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Young Publishing Professionals in Brussels 2024: A Diary by Ellen Murray

Publishing Ireland is a proud member of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP). We recently had the opportunity to send Ellen Murray of Messenger Publications to Brussels as part of the Young Publishing Professionals programme 2024. You can read her diary from the trip below.


Young Publishing Professionals in Brussels 2024 was an incredible and joyous gathering of colleagues from all over Europe. Across a packed 2-day schedule, we dove into the issues of note affecting publishers in today’s climate of rapid technological advancement and stark political division, all the while being given the opportunity to absorb the beautiful and culturally diverse city of Brussels. It was truly a pleasure to connect with my fellow publishing professionals and amazing to see just how many countries were represented.

Upon arrival we all met for dinner and got to know each other in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere over burgers and beers! We then spent the next morning at the Hessen Representation, where our guides from FEP led us in illuminating group discussions focused on the application of AI to publishing, as well as the position and responsibility of publishers in an era of social change and unrest. These discussions were an invaluable insight into how these changes are manifesting across Europe, learning the similarities and differences in all our experiences thus far, sharing ideas for how best to tackle and embrace change, and our hopes for the future.

We spent the second half of our day at the European Parliament, with a tour of the building, insights into the EU’s processes and procedures, and a presentation and demonstration by a group of interpreters which gave a fascinating look into how language accessibility is achieved to enable free communication between representatives at European Parliament meetings. It was quite an insider experience stepping into the interpretation booth and seeing first hand how much intense mental focus is needed for the job of the interpreter, and how much work goes on behind the scenes to provide the clarity and comprehension we all take for granted.

On the second day of the conference, it was an honour for us all to hear from Ukrainian publisher Anna Yefimenko, and to be updated on the current publishing landscape in Ukraine. Anna addressed the embrace of escapism through reading in Ukraine, and how her publishing house has continued to encourage and further inspire this trend, working hard to promote native Ukrainian authors in the process; a true demonstration of human resilience and the power of books to lift us up in dark times.

Our second day also consisted of a talk on the Creative Europe campaign, full of useful resources and information on translation grants and how to contact our local Creative Europe branch, and information in the European Prize for Literature with a collaborative brainstorming session on ways to increase the prize’s visibility among publishers and to promote translations of its nominees and winners.

Overall it was a busy but extremely productive couple of days in Brussels, and while the various talks and visits and discussions were a privilege, the highlight was getting the opportunity to meet so many fantastic and passionate people from all over Europe, sharing our experiences and ambitions, and making memories.

A huge thanks to Publishing Ireland for putting me forward, and to FEP for organising and facilitating such a varied and enjoyable schedule of events.

By Ellen Murray

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