Publication of the staff report on the outlook
In Bologna: KaBooks will be in Hall 29, B24
Othen she installed it KaBooks agency in Barcelona, Karolina Jaszecka says, “one of my basic principles was to represent only the books that I would like to have on my personal library, and I hope that everyone who browses my list of bologna rights [PDF] can notice its consistency.
AT Bologna Children’s Book Fair (from March 21 to 24), visitors to the show will find Jaszecka on the collective Polish stand (Hall 29, B24), and she will also be performing in Jacks Thomas’ Bologna Pound More program “Call Your Agent: How to Become a Successful Literary Agenton March 22 (Bologna Tuesday) at 10 a.m. CET.
“My tastes are rather closer to Dwie Siostry than to business literature,” she says, referring to the much-loved and decidedly quirky Warsaw publishing house. Dwie Siostry (Two Sisters) created by Jadwiga (Jadzia) Jędryas.
Originally from Poland and now based in Barcelona, Jaszecka’s specialization as a literary agent in the field of international rights lies in the distinctiveness of Polish work for young readers.
And the still-ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, says Jaszecka, has made it difficult to spot any concrete trends at this time.
“I think that in the rights business, we have lost the rhythm that we had thanks to the book fairs. We’ll see if we can get it back,” she said.
“There is always a strong demand for non-fiction books on nature, the environment, and original subjects,” she says. “Editors frequently ask about books explaining emotions. And I see a growing interest in comics for younger readers.
“A lot of space for the imagination”
Regarding the character of Polish literature for young readers, “I would say that a very strong point is that these books are really written for children,” she says.
One of KaBooks’ illustrators has become the winner of this year’s Bologna Illustrators’ Exhibition. “This is Marianna Sztyma, whom I am happy and proud to represent.”Karolina Jaszecka, KaBooks
“If there is a didactic message, it is well hidden. You can learn a lot of important things from books of chapters written, for example, by successful authors like Justyna Bednarek, Grzegorz Kasdepke, Tomasz Samojlik, but most of all you enjoy stories and feel a lot of emotions.
“And there’s plenty of room for the imagination.” This is especially true, says Jaszecka, in the illustration.
“Polish illustration is just wonderful,” she says. “It has a long tradition and many illustrators like Gosia Herba, Emilia Dziubak, Nikola Kucharska or Marcin Minor are known internationally. But there are still many more to discover. It’s so nice when I get a request from a foreign publisher: “Karolina, I love these illustrations, can you send me all the books of this illustrator for which you manage the translation rights?
Indeed, one of Jaszecka’s illustrators won this year’s prize Bologna Illustrators Exhibition. “It’s Marianna Sztyma, whom I’m happy and proud to represent,” says Jaszecka. As regular Bologna professionals know, Bologna Director Elena Pasoli is a staunch supporter and promoter of the illustrator’s special place alongside authors of children’s literature, and the fair’s 56th Illustrators’ Exhibition was produced 78 winners from 29 international markets.
In Polish non-fiction, says Jaszecka, “the information is usually very well prepared and documented because Polish readers are very demanding. If they discover an error, they write to the publisher or report it on social networks. I know plenty of cases like that.
“My dream place to live”
“Barcelona has always been the place where I dreamed of living. And since I am a translator and literary scout in Spanish and Catalan literature,” says Jaszecka. “I used to travel a lot between Poland and Spain “while I was still living in Poland.
“It takes a lot of patience, objectivity and understanding of the characteristics of different markets to suggest the right Polish book to a responsible person.”Karolina Jaszecka, KaBooks
“About seven years ago my family and I decided to pack up and move to Barcelona. So I worked there as a freelancer and also as a foreign rights agent in a prestigious Antonia Kerrigan agency, as well as with Planeta.
“Because people in the Spanish publishing world knew that I was Polish – Karolina, ‘la polaca’ – the publishers sometimes asked me questions about Polish books, authors, recommendations and even certain reading reports. J discovered that in Poland there was no literary agency specializing in children’s books. But the demand was enormous because, with a few major exceptions, such as Dwie Siostry, small independent publishers do not didn’t have their own foreign rights managers. I had the know-how.
“As a scout working with many agents, I knew exactly what kind of agent I would like to be. And setting up the agency in Barcelona was an added value, as it is at the heart of the world of Spanish-language publishing. Normally, however, I don’t stress that KaBooks is based in Barcelona, as I specialize in Polish books, which can be confusing.
The easiest part of his success, says Jaszecka, was persuading Polish publishers to collaborate. They trusted me, they were very open to all my suggestions, supported my work and had a lot of patience. Working with them is pure pleasure and I think that in these five years we have learned a lot from each other.
“The biggest challenges,” she says, “came up at the beginning when I had to organize my work, because I’m still actively researching and translating. But I am a woman and a very organized person, so I was able to divide my time between all the tasks.
Jaszecka says she is aware that even now there is “a kind of resistance to Polish literature. Some publishers think it’s very exotic. The language is strange. Sometimes the style of the illustrations is considered too sophisticated. It therefore takes a great deal of patience, objectivity and an understanding of the characteristics of different markets to suggest the right book to a responsible person.
“It’s a big challenge,” says Jaszecka, “but I also find it fascinating. I made my first contract almost a year after founding KaBooks, but now that book is translated into eight languages.
Her new challenge, she says, “is to directly represent a few selected authors and illustrators, with their new projects.”
“A smart tool”
Regarding Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, Jaszecka’s catalog includes a previously created list of relevant children’s literature from Poland, now universally acclaimed for its generous welcome of over 1.3 million Ukrainian refugees. , at the time of writing.
This list, titled “Big People’s Wars/Small People’s Stories”, includes Now our home is here by Barbara Gawryluk and Maciej Szymanowicz.
“I think these books can be a great tool to talk with children about many difficult topics related to conflict, refugees,” says Jaszecka.
“The stories are told from the perspective of children, and the protagonists come from different countries and live in different times. Some of them are fictional, some are true stories, especially those from World War II.
In Now our home is here, “A family has to flee Donetsk in 2014 to Poland,” says Jaszecka, “and the main protagonists, two boys, try to assimilate the idea that they will not return to Ukraine. They have to get used to a new house, a new school, children, which is not easy.
She says she also supports an initiative by the Wroclaw Municipal Library “to collect books already published in Ukrainian and Russian for use in workshops and events for refugee children.
“Many foreign publishers have free copies of different translations which usually gather dust on the shelves and now they can put them to good use.”
Find all our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing industry and players.
To learn more about Publishing Perspectives on Literary Agents, click here, to learn more about rights, click here. more information on the Bologna Children’s Book Fair here and more on children’s literature here
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