Catalan books have been translated by 1,600 publishers worldwide
The 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair, a “turning point” for Catalan literature to go international, according to Ramon Llull institute
It was back in 1967, with Spanish dictator Francisco Franco still alive, when an Irish woman translated into English La plaça del Diamant (The Pigeon Girl). It is the masterpiece of Catalan exiled writer Mercè Rodoreda, one of the top-selling of all-time of the Catalan literature. For her work, the Irish amateur translator only earned 45 pounds, and a small firm took the ‘risk’ of publishing it.
Now, half a century later, the novel has been translated into 36 languages, and another book by Rodoreda, Death in Spring (La Mort i la Primavera, in Catalan), has just been published in English by the prestigious British firm Penguin (its book launch will take place at the Tate Modern of London on May 29 featuring Colm Toibín, the also Irish writer who wrote the prologue for this edition). This is such an “achievement” for Catalan literature, according to Izaskun Arretxe, the head of Literature at the Ramon Llull Institute (IRL), a public entity which aims to promote Catalan language and culture abroad. Since the IRL records began, “1,600 publishers worldwide have translated books in Catalan into other languages,” as Arretxe explained in an interview with Catalan News.