London-New York : "Read Russia" programme launched
A global programme for the advancement of modern Russian literature on the world market, “Read Russia”, has finally been launched. After it was presented at the London Book Fair this April, there is reason to believe that the “Read Russia” programme will become the key element of the New York Book Fair (June 4 to 7) to which Russia is invited as a guest of honour.
The long-term programme “Read Russia” was worked out by the Russian Federal Agency for Mass Media and Mass Communications jointly with the Russian-British Cultural Foundation “Academia Rossica”. The purpose of this programme is to provide more information about Russia to people abroad and to tell them what Russia is like, as a representative of the “Academia Rossica” foundation told a Voice of Russia correspondent.
"When we make an attempt to explain what Russia is like, resorting to mass media for this purpose, no matter how professional mass media are, any information can be taken as politicized and superficial, while literature makes it possible to provide deeper, polyphonic and more trustworthy explanations. And this is exactly what the programme “Read Russia” is aimed at. Besides, this programme makes it possible to attract attention to modern Russian literature. Although this might seem funny, the main rivals of modern Russian writers are Russian literature classics. People abroad know very well who Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky are but do not know modern Russian writers. That is why they often ask whether a new Tolstoy or a new Dostoyevsky have appeared in Russia."
For the time being, the “Read Russia” programme is meant exclusively for the English-speaking people.
"The point is that the English-speaking lovers of literature do not know Russian literature very well. The English-language literary world is a self-sufficient world, and there are a few translations from other languages into English in this world, while the supply is very big. Therefore, to persuade English-language publishers to start translating Russian novels more actively is a very difficult task and at the same time an urgent necessity. It will not be a surprise if similar events will be organized in other European countries, for example, in Germany, later as well."