The larger trade publishers are very selective about international authors, often missing out on some of the world’s most interesting writers. It’s as if March Madness were Kentucky playing Duke every year, over and over and over. However, this creates opportunities for brave souls who have the vision and resources to bring those authors to the marketplace.
Enter three new publishers.
In Madrid, Gregorio Doval and Ana Perez Galvan started Hispabooks with the mission to publish contemporary Spanish literature in English-language translation. It would be difficult to find two smarter, nicer people in publishing. The Hotel Life and The Faint-Hearted Bolshevik, published as print-on-demand editions, have met with critical acclaim. Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente (translated by Margaret Jull Costa) leads Hispabooks’ most recent list. The upcoming Unpaid Debts, a thriller by Antonio Jimenez Barca (translated by Benjamin Rowdon), won the Silverio Canada prize for best first noir novel in Spanish. In June, Hispabooks will move its distribution to Consortium, which keeps signing more and more innovative publishers of world literature.
If harnessing media coverage is the key to success, Will Evans is destined for fame and fortune. The launch of Deep Vellum was heralded for months in the publisher’s home base: from the Dallas Morning News to Dallas Culture Map, Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate and the Texas Observer–everything it seems but the Dallas Triple Nickel want ads. Asymptote, Three Percent, Publishing Perspectives, Brooklyn Quarterly and Publishing the World all discussed publishing philosophy with Evans well in advance of the release of his first book. That first book immediately established Deep Vellum. Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa (translated by Samantha Schnee) has been long-listed for the 2015 PEN Translation Prize and won the Typographical Era Best Translation Award. Boullosa, a wonderful storyteller, reinforced her fandom in a recent author tour. Upcoming titles from Deep Vellum include The Indian by the Jon Gnarr, the comedian turned mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland; and Calligraphy Lesson, a collection of stories by Mikhail Shishkin, author of the must-read Maidenhair.
New Vessel Press is about to announce its third season. Complementing their ubiquitous virtual postings on social media with the concrete world, Michael Wise and Russ Ufberg created a pop-up store/table on the street in Manhattan last fall–the literary equivalent of farm-to-table. The curiously named I Called Him Necktie by Milen Michiko Flasar (translated by Sheila Dickie), a novel about a hikikomori–a 20-something shut-in who never leaves his room–is a great entry point to New Vessel’s publishing program. Its most recent release, Guys Like Me by Dominic Fabre (translated by Howard Curtis), was well reviewed in the New York Times and Le Monde.
— from Shelf Awareness, April 2015