Georgian Book-launch during London Olympics
16 August, 2012
Georgian Book-launch  during London Olympics

Interestingly enough, a bulky volume of the Georgian contemporary prose, translated into English was published in London by the Dalkey Archive Press. This is the book which was launched at the Georgian House during the boisterous days of the XXX Olympiad in the overpopulated and overexcited capital of Great Britain. 

The introduction was made by the author of these words; the publisher Mr. John O’Brien told the audience the attractive story of the book’s publication and Professor D

onald Raynfield – expert on Georgian history, language and literature profusely commented on the translation, performed by Elizabeth Heighway. Professor Raynfield was introduced by His Excellency, Georgia’s Ambassador to Great Britain Giorgi Badridze. Most of us would say – who cares about a book-launch during the Olympic Games, but I would qualify the event as no-less-important for the Nation than an Olympic medal of any metallic denomination. Hopefully, I am not going to be judged as an opinionated sportive ignoramus because of the offbeat approach to the events, making an uncalled-for comparison between apples and oranges. Not venturing at all for any devaluation of Olympic awards, I would insist that a volume of short stories in the English language written by the Georgian men and women of letters might in the long run win for the Georgian people more hearts and minds than the triumph in sporting bouts, even in the Olympics, provided the book is published in numbers compatible with world-wide distribution, accompanied by an effective marketing. We may not wish for a better weapon for charging against an adversary and for protecting Georgia’s interests in the world than a chance to share our intellectual potential with fellow planet-dwellers. Olympic medals are always indispensable but informing the world comprehensively of our talents other than physical might probably have a decisive role in the process of forming the opinion Georgia has long deserved to enjoy in the family of nations around the Globe. This is why it has occurred to me that the Georgian book-launch in the busy days of the London Games is quite comparable to a successfully ending Olympic event. Speaking about the book itself, it has come out in both formats – hard-cover and paper-back. The translator of those Georgian short stories Elizabeth Heighway holds a BA in Philosophy and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and is currently studying for an MA in Translation Studies at the University of Birmingham. She usually translates into English from Georgian and French. The volume of contemporary Georgian Fiction — that is how the book s titled — brings together stories from twenty of the most influential living authors of Georgia. Spanning fifty years but, with a particular emphasis on post-independence fiction, – reads the jacket of the book – this collection features a diverse range of styles and voices, offering a window onto a vibrant literary scene that has been largely inaccessible to the English-language reader until now. With stories addressing subjects as diverse as blood feuds, betrayal, sex and drugs, it promises to challenge any existing preoccupations the reader might hold, and make available a rich and varied literary tradition unjustly overshadowed by the other ex-Soviet republics, until now. The presentation of the book was accepted with great enthusiasm by the attending audience. The book-launch ended in a reception with ample supply of Georgian food and drinks, including some of the famous Georgian wines.

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