The Ministry of Culture listens to the book sector – literature and publishing
Tuesday, January 10, 2023, the Minister of Culture, Sam Tanson, invited to sectoral meetings dedicated to the book sector – literature and publishing at the National Library. At the beginning of the discussions, Fabienne Gilbertz, scientific collaborator at the National Literature Center, presented a summary of‘Inventory of the book sector – literature and publishing which he did at the behest of the Ministry of Culture. In many discussions with professionals from all professions in the sector, from the author or author, through the publisher and book seller, to institutions such as libraries, export aid or research, he captured the strengths and weaknesses of a sector facing historical difficulties such as multilingualism or the smallness of the national market, and new challenges such as competition from e-commerce giants or the explosion of production costs.
As in previous sectoral conferences, guests discussed these developments, as well as the professional framework in the field of books, all under the moderation of Sébastien Thiltges (teacher-researcher at the University of Luxembourg). Elise Schmit (author and member of A:LL Scribbar*innen), Marc Binsfeld (publisher and vice-president of the Lëtzebuerger Bicherediteuren), Fernand Ernster (bookseller and honorary president of the Luxembourg Federation of Booksellers) and Béatrice Kneip (literary critic , RTL Lëtzebuerg) discussed recent and future developments in the book ecosystem. The round table format made it possible to bring out the constraints of various stakeholders in the book chain. For creative men and women, it is often first and foremost a question of finding a delicate balance between the time to devote to purely literary activity (often poorly paid) and other activities, such as readings , residence or a professional activity accessory, as explained by author Elise Schmit. Publishers and booksellers operate in a market subject to economic constraints, which puts Luxembourg books in direct competition, whether literary or non-fiction, with international publishing and has a direct influence on editorial decisions and commercial. Béatrice Kneip finally raises the question of the vocation of literary criticism in Luxembourg, positioning herself between promotional work for some and an exercise in qualitative judgment for others.
The second round table brought together Samuel Hamen (author and president of A:LL Scribner*innen), Ian De Toffoli (author and outgoing president of Lëtzebuerger Bicherediteuren), Nathalie Jacoby (director of the National Literature Center) , Valérie Quilez (coordinator International of Kultur|lx) and Jeanne Glesener (associate professor at the Institute of Luxembourg Language and Literature of the University of Luxembourg) on the subject of professional framework, salary and support for authors and other players of the sector. Samuel Hamen underscores the professional versatility that authors must use to monetize their writing. He pleaded for the introduction of supports extending over a longer period, thus filling the gaps and constraints imposed by ad hoc supports. Ian De Toffoli develops these reflections by putting forward the idea of structural support mechanisms, such as the press aid mechanism or the Film Fund. Nathalie Jacoby and Jeanne Glesener recalled the importance of research and transmission of knowledge to contextualize Luxembourgish literature, whether at the national or international level, and to relate it to world literature. Valérie Quilez recalled the accompanying role that Kultur|LX plays in the book ecosystem, supporting professionals in the sector in their international efforts.
These constructive and interesting exchanges will make it possible to determine the path to follow in terms of support and cultural policy.
As an interlude between the two discussions, author Tom Reisen suggests a reading titled writing on the mirror consisting of extracts from his “Discourse on Literature”, which has just appeared in the National Center for Literature series (volume 9).
Emphasizing the importance of exchange in the sector, the Minister of Culture noted that a critical and objective analysis of the sector as it stands today is absolutely necessary to estimate the path that still needs to be covered and to identify the steps that must be taken. took as well the role of each in this evolution. He emphasized the increase in the part dedicated to creation in the 2023 budget of the Ministry of Culture, and announced his desire to examine the possibility of a legal framework in the future that allows structural support for the book ecosystem and the edit. Meanwhile, the Minister encouraged initiatives aimed at opening the Luxembourg ecosystem to foreign players, such as the exchange of residences, or the introduction of international journalists to the national book sector. Finally, he recalled the main role played by our education system, not only in the transmission of knowledge and knowledge, but in the creation of an identity and an awareness of the literature of Luxembourg, period.
The State of playwhich meets recommendation no. 6 of Cultural development plan 2018-2028, should guide and inspire future cultural policy. Four of that State of play have been shown to the public, two of them can be used ase-book on the KEP site, one in the theater sector and the other in amplified music. The publication of those in classical music, the visual arts and the book sector respectively is scheduled for later this year.
Contacted the Ministry of Culture