Tag Archives: Will Evans

Will Evans of Deep Vellum Tells The Rumpus “Translators are the missing link”

It’s hard to imagine a day in the life of Will Evans. He almost singlehandedly runs Deep Vellum—one of the few publishing houses in the country that publishes exclusively translated works. He is integral to building and connecting the emerging literary community in Dallas, where he is also opening an independent bookstore called Deep Vellum Books.

“I met Will at the Dallas Book Festival, where he was clearly in his element as a force of literary energy…engaging in conversation continuously with a community that had its hooks in him, and vice versa,” writes Graham Oliver in his introduction to the interview with Evans for The Rumpus, published August 24.

Since its founding in 2013, Deep Vellum has published works from award-winning authors spanning the globe, including Sergio Pitol’s The Art of Flight, Lina Meruane’s Seeing Red, and Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83. “I have to round out the world. I haven’t published from everywhere yet,” Evans says. “I need a Japanese book, a Turkish book, an Italian book, a German book. For me, one of the reasons I choose books is based on diversity and diversity comes in all those forms: language, region, country, gender, etc.”

As a non-profit organization, Deep Vellum eGrambraces a publishing philosophy that is “about connecting authors and readers.” Deep Vellum addresses the desperate need for more international books. Evans says, “Translators are that missing link.”

Though Deep Vellum often faces skepticism from members of the publishing industry as a translation publisher based in Dallas, Evans is confident in their mission. “I’m hungry,” he says, “I’m voraciously waiting for these books, so if I can create some of that sense in myself, maybe I can create it in readers too.”

Within Dallas, Deep Vellum is gaining traction and becoming a key figure in the city’s developing literary community. “I set up Deep Vellum to be Dallas-specific because no one took Dallas seriously in Dallas, let alone anywhere else,” Evans says, “but in Dallas at least, the conversation’s changed, and I’m not taking all the credit, but I’m trying to be a part of it…Part of my identity for Deep Vellum has been Dallas on purpose, to help make Dallas a better place to live, to make it more of the place I want to live.”

Coming out this month from Deep Vellum is Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi, and translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman, a harrowing novel exploring the violent reality many native Mauritians live that the tourists never see.

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Deep Vellum Publishing is Opening a Bookstore!

When you think of Ddeep-vellum-logoallas, do you think of it as the art and literary hub of Texas? If not, look to Will Evans and his press Deep Vellum Publishing (founded in 2013), because he’s opening a bookstore which he hopes will be that hub. The Dallas Morning News (November 19) and Central Track (November 10) took a look at Evans’ hopes for this latest venture.

Under the name Deep Vellum Books, Evans plans to only stock titles from indie presses and literary magazines, according to Central Track. The 900 square foot space will house 2,000 to 3,000 titles, and it focus mainly on translations. The goal of the store itself is to “be the kind of place for things you can’t get anywhere else in the city,” Evans told the Dallas Morning News.

Evans wants the store to “be a catalyst for the entire neighborhood. . . Dallas is going to become a world-class city, beginning with this space.” In the Central Track article, Evans shared his hopes for the store to become a space for the “intermingling of all the arts,” awill_evans2 cultural hub that’s open every night of the week, with different non-profit programming each night. There will be a stage for readings or music shows, and a small bar will also serve coffee and wine.

Evans told Central Track: “it will be a place to come and buy books, to have a cup of coffee or beer, to chill for a minute, to have a meeting with a friend, to see a show or what have you.” However, don’t plan on setting up your home office at Deep Vellum Books, because Evans might kick you off the wi-fi.

Deep Vellum Books is officially launching on December 9th, with a housewarming party/bookstore launch happening from 6pm-8pm at their new digs at 3000 Commerce Street. Thanks to the energetic and innovative Will Evans, Deep Vellum Books is an exciting and innovative venture. Welcome to Dallas’ literary hub.

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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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Deep Vellum Stirs Up Translation

You’ve probably read many translated classics—think Tolstoy or Flaubert—but when was the last time you picked up a contemporary work of literature in translation, or even really gave a thought about the translating process? Deep Vellum Publishing is striving to change this imbalance by publishing innovative literary works from writers around the world.  Though just over a year old, the press has provided English translations of titles from a wide range of different writers and countries, including French and Icelandic authors, with upcoming titles from Chilean, Argentinean, Dutch, and Congolese writers. Deep Vellum Publishing is located in Dallas, Texas, and the press and its founding publisher Will Evans have been getting lots of attention. In fact, Deep Vellum was just named “Best New Thing in Town” by the Dallas Observer!


Will Evans. Photo by Steven Visneau.

Jennifer Smart of Arts & Culture magazine wrote an essay on September 23, 2015, looking into the act of translating and what it means for the specific text as well as the publishing industry at large. She cited Will Evans and Deep Vellum as the instigators in philosophical quandaries regarding translation. She posed the question of whether you can say you’ve actually read a translated text (like Anna Karenina) if you haven’t read it in the original language, and “whether or not some works are simply untranslatable.” Deep Vellum’s titles support and counter these questions, with their titles introducing readers to diverse worlds while also highlighting common themes felt around the world. Deep Vellum not only introduces readers to literary works they wouldn’t normally have access to, their titles also spark conversations about the role of translation in the larger publishing world.

Deep Vellum Publishing is a non-profit press, a deliberate decision on Evans’ part to provide space for eduTram83cation for training young translators. Their mission is to “connect the world’s greatest writers with English-language readers through original translations… promoting a more vibrant literary community in north Texas and beyond.” Their most recent title, Tram 83illustrates the diversity and freshness of titles the press publishes. Written by Fiston Mwanza Mujila from the Democratic Republic of Congo and translated from the original French by Roland Glasser, Tram 83 takes readers into the modern African gold rush and raises questions about the meaning of relationships and the increasing globalization of the world.

Smart summed up the importance of translation in her article: “translation, it seems, diversifies our experience of the world at the same time as it demonstrates our commonalities; its unique ability lies in expanding our concepts of literature by slightly complicating our stories with those of others.” Thanks to presses like Deep Vellum, it’s exciting to think about the previously unexplored stories and questions that will be presented to English-language readers in their upcoming season—straight out of Dallas.

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