November 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
We have so, so much to be thankful for.
As the American holiday of Thanksgiving descends upon us (tomorrow!), we at Deep Vellum have much to be thankful for. And so let us take a moment and give thanks to everyone who has helped make 2014 such an incredible year for us so far. So without further ado, THANKS TO:
- THE AUTHORS who believe in Deep Vellum and who see, understand, and want to take part in the vision of our press, all those who have been willing to sign on with us—a new, startup, indie press based in Dallas of all places—at a very early stage. These authors and their books are the whole reason Deep Vellum was set up, to bring their voices, their worldviews, their humor, their wisdom, their gift of language and storytelling into English, which brings us to:
- THE TRANSLATORS, without whom none of us would be reading those amazing foreign authors. I was inspired to start Deep Vellum after translating a novel myself (Oleg Kashin’s Роисся Вперде, come on somebody publish this thing!), and have started Deep Vellum as a way to give the world’s great translators into English a platform through which to publish their work, and I’m thankful to all the translators who have signed on, trusting me, trusting Deep Vellum, respecting our mission, and an extra special thanks to all those translators who serve as tireless scouts, submitting translation ideas to publishers like me, expanding our horizons and making it all possible. Thank you. Mil gracias. Спасибо огромное. Merci beaucoups. Köszönöm.
- THE DONORS AND SUBSCRIBERS AND READERS. You are literally making Deep Vellum HAPPEN. Our first book is STILL technically not published and we have over one hundred subscribers and donors who have put their faith and their money behind our mission, and without you we couldn’t do it. We are still not exactly where we would like to be in the funding from an organizational standpoint—every startup worries about money, but none more so than a startup nonprofit, since there are NO startup funding opportunities for nonprofits like Deep Vellum (few, if any, grants available to startup nonprofits; no startup capital or angel investors). We need a significant donation or grant OR a ton of donations and subscriptions to help see the mission of Deep Vellum grow into 2015. And we are working tirelessly to build that funding so that we can be around for the long haul. Here in Dallas. Publishing great books. Promoting great literature and translation. AND for all those who have already given, already made the first book happen, who have signed on for 5- and 10-book subscriptions, THANK YOU. For your generosity, for your faith, for your open-mindedness, for your love of literature, for your love of the world. We do this for you, and couldn’t do it without you.
- ALL THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS who have been so supportive, lending ideas, help, sustenance, and coffee to the cause. Deep Vellum wouldn’t be here without the support of my wife, the willingness to take time and energy to mentor me from Chad Post, the advice and friendship of Deep Vellum’s board members, the sharing of contacts, time, and ideas from everyone I’ve met in Dallas and across the publishing business, and the Common Desk—the best damn place to work in Dallas.
With these thanks, if you are interested in donating, please consider a donation in any amount on #GivingTuesday, which is December 2nd this year. Originally started as a counterweight to the madness of Black Friday, #GivingTuesday is a way more positive and impactful outlet for giving back to the organizations in our communities who make amazing things happen on a daily basis, and who are in constant need of your support (way more than the corporate overlords who churn out and overhype so much ridiculous garbage this time of year).
We need your support. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation on #GivingTuesday by clicking the image below, it’ll take you to a Paypal page:
If you have not already, please take a moment to watch this video laying out we will use your donation to continue to publish great books and get people excited about translation and international literature:
And since we love you and since getting stuff around the holidays IS really cool, buy anything from our webstore on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and receive 20% off!! Use the code “DVTHXGVNG” at checkout to receive the discount from 12:00am on Thursday until 11:59pm on Friday. AHHHHHHH!!!! DISCOUNTS ARE COOL!!!!!!!!! YOU ARE COOL!!!!!!!
And last week I traveled to New York on the invitation of the Americas Society for their talk with Carmen Boullosa and Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, moderated by Nicolas Kanellos of Arté Publico Press, and for the launch of the new issue of Review Magazine of Literature & Arts in the Americas published by the Americas Society. While in NYC, I took the opportunity to meet with sellers and event coordinators at some of the city’s finest bookstores, including Community Bookstore in Park Slope; WORD in Greenpoint; McNally Jackson in SoHo; and the breathtaking Albertine Books on the Upper East Side (which is inside the French Consulate & only sells French books in French & in English translation). Somewhere in there I squeezed in a meeting with Sean Bye of the Polish Cultural Institute to talk about a possible really really cool project we might work on together. And I also managed to make it to the launch party for the new issue of Music & Literature at the Scandinavia House just in time to miss what was an incredible program, but still had a great time catching up with M&L’s staff (with a surprise appearance by Daniel Medin!!!!!) and I even got to meet Naja Marie Aidt, the incredible Danish author published by Two Lines Press & Open Letter Books. And from NYC I flew to San Antonio for the ASEEES Convention (the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) to present on a panel called “Non-Academic Careers for Humanities Specialists,” which I’m always glad to do, as it’s a bit of a passion of mine to talk about the multifaceted career paths open to humanities degree holders like myself. And in San Antonio I caught up with Carol Apollonio (my professor, mentor, and friend at Duke, and translator of The Mountain and the Wall by Alisa Ganieva), met Michael Naydan (the Ukrainian translator and professor at Penn State), discussed some new publishing projects and ideas with others . . . It was a damn good trip. I am tired.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
November 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
The end of 2014 is drawing nigh, and it feels like 2015 is going to be the Year of Deep Vellum.
Now, more than ever, we need your support. We are building something special in Dallas, but we have so much more to do: more books to publish, more events to organize, more workshops and readings to plan, more outreach to the community to engage in. And we can’t do it without the support of individuals like you. Every dollar amount helps, we are using the video below to launch a serious end-of-year fundraising campaign that will leave Deep Vellum on firm footing as we start 2015, able to commit to ever-greater and more ambitious books and projects, all to put the mission in action, taking literature to the people, bringing translation into greater prominence in our culture.
Please take a moment to watch this fundraising video we produced under the direction of Ardis Campbell, a dear friend to Deep Vellum, and one of the creatives who make Dallas such a unique and inspiring place to live, work, and play, and please consider making a donation to Deep Vellum or purchasing a subscription:
2014 has been a thrilling ride, and you’ve made it all possible so far: we have published our first book; signed with an incredible distributor, Consortium; hosted numerous literary events, including translator Sean Cotter reading poems of Nichita Stănescu & prose by Mircea Cărtărescu, and John Darnielle reading from his National Book Award-nominated debut novel; hosted launch parties in New York City (at a Texas BBQ joint) and in Dallas; been invited to and participated in editors’ trips to Germany, the Netherlands, and South Korea; traveled to and spoke on panels at the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs; had our very first author participate in the Texas Book Festival (a goal when starting this press); spoke on panels at literary festivals around the country. And we’re just beginning. With your support, we can continue to change the world from right here in Dallas.
Every dollar you donate to Deep Vellum or spend on a book or a subscription goes towards furthering Deep Vellum’s mission: to signing authors, publishing their books, and paying the translators, as well as organizing literary events we present in Dallas, like Valerie Miles’ (editor of A Thousand Forests in One Acorn from Open Letter Books, 11/19) and Marian Schwartz’s (translator of a new edition of Anna Karenina from Yale University Press, 12/10) upcoming events at The Wild Detectives, plus events in other cities we help present, like Carmen Boullosa’s discussion with Rolando Hinojosa-Smith at the Americas Society in New York City on November 19th. Your support has allowed us to be bold, ambitious, driven, yet committed wholly to the mission of building an engaged readership for literature around the world.
And your support is not going unnoticed, we are being recognized by national publications: last week Flavorwire named Deep Vellum one of the “Top 5 Small Presses Changing the Face of the Industry” (!!) along with our friends Fitzcarraldo Editions and Two Lines Press, and amazing projects (and new friends) Dorothy Project and Triple Canopy. From the Flavorwire description of Deep Vellum:
If the translation scene in American literature is rapidly improving, it’s in part because of the energy and effort of publishers like Will Evans, whose Deep Vellum Publishing will release its first book in December. Deep Vellum promises to produce high-quality translations of must-read books, but that’s not the whole story. Based out of Dallas, Texas, Evans and co. are out to prove that translated literature can and should resonate in broader America. And their first title is something of a mission statement. Imagine Texans reading Texas: The Great Theft, a Carmen Boullosa borderland novel about the Mexican invasion of Texas.
Also last week our distributor Consortium had their sales meetings in lovely Minneapolis. It is an incredible feeling to be a part of such a wonderfully diverse and accomplished group of publishers all distributed by Consortium, to sit in the same room and listen to stories and ideas from Copper Canyon Press, City Lights Books, Akashic Books, Biblioasis, Coach House Books, Open Letter, And Other Stories, Zephyr Press…and MORE, it was inspiring and the sense of belonging I felt was palpable—I built Deep Vellum’s business plan around being distributed by Consortium, and to be there before our first book even comes out is both a sign of Deep Vellum’s ambitions and how far we’ve already come as it is a sign that Consortium is willing to take risks on small and independent publishers like few others.
Plus, the sales meetings were awesome because I got to catch up with my bromance best friend and mentor (and without whom Deep Vellum would not exist), Chad Post of Open Letter Books, who had just flown in straight from the Sharjah Book Fair (Sharjah being one of the Emirates, next to Dubai, and they have a huge book fair that attracts a lot of international publishing industry folks through various programs, fellowships, and grants), and who went home to Rochester for like two days before flying to the ALTA conference going on right now in Milwaukee (wish I was there!). But we got to catch up and talk about life, books, gossip, family, and how he’s growing his beard out in support of Deep Vellum’s first book. Here we are at Consortium’s cocktail party for all the publishers who were in town in their amazing offices in the Keg House Arts Building:
So booksellers, get to ordering our books from the fine folks at Consortium; copies of Texas: The Great Theft are in the warehouse and will ship immediately. Pitol is coming in March. Garréta & Gnarr in April. It’ll all be in your lovely Deep Vellum Spring 2015 Catalog, which will be coming to you all along with Consortium’s Spring 2015 catalog. And our catalog will look like this (not the pretty lady on the left, rather the pretty catalog in her hands!):
Download the Deep Vellum Spring 2015 Catalog (PDF) by clicking the image below:
In closing, here’s a cool story about how our friends (and inspiration and fellow Consortium-distributed publisher) And Other Stories find the translations they publish based on their amazing reading groups, which they started to take up the Finnegan’s List challenge issued by the European Society of Authors of getting more people reading and engaged with foreign literatures. AOS’s reading groups are inspiration to me, and I hope to start something similar here in the near future as well:
As ever, our reading groups have multiple purposes: we want to hear more about books we can’t read for ourselves; we want to hear a range of readers’ opinions of them and to read samples in translation so we can consider them for publication; we also want to make these opinions and samples available to all, including other publishers who may decide they want to publish these books. In short, these groups are our answer to the Finnegan’s List challenge.
Thank you all for your support, it’s such an exciting time for us. We do this for you, and couldn’t do it without you!
October 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
BACK from Carmen Boullosa’s incredible book tour across the state of Texas. Five days. Six readings. Four cities. Hundreds and hundreds of readers reached. Copies of TEXAS for sale across the state now ahead of the December publication date. The tour was unbelievable. Thank you to everyone who came to a reading, who put on the events, who planned the festivals, who teach the kids, who love to read…it was amazing!
Back in the Dallas world, join me tomorrow night for a discussion of the future of books, of reading, and literary life at the Allen Public Library with my good friend Mike Merschel. This talk should be super interesting and engaging. It’ll be a good way to learn a little bit about how the wide-ranging publishing industry works, and hell, I’ll probably learn as much as anybody in the room by listening to Mike speak and answer your questions:
What will come of books? Of book reviews? Of reading? Michael Merschel, editor of book- related articles for The Dallas Morning News, and Will Evans, founder of Dallas’ Deep Vellum Publishing, offer their insights on book trends at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Allen Public Library.
And if you are in New York City, make sure to head to McNally Jackson at 8pm tonight as Carmen Boullosa & the translator of TEXAS, Samantha Schnee (a native Texan who now lives in London), discuss the book and the translation process as part of the amazing Bridge Series, sponsored the PEN American Center.
While in Austin over the weekend, a wonderful article ran by Liliana Valenzuela about how few Mexican works of literature are translated and published in English. The article originally ran in Spanish in the Austin American-Statesman’s ¡Ahora Si! Spanish-language supplement (available here), and then ran in English in the paper over the weekend (read the article in English here). I particularly like this article because it is: A) In the Metro/Life/Community portion of the paper; B) It talks about the larger issue of how few works of literature are published in translation; and C) It features a prominent and awesome photo of Carmen as the centerpiece to this short but powerful look at the issue of literature in translation (okay, secretly I like that I got a couple good quotes in, including the “That’s absurd!” and the last paragraph, I love it):
I’m knee-deep in the editing process for all of the amazing spring novels we are putting out, and I’m getting a crash-course in literary history from Sergio Pitol in the process. This is so amazing. Signed a new author from Morocco I keep teasing, can’t wait to tell you all about him soon. More authors, more books, more info, more everything coming soon.
And for those who are curious, we are developing a new website that we hope to have live sometime in late 2014. Or early 2015. But it’ll be awesome. Just you wait. I promise. Seriously.
In the meantime, I took tons and tons of pictures on Carmen Boullosa’s Texas book tour, but here are some highlights from an unforgettable week. Thank you to everyone, again, who came out, who bought a book, who supported literary culture in Texas. Y’all are amazing. Don’t miss out, order your copy of TEXAS from me, or head to one of these fine bookstores to buy a copy in person (The Wild Detectives in Dallas; The Twig in San Antonio; Brazos Bookstore in Houston; Barnes & Noble Arboretum in Austin; McNally Jackson in NYC), preorder on Amazon, or wait until December and buy the book from your favorite local indie store!!!
October 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
COPIES OF TEXAS HAVE LANDED!!
If you are a subscriber or have preordered a copy of TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT, your copy is in the mail (and if you live in Dallas, you should receive no later than Tuesday the 20th). The bookstores where Carmen is reading in the next week will all have copies onsale by the end of this week (that is: Brazos Bookstore in Houston; The Twig Book Shop in San Antonio; and McNally Jackson in NYC; and they’re already onsale at The Wild Detectives and will be available at the Texas Book Festival in Austin all weekend).
Reminder, Carmen will be reading in Dallas TWICE this week, once Tuesday night at the Mexican Consulate in honor of the Mexico Institute’s 31st annual Day of the Spanish Language Celebration, and on Wednesday night at the Wild Detectives at 7pm.
And don’t forget to catch Carmen across Texas all week!
- Tue. Oct. 21 – Consulate General of Mexico – Dallas, TX – 6:30pm
- Wed. Oct. 22 – The Wild Detectives – Dallas, TX – 7pm
- Thu. Oct. 23 – The Twig Book Shop – San Antonio, TX – 7pm
- Fri. Oct. 24 – Brazos Bookstore – Houston, TX – 7pm
- Sat. Oct. 25 – Texas Book Festival – Austin, TX – 4:15pm
In fun Dallas news, just after receiving the cartons of books Friday morning, I delivered books to Joel Garza’s Senior AP Lit class at Greenhill School, who will be reading the book the next two weeks, and who will be receiving a visit from Carmen herself Tuesday morning to discuss the themes of the book:
On the note of books, effective November 1, Deep Vellum will be distributed to the publishing trade by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution. This means stores can order Carmen Boullosa’s TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT to receive copies ahead of its December publication date (the warehouse will receive its copies mid-week this week).
Readers, you may ask what this note about distribution means for you. The answer, in short, is that being distributed by Consortium means not only are our books available to a wider bookstore & retail audience (from Amazon & B&N to your favorite local indie), but we also share distribution with some of our favorite independent publishers, like Akashic Books, Open Letter Books, Coffee House Press, And Other Stories, New Vessel Press, & more. Consortium is an independent distributor for independent publishers based in Minneapolis (dear, beloved, uber-literary Minneapolis, home to so many good publishers and readers). We are in good company, and this distribution arrangement means that YOU can get your hands on the best books easier than ever before. Indie style. Literary style.
We’ve had some pretty amazing press news as of late too!!
Thank you to my friends at Brazos Bookstore for writing a very nice profile of Deep Vellum in the leadup to our first event together, Carmen Boullosa’s reading at their store next Friday, October 24. And plus, this profile has one of the best titles I’ve yet heard,”The Depths of Deep Vellum.” Here’s a snippet:
Now, Deep Vellum is on the verge of releasing its first title, TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT. It’s the most recent work from Carmen Boullosa, an author that Robert Bolaño once called “Mexico’s greatest woman writer.” Unsurprisingly, Post and Open Letter played an integral part in bring this book to Evans’ attention. They passed on the title, but they made sure that Evans knew about it, thinking it would be a perfect fit for Deep Vellum. They were right. It’s a more than fitting first title for a small press in the Lone Star State.
Over the weekend, the Dallas Morning News, our daily newspaper, ran Mercedes Olivera‘s profile of Deep Vellum with a short interview with Carmen talking about TEXAS and her upcoming readings in town. You can click the picture below to access the article online as well:
In Frankfurt news, this was my third time attending the Frankfurt Book Fair, and by far the most rewarding fair I’ve had yet. One of the highlights of the Fair consisted of making my first in-person offer for two books by a remarkable author I’ll tell you about once the deal terms are finalized (another unbelievably great author expanding the global vision of our editorial mission, and yet another example of one of the world’s greatest authors who will appear in English translation for the first time through Deep Vellum). Other highlights of the Far included spending a great deal of time with Eduardo Rabasa of Sexto Piso, one of my favorite Mexican indie publishers (along with Almadia and Ediciones Era), and the ladies from the Pontas Agency, who had a breakthrough hit at the Fair with huge international sales for Milena Busquets’s THIS TOO SHALL PASS, and from whom I’ve bought Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s TRAM 83 and Leila S. Chudori’s HOMECOMING. Another highlight was meeting the legendary agent Andrew Wylie for the first time at the Suhrkamp party, and then meeting renowned author and editor at Italy’s Adelphi publishing house, Roberto Calasso, the same night as well. A wonderful experience, as always. Attending the Frankfurt Book Fair provides me the inspiration and energy to last me through the year, inspiring me to dream big, to publish the best authors possible, and to build a committed readership of literary works. I love going to Frankfurt! Plus now I have an insane amount of reading and prep work to do to get ready to publish the books I heard about at this fair (and the books I’ve heard about in fairs past that are now making more and more sense for my list…).
Plus, this year’s Frankfurt trip was twice as nice since I got to see not only one of my translators (Roland Glasser, who lives in London & who’ll be translating TRAM 83), but I got to see two Deep Vellum authors as well. I flew in to Holland the weekend before the book fair and got to meet with Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, who lives in Genoa, Italy but who just so happened to be in Holland the weekend before Frankfurt, so we met up in Leiden at the only bar that still allows you to smoke indoors in Leiden (or perhaps all of Holland, the Dranklokaal WW, a bar that Peter of De Arbeiderspers, Ilja’s Dutch publisher, and I commiserated about meeting Ilja inside, coming out reeking of smoke, and which also happens to be just around the corner from Ilja’s Dutch flat).
I was also thrilled that my dear friend Mikhail Shishkin was attending the book fair to meet with his German publishers (DVA) and to read at the fair itself. For the second time in my three years of going to Frankfurt, I met up with Shishkin at his dinner with his German publishers (and thanks be to their entire team for letting me join them, and for cultivating Shishkin’s oeuvre so well over the years, and for sharing such an awesome author with us!).
Look forward to seeing you all at Carmen’s readings across Texas this week, please don’t forget to preorder or subscribe, orders are shipping now as they come in. And copies of TEXAS will be in stores across the world December 2, just in time for your holiday wishlists!!
October 2, 2014 § 1 Comment
Hello from ebola-stricken Dallas!
Yes, we are safe, yes, we are sound, yes, we are happy to be heading to Europe for the next two weeks while the grips of hysteria strike the city…well, things aren’t so bad. The Cowboys are playing good football (for the first time in years), so the hysterical masses’ fears have been dampened somewhat…
The Texas Book Festival schedule has been announced! Come see Carmen Boullosa talk at 4:15pm in Capitol Extension Room 2.016 with Broadus Spivey, Jesse Sublett, and Cynthia Leal Massey. Their topic: “TELLING THE TEXAS STORY: TRUTH AND FICTION IN LONE STAR HISTORY.” This is going to be good…damn good.
In other amazing news, we’ve confirmed another reading for Carmen in Dallas, this one for the International Day of the Spanish Language celebration the night of October 21 at the Mexican Consulate, presented by The Mexico Institute. Check out Deep Vellum’s EVENTS CALENDAR for up-to-date information on readings by all of our amazing authors all over the world!!
In more amazing good news for Carmen, the first review of Texas: The Great Theft is in this month’s D Magazine (for those in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, pick up a copy, it’s the “Medical Miracles” cover), written very thoughtfully by Zac Crain. “Boullosa deals with serious issues (mostly the racism on the U.S. side, but does so with humor, using a sugar cube rather than a stick to get her point across. It’s historical fiction, but it feels like current events.” Thank you Zac & to all the staff of D Magazine for being so supportive of Deep Vellum’s launch and books, I love the work they do and that they let me shamelessly borrow their operational motto: “Making Dallas even better.”
And as a buried update here under this review, I am holding in my hands (in between typing) the printed proof copy of Texas from McNaughton & Gunn, the printers we are using to print this book AND IT LOOKS AMAZING. We are submitting the order today, and will have copies in time for Carmen’s readings in Texas and New York at the end of the month. Subscribers and pre-orders will get their books by the end of the month. Thank you for your patience, we couldn’t do it without you!!
In other great news, we are announcing, just in time for Frankfurt, the signing of two new books (and hopefully a third, keep your fingers crossed…) by a couple of AMAZING authors. The first, legendary Argentine author Ricardo Piglia‘s Target in the Night (translated by Sergio Waisman).
Target in the Night is one of the most powerful novels you will ever read, and justifiably received every honor a single novel can win in the Spanish language world after it was published by Anagrama in 2010: it won the Romulo Gallegos Prize, the National Critics’ Prize, and the newspaper El País selected it as the best novel written in Spanish from anywhere in the world that year. Target in the Night is a psychological and political thriller that opens up new dimensions in what the novel can do and say as a form. The plot description from the website of Schavelzon & Associates, the wonderful agents we worked with to sign this groundbreaking novel:
“A passionate thriller in which the madness of the detective, a retired police captain, is integral to his solving mysteries. An intense and tragic family history, with echoes of King Lear, set in a small town in the Argentinean Pampas. The return of Emilio Renzi, one of the greatest characters in recent Argentinean literature, who in his maturity recalls, with a certain skeptical nostalgia, his past adventures. A profound reflection on power and justice. An exceptional novel.”
Seriously, this is an AMAZING book in an AMAZING translation, and Piglia is a VERY important author in Latin American literature who has had a couple of his books published in English already by Granta (Money to Burn), Duke University Press (Artificial Respiration), and Latin American Review Press (Assumed Name). This is the first book by Piglia to appear in English since 2000, and we could not be more proud to publish it. We would love to continue this remarkable author’s novels for years to come, and keep your fingers crossed that he wins the Cervantes Prize in April…we will publish Target in the Night in November 2015.
The second novel we signed is Homecoming, an unparalleled epic historical novel spanning Indonesia’s last fifty years written by Leila S. Chudori, one of the most powerful storytellers and important journalists in Indonesia today (translated by John H. McGlynn—one of the founders of the Lontar Foundation, which promotes Indonesian literature & culture, in part by translating and publishing English translations of Indonesian literature).
Homecoming is both a family saga and a story of exile and homecoming, set against the background of historical events in Paris and Indonesia. These events include two dark and violent periods of Indonesia’s history: the 1965 communist purge that marked the rise of the longest-serving Indonesian president Soeharto, and his fall in 1998.
The novel has been described by The Jakarta Globe as “an epic, an ambitious slab of fiction crammed with a rich and diverse cast of characters whose lives have been swept along by Indonesia’s dramatic and at times extremely tragic contemporary history.(…) A wonderful exercise in humanism. It is first and foremost a story about love, passion as well as a sensual — almost primordial — attachment to the land. (…) Chudori balances the grand and bloody national narrative with an intimate and deeply-felt evocation of how the drama and violence of those years and indeed of the subsequent Reformasi period was played out family by family, individual by individual. On a certain level, Homecoming is also an extended love letter to Indonesia, an evocation of a mood, a state of mind and a place.”
If you watched and were moved by Joshua Oppenheimer’s incredible documentary The Act of Killing last year, or have been following the election of the populist (and first non-military) President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (whom I love and have been following because he’s a metalhead like me!), this novel will help illuminate a remarkable and tragic history from a very beautiful and moving story, told through vignettes spanning Jakarta to Paris and everywhere in between. Leila spent six years researching this novel, including numerous interviews with the owners of Restaurant Indonesia in Paris, which became a home-away-from home for those exiled after the anti-Communist purge in 1965 (whose players in that mass murder, still alive and celebrated as national heroes in Indonesia today, were the central characters in The Act of Killing). We acquired this breathtaking novel from the Pontas Agency (who also represent Fiston Mwanza Mujila!), and we will publish Homecoming in October 2015, just in time for Indonesia’s turn as Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair next year!!
More information to come on both of these books in coming days, I’ll try to write out their stories of how I found out about them and acquired them (many readers of this blog enjoy such stories, and I rather like telling them, it gives credit to the nebulous web of amazing people who put publishers like me in contact with amazing books!).
I am flying off to the Netherlands tomorrow to visit with Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, we are getting together in central Leiden this weekend to talk about the translation and marketing of his Libris Literaatuur Prijs-winning novel La Superba, which we are publishing in Michele Hutchison‘s translation in February or March 2016. If you are in Holland, Pfeijffer is in the country to read at the Geen Daden Maar Worden Festival this Saturday night in Rotterdam, check it out (Ilja reads at 23:00, but get to there early [by 22:20] to hear Philip Huff read too! I met him in Amsterdam this summer and he is a bright, rising star in Dutch literature [and a totally sweet dude to boot]). I get to Frankfurt Monday afternoon. The madness begins Tuesday morning. I can’t wait to see you all there!!!!
September 18, 2014 § 1 Comment
For this year’s North Texas Giving Day,
please consider donating to Deep Vellum.
North Texas Giving Day, now in its sixth year, has become one of the leading fundraising opportunities for our area’s nonprofits every year. This year, Deep Vellum will be participating in North Texas Giving Day through our fiscal sponsor, The Writer’s Garret.
Making a tax-deductible donation to Deep Vellum via
The Writer’s Garret on North Texas Giving Day is easy:
- Click this link (or the picture above) to The Writer’s Garret’s page for North Texas Giving Day
- Write in “Deep Vellum” in the memo/info field
- Email deepvellum[at]gmail[dot]com & let us know you donated (this ensures your donation goes to Deep Vellum for accounting purposes)
- Voila! Your donation will be recorded as part of our fundraising efforts, and every donation over $25 qualifies Deep Vellum and The Writer’s Garret for additional funds from matching donors and foundations, making a huge impact simultaneously for two of the best literary organizations in North Texas!
- NOTE: All donations received at $1,000 and above will qualify you for Deep Vellum’s elite donor group, the Liga del Siglo. Liga del Siglo members receive special benefits, including the first five Deep Vellum titles, customized bookplates in their books, invitations to special events with Deep Vellum authors and translators, and more. If you have questions about the Liga del Siglo, please feel free to ask.
For more information on this special fundraising opportunity, here are some important North Texas Giving Day FAQs from their website:
Who can donate?
Anyone with a credit card and access to the internet.What is a “unique donor”?
For the purposes of awarding prizes, a unique donor is one individual or corporation/business. Multiple donations from one donor to the same nonprofit will count as one gift. Organizations cannot donate to themselves.What forms of donations are accepted?
MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express donations received through NorthTexasGivingDay.org website on Giving Day will be multiplied on a prorated basis. No donations via check, cash or stock will be accepted. Donor-advised fundholders at Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation and Community Foundation of North Texas may recommend grants from their funds.Are gifts tax-deductible?
All donations are tax deductible and irrevocable and will be for the unrestricted use of your chosen charity.Is there a minimum gift?
There is no minimum gift, however, to qualify for bonus funds there is a minimum donation of $25. All donations up to $50,000 will receive bonus funds. For donations $50,000 or more, only the first $50,000 will quality for bonus funds.Can my company match my Giving Day gift?
Yes! Make your gift, complete your company’s matching form and follow your company’s matching procedures as usual. When your company sends their matching gift to Communities Foundation of Texas, we will send a check to the nonprofits you supported. NOTE: Corporate matching gifts are NOT eligible for Giving Day bonus funds and prizes.
One of the reasons I established Deep Vellum as a nonprofit in Dallas is because of this city’s remarkable nonprofit community (in all sectors, from arts to health to education). Generous local donors and foundations in North Texas support the vitality of the nonprofit sector like few other cities in the world. North Texas Giving Day is one of the most visible and outstanding examples of our local spirit of support—in just five years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $60 million into the North Texas community. In 2013, more than 75,000 gifts, totaling $25.2 million, benefited more than 1,350 nonprofits. This year over 1,600 nonprofits are participating!
As a nonprofit publishing house with a mission to enrich the North Texas community through publishing translated literature, promoting translation, and hosting regular literary events and workshops, Deep Vellum is sustained by the support of generous donors like you. Every little bit helps, and every donation at $25 and above will be amplified by over $2 million in bonus funds and prizes. And every donation, no matter how big or small, is 100% tax-deductible.
If you are interested in supporting additional literary and literacy organizations in Dallas that help further Deep Vellum’s mission one way or another, I encourage you to support the following organizations:
- The Writer’s Garret (even beyond their work as our fiscal sponsor, The Writer’s Garret are one of the longest-lasting and most impactful literary organizations in all of North Texas for writing workshops, readings, and children’s literary education)
- WordSpace (partners on many events with Deep Vellum, a wonderful resource for diverse literary events)
- Friends of the Dallas Public Library (advocating for a more engaged, enriched, and active public library for Dallas)
- LIFT (Literacy Instruction for Texas) (providing unparalleled, impressive adult literacy education in a city with a 25% adult illiteracy rate, with outstanding results)
- Big D Reads (uniting the city by reading a book together & hosting a month of events around the book)
Thank you for your support of the literary arts in North Texas, your donations, subscriptions, purchases, clicks, views, blog posts, tweets, and word of mouth support means the world to us, we cannot do it without you, and together we will build the more awesome world we all want to see. Thank you.
September 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
Carmen Boullosa’s Texas book tour is announced, featuring her appearance at this year’s Texas Book Festival!
In conjunction with last night’s announcement of the Texas Book Festival’s lineup of authors, Deep Vellum is proud to announce that Carmen Boullosa is coming to Texas for a week at the end of October for a series of talks and readings across the state to promote the release of Texas: The Great Theft, culminating in her appearance at the Texas Book Festival. You don’t want to miss this, dates below:
Wed. Oct. 22 – The Wild Detectives – Dallas, TX – 7pm
Thu. Oct. 23 – The Twig Book Shop – San Antonio, TX – 7pm
Fri. Oct. 24 – Brazos Bookstore – Houston, TX – 7pm
Sat. Oct. 25 – Texas Book Festival – Austin, TX – TBA
The full, incredible lineup of authors at this year’s Texas Book Festival is finally up! If you’ve never been to Austin for the Texas Book Festival, this is the year to go. Not only is the lineup amazing, but it is truly one of the most inspiring and rewarding literary festivals you will ever experience. The readings are held in the halls and chambers of the awe-inspiring Texas Capitol building in downtown Austin, with tents of vendors, music, food, signings, and more stretching blocks upon blocks as the streets are shut down for pedestrian traffic only.
I don’t know how my friend Steph Opitz books this amazing festival (275 authors! 40,000 attendees! Streets shutdown! Readings in the Texas Capitol!), but bless her for it. From last night’s press release:
Nationally renowned authors coming to this year’s Festival include Martin Amis, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Norman Lear, Lidia Bastianich, Ziggy Marley, James Ellroy, Katherine Applegate, Nicholas D. Kristof, John Dean, Valerie Plame Wilson, and Héctor Tobar.
Headlining authors also include Charles Blow, Emily St. John Mandel, Michael Ruhlman, Douglas Brinkley, Richard Linklater, Francisco Goldman, Meg Wolitzer, Jacqueline Woodson, and Sarah Bird. The entire list of authors is available online at http://www.texasbookfestival.org/authors.
“This year is bigger than ever, with more authors, more titles, and more sessions. It wasn’t that we intentionally set out to make it bigger, it’s that there were so many fantastic submissions we fell in love with this year that we had to make more room,” says Steph Opitz, Festival literary director.
In addition to the amazing headlining authors mentioned above, and Carmen Boullosa, of course, authors of particular interest to Deep Vellum fans at the festival include (alphabetically): Forrest Gander (whose new book is coming out from New Directions this fall), Rolando Hinojosa-Smith (winner of last year’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBCC, and he’s published by Houston’s amazing Arte Publico), Valeria Luiselli (Mexican writer who lives in NYC, whose Faces in the Crowd, published by Coffee House, is the revelation of the year), Greil fuckin’ Marcus (!), Eimear McBride (whose mindblowing 2013 Goldsmiths Prize-winning A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing was just published in the US by Coffee House), Kseniya Melnik (whom I’ve never heard of, but clicked on her name because she’s Russian, found out she was born in Magadan [!] and now lives in El Paso!!), Walter Mosley (!), Josh Ostergaard (a good dude who works at the inimitable Graywolf Press and whose new novel, The Devil’s Snake Curve, is awesome because it is 1) about baseball; and 2) it is published by Coffee House!), Ilan Stevens (since he’s one of the founders of the cool Restless Books), Merritt Tierce (representing Dallas[!!!!] and her new novel, Love Me Back), and David Yow (he of The Jesus Lizard and cat books fame, published by my friends at Akashic Books!).
See you in Austin in October!
August 28, 2014 § 1 Comment
It’s been a damn good week for Deep Vellum and our authors!
First off, do not forget to subscribe or donate to Deep Vellum by September 1 to receive recognition for your support inside the first book we publish, Carmen Boullosa’s TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT, which is going to press in a week or two!! Subscriptions will still be available after September 1, but your support will be noted in the second book we print (Sergio Pitol’s The Art of Flight) and in books thereafter for the duration of your subscription.
If you live in Texas and especially if you will be in Austin this Labor Day weekend, Jón Gnarr will be performing at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, performing a different set every night:
Jón Gnarr will be taking part in many different shows at Out of Bounds. He is the monologist in our stool Pigeon, will be a storyteller on Kevin Allison’s RISK! podcast live recording, and will be performing a 20-minute stand-up routine followed by a Q&A in the big Sunday Headlining show.
Gnarr did tell Vice Magazine he was moving to Texas after his mayorship in Reykjavik was complete (which it now is), so this will be his first apperance on Texan soil ever, and will prep him for his upcoming move to Houston (for a writing residency at Rice University, Jan-Apr 2015). Gnarr landed in Austin tonight, and as you can see, he is already adjusting quite nicely to life in Texas:
The irony of this photo is apparent in the title of Gnarr’s first literary book we are publishing next year, a memoir-novel about his childhood as an outcast, entitled The Indian:
The future scares me. Everyone’s headed somewhere together and I’m not invited. I’ll go alone, somewhere else. I don’t know where. I never know anything; I’m unable to do anything. No one cares about me at all. I’m all alone in the world.
I’m an Indian.
Wait til you read this book, it’s so touching, warm, funny, humane, you’re going to want Gnarr to be your new best friend and you’re going to admire the fortitude that allowed him to grow from a troubled and outcast little boy into the hilarious, engaging, world-changing man he is today . . . always the outsider, always against the bullies. But the cowboy getup looks good on him, eh?!
In more great author news, Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel, Tram 83, was just released in France by Editions Métailié to widespread acclaim, and was just shortlisted for the prestigious Le Monde Literraire Prize. Le Monde’s praise for the novel is below, for those of you who read French (or have a Google Translate gander of it briefly, because I can’t read French either!), but all you basically need to know is that last line reads: “one of the most exciting discoveries of the fall publishing season.” The prize will be awarded on September 11, and here’s hoping Fiston takes the prize home!!
C’est à Lubumbashi, ville Far West de l’ex-Zaïre (aujourd’hui République démocratique du Congo), que Lucien, apprenti écrivain, et Requiem, copain d’enfance et loubard dessalé, se retrouvent un beau jour. Le Tram 83, l’un des « bars à traînées les plus achalandés », devient leur repaire. « Musiciens par inadvertance ou prostituées du troisième âge (…), boulangers autodidactes ou marabouts ou mercenaires se réclamant de Bob Denard (…) » : la « Ville-Pays » s’y rue, en quête d’un bonheur bon marché. Les cadres des concessions minières et autres « touristes à but lucratif » s’y précipitent aussi. Il y a du Jérôme Bosch dans ce huis clos citadin, frénétique, flamboyant. Mais un Jérôme Bosch insolent, globe-trotter, qui aurait lu Gabriel Garcia Marquez et Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Vivant en Autriche, le jeune Fiston Mwanza Mujila, né au Katanga en 1981, signe là son premier roman : l’une des plus enthousiasmantes découvertes de la rentrée.
Tram 83 is scheduled to be published by Deep Vellum in September 2015, and I am already certain it will be one of the most exciting discoveries in all American season next year, which will be thanks, in no small part, to the brilliant efforts of translator Roland Glasser, whom we’ve just signed on to provide translation for this breathtaking debut novel!! We cannot wait to share it with you and the world, I don’t know if I’ve ever read anything with such vivacity in my life.
In more good news for Deep Vellum, publisher/founder/the guy writing this blog post, Will Evans, was recently named one of the “100 Dallas Creatives” by the Dallas Observer (our indie weekly newspaper in town). This is a huge honor, and means a ton to me to be included on this list with so many friends (Brandon Castillo, Nicole Stewart, Thea Temple, and Karen X. Minzer) and so many of the artists and creatives who make Dallas such a tremendously special place to live, work, and thrive. The Dallas Observer’s introduction to the (extensive!) interview with me is below (my favorite part is they call me “Intrepid Publisher”[!]):
The hyper-connected world we live in makes art and music from the far reaches of the globe easily accessible to everyone, but “for some reason, literature is the only art form that is constantly being made to defend the right to be disseminated and experienced outside of its original culture,” observes Will Evans. And he aims to do something about that.
Of course there is a barrier to entry that doesn’t exist in visual art or music – and that’s language. Evans, who recently launched a small publishing house in Dallas he’s calling Deep Vellum Publishing, is about to start doing his part to cross that barrier. This year Deep Vellum, which is functioning as a non-profit, will publish five original works in translation and he’s already turning heads in the international publishing world.
We pride ourselves in Dallas on our burgeoning arts scene but as Evans sees it, we’re missing a crucial segment of the art world by turning our back on the literary scene. So if you ask him well, why Dallas? There’s your answer. The organizations and resources exist, the Writer’s Garret and Wordspace, for example, we’re just failing to capitalize and discuss what’s already happening in our community.
“There’s no reason not to have more of the type of local literary community that people could identify similarly to Minneapolis–a very similar city (far from the coasts, tons of big business) that is internationally recognized for its dynamic arts scene, including a huge literary arts community,” says Evans of Dallas.
We couldn’t agree more and while Evans is dreaming really big, he’s already influencing the conversation. And he hasn’t even published his first book.
And last but not least, the newest issue of D Magazine hit newsstands yesterday (and subscribers’ mailboxes today), featuring a beautiful two-page spread interview/feature on me and Deep Vellum. Thank you to Peter Simek for the great interview and for all the editorial staff at D Magazine for being gracious enough to include me in their wonderful magazine (I’m a subscriber, you should subscribe too!) and for being such huge supporters of me and Deep Vellum ever since I step foot in the Big D just over a year ago (D Academy class of 2013-2014 forever!). Pick up a copy of the magazine today!
That’s all for now. Off to pack for a weekend in Austin with the legend Jón Gnarr himself to talk about life, love, the pursuit of happiness, and every kind of marketing idea we can think for a three-year building Gnarr’s literary reputation in the English language (we are publishing Gnarr’s literary memoir trilogy over the next three years: The Indian in 2015; The Pirate in 2016; and The Outcast in 2017!). For the all-out Gnarr coverage, think Wu-Tang Clan after the release of Enter the 36 Chambers. I’m the RZA. Gnarr is Method Man. It’ll all make sense in time.
AND DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO DEEP VELLUM BY SEPTEMBER 1 TO RECEIVE RECOGNITION IN THE FIRST PRINTED BOOK WE PUBLISH, CARMEN BOULLOSA’S TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT (which is going to the printers in the next two weeks…)!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Subscribe. Donate (tax-deductible, of course). Join the Deep Vellum family. To continue the Wu-Tang metaphor above, you could be the GZA to my RZA. Or you could be Raekwon. Or Ghostface Killah. Or Inspectah Deck. We all have roles to play in building this community, we form together like Voltron and are indestructible together. I need your help, we need your help, the world needs your help. Be a superhero. Donate, subscribe, volunteer to Deep Vellum today. Thank you for your consideration.
August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
Continuing our string of book signings & announcements, welcome Alisa Ganieva to the Deep Vellum family!
Alisa Ganieva is the first debut author we have signed at Deep Vellum (a debut debut, we’ll never forget our first!); I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to publish her debut novel The Russian Wall next summer in Carol Apollonio’s translation. Ganieva is an author who will dazzle you with her storytelling prowess as she expands our understanding of Russia’s complex multiethnic composition.
Ganieva was born in Makhachkala, Dagestan, the capital city of the predominantly-Muslim province in the mountainous and restive Caucasus region of south Russia, next to Chechnya and the Caspian Sea. Soccer fans might know of the city of Makhachkala from the FC Anzhi soccer team (which made a big splash on the international soccer stage when the team was bought by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, who spent a ton of money to get star player Samuel Eto’o and rockstar coach/manager Guus Hiddink), but I don’t know how many American readers are familiar with the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity of Russia’s Caucasus region. Ganieva is your window into a new world, a fascinating glimpse of what daily life is like in Dagestan today, with its people trying to live and love as authoritarian politics from Moscow collide with fundamentalist Islamic separatist movements, as her literary Russian narrative voice is interspersed with conversations in Avar and other Turkic languages of Dagestan. And interestingly, this will be the first novel to ever talk about real life in Dagestan ever published in English. The only other work of literature from Dagestan ever published in English, “My Dagestan,” is by Rasul Gamzatov, the most famous Avar poet of the Soviet era, and a People’s Artist of the USSR, published in English around 1970. This is the first novel ever from Dagestan to be published in English. That is a huge deal.
An unbelievable writer with infinite talent, Ganieva studied at the legendary Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow, and was a resident in the 2012 International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Ganieva caused a huge controversy and gained legendary status in Russia when her long story “Salam, Dalgat!” was awarded the Debut Prize in 2009 (the same prize was awarded to Deep Vellum author Mikhail Shishkin in 1993 for his first-ever published work, “Calligraphy Lesson,” the title story in his collection we are publishing next year). The story of Ganieva winning the Debut Prize and the controversy is recounted in a Washington Post story about Ganieva from 2012:
Raised in a nonreligious household in Dagestan, a mountainous republic in Russia’s North Caucasus region, Alisa Ganieva has aimed to write in clear-eyed fashion about her homeland, a region that has been racked by violence fueled by criminal and clan elements and an Islamic insurgency. Her long story “Salam, Dalgat!” aims a merciless lens on a Dagestani town roiling with drug gangs, Islamic fundamentalists, water-supply breakdowns, burning garbage cans, abusive police officers and women fawning over Gucci knockoffs.
She used a male pseudonym — Gulla Khirachev — for the story, published first in a Dagestani newspaper, then in a literary journal. The pseudonym was a device reflecting the “male-dominated world of today’s Dagestan,” she says. She also wanted the story to be judged on its own merits, rather than in the context of her reputation as a literary critic and editor. (She works at the literary supplement published by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a daily). The world learned her real identity when she collected the Debut Prize for “Salam, Dalgat!” in 2009.
The exceptionally gritty portrait of Dagestan in “Salam, Dalgat!” earned Ganieva death threats. “They accused me of betraying my society,” she says calmly in slightly halting English, explaining that Dagestani literature has long favored facile romanticism—texts “about snowy mountains and eagles in the sky.”
You can read a long excerpt from Ganieva’s Debut Prize-winning story “Salam, Dalgat!” in Squaring the Circle: Short Stories by Winners of the Debut Prize, compiled by Olga Slavnikova, published by Glas New Russian Writing in 2010.
For those curious about how I found out about Ganieva, it’s one of those beautiful publishing industry stories where recommendations came from multiple sources, and my passion for Russian literature (and ability to read Russian) came in handy… « Read the rest of this entry »
August 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
Translators of all nations: CONGRATULATIONS!
The last few weeks have seen a treasure trove of translation grants, prizes, and fellowships announced from PEN and the NEA . . . Where to begin?! « Read the rest of this entry »