The Portuguese Publishing Industry in Times of Corona (Podcast #19)

Portuguese publishing

The Portuguese Publishing Industry in Times of Corona (Podcast #19)

Episode #19 – Publisher Rita Fazenda Discusses the Lisbon Book Fair: A Breath of Fresh Air for the Portuguese Publishing Industry

By Marleen Seegers, Co-Founder of 2 Seas Agency and Host of The Make Books Travel Podcast

August 29, 2020

Portuguese Publishing

Rita Fazenda © Vitorino Coragem

For today’s show we’re going back overseas (at least from an American standpoint), as I’m speaking with Rita Fazenda, who works as a publisher at one of Portugal’s major publishing houses called Leya Portugal.

The Portuguese publishing market has seen many challenges over the years. I wanted to ask Rita how things are looking now, with the additional restraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

I’m happy to say that at least one good thing is happening at the moment, namely the Lisbon Book Fair which is held from late August till around mid-September. It is an important event for the Portuguese publishing industry, even more so now.

While it’s always been an outdoor event (even in normal, pre-pandemic times), I was curious to hear what its set-up looks like in times of Corona.

Besides the Portuguese publishing market and the Lisbon Book Fair, Rita and I discuss many other topics including the hardships of selling translation rights in Portuguese books.

Some of the questions I asked Rita during the interview:

  • How is the situation in Portugal currently, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Was there ever a complete lockdown this spring, like we’ve seen in Spain or Italy?
  • What was the state of the Portuguese publishing market before the pandemic started?
  • What has the impact of the pandemic been on your work at Grupo Leya?
  • What has happened since the start of the pandemic in terms of book sales in Portugal?
  • Did the Portuguese government launch any special grants or loans at the beginning of the pandemic to support publishing houses and authors, and in general the cultural sector, to help them in these tough times?
  • How do things look for the Portuguese publishing industry at the moment, at the end of the summer?
  • The Lisbon Book Fair: what does the set-up look like, in times of Corona?
Show Notes
  • Rita’s book recommendations:

Make Books Travel Podcast– William Gibson, Neuromancer (Ace, 1984; new hardcover edition with introduction by Neil Gaiman, Penguin Galaxy, 2016)
– Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others (Vintage, Reissue Edition, 2016; includes “Story of Your Life” which was the basis for the motion picture Arrival)

  • Information about translation grants for Portuguese titles:

Direção Geral do Livro, dos Arquivos e das Bibliotecas
Torre do Tombo, Alameda da Universidade
1649-010 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel: +351 21 003 7420 / +351 21 003 7422
Support for translation and promotion of authors:

  • About Rita:

Since Rita Fazenda was a little girl, books have been her passion. In fact, books were probably her best friends and certainly her window into the world. She started her career in communications agencies, and was in the first Portuguese company working with scriptwriting, actors, comedians, who she would represent as an agent, for several years. Then, life took her finally home, the world of publishing, where she’s been working for more than decade, in several Portuguese publishing houses, as a communications officer, an editor and foreign rights manager such as Objectiva and Marcador. Her work gave Rita the opportunity to know some amazing authors and to travel to find some awesome books. Now she’s a publisher in one of the major publishing houses in Portugal, Leya Portugal, and she’s thrilled. The little girl in her feels like a kid on a candy shop. Giving voice to authors it’s an out of this world experience. It’s a kind of magic. And Rita is a firm believer in magic.

Thank you for listening, and enjoy!

PS: If you are a publishing professional and are interested in participating in a new podcast episode, let us know!

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