January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Happy 2015 everyone! The year of Deep Vellum is now upon you!
First off, if you’re interested in seeing your name in print, subscribe to Deep Vellum by Wednesday, January 14th and your name will be listed in the acknowledgements section of the next book we are publishing, Sergio Pitol’s The Art of Flight, translated by Dallas’s own George Henson. If you’ve already subscribed, the book will ship out to subscribers in mid-to-late February ahead of its March 17 publication date. And if you live in Dallas, pencil in a party March 18 on your calendars: we will be hosting a reading of The Art of Flight and birthday party for Sergio Pitol, who will turn 82 that day, the day after the first of his magisterial works will ever appear in English. Hell, if you live in NYC or SF, you should book yourself a birthday party for Sergio Pitol. Maybe we’ll do that in 2016, plan a series of birthday parties for this genius…ah, I can’t wait for you all to read Pitol! You’re going to love him, his writing is from another time and place altogether (but not a fantasy world). I can’t even describe it…it’s…just…brilliant. And the introduction is being provided by Enrique Vila-Matas. Once you read Pitol, you’ll understand the genesis of so much postmodern & contemporary Spanish-language literature descending from the incomparably influential and profoundly erudite mind of one man, the man I’m dubbing “the Maestro of Mexican literature,” Mr. Sergio Pitol.
Speaking of introductions, fellow member of Oulipo Daniel Levin Becker has agreed to provide the introduction to Anne Garréta’s Sphinx, which we’ll be shipping off to the printers before the end of the month (April 6 publication date).
And if you have a mad genius idea for someone to provide an introduction to Jón Gnarr’s The Indian, let me know ASAP, I’m leaning towards publishing the book without an introduction, but if we could get the right person…
As I was writing up this entry we enjoyed ourselves a little earthquake here in Dallas (which has been happening frequently since fracking started in Dallas County last year, and has been happening across the region since the fracking boom started in North Texas), and I’ve also been distracted by the live broadcast by RT of Russian Orthodox Christmas service in Moscow in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on RT, which is being live translated brilliantly by somebody who sounds like a drunk Russian Kermit the Frog (I hope this is archived for you to enjoy forevermore).
But on to all the great news!
In the Dallas Morning News, Roberto Ontiveros reviewed Texas: The Great Theft right before the holiday, which makes me so happy to see this first book we published here in Dallas reviewed by the book section of our hometown newspaper (thank you to Books/Arts editor Mike Merschel for helping make this happen!). From Ontiveros’s review:
At its bones, Boullosa’s fourth novel to appear in English (and the first release from Dallas’ Deep Vellum Publishing) is a picaresque news report about police brutality and its justified aftermath. […] What is outstanding in Boullosa’s work is the deep sympathy expressed for every human encountered.
Texas was also just reviewed in the January 2015 issue of Bookslut by Matt Pincus, describing the novel as “masterful” and “a timely piece of historical fiction,” before delving into Boullosa’s style and language with great insight:
What is both moving and also lucid about Boullosa’s prose, though, is her ability to take one in and out of a scene fraught with disorder and violence, and place one back in the rich spirit of humility encountering sublime beauty. Before the Sheriff’s infamous words, the text takes us to the landscape: “The sun bears down, piercing the veil of shimmering dust.” Again, later in the novel, after tensions have risen to violence, “The buffalo hunter, Wild, leaves Mrs. Big’s Hotel to take a piss and get some fresh air. Santiago’s body is hanging heavily from the icaco tree without swinging, like a mangrove root searching for the earth. A blackbird lands like a stone on his shoulder.” The body almost melds into the landscape through the similes as one also sees the atrocity of the recent lynching, the corpse, and also Wild’s apathetic reaction. The text continuously expands on these moments, letting them accumulate for the reader in opacity of deferred fabulation, which does not point towards interpretation or totality, but rather frees one into possibility.
One of our favorite review sites that covers literature and film, The Mookse & The Gripes, has also just featured a preview of Texas in their latest podcast, along with discussions of other amazing books released in December 2014 & January 2015, alongside some other amazing books, like A Useless Man: Selected Stories by Sait Faik Abasiyanik (translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe) published by Archipelago Books (released today—and I must say I am hugely excited to read this, I was considering publishing some of Sait Faik’s stories myself before finding out Archipelago had already signed this book!); Midnight in the Century by Victor Serge (translated from the French by Richard Greeman) published last month by NYRB Classics (and coincidentally I just bought a weird old hardcover 1960s British edition of this book I’d never seen before from Half Price Books last week!); and Subtly Worded and Other Stories, by the wholly underrated & amazing Russian author Teffi (translated from the Russian by Robert Chandler and Anne Marie Jackson), published last month by one of my favorite publishers, Pushkin Press. So head over to The Mookse & The Gripes & let them know your thoughts on Texas and your comments may be featured in their next podcast!!
Deep Vellum was featured in Janklow & Nesbit literary agent Rebecca Carter’s recent piece in Publishing Perspectives on the new crop of publishing houses starting up across the world dedicated to bringing more translated literary voices into English, “New Ways of Publishing Translations,” one of the quotes featuring Deep Vellum is here, but the whole piece warrants a read, it is exhaustively comprehensive of the challenges and rewards that come from so many startups getting into the business of translation:
Identity is so important for a small publisher that wants to attract a following. It’s not enough just to publish good books: those books need to create a world to which readers want to belong. To specialize or not to specialize is one of the questions. Will Evans of Deep Vellum is determined that, although his roots are in Russian literature, his publishing company is about ‘world literature’ and how authors in different languages speak to each other.
Our very own Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83, translated by Roland Glasser, has been shortlisted for the prestigious French Voices Award!! On Wednesday, January 21, the second annual French Voices Award Ceremony will take place at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (which is now also home to the incomparably gorgeous Albertine bookstore). Honorary Chair Rick Moody will announce the winner. The three amazing finalists are Tram 83 (which we are publishing as our lead Fall 2015 title in September) alongside Barbara Cassin’s La Nostalgie (forthcoming from Fordham University Press in spring 2016, translated by Pascale-Anne Brault) and Dominique Fabre’s Guys Like Me (forthcoming from New Vessel Press in Feb. 2015, translated by Howard Curtis), The French Voices Award is a cool one because it not only honors French books that haven’t yet been published in English, but it awards the quality of the translation, giving a $4,000 bonus to the translator for their hard work (each translator on the nomination longlist of nine books gets a $2,000 bonus!). The winning author is also awarded the chance to do a book tour of the US. Honorary Chair Francine Prose presided over last year’s ceremony, which drew 200 attendees, so make sure you head out and root for Fiston to take home the prize this year! This event is free and open to the public, but please note that RSVP is required (click the link to RSVP). So please head to the Upper East Side on January 21 and represent Fiston & Roland & Deep Vellum!! We need a street team. A Deep Vellum nation (like Colbert Nation). A consortium, if you will!!!!!!!!!
In other, less sexy news, we here at Deep Vellum are working feverishly to get Deep Vellum onto firm financial footing so we can start hiring some employees to evolve into a stable, forward-thinking publishing house that can survive decades of changes in the industry, like a Dallas version of Graywolf or Coffee House or Milkweed who have all survived for 40 years or so in Minneapolis. We have submitted our application to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status and will hear back about that by the end of February.
We’re also working on a new website. I mean, we’re working on an ACTUAL website, designed by web wizard Justin Childress (who has designed some pretty damn amazing websites that Dallasites will recognize, including A New Dallas). It should go live this spring. Thank you for your patience with this low-functioning website (aka: blog with links).
Another post will go live sometime later this week with a recap of the editors’ trip I participated in last month with Chad Post of Open Letter Books and Ross Ufberg of New Vessel Press. And once I get these next couple books off to the printers, I’ll hopefully announce a few Korean titles for 2016 & 2017. And hopefully Open Letter & New Vessel will as well. We all fell in love with Korea, and even more so with K-lit. There is some seriously amazing literature coming out of South Korea in the next several months, we’ll keep you posted!
So now back to copyediting the Pitol layout and preparing the Garréta & Gnarr texts for layout & negotiating for a couple of absolute dream books & booking readings & travel for Carmen Boullosa’s tour up the west coast next month & remember to subscribe before next Wednesday to get your name included in the back of the Pitol book!!
December 22, 2014 § 3 Comments
Happy holidays to you all from your friends at Deep Vellum!
Since we last posted it’s been a whirlwind time, including an editors’ trip to Seoul, South Korea with our friends at New Vessel Press & Open Letter Books, AND we were featured on the front page of the Arts & Life section of the Dallas Morning News last weekend! This was huge for us, not only is it a great feature on Deep Vellum and what we are trying to accomplish, but we are in the ARTS section!! One of the goals I had starting Deep Vellum here in Dallas was to get literature & translation included in the discussion of the arts, and this feature goes a long way to making that goal a reality. Thank you to Elizabeth Hamilton for great conversations we had as she researched this article, and a double thanks to her and the DMN for including those snazzy book covers (designed by Anna Zylicz!!) on the front page of the Arts section too!!!!!! To read the article in full, click here or on the image above.
It is not too late to get your year-end tax-deductible donation in to Deep Vellum, every dollar helps so incredibly much. Please
And if you haven’t gotten any Christmas presents ordered yet, give books. If you can, give Deep Vellum books. Order a copy of Texas from your favorite online outlets (because we’re out of the office until the 29th!) or give a gift of a Deep Vellum subscription, we’ll ship the first book out just after Christmas, and it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving the next six months to a year!!!!!!
And just as the year draws to a close, start to get excited about Sergio Pitol’s THE ART OF FLIGHT (translsated by George Henson), the next book we are publishing. Scott Esposito included this remarkable book (which exists outside of any known genre of literature…) on his year-end wrapup of favorite books he read in 2014. Give his whole list a perusal over at Conversational Reading, and I am so excited to get this book in all your hands so very soon!
We have so much to be thankful for as the year wraps to a close, we’ll have more updates and thanks to everyone quite soon.
December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Deep Vellum is proud to help present the following literary events in Dallas this week:
reading from her new translation of
(Yale University Press)
Wed. Dec. 10th, 7pm. Free.
More information can be found here.
Deep Vellum & The Wild Detectives present an unparalleled literary event: master translator Marian Schwartz (Austin resident and translator of Deep Vellum’s author Mikhail Shishkin) reading from and discussing her new translation of Tolstoy’s immortal Anna Karenina.
Tolstoy produced many drafts of Anna Karenina. Crafting and recrafting each sentence with careful intent, he was anything but casual in his use of language. His project, translator Marian Schwartz observes, “was to bend language to his will, as an instrument of his aesthetic and moral convictions.” In her magnificent new translation, Schwartz embraces Tolstoy’s unusual style–she is the first English language translator ever to do so. Previous translations have departed from Tolstoy’s original, “correcting” supposed mistakes and infelicities. But Schwartz uses repetition where Tolstoy does, wields a judicious cliche when he does, and strips down descriptive passages as he does, re-creating his style in English with imagination and skill.
SHOW #1: Wyly – Studio Theatre
Mon. Dec. 8th, 8:00–9:30pm
Buy tickets here.
SHOW #2: Texas Theatre
Wed. Dec. 10th, 8:00-9:30pm
Buy tickets here.
This month’s show will feature stories about thinking differently, unconventional wisdom and, yes, shipping!
Highlights include April Swartz-Larson, the recently crowned lesbian homecoming queen at McKinney High School, Julia Cotton of Dallas Comedy House fame, Ernest McMillan sharing his chapter as a Black Power fugitive in West Africa, Jenny Block of the Huffington Post who will reveal the secret to her open marriage, and Maureen Bordelon, author of the how-to parenting guide, My Autism Hat Rack.
December 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
THANK YOU to every single one of you who made a donation to Deep Vellum yesterday as part of #GivingTuesday. And THANK YOU to everyone who’s subscribed to Deep Vellum. Or who’ve already bought copies of Texas, who’ve asked their bookstores to order copies, thank you ALL!!! You are amazing, and you are helping build a serious movement for serious literature across the world. I am in awe of the support Deep Vellum has received so far, and I have so much work to do to continue to live up to your expectations and goals. Let’s dream big. Including planning some events, like these:
– If you are in Dallas tonight, swing by the Wild Detectives to meet the cast of Oral Fixation, whose new show “Outside the Box” will go down December 8th at the Wyly Theatre in the Dallas Arts District and December 10th at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff.
– December 10th, Marian Schwartz will be at the Wild Detectives discussing her translation of Anna Karenina, out now from Yale University Press! DFW readers, you don’t want to miss this!!
And here’s a pretty sweet album of pictures posted by Arte Público Press from our awesome event at the Americas Society in New York two weeks ago with Carmen Boullosa and Rolando Hinojosa-Smith in conversation with the founder of Arte Público (which is based at the University of Houston, and bless them for it!), Nicolas Kanellos. This was such an amazing event, I was honored to take part (and this photo was taken in the incredible “Inca Room” in the Americas Society building, a gorgeous 19th century mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan!!):
Below is the press release that went out into the world today to let everyone know what amazing things Deep Vellum has been up to recently, including signing our Fall 2015 list, which will be presented to you soon, but here is information on that list of books early. This is exciting stuff.
Scott Esposito, Director of Publicity
December 3, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Dallas-based nonprofit publisher of literature in translation Deep Vellum Publishing (recently named by Flavorwire as one of five small publishers who are changing the face of the industry) proudly announces seven new acquisitions. These books complete the press’s 10-title list for 2015 and build the foundation of its lists for 2016 and beyond.
Originally published in six different nations on four continents, these six new novels and one short story collection further extend Deep Vellum’s dedication to publishing the most interesting new literature from all around the globe.
Headlining these acquisitions is the hallucinatory, thrilling Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (translated by Roland Glasser), from the Democratic Republic of the Congo—shortlisted for both the Le Monde Literary Prize, and the Prix Wepler, and winner of the Société des gens de lettres’ award of the Prix Révélation and the Grand Prix du Premier Roman (grand prize to a debut novel). To be released in September 2015, Tram 83 tells a story of rampant capitalism and exploitation in a vast African city-state amid guerrilla wars of secession with great humor and a unique rhythm that gives the feeling of a jazz novel. It has been lauded as “a real discovery” by the acclaimed French/Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou.
Tram 83 is joined by the intense, tragic, political noir Target in the Night by the widely respected, bestselling Argentine writer Ricardo Piglia (translated by Sergio Waisman). This King Lear–esque family saga centers around a detective who uses his madness to solve crimes, and it was awarded the prestigious Romulo Gallegos Prize and the National Critics Prize plus was named Book for the Year by El País—all awards widely known as honoring the top title in the entire Spanish-speaking world. To be released in November 2015.
Rounding out Deep Vellum’s 2015 titles are Homecoming by Leila S. Chudori (Indonesia; translated by John McGlynn; October 2015) and The Pirate by Jón Gnarr (Iceland; translated by Lytton Smith; December 2015). The Pirate will be the second Gnarr title for Deep Vellum (following Spring 2015’s The Indian), and it is the second work in an autobiographical trilogy following the childhood upbringing of the crossdressing former mayor of Reykjavik.
Homecoming is an epic social and political novel by Indonesia’s best-known, most outspoken journalist, one that expands the focus of Joshua Oppenheimer’s recent blockbuster documentary The Act of Killing and sheds much historical light on the mass killings that marked Suharto’s rise to power in the 1960s. We are particularly proud to announce that Homecoming will be released in conjunction with the Frankfurt Book Fair, where Indonesia will be the 2015 guest of honor.
Beyond 2015, Deep Vellum’s roster only gets deeper, beginning with La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (The Netherlands; translated by Michele Hutchison; February 2016). Winner of the 2013 Dutch Libris Literatuurprijs, The Netherlands’ most important literary prize, and winner of the Tzum Prize for most beautiful Dutch sentence of the year (Pfeijffer is the only author to receive this award twice), La Superba has garnered acclaim both for its breathtakingly beautiful literary quality and for capturing the complexities of 21st-century Europe by detailing the lives of African migrants arriving in Genoa, Italy, the beautiful port city known as La Superba.
Last but not least, Deep Vellum’s new acquisitions are completed by a two-book deal with Morocco’s Fouad Laroui, acquired at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair. Deep Vellum first publishes Laroui’s 2013 Prix Goncourt Nouvelles–winning short story collection L’Étrange Affaire du pantalon de Dassoukine (to be translated by Emma Ramadan, also translator of Anne Garréta’s Sphinx) and his newest novel, Les Tribulations du Dernier Sijlmassi. Long known in Morocco as a talented journalist and literary light, Laroui’s emergence into English has long been hoped for by, among others, American novelist and Lannan Fellow Laila Lalami, who recently lamented: “As incredible as it sounds, Laroui has never been translated into English.” Deep Vellum is proud to announce that soon this will change.
These new acquisitions join Deep Vellum’s extant list, which includes Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa—just named a top December release by the BBC. She is joined by The Art of Flight by the Cervantes Prize–winning Mexican novelist Sergio Pitol, Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories by the Russian novelist (and Nobel Prize candidate) Mikhail Shishkin, Anne Garréta’s genderless love story, Sphinx, the first-ever full-length book by a female member of the Oulipo to be translated into English and a remarkable debut novel by Alisa Ganieva, winner of Russia’s prestigious Debut Prize, The Mountain and the Wall, the first novel ever published in English from Dagestan, the unknown and restive Muslim province in Russia’s Caucasus. Full release information for these titles can be found at deepvellum.org.
Deep Vellum Publishing is a not-for-profit literary publisher that seeks to enhance the open exchange of ideas among cultures and to connect the world’s greatest untranslated contemporary writers of literature and creative nonfiction with English-language readers for the first time through original translations, while facilitating educational opportunities for students of translation in the Dallas community, and promoting a more vibrant literary community in north Texas and beyond. Deep Vellum titles are distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.
December 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s #GivingTuesday, that magical day that falls just after the spending madness that mark Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Every donation goes directly towards furthering Deep Vellum’s mission, helping us sign and publish the greatest works of literature from around the world, hire the best translators, put on translation workshops and literary events across the world, and advocate for literature’s place in the arts community. Without your support, none of this is possible.
In other delightful news, the BBC recommended Texas: The Great Theft as one of their Top Ten Books to Read in December!
What an honor! The BBC’s Jane Ciabattara notes, “[Boullosa’s] tale, loosely based on the Mexican invasion of the US known as the ‘Cortina troubles’, is populated with freed slaves and European immigrants, Mexican ranchers and Comanches, fortune-hunting gringos and vaqueros, evoking a history that couldn’t be more relevant to today’s immigration battles in the US.“
And the BBC’s mention couldn’t come at a better time, as today, December 2nd, marks the official publication date for Texas! So head out to your local indie bookstore and pick up your copy. And if they don’t have it in stock, ask them to order it for you: booksellers across the country listen to readers like you, and they need your wisdom and guidance to help them know what books their readership want to see in the store. And plus, you’ll be an ambassador for Deep Vellum, which is the coolest thing you could be.
In other news, I am leaving for an editors’ trip to South Korea this weekend at the invitation of the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, where I will join my friends Chad Post of Open Letter Books and Ross Ufberg of New Vessel Press (all three of us are distributed by Consortium, I should add) as we meet with publishers, authors, and translators to learn more about South Korean literature. I’ll put up a post about how amazing South Korean literature is before I leave, but I have so much to learn, and I am ecstatic about my first trip (hopefully of many) to Asia.
Thank you again for your support of Deep Vellum, and please consider a donation to Deep Vellum, and please ask friends, family, and your employers if they would consider making a tax-deductible end-of-year donation to Deep Vellum.
Thank you for your time, your support, and your generous donation, every bit helps as we continue to implement our mission of changing the world through literature in translation.
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!!!!