted foreign writers given a safe haven in Sweden) within the organisation has been strengthened through the union working on a programme to support them. A conference on the issue was held in Växjö in autumn 2014. In 2015, we will also be working intensively on the issue of an international exchange programme for writers and translators.
President of the Swedish Writers’ Union
Estonian Writers’ Union
Country report 2014-2015 for the BWC GA 2015 in Visby
It has been a quiet and ordinary year for EWU. Most of our regular activities are still going strong: weekly literary performances in our Tartu and Tallinn headquarters, library tours in autumn featuring twenty to thirty writers, yearly literary awards nominees tour in March, numerous, but irregular readings and meetings at schools, Library of Babel literary conference in December, HeadRead literature festival in Tallinn and Prima Vista festival in Tartu late spring. Negotiations are going on with the Ministry of Education to have school readings financed on permanent basis and with the Ministry of Defence to have a yearly writers’tour at our army bases (to get young men to listen to writers:).
However, the most important undertaking of the year has been the revival of the novel contest which produced nearly one hundred manuscripts that are currently being revised and evaluated. This is a very interesting development indeed to have such an amount of new original prose at hand at one particular moment in time.
The state support for literature is slowly but steadily increasing but the struggle for grants providing necessary social guarantees is still going on. With the new government coalition in the making, things are at standby for the time being. Let’s hope for the best.
Karl Martin Sinijärv
Report 2014 (Latvia)
Latvian Writers’ Union unites approx. 240 poets, prose writers, playwrights, literary scholars, critics and translators. It arranges different literary events at the premises of our WU.
WU has a regional literary magazine VĀRDS (The Word), published in Liepāja. The initiative came from the Kurzeme region. It co-operates with Ventspils House, too.
Latvian Ministry of Culture supports the membership of Latvian Writers’ Union in 3 international organizations: BWC, EWC, Three Seas.
We have one literary magazine in Latvia: LATVJU TEKSTI (Latvian Texts) with 4 issues a year (2010 – 2012). Since 2013 it has 6 issues a year. The publisher is Latvian Literature Centre – www.literature.lv.
At the beginning of March (2015) a new literary magazine DOMUZĪME (Dash) was published (supported by State Cultural Endowment): 72 pages, 1700 copies. 4 issues a year are planned.
A popular literary event PROSE READNGS, which goes on for several days in different places in Riga (a yearly festival, taking place at the beginning of December), has become popular year by year. Latvian writers as well as guest writers of different generations read their latest, unpublished works or fragments of them. Now the festival is organized by Latvian Literature Centre.
Daily newspaper DIENA (A DAY) has a weekly supplement KULTURAS DIENA (CULTURAL DAY), also the electronic version and portal in Latvian and English: kultura.lv (culture.lv) is available.
Latvian Writers’ Union has been engaged in two main annual projects during 2014: Latvian Literary Prize and the Annual Poetry Festival.
Three organizations have been involved in the project Latvian Literary Prize: Latvian Writers’ Union, Latvian Literature Centre and Ventspils House.
Poetry festival (the largest literary festival in Latvia) 2014 was supported by State Cultural Endowment and was organized by Latvian WU. 200 events in regions took place. The programmes were both traditional and new, and experimental ones. There were 38 readings, 8 lectures, 1 international poetry translation workshop. Average number of visitors was 90 – 120 persons, larger events were attended by 300 people. But Poetry reading in Dome Church was attended by 800 people.
The audience was students, schoolchildren, adults, seniors, families with children. 70 Latvian poets and 23 foreign guests participated in the festival.
The co-operation with several cultural organizations and E-school was good, too.
The programme Literary Academy continues to give the possibilities to authors – eager to go in for prose, poetry and playwriting – to attend courses, lectures, seminars and master-classes. 60 authors were studying at the Academy 2014. The competitions among schoolchildren took place as well. 59 children took part in them (31 in poetry and 28 in prose). The winners could get the individual advices from the jury members: experienced writers and poets.
In 2014 the seminar MATRIS LINGUA took place for the first time for the authors, whose native language is not Latvian.
The programme of the Academy is carried out by the Writers’ Union and supported by State Cultural Endowment. The activities are taking place at the premises of WU. Good cooperation is with Ventspils House.
Latvian Writers’ Union has got financing from State Cultural Endowment to have two consultants in poetry/prose and playwriting for everyone interested in writing. That means regular individual literary consultations at the premises of Writers’ Union. 72 authors have used that opportunity.
Latvian Writers’ Union still runs a residency at Dubulti (the seaside resort in Jurmala): a cottage with 11 rooms – both single and double ones for the price of 35.00 EUR. During the summertime all the rooms are occupied. During other months everyone is welcome to Jurmala.
Ventspils House www.ventspilshouse.lv is still popular – not only in Latvia but also abroad.
It continues to cooperate with Pro Helvetia (Switzerland), literary organisation Free Word Centre (London), translators house Looren (Switzerland), BCWT (Visby) and also with foreign cultural centres in Latvia.
The support for scholarships comes from State Cultural Endowment.
In 2014 different activities had taken place: not only in the House, but also in Ventspils town organized by the House. Literary events (concerning literature and translation) are: poetry and prose readings, seminars and concerts with participation of the residents and local writers and artists.
The House has regular cooperation with cultural organizations of Ventspils town and region, Ventspils cultural centre, Russian cultural societies, Ventspils University College and libraries.
The cooperation with literary magazine VĀRDS in Liepāja.
Ventspils House continues to promote translation of Latvian literature. The project for the translators who could translate from Latvian into other languages will continue also in 2015. It has already got publicity. New translators from different countries are willing to participate in that project.