TSWTC General Assembly 7th of May 2010 – Minutes

at the Writers’ and Translators’ Centre in Rhodes

present: Peter Curman, Janina Orlov, Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke, Hannu Niklander, Merete Jensen, Jacek Moskwa, Birute Jonuskaite, Marija Mazulyte, Monika Fagerholm.
Manana Dumbadze joined the meeting for the afternoon session, at 15.00.
Spyros Siropoulos from IWTCR was present at p. 6.


1. Meeting opened at 10.00 with a presentation round.
2. The agenda was adjusted and approved.
3. Peter Curman was elected chairman of the meeting, Monika Fagerholm elected secretary.
4. Activity report presented by TSWTC president Peter Curman.

The biggest venture during the mandate period was the planning of the Israeli-Palestinian conference with Israeli and Palestinian co-planners (Hannan Awwad from Palestine, Sami and Rachel Michael from Israel). Both IWTCR and TSWTC worked for this event to happen in October 2009, but due to the political situation which drastically changed for the worse in spring 2009 and the financial crisis (promised funding from the municipality of Rhodes) this meeting could not take place.

That year’s General Assembly which had been postponed in order to take place in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian meeting was also cancelled.

The Board of the Baltic Centre visited Rhodes center.

The TSWTC was  represented by vice president Lily Echarpoulou at the Athens Book Fair 2008. TSWTC arranged a round table at the fair: “The future of literary magazines in the age of the internet.”

The TSWTC has actively participated in the work with Helios Magazine:  Dalia Staponkute has worked with the editors: among other things put together a TSWTC section of “hot issues” (pieces on current themes and discussions in the literary field in the TSWTC countries).

Internal affairs: during the mandate period the work of the committee has been affected by problems of communication within the board, it had been more or less impossible to reach the treasurer. In December 2008 the board had to take a decision on opening a parallel bank account in Sweden.

Eventually, in spring 2010 the rest of the TSWTC money from the Danish account was transferred to the account in Sweden.

Decision: the bank account in Handelsbanken in Sweden will be the bank account of the TSWTC in the future.  It will not be a personal account, but registered in the name of the TSWTC (the treasurer, president and secretary given permission to use it).

Peter Curman: “the centre has evolved while the TSWTC has not.” The need to re-structure the committee and its ways of working.  See p.  7 and 8 for further discussion and decisions.

5. Treasurer’s report

In general: the finances are in order, balance on plus (saldo circa 9000 euros).
The need for more detailed reporting and budgets in the future.

The email report concerning the Danish account by treasurer Nina Gross was discussed: figures appear to be in order but there are no receipts.
The Handelsbanken account in Sweden (opened in 2008): an auditor’s report by Mikaela Strömberg was presented by Merete Jensen; everything OK.

Conclusion: the new board to make a list of organizations who have/have not paid their annual fees.
Proper budget in the future.

Better and more detailed financial reporting at GA in the future.

6. Activity report from the centre, Spiros Syropulos:

High activity, many visitors from many countries, around 60 people in all – the nine rooms are in constant use (detailed figures to follow later).

Translation workshops in German, Spanish.  Co-operation with the university of Madrid.

Taking authors and translators who come here to work to schools: the response of the schools has been amazing. The house in the city very much in use (5 500 children in all).

Not a month without an event or two organized by the centre.

Translators conference in June.

The next big thing will be The Rhodes Word Festival. An annual literary festival: the first time in September 2010.
Archive of the Italian occupation was found and is being restored.

In general: international activity, “we are opening up internationally”.

The centre was very excited about the Israeli-Palestinian conference. Unfortunately the finances of the municipality did not meet up (plus the political situation).

The centre has a new web page.

In general: the financial situation requires adjustments – the funding from the municipality is decreasing. Aim is to try to get the authorities to see the centre as a cultural investment (the financial crisis should not be a reason to cut down on civilization and culture).

The centre cannot afford to pay for travel tickets for the TSWTC.

How to bring money to the centre?

Needs to be a topic in the future.

What the centre expects from the TSWTC: continued co-operation in international matters, ideas, projects.

Decision: Peter Curman gave info on TSWTC:s  Kasdaglis Prize project. The first prize to a young rhodean author will be given out in May 2011 (1000 euros).
TSWTC will contribute to the Rhodes Word Festival.

7. Perspectives for the future of the TSWTC.

Situation, now:
1) Up until now the praxis (not formulated in the statutes) has been that both Turkey and Greece shall always be represented in the board. NOW: The Hellenic Society of Authors has decided to withdraw from the TSWTC, at least for the time being and none of the three Turkish member organizations has nominated a candidate for the new board.
2) Rhodes has announced that they no longer can afford to reimburse travel expenses for the board members. So in the future the TSWTC has to be ready to cover the travel costs by itself.
3) The sitting committee: 9 members + a co-opted treasurer a too huge number for working efficiently.  Many communication and coordination problems,  almost impossible to find suitable dates for all for board meetings twice a year.

Thus, for these reasons the number of the board members in the committee should be reduced. A permanent change would require a change of statutes which is a long process and the TSWTC cannot wait, the work of the committee needs to be continued without interruption. The GA decided that for the time being (on a a try out basis) the committee will be reduced in size to 5-6 members and there will be only one board meeting a year in Rhodes in connection with the GA in May.

The GA also decided on electing personal substitutes for every committee member.

The new board should make special efforts as with Turkey and Greece: three Turkish organizations are members of the TSWTC, maybe find new partners in Greece.

At 13.00 the meeting was adjourned for lunch.


8. Election of the new board 2010-2011. The election committee Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke (chairman) and Merete Jensen presented their proposition for a new board after having received nominations from the member countries; five members consisting, a mix of new and old (members of the sitting committee).

After a discussion and a vote the GA decided that the new committee (see also p. 7) will have 6 ordinary members: Manana Dumbadze (Georgia), Monika Fagerholm (Finland), Jacek Moskwa (Poland), Janina Orlov (Sweden), Dalia Staponkute (Lithuania) and Imre Török (Germany).

In addition, all members will have personal subsitutes. Zaza Gachelehiladze for Monika Fagerholm, Barbara Grzergorzewska for Jacek Moskwa, a swede (from one of the Swedish organizations) for Janina Orlov, for Litauzaras Degesys for Dalia Staponkute, Klaus-Jürgen Lietdke for Imre Török.

On the propostion of Mr Jacek Moskwa Peter Curman was elected honorary president of the TSWTC.

9. Country reports. See appendixes. In general: digital rights, author’s rights, difficulties in negotiations with publishers. Social security issues.
In many countries the effects of the financial crisis have been dramatic: public funding for culture has been drastically cut, many writers living in financial hardship.

10. TSWTC, new projects:
1)  The Annual Kasdaglis Prize to a young talented Rhodian author. A project with TSWTC, local and private sponsors.
The Prize will be 1000 euros.
Peter Curman announced that he will donate 1000 euro, Vassili Minaidis donates 1000 euro. The goal is to have 3000 euro as a base: this will guarantee funding for the 3 first years.
The board will decide on further details.
2)  TSWTC contributions to the Rhodes Word Festival further discussed, both as to the program and financial contributions.
TSWTC will send a proposition letter to IWTCR as soon as possible (based on these discussions and board meeting).
3) Proposition for new partners (Klaus-Jürgen Liedtke): Turkish Literary Translators, Turkey, Masters of Literary Translators, Russia.
Peter Curman: writers exchange with the House of Writers in Islamabad.
Peter Curman also informed the TSWTC of his hope to be able to arrange a cruise on the Israeli-Palestinian theme.

4) Rhodes Center: the daily fee for visitors of 7 euro.
to propose
– a reduction for writers and translators from the TSWTC member countries, e.g. 5 euros (and a little bit higher fee for visitors who don’t belong to the member organizations, maybe 10 euros)
– application: priority for writers and translators from TSWTC organizations.
– to inform IWTCR of the possibility to give out grants to writers who cannot afford to pay the fee through the mobility funds of EU.
– writers and translators applying for residence should get an answer in a reasonable time (not longer than one month)

11. The TSWTC membership fee for 2010 is 250 euro (the same as before).

12. Information on the Baltic Meeting in 2011 (Janina O.), Waltic in Istanbul (Orlov, Curman),  Virtual Baltic Sea Library (Klaus-Jürgen L.).

The meeting was closed at 18.15