Tag Archives: Biblioasis

Not Lost: Why Some Independent Publishers Can’t Get Enough of Literature in Translation

On April 19th, The Millions announced the finalists for their ninth annual Best Translated Book Awards. Six titles from five Consortium publishers were included, from both publishers who produce solely translations and publishers who produce a wide variety of genres.

Not long ago, most of the books that made it to translation were classics. They were primarily novels and poetry from already well-known members of the literary canon like Dostoevsky, Camus, and Neruda. Nowadays, translations are no longer reserved for the classical elite. Many publishers are adding brand-new translations of contemporary novels and poetry to their seasons each year with enthusiastic response.

Why translations? Why now? Here’s what the publishers of our award-nominated titles have to say.

Biblioasis, publisher of Arvida (by Samuel Archibald, translated fromArvida the French by Donald Winkler), believes that translation is the lifeblood of literature. Literature that does not engage with other languages and linguistic traditions quickly becomes stale and irrelevant. Translation means more voices can have their time in the spotlightespecially voices that we don’t usually get to hear.

war so muchOpen Letter Books, publisher of Wphysics of sorrowar, So Much War (by Mercè Rodoreda, translated from the Catalan by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent), and The Physics of Sorrow (by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel) believes that making world literature available in English is crucial to broadening our cultural awareness, to helping us engage with others from all different experiences. In addition, widening accessability of literatures new and old helps maintain a healthy and vibrant book culture. War, So Much War and The Physics of Sorrow both capture sides of humanity inextractable from their original culture and yet still recognizable in ourselves.

signsAnd Other Stories, publisher of Signs Preceding the End of the World  (by Yuri Herrerawhose second work, The Transmigration of Bodies, publishes this Julyboth titles translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman), was founded out of publisher Stefan Tobler’s frustration at the lack of availability of great works of literature published in English. Publishing translationsspecifically, good translationsis so important to And Other Stories that many of their editors and staff members are also working translators. If you’ve read Yuri Herrera’s work, you’ll understand where And Other Stories is coming froma world where non-Spanish-speakers can never read his incredible words is a sad world indeed.

Coffee House Press, publisher of the 2015 literary darling The Story of My Teeth (bStoryOfMyTeethy Valeria Luiselli, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney), sought out this revolutionary novel from a desire for their bookshelves (and their readers’ bookshelves) to more accurately reflect the wide range of voices and stories in the Americas. Voices of the Americas must by definition include non-English speakers. For Coffee House Press, translation is about dismantling a hierarchy in literature, of granting just as much weight to original English texts as to the words of non-native speakers. Translation is about expanding horizons, not limiting them.

load poemsHoly Cow! Press, publisher of Load Poems Like Guns, doesn’t typically publish translations, or poetry for that matter, focusing primarily on fiction and nonfiction from the Midwest. But when Farzana Marie, the editor and translator of the collection, presented her manuscript to Jim Perlman, the publisher at Holy Cow!, he couldn’t say no. Translating the collection brings the voices, joys, struggles, and triumphs of women living in the city of Herat, Afghanistan, thousands of miles, reaching readers who might never have known how much they needed it.

Culture, connection, compassion: that’s why we need literature in translation, now more than ever.

Find out where you can purchase Arvida; War, So Much War; The Physics of Sorrow; Signs Preceding the End of the World; The Transmigration of Bodies; The Story of My Teeth; and Load Poems Like Guns here on the Consortium website.

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Biblioasis Scores Giller Shortlist and The Globe and Mail Notes a Legacy

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Biblioasis staff and Dan Wells, fourth from the right. Photo Credit: Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail.

With a name and logo steeped in clever allusions and literary tradition, Biblioasis is taking the publishing world by storm. On October 2, Mark Medley for The Globe and Mail took a look at the Windsor, Ontario based press and chatted with founder Dan Wells about the press’ roots and future prospects, and highlighted that two of Biblioasis’ titles (Martin John by Anakana Schofield and Arivda by Samuel Archibald) are on the shortlist for the prestigious Giller Prize!

Biblioasis has previously had titles on the longlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, but this year two of their titles were selected as finalists for the Giller Prize. While Dan Wells is trying not to concentrate too hard on the outcome, the Giller Prize is a huge deal: it is the Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. The Giller Prize awards $100,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The winner will be announced on November 10.

Biblioasis first opened as a bookstore in 1998 after Wells bought up “a giant room of books… chock full of first editions” at an auction house in Ontario. Wells discovered he was extremely successful as a bookseller, and after acquiring the talents of editor, critic, and author John Metcalf and publishing veteran Dennis Priebe, Biblioasis the press was born.

In Wells’ days before publishing, he worked as a welder, where he received the nickname “Panic.” While this doesn’t seem like a great characteristic for someone working with hot metal, Wells’ dislike for big events and award ceremonies works to his advantage as a publisher: instead of focusing solely on awards (like those Giller finalists) he actively supports all of his authors and strives to uphold the press’ mission to “publish unabashed literary fiction (with an emphasis on short stories), discover untapped talent, rescue lost or forgotten books, and introduce North American readers to the work of authors around the world.” Kathy Page, a Biblioasis author who was longlisted for the Giller Prize in 2014 for Paradise and Elsewhere, summed up Wells’ attitude: “there’s a certain spunky, devil-may-care attitude to the wide world.”

 

 

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Bookslinger Update: “Still Dark”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

9781927428634This week’s story is from Kathleen D. Miller’s All Saints, published by Biblioasis. All Saints, all eccentric: linked short stories animate the lives of rectors, church ladies, and aging urban faithfuls. This collection presents the secret small tragedies of an Anglican congregation struggling to survive, it delves into the life of Simon, the Reverend, and the lives of his parishioners: Miss Alice Vipond, a refined and elderly schoolteacher, incarcerated for a horrendous crime; a woman driven to extreme anxiety by an affair she cannot end; a receptionist, and her act of improbable generosity; a writer making peace with her divorce. Effortlessly written and candidly observed, All Saints is a moving collection of tremendous skill, whose intersecting stories illuminate the tenacity and vulnerability of modern-day believers.

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Bookslinger Update: “Such Language”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

9781927428412This week’s story comes from Red Girl Rat Boy by Cynthia Flood, published by Biblioasis. Women. Young women, old women. The hair-obsessed, the politically driven, the sure-footed, the bony-butted, the awkward and compulsive and alone. Sleep-deprived and testy. Exhausted and accepting. Among the innumerable wives, husbands, sisters, and in-laws vexed by short temper and insecurity throughout this short story collection, Cynthia Flood’s protagonists stand out as citizens of a reality that the rest of the world will only partially understand.

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Bookslinger Update: “The Prize Jury”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story comes from Novelists by C.P. Boyko, published by Biblioasis.  Novelists: the soul of an age, certainly. Brilliant? Perhaps. Yet aren’t they also doddering, petulant, pedantic, knockkneed, skittish, and thunderingly insecure—resentful, awkward, annoying—demanding, deluded, and vexingly indifferent to reality? New from short fiction devotée C.P. Boyko, Novelists is a comedy of manners (and manuscripts), rivalling Vanity Fair for its satirical wit- though not, mercifully, for its length.

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Bookslinger Update: “Of Paradise”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story comes from Paradise & Elsewhere by Kathy Page, published by Biblioasis. The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin.

New from the author of The Story of My FaceParadise & Elsewhere is a collection of dark fables at once familiar and entirely strange: join the Orange Prize-nominated Kathy Page as she notches a new path through the wild, lush, half-fantastic and half-real terrain of fairy tale and myth.

 

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Bookslinger Update: “About Love”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from About Love by Anton Chekhov, translated by David Helwig, illustrated by Seth, and published by Biblioasis. Written in France toward the end of his career, these stories are Chekhov’s only attempt at the linked collection. “A Man in a Shell” is a grotesque Gogolian comedy; “Gooseberries” a narrator’s impassioned response; and “About Love” a poignant story of failed relationships. Translated by the impeccable David Helwig and fabulously illustrated by Seth, About Love is essential for any Chekhov enthusiast.

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