Tag Archives: Poets & Writers

Literature in Translation? Poets & Writers Profiles Deep Vellum Publishing


Will Evans. Photo Credit: Dallas Observer.

Since he founded Deep Vellum Publishing in 2013, publisher Will Evans has been committed to publishing literature in translation. Unique, recognizable, and innovative, Deep Vellum is an important fixture in the Dallas, TX literary community as well as in the larger indie publishing world. In recent press, Evans has divulged his inspiration and publishing philosophy.

In a Poets & Writers article published on October 15, Evans highlighted key aspects of the press and the importance of continuing to build a literary community in Dallas. The non-profit press “takes its cues from other indie presses,” a business plan Evans adopted from the very beginning after cold-calling Chad Post at Open Letter Books to learn the ropes. In terms of connecting with readers, Evans said “I wanted to create a literary community in Dallas, one that could engage with our books, and the larger publishing industry.” Deep Vellum Publishing has recently leased space that will serve as a new office, a bookstore, a cafe, and an event space, and there are plans in the works for Evans and Deep Vellum to partner with local schools and printers for education.

Both yourTram83 literary and aesthetic needs will be more than fulfilled with SphinxDeep Vellum: each book cover is distinctive, minimal, and unique, though they all complement each other for a cohesive look. As The Casual Optimist pointed out in an article on October 16, Deep Vellum covers are “instantly recognizable.” However, they’re not pigeon-holing themselves: the cover for their recent title Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila and translated by Roland Glasser branches away from the minimal and light aesthetic.

This past year, Deep Vellum Publishing has released ten titles, ranging from fiction to nonfiction and spanning seven different countries. They plan on publishing ten to fifteen titles each year, and their upcoming season includes books from Indonesian, Spanish, and Icelandic writers. Keep watching and reading— Deep Vellum has much in store.


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Open Letter Books’ Chad Post Expounds on Translation with Poets & Writers


Chad Post. Photo courtesy of University of Rochester.

Contemporary literature in translation—not just translations of Tolstoy—makes up less than three percent of all books published in the U.S. This is a sad statement, especially when you think about all the great stories you could be missing out on. Chad Post and his press Open Letter Books are striving to change this. By focusing on literature in translation and community outreach programs, Post and Open Letter Books are shaking up the translating game by increasing awareness and building a community— and hopefully increasing that three percent.

Recently, Post appeared on a roundtable discussion with Jeremiah Chamberlin for Poets & Writers and colleagues at other presses to discuss the state of translations in publishing. Post transitioned into publishing from a career in bookselling because he wanted to have a hand in deciding which books are actually produced, which led to the creation of Open Letter Books in 2008. The press is a component of University of Rochester which allows Post and the press more freedom in terms of educational and community outreach programs. Post is grateful for these projects: “I think the things that define our organization, and the reasons I’m still in publishing—which can be grueling… are all the ancillary things we do for readers.”

These programs include the Three Percent blog, which is dedicated to bringing readers and translated works together, the “Best Translated Book Award” which Post started in 2007, the creation of a Translation Database, and a translation guidebook, The 100 Best International Books of the Century (So Far), which Post is compiling to provide a “snapshot of what’s being written now all over the world” according to Post’s article that appeared in the Frankfurt Show Daily for the Frankfurt Book Fair. All of these projects—and the many others that Post has in the works—strive to change “look how little is translated into English” into “look at all these great books available to readers.”OpenLetterBooks

In the round-table discussion, Post agreed that one of the most important aspects of publishing, especially for small, non-profit translation presses, is to create a community around discussions of books. Ranging from informal twitter conversations to highbrow literary discussions and book clubs to mainstream reviews, Post endorses it all: “what’s most important, in my opinion, is getting people who aren’t writers or publishing people talking about books.”

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