Supporting Translations


Sir, - ILE (Ireland Literature Exchange/Idirmhalartan Litriocht Eireann) was set up in 1994 "to increase the international readership of Ireland's contemporary literature in translation". Laudable enough. In fact, a wonderful development!

I compiled a bilingual anthology of Irish love poetry for Hippocrene Books, New York, and submitted the manuscript to ILE, only to be informed that ILE will not support translation from Irish to English.

ILE is funded by The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaion, the Cultural Relations Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs and - wait for it - Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge, the State body to promote Irish-language publishing.

Why Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge should see fit to subsidise ILE to the tune of over £20,000 a year is something not easily understood by Irish-language authors who may seek a wider audience for their works in a world language.

In its 1998/1999 Newsletter, ILE crows that "it is conscious of the generous vision of its funders in recognising the importance of making Irish literature available to readers around the world". Some kind of a joke? My New York publishers are not amused. - Is mise, Gabriel Rosenstock,

Gleann na gCaorach, Co Atha Cliath.