First anthology of Frisian literature in foreign translation worldwide

Swallows and Floating Horses

4 October 2018

This month a bilingual collection of Frisian literature in Frisian and English, almost 400 pages in length, will be published by UK-based Francis Boutle Publishers. It is the first anthology in the world to present a comprehensive range of Frisian prose and poetry past and present in translation. Swallows and Floating Horses will be launched in Boekhandel Van der Velde in Leeuwarden on Thursday 4 October.

Ernst Bruinsma, Alpita de Jong and André Looijenga, who compiled the anthology, have selected some 150 pieces by more than 120 authors that together give readers an impression of the history of Friesland and the Frisian language. The title, Swallows and Floating Horses, is taken from a poem by Tsjêbbe Hettinga.

The anthology is the result of an initiative by the Dutch Foundation for Literature, with the support of the Provincie Fryslân (the Dutch province of Friesland). The translations are the work of five renowned translators into English: Susan Massotty, David Colmer, David McKay, Paul Vincent and Michele Hutchison. In 2016 and 2017, with the support of the Foundation, the translators participated in intensive translation workshops in Frisian, and Frisian-Dutch translators Jantsje Post and Jetske Bilker supported them with translations into Dutch as a halfway house.

Previous anthologies of Frisian literature in translation were generally limited to contemporary poetry and/or stories. Swallows and Floating Horses *is the first to offer a broad historical overview of prose and poetry from all periods and all parts of northern Europe where Frisian is spoken and written. The book is the ninth in the series *Lesser Used Languages of Europe from Francis Boutle Publishers. Earlier volumes include anthologies from and in Welsh, Breton, Maltese and Occitan.

At the launch on Thursday 4 October at 5.30 p.m. in Boekhandel Van der Velde in Leeuwarden – cultural capital of Europe – Reinier Salverda, former director of the Fryske Akademy, will be joined by the compilers, the translators and the publisher of Swallows and Floating Horses to discuss the book. The general public is welcome to attend. Reservation recommended, via [email protected]