Books first

The new Goethe-Institut grant program aimed at U.S. publishers for the translation of contemporary German-language literature into English

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A wide range of activities in the areas of culture, economics, science and politics will be taking place in the United States from October 2018 to October 2019 as part of a planned “Deutschlandjahr in the U.S.A.” One aim of this endeavor is to communicate in an appealing way some of the manifold aspects of life in present-day Germany. To this end, Goethe-Institut has developed a varied and innovative program encompassing all spheres of cultural activity. The presentation of contemporary German-language literature will play a key role here. That’s why we’ve come up with BOOKS FIRST, a program for providing American readers with an array of new and interesting books from Germany.

U.S. publishers can apply as of now for grants supporting the translation into English of important works of German-language literature.

Up to two-thirds of translation costs will be covered based on a calculation of 25 euros per standard page. (One standard page is 1,800 characters including spaces or 30 lines of 60 characters each). The maximum grant amount is 10,000 euros, with 75% of each grant paid on conclusion of the contract.

Individual arrangements will be made for poetry, picture books and graphic novels.

Eligibility requirements:
  • Grants are available for
    • current German-language literary fiction, poetry, non-fiction books, children’s and young adults’ literature as well as graphic novels;
    • non-fiction books dealing with current, socially relevant topics.
  • A valid license agreement and a contract with a qualified translator must exist at the time of application.
  • The translation must be from the German original, which must already have been published in print.
  • Only projects that have not yet gone to press at the time the subsidy agreement is concluded will be considered for funding.
  • The American publisher is obligated to mention Goethe-Institut as a sponsor and print the logo of the Goethe-Institut (see contract for exact wording). Should this be neglected, Goethe-Institut reserves the right to not disburse the agreed-upon sum or to demand repayment.
Applications are accepted using an online application form starting now. Applications will be processed on an ongoing basis.

Are authors from Austria and Switzerland also eligible?
All German-language books published by German publishing houses can be considered. For publishers in Austria or Switzerland, please contact us directly if interested.
Are only newly licensed translations eligible?
Previously acquired translation rights for books originally published in 2015 or later are likewise eligible for funding.
Why are funding amounts for poetry, picture books and graphic novels not specifically stated?
Books with illustrations or little text per page are too varied to apply a set funding formula.