Thursday, 28 April 2011
With only two weeks to go before the AUTHORS LIVE event in Scotland, I'm busy planning exactly what to take, tell and draw. But my thoughts have been interrupted by two exciting things. Firstly, my editor Liz Johnson sent me a message from Florence where she was on holiday. In the Uffizi she saw copies of Katie books. I was thrilled but puzzled, for the books have never been translated into Italian. It turns out they stock the English editions in their gift shop. This is a practise that many international galleries seem to do, as English is the most universal language for their multi-lingual customers.
But in the same week I received advance copies of the new Japanese editions of the Katie books - which got me wondering why some countries translate the stories and some import them in English... But I have no conclusion to reach except that Asian countries are more inclined to translate that European ones.
The very first book, Katie's Picture Show was translated into French as "Drole de Tableaux". But none of the other books followed (I believe the same happened in Holland). Yet in Spain (where Katie becomes "Carlotta") almost all the books are translated into both Spanish and Catalan, while in Brazil and Portugese translation is available and Katie become "Erica". No other European countries have translated them - they all take the English edition.
In the Far East there are now Korean, Chinese Mandarin and Japanese editions. And it has taken 20 years for the latest rights to be sold. Interesting, then, that an old established series continues to have new life; I never expected new territories to be sold at this stage of the game.
Finally, a trick picture. "Katie's Sunday Afternoon" is not a new or forgotten title. It has, however, incurred the wrath of Amazon reviewers because it has been purchased along with "Katie and the Bathers". It is, in fact, the same book. Unfortunately, the American publisher insisted on a new title and cover as "bathing" in America apparently refers specifically to bath-time pursuits, not swimming in a river. So despite the established title of Seurat's painting, "The Bathers at Asniers", I had to bow down to Scholastic in New York and an internal illustration has been used to create "Katie's Sunday Afternoon".
Scholastic have not taken any further titles in the series since that book (2004) and the books are not routinely imported either, so I think they are pretty hard to purchase in stores in the U.S.
They can, of course, be sourced on the internet... should you have any gaps in your collection!