Today is the ‘World Book and Copyright day’ established by UNESCO (not to be confused with ‘World Book Day’ on 1st March). According to the United Nations webpage, 23rd April was chosen as the day in 1616 on which Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died, and it is also the anniversary date of the births and deaths of other acclaimed writers through the centuries. Today is also the 80th anniversary of the Index Translationum being set up in 1932, a bibliography of more than 2,000,000 works translated around the world. UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokova, issued the following message for World Book and Copyright Day 2012: “Translation is the first step towards the rapprochement of peoples, and is also a decentralizing experience, teaching diversity and dialogue. Translation is one of the driving principles of our creative diversity, which enriches each language through contact with all the others.”
Of course translation is always given a strong focus at StAnza, as part of our Border Crossing strand and elsewhere, introducing our audiences to all the wonders of poetry in other languages, and our ‘Translating the Image’ Poetry Breakfast on Sunday 18th March (which was webcast live), was for many a highlight of this year’s festival.
One of the translated poets taking part in StAnza 2012 was the Palestinian poet and journalist, Ghayath Almadhoun, who grew up in Syria and now lives in Sweden. The International Literature Festival in Berlin is marking today’s World Book Day by appealing for a worldwide reading for freedom and democracy in Syria. StAnza isn’t aware of any public readings taking place in Scotland today, but if anyone is joining in, they are asked to contact email@example.com.