November 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
Ricardo Piglia’s Target in the Night is out now!
Target in the Night, our tenth book, came out last Tuesday, the same day NPR Books ran a fantastic glowing review of the novel, written by Michael Schaub. If you love Latin American literature, from Bolaño to Borges, Boullosa to Pitol, Onetti to Arlt, Labbé to Fernandez, you gotta get your hands on this Piglia! Then read his older works available in English, like Artificial Respiration,The Absent City (both from Duke University Press) Assumed Name (Latin American Literary Review Press), and Money to Burn (Granta). Piglia is a master, one of the all time greats, and won the 2015 Formentor Prize—previously awarded to Borges, Gombrowicz, Beckett, Vila-Matas, Marías, Goytisolo…you get the idea—for his lifetime’s contribution to literature. Greatest living writer in Argentina, meet your new favorite author, who mixes the tropes and structures of detective and noir genres with profound, deep, dark political and philosophical resonance:
In other cool news, the translator of Target in the Night, Sergio Waisman, will be in Texas in early January, and we are hosting the inaugural Deep Vellum Book Club in our new bookstore (more on that below), where Sergio will discuss the inner workings of this amazing novel. Join us, January 5th, at Deep Vellum Books in Dallas, and then on January 6th at Brazos Bookstore in Houston!!
Word started coming out this past week that we’re opening a bookstore in our new office space in Deep Ellum! Check out pieces in the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com, Central Track, and Shelf Awareness. On December 9th we’re throwing a housewarming & bookstore launch party!! Come check out the future of literary Dallas:
About Deep Vellum Books, our bookstore offshoot:
located in a 900-square-foot space at 3000 Commerce St., according to the Dallas Morning News. Besides Deep Vellum’s books, the store will stock only indie-published titles, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, handmade books and literary journals and magazines, with an emphasis on translation. Altogether it will stock 2,000–3,000 books.
So if you’re an indie publisher, or live in Texas and make awesome chapbooks or zines, get in touch with us & send us some books so we can have you in stock for our grand opening!
Speaking of Latin American literature from before, pick up the new issue of REVIEW: Literature and Arts of the Americas (issue #91), published by the Literature Department at the Americas Society, for a remarkable review of Carmen Boullosa‘s Texas: The Great Theft by the legendary Dr. Nicolás Kanellos of the University of Houston & Arte Publico Press, plus Juan Villoro has a piece on Sergio Pitol, and Rafael Lemus reviews Sergio Pitol‘s The Art of Flight. Check it out!
And for those who read & love the TLS (Times Literary Supplement)—like our friend Jerome Weeks over at KERA’s Art & Seek—both Sphinx and Tram 83 were reviewed by this prestigious Lond0n-based literary outlet in the past month, further proof that one can actually publish great books in a place like Dallas, Texas and bring the world into dialogue with Dallas from Dallas.
Reminder: subscribe for 5- or 10-books today to get your name in the back of Lina Meruane‘s searing novel Seeing Red, coming out in February (and to subscribers in January!), or make a year-end tax-deductible donation to support Deep Vellum (your name will be included in the back of the books we publish as our way of saying thanks if you subscribe or donate!). The next book subscribers will receive is Jón Gnarr’s The Pirate, the followup to his The Indian, which we published in April, all about how young Jón got into punk & anarchism & how it saved his life, chronicling the birth of the political and philosophical awareness and compassion of the man the world knows and loves today.
November 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
Tram 83 is nominated for the Etisalat Prize!
Congratulations to Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser, TRAM 83 has been nominated for the prestigious 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature, created in 2013 as the first pan-African literary prize for authors of debut fiction. This is a huge honor for Fiston, as he is accompanied by a lineup of some of the most amazing authors from Africa today, including the Booker-nominated Chigozie Obioma and ZP Dala (both of whom are represented by the same literary agency as Fiston, the Pontas Agency!). This is also a huge deal for us and Fiston AND Roland, as Tram 83 has become the first non-Anglophone African novel ever nominated for this prestigious prize, we are so thankful to the Etisalat Prize for acknowledging that translated works belong in the same discussion as their English-original counterparts!!
More about the prize from the press release:
Lagos, Nigeria: November 12, 2015: Nigeria’s most innovative and fastest growing telecommunications services company, Etisalat, today announced the longlist for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature. This year’s longlist of nine books have been chosen from a field of over 100 titles submitted from across the continent.
The longlist for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature:
- Ifeoluwapo Adeniyi (Nigeria), On the Bank of the River
- Penny Busetto (South Africa), The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself
- Z P Dala (South Africa), What About Meera
- Kurt Ellis (South Africa), By Any Means
- Paula Marais (South Africa), Shadow Self
- Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo), Tram 83
- Masande Ntshanga (South Africa), The Reactive
- Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), The Fishermen
- Rehana Rossouw (South Africa), What Will People Say?
The longlist was selected by an esteemed three-member judging panel: Professor Ato Quayson (chair of judges), Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto (Chair of Judges); Molara Wood, writer, journalist, critic and editor; and Zukiswa Wanner, author of Men of the South and London Cape Town Joburg.
Judging Panel’s comments:
Professor Ato Quayson: “The range of submissions for the Etisalat Prize this represents the vitality of literary writing on the continent, and the longlist is a selective showcase of the best to be found. The subjects covered in the longlist are so fascinating and varied that it would take another novel just to describe them all. Magnificent!”
Zukiswa Wanner: “The books on the longlist evoked many emotions in me as a judge and as a reader for the originality of their plots and the beauty of the language used. I know I shall be revisiting and gifting to friends many of them long after the winner has been announced.”
Molara Wood: “The longlisted books push the boundaries in their themes and inventive use of language. This is a rich array of bold new writing on what it means to be human in the world today, by irresistible African voices.”
The judges now have the task of selecting a shortlist of three at a retreat in the Seychelles in December. The shortlisted writers will go on a multi-city sponsored tour to be announced in December 2015 and will also have 1,000 copies of their books purchased by Etisalat for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the Continent.
The winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature will receive £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and will attend an Etisalat sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia, mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.
The Etisalat Prize for Literature launched in June 2013 is the first pan-African prize that is open solely to debut fiction writers of African citizenship and has now established itself as the most prestigious literary prize for African fiction.
The distinguished Patrons of the Etisalat Prize are noted African writer Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Pulitzer Prize winner Dele Olojede (Nigeria), Former deputy editor of Granta magazine and former senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House, Ellah Allfrey, OBE (UK, Zimbabwe), Writer and Intellectual best known for his works of fiction, Kole Omotoso (Nigeria), Editor, writer, broadcaster, consultant and co-founder of Allison & Busby, Margaret Busby, OBE (UK/Ghana) and Novelist, Poet and Playwright, Zakes Mda (South Africa).
Did we mention we’re opening a bookstore in Dallas this fall?!?!
That’s right, Deep Ellum is getting its first (and hopefully not the last) bookstore in a long long time, as our friends at Central Track discussed when breaking the news last week. We’ve moved our offices over to 3000 Commerce St. (on the corner of Commerce & Walton, just a block behind All Good Cafe, catty-corner from the Common Desk), and we’re opening an indie bookstore, cafe, and cultural center that will sell indie published titles (mostly, but not exclusively, translations); plus serve coffee, beer, and wine; and will serve as our home for our nonprofit programming (readings, translation workshops, creative writing classes, bookmaking workshops, etc), in addition to other readings, music, film, and art events. It will be programmed 7 nights a week, so get in touch if you have ideas.
We’re hosting a housewarming/launch party for the Deep Vellum Bookstore on December 9th at 6pm, so be there, then come for our inaugural Deep Vellum Book Club event on January 5th, where Sergio Waisman, translator of Ricardo Piglia’s Target in the Night, out officially everywhere tomorrow, will discuss his translation and the inner workings of Piglia’s masterpiece. This is a unique opportunity to delve inside the reading of a Deep Vellum book, it’s not a traditional reading, it is for all those who have been reading and enjoying DV books in our local community who have asked us to host a book club to get together with fellow readers to discuss further these amazing books, and now that we have the space, this will kick off a monthly series, starting with Piglia, then moving on to either Leila Chudori’s Home or Jón Gnarr’s The Pirate in February!
Sergio Waisman is also reading at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on December 4th, and in Texas first at Deep Vellum’s own bookstore on January 5th, then at Brazos Bookstore in Houston on January 6th (and we’re working on an Austin event during MLA, where we’ll be in booth #221, for January 8th, stay tuned!).
Speaking of book clubs, for all our friends & readers in Houston, Brazos Bookstore’s own Brazos Book Club has selected Leila Chudori’s breathtaking epic novel Home as its January book club pick!! Pick up your copy from them today & start reading to join in the discussion on January 20th at Brazos!!
In more fun news, if you’re getting ready to do any shopping on Amazon this holiday season, please consider shopping using AmazonSmile and selecting Deep Vellum as your supported charity of choice. A percentage of every sale made through AmazonSmile is donated directly to Deep Vellum. Buy books from your local bookstores anywhere/anytime you can, but if you’re shopping Amazon, do a little bit of good at the same time, your support means the world to us! And if you don’t shop Amazon, you can always donate to us directly here or mail us a check or drop one off at our new bookstore we’re opening in Dallas this fall (3000 Commerce St.).
If you missed it over the weekend, Fiston Mwanza Mujila was interviewed in the awesome blog/digital culture journal (it’s so much more than a blog), Africa is a Country, by Pedro Monaville, check it out here:
Your novel conjures the energy of the Congo, yet you wrote it from Austria. Was it a challenge to write a novel that is so infused with disorder, vitality, and convulsions while living in a country mostly known for – excuse the clichés – its draconian sense of order, quaint national costumes and picture-puzzle landscapes?
The Congo is like a cumbersome piece of luggage that you would carry everywhere. When you leave the country, you take the Congo with you. You become the Congo. You get interested in everything that is going on back home and you become more Congolese than the people there. The teeming reality of the country imprisons you when you’re home and you don’t have to define yourself. When you are abroad, you look at the country in a different way. You feel more Congolese and you feel you have to define your difference.
That’s all for now, see you in the land of the literary living around Dallas this week, and if you’ll be at the Guadalajara Book Fair in two weeks, let’s meet up, I’ll be there on the publishers’ fellowship, very excited to attend for the first time!
November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Congratulations to Carmen Boullosa & Samantha Schnee!
The first book we ever published, Carmen Boullosa‘s masterful Texas: The Great Theft, translated brilliantly by Samantha Schnee, has been longlisted for the prestigious International Dublin Literary Award 2016 (formerly known as the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award). The prize is €100,000, awarded to the author if the book is written in English, or, if the winning book is in English translation as Texas is, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000. The winner also receives a trophy provided by Dublin City Council and eternal glory and triumph!
It is an absolute honor for Carmen’s groundbreaking historical novel to land on this list of what is essentially the one hundred best novels published in the entire English language in 2014 as nominated by libraries and librarians from all over the world.
I picked Texas as the first book for Deep Vellum to publish not only because I thought it was important for a new Dallas-based publisher of translated literature to show our community and the world how important it is to publish literature from around the world as a way to promote dialogue and cultural understanding, and so I felt it vital to launch with a book about Texas from the Mexican perspective. And I’m so glad the world agrees, now Texas has made it to Dublin. Fingers crossed for Carmen and Samantha to make the shortlist in April!!
We love working with Carmen Boullosa so much that we have since signed five more books by her that will come out over the next four years, starting with Before in May 2016, which won Boullosa Mexico’s most prestigious literary award when published, and translated with poignant nuance by Peter Bush. We’ll follow that with Heavens on Earth in December 2016 translated by Dallas’s own Shelby Vincent, who translated this novel as part of her PhD at the University of Texas at Dallas! Three more books to come in 2017 and beyond from Carmen, more info on them soon! And the best part is, Carmen loves Deep Vellum too, as she discusses in a forthcoming interview with Aaron Bady:
I love to be in the hands of such a young and full-of-life publisher. It feels like I am young again, because when I was young and I started publishing, my editors and publishers were not doing business, they were doing books. And they were really reading the texts. I feel with Deep Vellum that I am again in a totally literary adventure. It is fantastic!
Past winners of the International Dublin Literary Award include Orhan Pamuk‘s My Name is Red (translated by Erdag Goknar), Michel Houellebecq‘s Atomised/The Elementary Particles (translated by Frank Wynne), Per Petterson‘s Out Stealing Horses (translated by Anne Born), plus amazing books by Jim Crace, Kevin Barry, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and more! For more information on the International Dublin Literary Award, their FAQs are great start to learn about this amazing prize:
Q: What is the International DUBLIN Literary Award?
A: The International DUBLIN Literary Award [originally founded in 1994] is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English. The Award is an initiative of Dublin City Council the municipal government of Dublin which now retains full ownership of the award. The Award aims to promote excellence in world literature. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world. The award is now in its 20th year. The Lord Mayor of Dublin is Patron of the Award.
Q: Who manages the nomination processes and liaison with publishers?
A: Dublin City Public Libraries manages the entire process of nomination which involves over one hundred public libraries in a unique international library cooperative effort. It also liaises with publishers of nominated works who provide copies for the judging process as a requirement of eligibility.
Q: Who can nominate books for the Award?
A: The nomination process for the Award is unique as nominations are made by libraries in capital and major cities throughout the world. Participating libraries can nominate up to three novels each year for the Award.Over 400 library systems in 177 countries worldwide are invited to nominate books each year. Dublin City Libraries actively seek out and encourage nominations from countries who have not previously nominated books for the award. Libraries interested in participating should contact the organisers for details.
Congratulations again & forever to Carmen Boullosa & Samantha Schnee! We are so honored to be your publisher!!
October 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s publication day for our ninth book, the “ambitious saga” HOME from one of the most profound, remarkable writers in Indonesia, Leila Chudori!!
It’s a remarkable book, praised by Publishers Weekly as “an ambitious saga that intertwines narration from various generations and creates a wide-ranging picture of Indonesia.” You gotta read this book: it is beautiful, moving, tragic, life-affirming, with passionate love stories, political exile, and the communion of food and family all combining into a truly unique historical epic novel. My favorite part of the Publishers Weekly review describes the themes that would be important to book clubs and reading groups (who would all love this novel, like Brazos Bookstore’s book club in Houston, which has selected this novel as their December/January read!):
The novel stays grounded with nostalgic themes of food and love, anchoring the reader with mouthwatering detail and the intrigue of Romeo and Juliet–esque affairs. The book flows with detailed reportage and exposes the ongoing human degradation that resulted from the conflict between the Indonesian Communist Party and the conservative Gestapu. Chudori also proves a more universal truth: “Everyone has his own version of history.”
An epic of family history, a history of Indonesia, told through tales of propaganda shown to school children through a gory diorama or forced viewing of film, each chapter has another layer to add to the complex construction of the whole.
One personal highlight was the food references, our exiles in Paris set up an Indonesian restaurant and the detailed descriptions of sambal dishes, the flavours, spices and blends always brought on hunger – maybe an Amazon review there “This book made me hungry”!!!
Whilst exploring so many stands with exiles in Paris, oppressed associates in Jakarta, returning peoples feeling a connection to the land, or the harsh reality of race riots and civil unrest, the composition as a whole unfolds as a family epic, with love stories, hope, desire to be buried on home soil and a simple love for I-N-D-O-N-E-S-I-A always bubbling along.
A highly entertaining epic, with a plethora of historical stories to tell, another welcome addition to my recent discovery of Indonesian writing, maybe a little more in the South Asia patch is required.
Or Tony’s Reading List review of the novel!!
It’s never less than fascinating…an absorbing tale pulling the reader deeper into the world of Dimas, family and friends. The novel is also well-structured, with the mix of styles and narrators (some first-person, others third-person) helping disguise the fact that it’s essentially a story of two parts. The first half mainly takes place in Paris, setting us up for the trip to Jakarata; by the middle of the book, we believe (as Lintang does) that we’re ready to return to Jakarta. The truth is that we’re not…
Home would be a wonderful introduction to Indonesian literature for readers with an interest in political, historical novels. It is long, but it’s also very accessible, and the background information it contains on the political events which rocked Indonesia in the twentieth century provide valuable background information for better understanding of other books (such as Beauty is a Wound) from the country.
And we here at Deep Vellum want you all to read this book so much that we have put HOME on sale for the week, grab a copy of HOME from our Paypal or Square webstores and we’ll throw in a complimentary copy of the ebook for you as well!!
October 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
Tram 83 was reviewed on Fresh Air with Terry Gross today!
NPR’s Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross raved about Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83 as an “exuberantly dark” debut on today’s show, and noted the light-footed skill” of Roland Glasser’s translation!
Fiston evokes the textures of the city in all its deliriousness, blowing marvelous riffs on everything from the sleaziness of foreign visitors to the differing shapes of streetwalkers’ buttocks to the way the poor patrons of Tram 83 like jazz, because it’s so classy. Virtually every scene is punctuated by the come-ons of the prostitutes — too lewd to quote here — that serve almost like a Greek chorus repeatedly saying, “Live for now, live for now, live for now.”
Fiston & Roland are still conquering the US, today they arrived in the Bay Area, where they will read at UC-Berkeley this evening (5-7pm), and at the in SF tomorrow night, culminating in their Litquake Literary Festival appearance at Green Apple Books on the Park in San Francisco this Saturday, October 10th, at 7:30pm:
Thu. Oct. 8 – UC-Berkeley’s French Dept. presents Fiston Mwanza Mujila &translator Roland Glasser reading & discussion at the University of California, Berkeley (Dwinelle Hall) – Berkeley, California – 5pm
The Offing Magazine agrees with Fresh Air, and has included Tram 83 as one of its Early Fall Fiction Picks, and they love Tram 83 down under too, where the Sydney Morning Herald, selected Tram 83 as its Pick of the Week!!
And if you live in Texas, make sure to pick up a signed copy of Tram 83 from Brazos Bookstore in Houston; Malvern Books in Austin; The Wild Detectives in Dallas; or from us at Booth #214 at the Texas Book Festival next weekend! Plus, for your enjoyment, here’s Fiston & Roland’s performance from Malvern Books on September 30th, improvising their reading accompanied by saxophonist Chris Hall:
At first, the Republic of Dagestan, in spite of being a very real region at the southwestern tip of Russia, seems far away and utterly unreal. Perhaps that is because Ganieva’s debut novel, published and translated by Deep Vellum, is one of the first books set in this part of the world published in English. Or perhaps that is because of Ganieva’s writing, which has a kind of magic.
Come visit us at the Texas Book Festival next weekend in Austin, October 17-18, in and around the State Capitol Building! We’ll be there slinging books in Booth #214 (up by the Kirkus Reviews tent!), shared with the homies from Restless Books, you can hang out with our new managing director, Jennifer Smart, and grab some signed copies of Tram 83 and The Indian!!
Our friends at Mexico City Lit have posted a (beautifully-formatted) excerpt from Sergio Pitol‘s remarkable travel novel-memoir The Journey, “May 29,” which you can read by clicking this beautiful book cover image below:
And today Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus won the Nobel Prize in Literature!! Congratulations to all who have ever and shall ever publish this remarkable author, starting with Dalkey Archive Press (Victoria, TX represent!), where my publishing mentor Chad Post edited this book and helped bring it into English in Keith Gessen‘s translation. Though we didn’t win the Nobel Prize this year (though I tried to sign Alexievich’s new book, Time Second-Hand, which is coming soon from Fitzcarraldo Editions in the UK & a TBA publisher in the US!), it was fun to see Sergio Pitol and Mikhail Shishkin‘s names pop up in this New Republic piece on Nobel Prize odds!
September 28, 2015 § Leave a comment
Fiston Mwanza Mujila & Roland Glasser have taken America by storm!
Check out video of Fiston Mwanza Mujila performing at the Brooklyn Book Festival last Sunday, September 20th, after recounting how he always wanted to be a jazz musician growing up in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, but how he could never afford the saxophone he so desperately wanted, so be became a poet, and uses his voice as his saxophone—which is exactly what gives Tram 83 the jazz rhythms & musicality that make this novel stand apart from anything else:
Tram 83 is taking over (!), and has so far received rave reviews in Publishers Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, Kirkus Reviews, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Rumpus, Three Percent, The Quarterly Conversation, Library Journal, Foreword Reviews, and more. Fiston & Roland were also interviewed by Sofia Samatar for BOMB Magazine. Booksellers love this book, you can read their recommendations here. It’s never too late to get into it, order a copy from us or from your favorite local indie bookstore!!
And now they’re in Texas! Join us this week in Houston, Austin, and Dallas before the Tram 83 boys head out to conquer the West Coast to conclude this remarkable, in-depth tour of the US arranged with the considerable support and direction of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Consulate in Houston:
Fri. Oct. 2 – Alliance Francaise Dallas presents Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading & discussion at Richland College (Richland Library, Building L [Parking X, Y, Z]) – Dallas, TX – 11am
Fri. Oct. 2 – SMU’s World Languages & Literatures & Dedman College presents Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading & discussion at SMU (Hyer Hall, Room 100) – Dallas, TX – 2pm
Thu. Oct. 8 – UC-Berkeley’s French Dept. presents Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading & discussion at the University of California, Berkeley (Dwinelle Hall) – Berkeley, California – 5pm
Sat. Oct. 10 – Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser reading at Litquake at Green Apple Books on the Park (9th Ave.) – San Francisco, CA – 7:30pm
Leila S. Chudori has an excerpt from her novel Home (out from us October 27th) up at the Asian American Writer’s Workshop (AAWW) magazine, The Margins, who are running a series on Indonesian Literature in Translation around Indonesia’s turn as the Guest of Honor (which they’re branding as “17,000 Islands of Imagination“) at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Here’s a piece of the excerpt from Home posted in The Margins:
We drank our coffee on the back terrace of the house. Tante Surti now seemed to be ready to give her testimony. She positioned herself on a chair facing the camera, a sign that we could begin.
Before starting, I told Tante Surti that if at any point she began to feel uncomfortable, she was to tell me so, and I would stop the camera. But with only one question from me to start, she began speaking to the camera as if it were a long lost friend, someone she had waited for years to meet again….
“I decided to marry Hananto Prawiro in Jakarta in 1953 for reasons of love and conviction. Hananto was a responsible man and I knew that he would love and take care of his family. I knew little about his political aspirations or activities. He worked as a journalist at the Nusantara News Agency where he ran the foreign desk. I knew that, of course, but I knew little of his activities outside office hours. In the numerous times that I was interrogated during the three years that Hananto was on the run, it was always that information my interrogators wanted: what it is that Mas Hananto did, whether he was a member of LEKRA, what meetings he had ever attended; who was present at the meetings, and so on and so forth. These questions were asked repeatedly by different interrogators, and with different tones of voice…”
Tante Surti paused for a moment to take a breath and a sip of coffee.
“Perhaps you could tell me why they detained the entire family…” I said to her.
“It’s not true that they detained our entire family—or at least that hadn’t been their original intent. It was my fault that happened. It was just that, with Mas Hananto gone, the kids and I were all so afraid of being separated from each other. But let me go back a bit…
The Margins also published an essay by Chudori, “Why I Wrote a Novel About Indonesian Political Exiles” describing how she came to write this remarkable, historical epic novel. It’s out in stores officially on Oct. 27th, but go ahead and read the excerpt, fall in love, order your copy (or subscribe!) & we’ll ship it out to you right away! Here’s an excerpt from Chudori’s essay:
I wanted to tell the story of political exiles who could not return home. Those who lived far from their homeland but still felt they were a part of Indonesia, no matter what kind of passports they were issued and no matter how the government treated them.
I became better acquainted with Oemar Said, Sobron Aidit and their friends who had established the restaurant Indonésia in Paris as a part of their resistance as political exiles. I used them, and especially Oemar Said, as the ‘model’ in the novel for a group of political exiles consisting of Dimas Suryo, Nugroho Dewantoro, Tjai Sin Soe, and Mohammad Risjaf. InPulang, the story goes that while they were on a trip as reporters to Santiago, Chile, the bloody September 30, 1965 incident took place back home. Their passports were revoked, after which they had to move from country to country, until they finally settled in Paris.
Pulang is a work of fiction, not a history book, a memoir, or a biography. Even so, I’ve spent six years researching and writing—in the midst of my work as a journalist at Tempo and as a mother. The exiles and prisoners I spoke to agreed to and supported my desire to write a novel.
Reviews of the first two books in Sergio Pitol‘s “Trilogy of Memory“: The Art of Flight and The Journey are popping up, and they’re revelatory, check out West Camel‘s take on the two books in 3:AM Magazine, “Labyrinths of Astonishment: Sergio Pitol’s Literary Journeys,” and Jeffrey Zuckerman‘s in-depth analysis in The Quarterly Conversation, “Pitol’s Wounds.” We’re proud to publish Pitol in English for the first time, and even more proud to publish the concluding book in the “Trilogy of Memory,” The Magician of Vienna, next winter, and then to follow that up with a short story collection (Spring 2017) and Pitol’s groundbreaking “Carnaval Trilogy” of novels: El desfile del amor (1984, winner of the Herralde Prize, the inspiration & creation of which is recounted in The Art of Flight), Domar a la divina garza (1988, the inspiration & creation of which is recounted in The Journey), and La vida conyugal (1991)—we’ll publish all three novels in Fall/Winter 2017, which will continue to develop our understanding and appreciation in English of one of the world’s most influential living authors. All of these Pitol works will be translated by Dr. George Henson, who did such an unbelievable job translating The Art of Flight and The Journey, and who recently left Dallas for a wonderful position as a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he is working with the university’s Spanish Department and Center for Translation Studies.
And I know I’ve been hinting over and over and over again that our new website is almost ready, but really, it is, it is, and it’s beautiful:
Bear with us, we’re still painting walls in the new office, printing the second edition of Sphinx (!), getting Gnarr’s The Pirate off to the printers, signing books for 2017 & beyond, and gearing up for a fall fundraising campaign so that we can continue to bring the world to Dallas from right here in Deep Ellum. We need your support now more than ever. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation or subscribing or ordering a book or three from us right here on this old (but soon to be new) website! We do this for you, and can’t do it without you!
P.S. Listen to NPR’s Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross today!
September 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
We’re the Best New Thing in Town!!
Check out the new “Best of Dallas” issue of the Dallas Observer, hitting newsstands today, for the full recap & rundown of all the best stuff in the Big D, including us! What an honor!
Last year, our friends at The Wild Detectives won Best New Thing in Town, and man, have they ever changed everything in Dallas ever. Join us to celebrate the two most recent Best New Things in Town as we bring Fiston Mwanza Mujila & Roland Glasser to town to celebrate, read, perform, and be awesome, next Thursday night at 7pm!
New website is so close to launch, y’all! Just tweaks, tweaks, tweaks.
In the meantime, read Jennifer Smart’s beautiful essay, “On Translation in Texas,” Deep Vellum, how translation opens up new worlds of possibilities, and what literature means to the arts in the new issue of Arts + Culture Texas Magazine!
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.
With the launch of Deep Vellum, Evans is giving us, as a reading community, a reason to talk about these things (and more). Now we just have to do it.
We’ve moved into our new office at 3000 Commerce in the heart of Dallas’s beating heart, the historic neighborhood of Deep Ellum, and will soon have more information to share about the bookstore/cafe/event space we’ll be opening up front this fall. In the meantime, look at this beautiful building:
You can find us easily, we’re in the building with the Leadbelly historical plaque put up by the Deep Ellum Foundation:
And all the old Dallas crew will love this sign for the legendary Club Clearview that once lived on Elm Street in the 80s & 90s living in our front room for now:
And thank you to every single generous donor who opened up their hearts and wallets on North Texas Giving Day, every single cent you donated goes towards making amazing literature happen, building bridges between cultures thanks to the power of the written word! You are amazing, and you make it all possible.
September 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s North Texas Giving Day!
Please consider making a tax deductible donation to Deep Vellum Publishing on the North Texas Giving Day website today, every donation made over $25 will qualify Deep Vellum for prizes, bonuses, and other awesome recognition that will go a long way towards furthering our mission of connecting the world through the written word!
What is North Texas Giving Day?
North Texas’ incredible generosity has broken the national record 3 years in a row! After last year’s national record-crushing 75,000 donations totaling $26.3 million, North Texas Giving Day is back with the hopes that North Texas will raise the giving day bar once again to benefit more North Texas nonprofits. On September 17, 2015, donations of $25 or more can be made 6 a.m. to midnight to more than 2,100 certified nonprofits listed on www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org. Those donations will be amplified by more than $2 million dollars in bonus funds and prizes.
Donate directly to Deep Vellum at this link or click the picture above: https://www.northtexasgivingday.org/#npo/deep-vellum-publishing
Think of North Texas Giving Day as Christmas for the 2100 amazing Dallas nonprofit organizations signed up, including Deep Vellum! And if you make a donation, please share that fact on social media, with the hashtag #NTXGivingDay. We need your support! And the support of your friends, family, loved ones, bosses, exes, cousins, acquaintances, high school frienemies, billionaires, and readers.
Why should you donate to Deep Vellum?
- In only one year, we’ve published 10 books by 9 authors (4 women, 5 men) from 7 countries written in 6 languages!
- When we publish books, we bring our authors to Texas, like Carmen Boullosa‘s events in Dallas last October, or our upcoming events in Dallas with author Fiston Mwanza Mujila and translator Roland Glasser at The Wild Detectives on October 1st and at Richland College and SMU on October 2nd!
- We host events for authors and translators in Dallas, like John Darnielle just as Wolf in White Van was shortlisted for the National Book Award, or Marian Schwartz before her translation of Anna Karenina was nominated for the National Translation Award!
- We’ve just signed the lease to move Deep Vellum HQ into a new office space in Deep Ellum that will feature a bookstore/gallery/event space up front, giving the beating heart of central Dallas a new cultural hub to enjoy!
- Deep Vellum has been recognized by local and international media as “Dallas’s Best Publisher” by D Magazine, publisher Will Evans has been featured as one of the Dallas Observer‘s “100 Dallas Creatives,” Flavorwire named Deep Vellum “one of the five small publishers changing the face of the industry.”
- We publish game-changing, life-altering, mind-blowing, genre-bending literary masterpieces by authors who have often never been published in English before, like Sergio Pitol and Anne Garréta, expanding our very understanding of what literature is and what it can do.
- Books are awesome.
- Dallas is more awesome with more books in it.
- Translators make the world seem real to us and we value translators for that, always putting their names on the front cover of our books and promoting translation as a form of creative writing to be better understood and appreciated.
These are but a few of the reasons why you should support Deep Vellum today on North Texas Giving Day. None of what we do at Deep Vellum is cheap, nor is it free, though everything we do is for you, the Dallasite, the North Texan, the 214 to the 817, we do this for you. Join us in creating a more vibrant and engaged literary Metroplex, and by extension a more literary world. Together we are always more awesome than alone.
July 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
We’re the best publisher in Dallas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Not only has he brought great authors like Sergio Pitol and Anne Garreta to English-language readers, he offers Dallas an unmatched energy and enthusiasm for building a true literary community.”
For those who are curious, we are not in fact the only publisher in Dallas, and I don’t know if there has ever been a Best Publisher category in the Best of Big D listings, but the fact that D Magazine would include this category, or us, at all speaks volumes to how far we’ve come in the past two years to increasing the awareness of the literary arts in Dallas, and embracing our city’s rich literary history (see for example this amazing D Magazine piece from last month’s issue written by Ben Fountain about Willard Spiegelman and the 100th anniversary of the Southwest Review, published out of SMU!). Thank you to our friends at D Magazine for recognizing what we’re trying to do—simultaneously publishing great literature and building a more vibrant literary community in Dallas, North Texas, and beyond!!
And check back soon for potential huge news about new office/event space for Deep Vellum…and don’t forget, we can’t publish these books or host events without your support, please consider subscribing or making a tax-deductible donation to support our mission today. THANK YOU AS ALWAYS FOR READING!!!!!
July 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
Mark Haber, writer, Best Translated Book Award judge, and bookseller at Houston’s Brazos Bookstore, has interviewed Dallas’s own George Henson about translating Sergio Pitol. Read the full interview at Brazos’s website:
Henson remembers the first time he was exposed to Hispanic literature in translation. It was in 1983 at a panel discussing Carlos Fuentes. Henson heard one of Fuentes’ translators, Margaret Sayers Peden, speak. “I thought, Oh, this woman translates. I’ve read Carlos Fuentes in Spanish and this woman translates him into English. And I remember specifically going and buying a book, one of Carlos Fuentes’ novels that Margaret Sayers Peden had translated.”
Now, Henson is a popular translator himself, most recently known for translating Mexican author Pitol for Deep Vellum, the independent literary publisher based in Dallas (where Henson also lives). Before I’d ever read Pitol—before he’d even had a book translated into English—my Spanish-speaking friends had told me about this writer, a recipient of both the Juan Rulfo Prize and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize. They raved about his coveted place in Mexican letters, his brilliance and originality. Thus, there was already a sense of anticipation, even an expectation, when I finally held THE ART OF FLIGHT in my hands this past March. I expected to like the book, but I didn’t expect to find a library of authors contained inside a single novel, one that combines travelogue, essay, memoir, and literature effortlessly—in other words, I didn’t expect to love Pitol. Reading him feels like sitting beside your favorite uncle, the one who has traveled the world and read everything, yet wears his intelligence loosely and comfortably. Now, with THE JOURNEY, Pitol’s newest book translated into English, the author looms even larger.
THE JOURNEY, the second book in Pitol’s Trilogy of Memory, is forthcoming on August 18th. We’ll be sending review & subscriber copies out this week. It’s the first time one of our books has been delayed, but bear with me, it’s not easy publishing this many books as a one-man show (and we’re still ahead of schedule for all of our fall season of amazing books!). Enjoy an excerpt from THE JOURNEY from our friends at the Houston-based Literal Magazine as you wait for your copy to arrive:
Faced with centuries of cruelty and an unrelenting history, against the robotic nature of contemporary life the only thing they have left is their soul. And in the Russian’s soul, I include his energy, his identification with nature and eccentricity. The achievement of being oneself without relying too much on someone else and sailing along as long as possible, going with the flow.The eccentric’s cares are different from those of others—his gestures tend toward differentiation, toward autonomy insofar as possible from a tediously herdlike setting. His real world lies within. From the times of the incipient Rus’, a millennium ago, the inhabitants of this infinite land have been led by a strong hand and endured punishments of extreme violence, by Asian invaders as well as their own: Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Nicholas I, Stalin; and from among the glebe, among the suffering flock, arises, I don’t know if by trickle or torrent, the eccentric, the fool, the jester, the seer, the idiot, the good-for-nothing, the one with one foot in the madhouse, the delirious, the one who is the despair of his superiors. There is a secret communicating vessel between the simpleton who rings the church bells and the sublime painter, who in a chapel of the same church gives life to a majestic Virgin greater than all the icons contained in that holy place. The eccentric lends levity to the European novel from the eighteenth century to the present; in doing so, he breathes new life into it. In some novels, all the characters are eccentrics, and not only they, but the authors themselves. Laurence Sterne, Nikolai Gogol, the Irishmen Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien are exemplars of eccentricity, like each and every one of the characters in their books and thus the stories of those books.
And the introduction to THE JOURNEY was written by none other than Álvaro Enrigue, author of the Herralde Prize-winning Sudden Death (coming soon from Riverhead). Enrigue used to be the editor of Letras Libres, one of, if not THE, most important literary review outlets in Mexico and the entire Spanish-speaking world (check out Enrigue’s original review of The Journey after it was published in Mexico, from 2001). From Enrigue’s brilliant introduction to THE JOURNEY, called “Sergio Pitol, Russian Boy,” which I think helps contextualize the entire Trilogy of Memory for the English-language reader in an important way (and which you can read in full in Spanish at Letras Libres):
The Journey is at once a lesson in subtlety and in destruction. It is a book that, in order to rescue one tradition, dynamites another. It is a volume about how a writer constructs. About freedom and its lack; that final, indomitable freedom which is letting go, allow- ing things to come out: narrating. This is why the book does not function, like almost all the others, as a progressive sequence of stories, ideas, and images, but rather like a hall of mirrors, in which a series of narratives reflect on each other: eschatological tales; a body of essays on the humiliations suffered by Russian writers who chose to pay the price for speaking their mind; a collection of documentary vignettes in which the reader watches live the Soviet generation that was becoming emancipated, fertilized by the sacrifice of those authors and the autobiographical framework of the writer who chose not to comply with any parameters to become who he wanted to be: a Russian boy.
Remind yourself why you love Sergio Pitol so much, like in the young Mexican novelist Daniel Saldaña Paris‘s “Sergio Pitol: Mexico’s Total Writer,” which was published in English translation by the Literary Hub (and Saldaña Paris’s debut novel, Among Strange Victims, is forthcoming from Coffee House next year!):
Pitol is one of those authors whom one never leaves. There is always a corner of his work that can be read under a new lens. It is not for nothing, it seems to me, that he is held as a clear example of a “writer’s writer” in recent Latin American narrative. The fact that authors such as Enrique Vila-Matas and Mario Bellatin have turned him into a character in their own fiction only confirms what any reader senses upon reading him: that Pitol is unfathomable; it could almost be said that he is a literature entire of himself.
Or remind yourself that Pitol is one of the major influences on so many of the greatest Spanish-language authors of our time, like Enrique Vila-Matas, who says in his introduction to THE ART OF FLIGHT:
In these anecdotes of rainy days past lies the silhouette of his Cervantesesque life, since, as he says, “Everything is all things.” Reading him, one has the impression of being in the presence of the best writer in the Spanish language of our time. And to whomever asks about his style, I will say that it consists in fleeing anyone who is so dreadful as to be full of certainty. His style is to say everything, but to not solve the mystery. His style is to distort what he sees. His style consists in traveling and losing countries and losing one or two pairs of eyeglasses in them, losing all of them, losing eyeglasses and losing countries and rainy days, losing everything: having nothing and being Mexican and at the same time always being a foreigner.
Sergio Pitol’s stories, essays and novels do not only travel through his many places of residence. His writing – the way he constructs sentences, inflects Spanish, twists meanings and stresses particular words – reflects the multiplicity of languages he has read and embraced –and perhaps, too, the many men he has been. Reading him is like reading through the layers of many languages at once.
It isn’t easy to explain the reason why Pitol’s imagination takes hold of his readers. Perhaps it is the way he’s able to delicately tap into the most disturbing layers of reality and turn our conception of what is normal inside out. Perhaps it’s because he’s always telling a deeper, sadder, more disquieting story while pretending to narrate another. Or perhaps it is merely that strange gift which very few possess: a voice that reverberates beyond the margins of his books.
August 18th, get yourself a copy of Pitol’s THE JOURNEY (from your local indie bookstore, or preorder from Brazos Bookstore) and enjoy one of the world’s greatest, most influential, and most fun to read authors take you on a trip from Prague to Moscow to Leningrad to Tbilisi and to the depths of your imagination. Enjoy, amigos.