Posts Tagged ‘Comma Press’

Words are what matter

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 11.43.10 AMEarning money and literary translation do not necessarily go hand in hand. Nor do earning money and publishing literary fiction. How do you square the problem of wanting to translate good literary fiction and making enough to live off? Do you do literary translation/publishing as a sideline to a better-paid job? Do you translate (or publish) genre literature in between books you like? Or do you say to yourself, what the heck, I’ll translate a bestseller for Amazon?

At the London Book Fair a couple of weeks’ back, a spokeswoman for Amazon Crossing said: “Words are what matter, whether they are digital or analogue.” Uncontroversial enough, except coming from Amazon, I thought: surely profits are what matter to a multi-billion company? Amazon Crossing is a publisher of translations and according to one report, the second largest buyer of rights to German titles after the Dalkey Archive Press. What’s not mentioned in the report is the types of titles published by Amazon Crossing as opposed to the Dalkey Archive – unsurprisingly, they are mostly thrillers, crime fiction, and light beach reading. The Dalkey Archive, however, is a joint project by the Dalkey Archive Press, English PEN, the Free Word Centre and the Arts Council England that runs a Global Translation Initiative: their website says that “it was born out of a conference (…) where it was found that the crisis facing literary and cultural translation into the English language is in fact a shared problem of all the English-speaking countries.” The GTI aims to redress the lack of translated literary fiction in English – 3-4% of the total US book market, for example. (more…)

Highlights from the London Book Fair – part 1

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Let’s do some gimballing!

Too many good things happened at this year’s London Book Fair to include them all in one blog post. So I’ll start with the first. It’s a project initiated by Jim Hinks from Comma Press in Manchester, in cooperation with Alexandra Blücher from Literature Across Frontiers and Toru Interactive supplying the technical knowledge, and it’s called the Gimbal App. Whether you live in Zagreb, Gdansk, Barcelona or indeed any city and commute, or if you are visiting and want to dip into the city’s geography in a literary way, you can using Gimbal. The name comes from a mariner’s instrument which was a metal sphere used to maintain a fixed point by keeping the compass in place, explains Jim at the app’s launch on Tuesday at Earl’s Court. Writers take on the role of “gimbals”, the fixed point in a city foreign to the reader. You open up the navigation on your smartphone, iPad or iPod and choose by location, genre, journey length or mode of transport where you’d like to go: here you find stories written by  contemporary short story writers including Roman Simic, Michelle Green or Alison McLeod in both audio and text versions. So, selecting the “by bicycle” option in combination with “34 minutes” and “Europe”, you will find a drop-down menu of the stories featuring this combination. As the story starts, you can see the journey it recounts mapped out in typical Google map style and you, the reader, can add Instagram photos or comments of the places visited. (more…)