Canada features its literary achievements in the Budapest Book Festival Six Canadian authors will attend the event
BUDAPEST, April 5, 2007 – Canada will be the guest country of honour at the XIV. International Book Festival to be held in April 12-15, 2007 at the Budapest Congress Center. Canada will feature its literary achievements and book publishing industry, as well as six widely-acclaimed Canadian authors will attend this prestigious event. The Embassy of Canada will have its own stand at the Book Festival, which provides not only a venue to meet the authors, but presents a wide selection of contemporary Canadian books and publications.
What you need to know about Canadian book publishing industry:
- The growth of Canadian literature and publishing industry in the past 25 years is one of the best success stories in the country
Three decades ago, foreign books imported mainly from the US, UK and France dominated the Canadian book market. Canadian books were rarely found on the bookshelves. Since then, the book publishing industry underwent fundamental changes with increasing support by the government. For instance, the main book publishing development program increased from $6 million dollars in 1979 to over $38 million today. The progress achieved by this flagship program is indicated by the fact that in 2005 it assisted over 220 Canadian publishers in 80 Canadian cities.
- Revenues in Canada's book publishing industry exceeded $2 billion in 2004
Today there are 16,000 writers in Canada, which is five times more than the number of Canadian writers in the 1970s. Canada has over 1,500 publishers. The top 330 publishers made 95% of the total income in this field in 2004. They published 17,000 titles and employed close to 9,000 people. The large majority of the top publishers is owned by Canadians (311) while 19 publishing houses are owned by foreigners. Canadian-owned publishing houses publish 85% of the new titles and control 41% of the market. Foreign owners publish books mainly from their respective countries. There are 214 publishers in English and 116 in French. Concerning the reading habits of Canadians, 90% of Canadians read at least one book per year and over half of them read on a daily basis – a figure that is relatively high compared to other countries.
- Canadian authors represent multiethnic literary diversity at its best Multiculturalism, already existing equally in two languages and cultures – English and French – as well as in First Nations’ and other minority languages, is expressed through Canadian books and through the presence of Canadian literature in other countries, such as Hungary. Canadian authors are recognized among the finest in the world proven by numerous literary awards.
Close to 800 Canadian books will be displayed at the book festival
These books come from several sources such as the Canada Council for the Arts, Association of the Export of Canadian Books, Canadian Heritage: Book Publishing Industry Development Program and Hungarian Book Publishers. The books cover a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from fiction and novels to art, literary criticism, natural and social sciences, history, poetry and children books. Currently, Hungarian publishers have over 60 books available in Hungarian by Canadian authors. There will be about 10 new releases published for the book festival.
In addition to Canadian books, a special photo exhibit, New Lives, featuring 50 distinguished Canadian-Hungarians will be open to visitors in the book festival. This exhibit of specially-commissioned portraits by one of Canada’s finest photographers, V. Tony Hauser, pays homage to 38,000 Hungarian refugees who emigrated to Canada after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and made extraordinary contributions of innovation and excellence to Canadian society in many fields of endeavour. The exhibit, which also includes noted writers such as Anna Porter and George Jonas, was displayed at the Hungarian Cultural Foundation last February, and drew great success.
- Six Canadian authors will attend the Budapest book festival
Elisabeth Blajer (of Hungarian origin)
Born in 1941 in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania, she had a difficult childhood. Many of her early writings vanished as she had to burn them to prevent the Communist secret service, Securitate, from arresting her. She fled to Toronto in 1988 and established herself as a writer. She considers Canada her second home and gained much inspiration in Canada to fulfill her aspirations. Her books include Vándor Csillagok (2005) and seven volumes of the Kártyák series written in 1993-96.
Joseph Boyden is a Canadian with Irish, Scottish, and Métis roots. Three Day Road has received the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award and has also been shortlisted for the Governor General Award for Fiction. He is the author of Born with a Tooth, a collection of stories that was shortlisted for the Upper Canada Writer's Craft Award. His work has appeared in publications such as Potpourri, Cimarron Review, Blue Penny Quarterly, BlackWarrior, and The Panhandler. He divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana, where he teaches writing at the University of New Orleans
Kathy Clark (of Hungarian origin)
Born in 1953 in Budapest, her family fled after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. She is an author of novels for children ten years old and up. Her first novel, A Whisper in My Heart, was based on the difficulties of her first year in Canada when she had to get used to a new language and culture, and get re-acquainted with her parents whom she had not seen for seven years. She is finishing her second book for young adults based on the true events during WWII of a convent in Budapest which hid over a hundred Jewish girls during the Nazi occupation. As the mother of six children and a girl’s camp director for eight years, she has in-depth experience in the interests and needs of her target audience.
She was born in 1936 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She began writing her first play, A Compulsory Option, while expecting her sixth child; this unpublished play won an Alberta Culture playwriting competition in 1971 and premiered in several play centres. Pollock worked at the University of Alberta as a playwriting instructor, and returned to Calgary in 1988. As an accomplished writer she has received many awards for her plays: the Governor General's Award for Blood Relations and Doc, the Canada Australian Literary Award in 1987, a Japan Foundation Award in 1995, the Nellie Drama Award for her radio play, Sweet Land of Liberty (1981), and a Golden Sheaf Award for her writing for television.
Anna Porter (of Hungarian origin)
She is publisher and novelist. Born Anna Szigethy in Budapest, she left Hungary after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution to escape the Soviet military oppression and settled in Canada in 1969. She started at McClelland & Stewart and became president and publisher of Seal Books. In 1982, she founded Key Porter Books and in 1986 she purchased a majority stake in Doubleday Canada. In 1991, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for being "instrumental in bringing Canadian titles to the attention of the international market place". In 2003, she was awarded the Order of Ontario. Her major works include Hidden Agenda, Mortal Sins, The Bookfair Murders and The Storyteller.
Pablo Urbany (of Hungarian origin)
Born in Hungarian 1939, he grew up in Argentina and has lived for 30 years in Canada. He wrote and published around 10 books (novels and short stories) and many of them were translated into French, English and Hungarian. His early books include, Night of the Revolutionaries, A Revolver for Mack and The Nowhere Idea. He received many awards and honorary mentions for his literary achievements. Ipolyság, Slovakia, made him an honorary citizen to pay tribute to his lifetime of writing. He is a member of PEN International. His latest book, The God’s Zoo, will be presented during the book festival.
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Political and Media Relations Officer
1027 Budapest, Ganz u. 12-14