Budweis on Balkan Translations Collider Academy

The candidacy for the European Capital of Culture brings many opportunities. One of them is creating a network of and establishing cooperation with foreign institutions, organisations, associations or individuals. Šimon Leitgeb, author, poet, member of the Czech section of the PEN club and organizer of cultural events, has written about one such connection.

Thanks to Budweis's candidacy for the European Capital of Culture, I had the opportunity to travel to Albania for a few days last week and attend the Balkan Translations Collider Academy in Durres.
During my visit, I met prominent translators, writers and organisers of various festivals across about ten European countries (mostly from the Balkan Peninsula). Every day we had several hours of workshops and training sessions led by professionals from the above mentioned professions. Together we dealt primarily with organisational issues such as preparing grant applications (advice on how to go about writing them, etc.), assembling a team and communicating with its members, building an audience or working with institutions at municipal, regional, state and European level, etc.

So for the first time I presented myself "over the hill" not only as a poet, as I was used to, but mainly as an organizer of the Budweis multi-genre festival "Literature lives!" and the literary-musical show "between us". I appreciate this experience very much and I definitely intend to apply it to my activities. I usually spent my evenings planning them. Then, at the end of the last day, there was an open mic reading where I read English translations of my poems from my collection Concrete Beach (JT's publishing house, 2020) to the local audience.

The colleagues I met in Durres were incredibly warm and inspiring. I will certainly draw on the experiences and stories they shared with me for a long time to come. Every single one of them expressed interest in working with Budweis and both local and regional literary production. Some of them want to participate in translations of our authors, others want to invite them to their festivals or send their own authors to us.

In the future, therefore, the literary audience in Budweis and South Bohemia in general can look forward to an even greater number of foreign authors than in previous years, translators in upcoming residencies and, last but not least, they can also be happy that more readers outside the Czech Republic will learn about our picturesque city through our joint (and therefore so unique) efforts.