Publishing house Geopoetika – longtime partner with UW’s English/Comparative History of Ideas Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia program – has been awarded a London Book Fair International Excellence Award for “The Literary Translation Initiative.” The London Book Fair presents this award annually to a publisher for exceptional work bringing less recognized foreign language literary traditions to English speaking readers. From a large pool of potential recipients, LBF short-listed three publishers: the American Literary Translators Association (USA), Geopoetika (Serbia) and the Lontar Foundation (Indonesia). This year LBF’s judging panel singled out Geopoetika for shining “a light on a region and on a literature that, until they came on the scene, was very little known in the English language.”
For almost a decade, this Belgrade publishing house and its director Vladislav Bajac have partnered with the UW English/CHID Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia study abroad program. Vladislav Bajac – a poet and educator as well as publisher - has offered our study abroad students lectures on trends in contemporary Serbian writing and the translation of world literature into Serbo-Croatian language. In 2011, Mr. Bajac also presented a guest lecture via Skype to UW students on campus in the Allen Auditorium. Geopoetika has donated 12 of their award winning English translations of contemporary Serbian writing to the English/CHID program and the University of Washington Library Slavic Collection. This collection of English Language translations provides faculty and students in English, CHID and Comparative Literature with materials allowing non-Slavic language specialists to access the cultural and social history of the Western Balkans and Middle Europe.
UW English faculty member Norman Wacker co-directs with Bellevue College faculty Zorica Wacker the Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia program, which studies the contribution of the region’s literature and civil society to the post conflict reconstruction of longstanding traditions of literary innovation, inclusion and free speech. Dr. Wacker says of this award, “there could be no more fitting recognition of Geopoetika’s preservation of one of Middle Europe’s most vibrant independent literary traditions.”