In Other Words 2017
In Other Words is a new project to promote the translation and UK publication of outstanding children's literature from around the world.
Honour Titles announced for inaugural In Other Words
Four books have been selected as outstanding 'Honour Titles' for this year's In Other Words initiative:
Sputterfly by Simon van der Gees (translated from Dutch by Laura Watkinson)
A Good Day for Climbing a Tree by Jaco Jacobs (translated from Afrikaans by Kobus Geldenhuys)
Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter (translated from Danish by Sian Mackie)
The Raven's Children by Yulia Yakoleva (translated from Russian by Maria Kozlovskaya Wiltshire)
have all been highlighted as outstanding works of fiction for children aged 6 to 12. The four titles were selected from nearly 400 submissions from around the world, and were chosen for their strong narratives and commercial potential.
All shortlisted titles are available for English language publication and the partially translated texts can be read by clicking on each title below. A marketing bursary of £1500 is available from BookTrust to support the UK publication of each of these titles.
For full information about the titles, including rights contacts and funding opportunities for translation, please download the In Other Words rights guide 2017.
The Shortlist has been announced.
Launched in summer 2016, the project received almost 400 entries from around the world of outstanding fiction for children aged 6 to 12 years. A shortlist of eight titles was selected by the judges and includes stories from internationally acclaimed authors, a gripping story of spies and kidnapping set in Stalin's Russia, and entries from Denmark and South Africa which made the judges laugh out loud.
The short listed titles have been partially translated for UK publishers to review and English language rights are now available to buy. A marketing bursary of £1500 is available from BookTrust to support the UK publication of each of these titles.
Four Honour Titles will be revealed at a special drinks reception at the Bologna Book Fair on 4th April with Children's Laureate Chris Riddell and Carnegie Award winning author Kevin Brooks.
'This is a time when it was never more important for young people in this country to read stories of other peoples who have other cultures, other histories, other landscapes, other languages; to discover difference, and most importantly what it is that unites us all. Perhaps it is the power literature has to help us empathise that is its greatest gift to us in a world where empathy is so badly needed, and seemingly in such short supply.' BookTrust's President, Michael Morpurgo
Querido Children's Books
Simon van der Geest
Translated from Dutch by Laura Watkinson
Shortlisted, In Other Words
Written in diary form, Sputterfly is the story of insect-lover Hidde, his brother Jeppe, and their mum. Three years after the death of Ward, their big brother, they're all still feeling the impact. Hidde hides away in his secret cellar with his menagerie of insects, carrying out experiments without realising how cruel he's being. Jeppe's become a bully who lashes out at everyone. Their mum's on her way to a breakdown.
Jeppe hasn't been into the cellar since Ward's death, having made a deal with Hidde in exchange for his silence about how Ward died (a seizure, after Jeppe locked him in the cellar during a game). When Jeppe decides he wants the cellar for his drum practice, it's all-out war between the two brothers. Jeppe traps Hidde inside the cellar, but Hidde has his revenge.
He thinks he's killed Jeppe after tripping him down the stairs and giving him concussion. It's the trigger they need to talk about Ward and to open up to their mum. Hidde finally sets his insects free. Sensitive and often humorous, Sputterfly is a book that deals skilfully with important themes.
"This sample had me hooked from the opening lines. Here is a writer who absolutely should be on our radar." Emma Langley
Original Title: Spinder
Publisher: Querido Children's Books
Simon vand der Geest
Simon van der Geest (1978) grew up in a small village. After high school, he went to Norway for a year. There, he discovered that he wanted to act. As soon as he started the training he realised what he enjoyed most was writing plays, and so he embarked on training for that instead. Now van der Geest likes to write theatre plays as well as stories and poetry for children. He also works as an actor for the police and the army. Geel Gras was his début for Querido. For his Odyssee-revision Dissus and for Spinder he received a "Gouden Griffel", in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
A Good Day For Climbing Trees
Translated from Afrikaans by Kobus Geldenhuys
Shortlisted, In Other Words
Marnus's older brother breaks hearts as well as swimming records, his little brother is a precocious entrepreneur, but middle child Marnus feels invisible. Then, one day, a girl called Leila shows up at his house with a petition to save a tree in the local park. When she takes Marnus to the tree, it is the start of an extraordinary adventure that changes his life. He and Leila end up in the tree and remain there for nearly a week, meeting all kinds of weird and wonderful people like eccentric Mrs Merriman with her pink hair and poodles, and the wise caretaker at the bowling club, whose brother was killed during the struggle against apartheid.
For the first time, Marnus feels people are noticing him. He and Leila become eco heroes and make news headlines, even inspiring a group of students to protest. But then Marnus discovers Leila's secret - the real reason she wanted to save the tree was to hold on to the love her divorced parents once had for each other.
"It made me chuckle on the very first page. A story with a warm heart and characters you want to spend time with." Jill Coleman
Original Title: 'n Goeie dag vir boomklim
Publisher: LAPA Publishers
Jaco Jacobs is the most popular and prolific children's book authors in Afrikaans. He has published more than 120 books and nearly a million copies of his books have been sold. Jaco is also a well-known columnist, blogger, freelance journalist and translator. In 2014 a film adaptation of his young-adult novel Suurlemoen! was released, and films based on his middle-grade novels Oor 'n motorfiets, 'n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan word and 'n Goeie dag vir boomklim are due for release in respectively 2017 and 2018. He has won several literary awards, including the ATKV Children's Book Award and C.P. Hoogenhout Medal. Jaco lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa, with his wife and daughters.
Gyldendal Group Agency
Elise and the Second-Hand Dog
Translated from Danish by Sian Mackie
Shortlisted, In Other Words
Elise lives with her mum and dad in Vesterbro, Copenhagen. Her dad plays the violin at weddings and funerals, and sometimes outside department stores. Her mum is in the Amazon rainforest supervising the building of a suspension bridge, and Elise misses her terribly. This is what finally persuades Elise's dad to give in to her pleas for a dog.
However, they don't have much money, so they buy a cheap second-hand dog. Elise soon discovers that the dog can talk when they are alone. He tells her that his name is McAduddi and he's from Tobermory in Scotland, where his mum taught him to talk. Elise and McAduddi go on many adventures together, from hunting down a vampire in her grandma's old mill to Christmas shopping on a budget, and battling their own way through the Amazon (as reconstructed in Elise's bedroom).
Elise's family and friends are concerned that she is lonely and have varying opinions on her tendency towards flights of fancy, but with McAduddi by her side she is happy. Even after he eventually disappears, he lives on in her memories and in the stories she tells her mother when she returns.
"This book is evidence that humour can travel. It is quirky, clever and original, and plotted to make the most of punch lines." Nicolette Jones
Original Title: Elise og den brugte hund
Publisher: Gyldendal Group Agency
Bjarne Reuter was born and brought up in Brønshøj, a suburb of Copenhagen, and since his debut novel Kidnapping (1975) he has become a bit of an institution in Danish literature, winning a sea of prizes in both Germany and Denmark. Bjarne Reuter's writing encompasses humorous stories for children, young adult novels, crime novels and more. Books like his Buster's World, Zappa, Someone Like Hodder or When the Bindweed Blooms were a major part of almost every Danish person's childhood. Nobody knows how to take the reader on an adventure full of humour and daydreams quite like Bjarne Reuter.
Samokat Publishing House
The Raven’s Children
Translated from Russian by Maria Kozlovskaya Wiltshire
Shortlisted, In Other Words
Shura, Tanya and little Bobby live in Leningrad with their parents, but when their father, mother and Bobby disappear, it's rumoured that they have been kidnapped by the mysterious Black Raven, because their parents were spies. Tanya and Shura are determined to find their family. There are touches of magical realism, as the children learn that birds can speak if you talk politely to them.
Shura decides to hand himself in to the Raven, so he stops a KGB car and asks to be taken to his parents. He's taken to the 'Grey House', where everyone gets a new name and a set of grey clothes, forgets their families and learns to sew.
Shura escapes and, after a difficult ordeal, a new friend helps him find Bobby in another Grey House. Shura and Bobby escape, chased by all the children of the Grey House, and are driven to the edge of an abyss where Shura realises that if he conquers his fear and steps forward, there'll be firm surface to walk on. Walking across the bridge, he is reunited with his aunt and Tanya.
"The Raven's Children is immediately gripping. It shows great potential across children's and adult readership and is one I am very keen to return to in full." Florentyna Martin
Original Title: Дети ворона
Publisher: Samokat Publishing House
Yulia Yakovleva Horst has worked for many years as a columnist and an editor in leading Russian newspapers and magazines. She writes in both Russian and Norwegian. Her first children book Halens historie written in Norwegian and published under her Norwegian name, received the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2014 in Opera Prima category. Raven's children is her first children novel in Russian. She is studying for an MA in children's illustration in the UK.
Il Battello a Vapore
Her Name's Not Cruella De Vil
Translated from Italian by Denise Muir
Shortlisted, In Other Words
This book starts as a garrulous tale of teenage angst and turns into a slower-paced, dramatic account of life in fascist Italy and Stalinist Russia. The young narrator, Katia, tells how she used to be at odds with her world and how misplaced anger led her to vandalise the property of an elderly lady. Her friends are sent on work placements but Katia is ordered to visit their victim, the elderly Olga Mautino.
The two strike up an unlikely friendship and the old lady introduces Katia to opera music and Tolstoy. Over Italian ice cream in elegant cafes, Olga recounts how her family fled Italy for Russia, only to end up persecuted and separated for ever. As Katia journeys into a dark period of history that she knew nothing about, and hears the painful details of Olga's past, she finds the clarity and peace she needs to deal with her own present.
The uplifting ending - Katia ultimately accepts Olga's request to write down her story - is as gentle as the times they spend together. The literary flourishes from Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko make the sentiments expressed by elderly Olga all the more compelling.
"A fascinating period of history that's rarely given an airing in UK fiction for children. I really wanted to read more." Emma Langley
Original Title: Non chiamatela Crudelia Demon
Publisher: Il Battello a Vapore
Anna Lavatelli is an award-winning Italian children's writer. Of the hundred or so books she has published, several have been mentioned by The White Ravens and she won the 2005 Italian Andersen Prize. Her stories have been published in Italy, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil and Spain. Her favourite topic is everyday life, finding something of interest in events which are both happy and sad, subtle and powerful, fun and dramatic. She prefers to set her tales in the real world, portraying it as a place which can, at times, be cold and hostile, and in which young people must find their way. She is an enthusiastic storyteller and promoter of reading. She splits her time between Italy and Peru.
Maria Fernanda Maquieira
Translated from Spanish by Serafina Vick
Shortlisted, In Other Words
Jigsaw Puzzle is set in a run-down suburb of Buenos Aires in 1982. Our narrator, Mora, is a 10-year-old orphan who has been raised by her maternal grandmother. A somewhat precocious narrator, Mora humorously describes her daily school life, her close-knit group of friends and the eccentric characters in her neighbourhood. The narrative is also ridden with dark undertones, including unanswered questions about her parents' disappearance.
A third of the way into the story, Mora and her classmates are told that they are now at war with the English. Mora becomes close to Pablo, a classmate whose elder brother is fighting on the Falkland Islands. The letters that Pablo receives from his brother and shares with Mora show a tragic side of the Falklands conflict, and Pablo's brother doesn't come home.
When Mora's friend Gabi disappears, Mora's grandmother decides it's time Mora understood a few things. The novel closes in Plaza de Mayo, where Mora's grandmother, along with hundreds of other bereaved mothers, goes every Thursday to protest against the murders committed by the military dictatorship of the previous decade.
"Compelling storytelling that will grip young British readers as the experience of the Falklands crisis is told from the Argentine perspective." Sarah Ardizzone
Original Title: Rompecabezas
Maria Fernanda Maquieira
María Fernanda Maquieira is an Argentine author born in Buenos Aires in 1966. She studied Literature at the University of Buenos Aires and has a Masters Degree in Editing by the University of Salamanca, in Spain. She has coordinated writing workshops for children and teenagers, and was a member of the board of directors from ALIJA/IBBY. She has been in charge of the Children's and Young Adult Department in loqueleo (Santillana) ever since 1997, where she has edited more than 700 titles of the most prestigious authors from around the world. Rompecabezas is her first novel and is the winner of the Cuatrogatos Award (2015) Recommended by the foundation Asociación para Leer, Escuchar, Escribir y Recrear, IBBY México.
Sigongsa Co., Ltd.
Some Kid Lived Here & Other Stories
Translated from Korean by Sophie Bowman
Shortlisted, In Other Words
Sometimes there are strange worlds lurking inside our everyday lives. Sometimes our 'normal' everyday lives turn out to be anything but. This collection of five stories contains a range of eerie and unsettling variations on the theme of the ordinary.
In Some Kid Lived Here, a lone kid roams undetected from home to home with nowhere to call his own, and leaves a trail of notes which bring his unwitting hosts closer together. Adult Younger Brother depicts Haru's younger brother, a toddler who secretly loves to drink coffee and listen to his uncle play acoustic guitar. In Non-existent Me, Bean tells his story of growing up invisible.
Adorable child model, Laura, finds herself in a mysterious world where being cute is no longer important in Laura was Cute. And finally, we meet kids whose dads live inside pieces of smart leather and aluminium luggage; they force them out of their bags and into the world so they can teach them how to play in the story Left Luggage.
"Zany, surreal and very fresh: this stood out as the title I most wanted to read from nearly four hundred submissions." Sarah Ardizzone
Original Title: 어떤 아이가!
Publisher: Sigongsa Co., Ltd.
Mi-kyoung Song is a rising star in the Korean children's literary word. Her debut work, A School Where Children do Not Want to go to School was awarded the Woongjin Junior Literary Award in 2008. Her next work, Some Kid Lived Here and other stories won the 54th Korea Book Awards for Children's Fiction in 2013. A Child Who is Chewing Pebbles won the award of Changwon Literature Award. She has also published Canned Food Academy, A Girl Who is Sewing and the Report of Operation for Madman. She is also an illustrator, and had her first exhibition in Seoul, in August 2016.
Carl Hanser Verlag
The Amazing Adventures of Groana Schmitt
Translated from German by Katy Derbyshire
Shortlisted, In Other Words
Mona's parents call her Groana because she's sometimes grumpy and loses her temper. She and her mother have moved out of their home and into a strange flat on the other side of town. Mona doesn't know why, and plans to put things right as soon as possible. At her new school, she reluctantly makes friends with a boy called Mo. Mo knows why the new flat is so strange: it was designed for people with disabilities. Later, Mona runs into her dad with another woman and refuses to talk to him.
Mona's mum reveals that she's ill and is going to get worse, and that's why they've moved into the disabled-friendly flat. Mona's eccentric grandfather comforts her, but she goes to her dad's place and has a huge, destructive tantrum. At the end of the book she goes to Mo's birthday party - a trip to McDonald's with his dad, his dad's carer and two prison guards. The book ends with a letter made of newspaper cuttings, telling Mona's dad to take care of the people he loves, or else…
"A delight to read, dealing with some of the harder things in our protagonist's young life as her comfortable world is suddenly turned upside-down." Daniel Hahn
Original Title: Die erstaunlichen Abenteuer der Maulina Schmitt
Publisher: Carl Hanser Verlag
Finn-Ole Heinrich was born near Hamburg in 1982 and studied cinematography and fine art in Hanover. He has been working as a freelance author in Hamburg (and frequently on trains) since 2009. He was awarded the German Prize for Young People's Literature for his first Children's book Frerk, du Zwerg in 2012 and with the Hamburg Lessing Price in 2014. He is currently living in France.
Award-winning translatorSarah ArdizzoneAward-winning translator
Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning translator from French. She translates across the age-spectrum: from picture books, children's and young adult fiction, to graphic novels and grown up literary fiction. She has a special interest in translating sharp dialogue, urban and migrant slang, and in what the Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou calls 'a world literature in French'. Sarah appears regularly on the book festival and live literature circuit, and curates educational programmes around translation – including Translation Nation, Translators in Schools, The Spectacular Translation Machine and The Big Translate.
Writer, editor and translatorDaniel HahnWriter, editor and translator
Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator with some fifty books to his name. His translations from Portuguese, Spanish and French include a wide range of adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as children's books ranging from picture-books to YA. His work has won him the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award, among others. He writes and speaks regularly on a range of subjects, often connected to translation or children's books (or both). With Leonie Flynn and Susan Reuben he edited the Ultimate Book Guide series, and he has recently published the new Oxford Companion to Children's Literature. He is a past chair of the Translators Association and the Society of Authors, and has sat on the board of many organisations that deal with literature, literacy and human rights. He is currently on the judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize.
Arts Council EnglandEmma LangleyArts Council England
Emma Langley is responsible for international literature and translation at Arts Council England. She has a background in children's publishing and freelances in research and evaluation for various education projects.
Children's Book Buyer for WaterstonesFlorentyna MartinChildren's Book Buyer for Waterstones
Florentyna Martin started her bookselling career six years ago in her hometown of Petersfield. She is now based in London as the Children's Book Buyer for Waterstones, where she looks after book ranges for ages 0-12 and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize.
A bookworm through-and-through, Florentyna has always enjoyed reading and recommending great books across children's and adult publishing, from picture books and fiction, to activities and reference.
Writer, critic and broadcasterNicolette JonesWriter, critic and broadcaster
Nicolette Jones is a writer, critic and broadcaster, specialising in literary and arts journalism, who has worked for national newspapers and the book trade press. She has been the Children's Books Reviewer of The Sunday Times for more than two decades, and in 2012 was shortlisted for the Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to the world of children’s books. She has been Director of the children’s programme at the Oxford Literary Festival, is an experienced trustee and chair, and a judge of many adults’ and children’s book awards including, this year, the Independent Booksellers Week awards.
She compiled Channel Four’s list of Britain’s Favourite Children’s Books for a programme presented by David Walliams in December 2015, and in 2014 selected 100 Modern Children’s Classics for The Sunday Times online.
Her double award-winning book about the Victorian philanthropist Samuel Plimsoll and his campaign on behalf of sailors, The Plimsoll Sensation (Little, Brown/Abacus), was a Radio 4 Book of the Week. She has also co-authored, with writer and illustrator Raymond Briggs, an anthology of his work: Blooming Books (Cape).
Children’s books consultantElaine McQuadeChildren’s books consultant
Elaine McQuade is a children’s books consultant. Her career in children’s publishing included running the marketing and publicity teams at Puffin and Oxford University Press as well as the Managing Director role at Scholastic Children’s Books. She was the Chair of the Children’s Group of the Publishers’ Association for many years and a Trustee of World Book Day. She is currently a Trustee of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre and of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).
BookTrust's Director of Children's BooksJill ColemanBookTrust's Director of Children's Books
Jill Coleman, is Director of Children's Books. She is responsible for BookTrust's expert selection and recommendation of great books, managing book purchasing across the organisation, and working with arts organisations, publishers, authors, and illustrators to promote excellence in children's books. Jill has had held a number of senior roles in publishing, including board director of Bloomsbury publishing, managing director of A&C Black and managing Director of Little Tiger Press.
About the In Other Words 2017
Funded by Arts Council England, BookTrust will sponsor sample translations from selected children's books, which have not previously been published in the English language, and present them to the UK publishing community at an event at the Bologna Book Fair in April 2017.
A panel of judges comprising of UK-based children's literature and translation experts, selected by BookTrust, will meet in October 2016 to decide which of the submissions should go forward for partial translation.
A second judging meeting will take place in February 2017 at which a maximum of 4 titles will be selected as specially commended Honour Titles. All shortlisted titles will be available for British publishers to purchase from the rights holders at the Bologna Book Fair in April 2017.
Titles that are purchased by British publishers will be supported by a £1,500 grant towards marketing and publicity.