The Embassy of Canada and the Association of Serbian Professional Publishers (UPIS) organized the first Canada-Serbia Publishers Forum was held last week, on November 17th. This virtual gathering was conducted in accordance with the measures with limited physical presence. More than 40 publishing houses from Canada, Serbia and North Macedonia have confirmed their participation. H.E. Kati Csaba, Canada’s Ambassador to Serbia, accredited for North Macedonia and Montenegro gave the opening speech for the Forum.
Canada was planned to be the Honorary Guest of the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. Since this year’s fair was held only through a virtual platform with limited participation and presentation of writers and publishers, Canada’s performance as the Guest of Honor has been postponed to year 2021. How Canada prepared and what was planned for this great cultural and publishing event, was explained during the first panel: Canada as the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
The first panel also discuss possibilities and opportunities for cooperation between Serbian and regional publishers with Canada, Canada’s multiculturalism and the influence on literature and publishing. The following, second, panel covered the mutual ongoing issue: Protection of copyright and reprographic rights in digital and especially university publishing.
What is expected and what can be obtained under the government support program for improving publishing activity and translation of books into foreign languages in Canada and Serbia was in focus of the presentations during the third panel.
H.E. Kati Csaba, Canada’s Ambassador to Serbia
COVID-19: challenges in overcoming the consequences on the publishing industry in Canada, Serbia, and North Macedonia, considering possible outcomes, stabilization of general and publishing industry, as well as potential sector improvements were topics of the fourth panel. This inevitable subject concludes the forum, and publishers continue with their meetings within the organized individual B2B meetings panel on the same day.
From 2000 to 2012 a highly successful cooperation with Canadian publishers and authors has been established, a collaboration that is nowadays still present but to a smaller extent. So far, more than 300 book titles have been translated into Serbian. Serbian authors were found in French and English translations provided by Canadian publishers, and simultaneously, many books by Canadian authors reached the library shelves in Serbia and readers throughout the country and the region. Canada was the Guest of Honor at the Belgrade Book Fair in 2003 with many authors present. It was followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Quebec Book Fair and Belgrade Fair. Several delegations consisting of writers and publishers from Serbia attended the Quebec Fair from 2006 to 2010. Moreover, Canadian authors, publishers and organizers of literary festivals were very happy to continue to visit Belgrade, but also Serbia and the region, presenting translations of their books and Canadian culture.
The aim of this Forum was to explore new models of cooperation, strengthen and enrich ties, and continue to work on joint projects under the new circumstances.