Útgefendur og umboðsmenn 2015

PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP - ANNE VIAL (SPAIN)

anne_vial

Anne Vial

• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I'm German but a bit of a global nomad and have lived abroad for the past 20 years. My degree is from the UK (London &Cambridge), and I've moved around working in international publishing -my dream job- since 2001. Set up my own company in 2013: I'm a Literary Scout for German & Spanish-language literature, but always curious about European fiction in general. My job is to "hunt down" & find books & authors that are the perfect fit for my international client publishers. I do this by networking with literary agencies, publishers and editors, reading ridiculous amounts of books and being ahead of the game. You have to be fast and have a good nose!

Contact Details:
http://www.vial.de/scout/
https://es.linkedin.com/in/annevanessavial

• Are there any Icelandic authors on your radar already? How do you see the situation of Icelandic literature on the global book market?

Steinar Bragi THE HIGHLANDS - can't wait to read the complete English translation, it's fantastic. Also Sjon &  Andri Snaer Magnason- but I hope to meet/know more in Iceland... We all know Icelanders read more than anyone else on the globe. And the percentage of published writers/capita is also the highest, impressive. Being a minority language, it's hard to find readers/translators. Also, the crime market may be somewhat saturated for Icelandic authors, but there is definitely always attention on & fascination with authors coming from Iceland.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I have never been and can't wait to go: my feeling is I'm going to connect to the landscape as if it were a long-lost soulmate.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

In Germany, we have a tradition of translating from all languages, readers are open and curious. Luckily, plenty of German editors read Scandinavian languages and so the best authors are always translated into German (making it possible for me to read directly). Spain is more limited in terms of translations, still: the recent trend of Scandinavian crime (post-Larsson-mania) has made readers more open to other genres in translation too.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

I grew up reading the EDDA and feel my entire childhood fantasy was inspired and infused by it's characters and universe. Sometimes I feel I still live there... I really like Arnaldur Indridasson's books. INDEPENDENT PEOPLE by Halldor Laxness is on my bedside table, ask me in a few weeks? I saw a beautiful instrumental orchestration of some of his work at Berlin Volkstheater 2014. Others on my to-do list: ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE by EINAR MÁR GUDMUNDSSON. GUNNLÖTH’S TALE by SVAVA JAKOBSDÓTTIR. Sjon THE ARCTIC FOX. Steinar Bragi THE HIGHLANDS when it's fully translated. Recently read (&met) Hannah Kent's BURIAL RITES, not an icelandic author but setting. Also, if HROSS I OSS / OF HORSES AND MEN were a short-story collection, I would read it IMMEDIATELY. One of my favourite films in the past years.


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP – BASSAM CHEBARO (LEBANON)

bassam_chebaro• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there! Are you publishing any Icelandic authors? How were they recieved in your country?

Arab Scientific Publishers were the first to acquire Arabic rights, translator and publish in Arabic. The Icelandic titles were received acceptably and Iceland is rapidly known in the Arab world. Iceland was the guest of honor at Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2015.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I visited most of Europe besides Iceland, Portugal, Norway and Croatia. I expect similar traditions to Finland and very attractive virgin scenery.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

Literature in translation is increasing year after year. The world is getting smaller.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

Arnaldur Indriðason.


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP - GUNN REINERTSEN NÆSS (NO)

Gunn Reinertsen Næss

Gunn Reinertsen Næss

•Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I am editor in chief for translated literature at Aschehoug publishing house, and I have had this great job since 2006. Aschehoug is one of the largest and oldest publishing houses in Norway, established in 1872. It is a family-owned company, and Mads Nygaard is the current publisher and head of the house. The publishing house is very nicely stationed in the heart of Oslo.

We publish approximately 200 titles per year; that is Norwegian and translated fiction, Norwegian and translated non-fiction and Norwegian and translated books for children and young adults. We publish Norwegian authors like Jo Nesbø, Merethe Lindstrøm, Jan Kjærstad, Carl Frode Tiller  and Jostein Gaarder. We also have a substantial educational department, and Aschehoug has several imprints, among them Universitetsforlaget and Oktober publishing.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I have been to Iceland once, in 2006, on a private trip, and I absolutely loved it. The landscape, the sea, the people, the food – it all intrigued me. I know too little about Icelandic literature, and my main aim for coming to the festaval is to make up for that! I am sure both our hosts and international colleagues can guide me to the best authors and that Aschehoug‘s list of translations will, in time, include one or two of the very best Icelandic names.

I look forward to meeting and getting to know Icelandic and other international authors and colleagues, and to take part in interesting seminars and events. I am sure the festival will be a great inspiration!

PS I love the Icelandic horse, and hope to see some of these beautiful, sturdy animals.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

Very competitive, is how I will describe the situation for translated literature in Norway. It is extremely bestseller focused, and the wider variety of quality literature is decreasing. Ours is a small market, the print runs are low and translation costs are high. Our lists of translations, containing some 30 titles per year, feature great authors like Siri Hustvedt, Pierre Lemaitre, Paul Auster, Sara Stridsberg, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Harper Lee, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Hjorth&Rosenfeldt, Peter Høeg, Toni Morrison and Arto Paasilinna.


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP - PROF. HELEN MITSIOS (USA)

• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I'm a poet, writer, and editor.  For many years I have been a Professor of Languages and Literature at The Touro College & University System in New York City.

Helen Mitsios portrait by Tony Winters DSC_0145 copy 2

Helen Mitsios (portrait by Tony Winters)

Who are the Icelandic authors that you publish. How were they received in your country?

In January 2015, I hosted a literary event at the Scandinavia House in Manhattan, which was part of the book launch for the poetry collection I edited: Beneath the Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary Icelandic Poetry. We had a poetry reading and panel discussion with Einar Már Guðmundsson, Didda Jónsdóttir, Gerður Kristný, Bragi Ólafsson, and Sola Bjarnadóttir O’Connell who translated most of the poems in the collection and is recipient of the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s Leif and Inger Sjöberg Translation Award. Even though it was the coldest night of the year, we had a big and lively turnout. I’m grateful to all the writers who participated, and also to Megas who gave me permission to publish--for the first time ever in English--a few of his lyrical poem-songs.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

Of course there's more than one favorite by now. I'll just mention my first love: Steinn Steinarr's poetry. I discovered "Time and Water," which is still virtually unknown in the U.S., while I was studying for an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University. I thought it was one of the most beautiful poems I had ever read. And this galvanized my passion for Iceland and its literature and poetry.

Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I was fortunate to attend a long-ago New Year's Eve party at the Hotel Borg where the Sugarcubes were playing. Since that time, I've been back often to see friends I made on my first visit.

I expect to meet new and accomplished people from international backgrounds who share an interest in Icelandic culture.

How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country? 

First, I’d like to pay tribute to Bernard Scudder’s excellent, comprehensive English translation of Icelandic poetry in Icelandic Poetry, published by Saga Forlag in 2012. The Scudder estate was generous to allow me to use some of Mr. Scudder’s poetry translations in Beneath the Ice.

Before the publication of Beneath the Ice, the last Icelandic poetry collection published in the U.S. was Brushstrokes of Blue in 1994. Currently about 3% of yearly publications in America are translations, and in terms of literary fiction and poetry the number is actually closer to a rather bleak 0.7%. So we still have some room for improvement, and we're indeed improving one book at a time.


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP – HENRIK LINDVALL (SWEDEN)

henrik_lindvall• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I work as an senior editor at Norstedts. Norstedts is the oldest publishing house in Sweden it was founded in 1823.

• Are you publishing any Icelandic authors? How is their reception in your country?

We are very proud to be the publisher for Arnaldur Indriðason in Sweden. He is one of the biggest translated crime authors over here.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I have never been to Iceland before. But I have always dreamed of going there one day. I expect a lot from the Literary Festival. Meeting colleagues from all over the world and to learn more about Iceland and Icelandic literature in general.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

The situation is tough. With lots of focus on the Swedish author in media and from the publishers.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

Of course. Arnaldur Indriðason.


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP – JONAS AXELSSON (SWEDEN)

jonas_axelsson• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I run a literary agency in Stockholm called Partners in Stories, founded 2013. I used to be a publishing director at the major publishing house in Sweden, Albert Bonniers Förlag, but after twenty years as an editor and a publisher I decided to create a new adventure for myself and some authors. Around 35 authors belong to the agency at the moment.

• Do you represent Icelandic authors or authors who have been published in Icelandic? How do you see their reception in Iceland and in other countries?

I don't represent Icelandic authors yet, mainly because I almost just started and been busy taking care of Swedish authors. Some of our authors are published in Icelandic, like Fredrik Backman, Lena Andersson and Fredrik T Olsson. Backman is a major hit in Iceland and in several other territories, Lena Andersson's readership is growing in the whole world and Fredrik T Olsson's debut was a sensation and sold to over 25 languages.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

First time to Iceland for me and I'm very excited. I've heard so many good things about the Festival and I'm really looking forward to it. Last year I was invited to Louisana in Denmark and the organizers there hailed the Reykjavik Festival and said they were more than inspired by your model of Literary Festival.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

The situation for translated literature in Sweden is in general very tough. Domestic books by Swedes dominates the space and the charts. Just a few worldwide bestsellers make its way and finds a good amount of readers. But I think this is a status that will change, the genre literature from Sweden will lose some market shares and translated fiction will challenge and grow in attention and sales, thanks to the interest in great storytelling from the whole world.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

Halldór Laxness, of course. And I would like to add Einar Már Guðmundsson, who I line-edited in translation 25 years ago and has continued to read after that.


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP – MIA BULL-GUNDERSEN (NORWAY)

mia-bull-gundersen• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I work at Aschehoug Publisher, which is one of the largest and oldest publishing houses in Norway. It was established in 1872, and is a family-owned company, owned by the Nygaard-family. We are stationed in the heart of Oslo.

We publish approximately 200 titles per year; that is Norwegian and translated fiction, Norwegian and translated non-fiction and Norwegian and translated books for children. We are the publisher of Norwegian authors like Jo Nesbø, Merethe Lindstrøm, Jan Kjærstad, Carl Frode Tiller  and Jostein Gaarder. We are also have a big department for school books, and Aschehoug has several imprints, among them Universitetsforlaget and Oktober Publisher.

I work as an editor for Norwegian fiction (also crime novels) and poetry. I have been in Aschehoug since 1993: I started as Rights Manager and I was Jostein Gaarder's agent for 6 years when his novel SOPHIE'S WORLD was travelling all around the world. (It still is, actually.) I am the editor of authors like Jan Kjærstad, Unni Lindell, Thure Erik Lund, Gabi Gleichmann, Karsten Alnæs, Jostein Gaarder, Erling Kittelsen, Kurt Aust and many more.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I have never been to Iceland before. I look forward to get a chance to visit the country, see all the beautiful spots and to do so in company of colleagues from other countries and with our Islandic hosts as inspiring guides! And it will be fantastic to have a chance to meet Icelandic and other foreign authors and to take part in the great program of the festival.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

The situation for translated literature in Norway is quite hard, as I guess it is in many countries, because we are a small market and the translation costs are high and the prints are low. But we consider translated literature as a very important part of our list and we publish approximately 30 translated novels per year. We publish authors like Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Pierre Lemaitre, Sara Stridsberg, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood. We will also publish the "new" novel by Harper Lee in August.


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP – SUSANNE GRETTER (GERMANY)

Susanne-Gretter_Ebba-D-Drolshagen

Susanne Gretter (photo by Ebba D. Drolshagen)

• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I work at Suhrkamp Verlag, founded in 1950 by Peter Suhrkamp and directed for more than forty years by Siegfried Unseld. The independent publishing company now includes Insel Verlag (founded in Leipzig in 1899), the Jüdischer Verlag (Jewish Literature, founded in Berlin 1902), as well as the Deutscher Klassiker Verlag (German Classics), established in 1981, and the newly founded Verlag der Weltreligionen (World Religions, established in 2006). Suhrkamp focuses on both contemporary literature and the humanities. Its distinguished list of authors includes leading writers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, besides major international authors of both fiction and non-fiction, including several Nobel Prize Winners.

I work as a senior editor for German (Robert Menasse, Anna Katharina Hahn etc.) and international literature, i.e. English, American (Rose Tremain, Louise Erdrich, Lisa Zeidner, Gideon Lewis-Kraus etc.), Scandinavian (Marie Hermanson, Anne Swärd, Erling Jepsen, Lars Mytting, Markus Nummi, Miina Supinen etc.) and Icelandic Literature (recently: Auður Ava Ólafsdottir, Solveig Jónsdóttir, Björg Magnúsdóttir).

• Who are the Icelandic authors that you publish. How were they received in your country?

We are very proud to publish Auður Ava Ólafsdottir, Sólveig Jónsdóttir, and we recently acquired the first two books by Björg Magnúsdóttir, which we plan to publish at Insel Verlag in 2016 (Nicht ganz mein Typ. – Ganz mein Typ).

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

Of course. Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir. And Solveig Jónsdóttir. And Björg Magnúsdóttir. And beside these wonderful ladies: Sjón. And Halldór Laxness, of course, „father of all icelandic authors“. However I’m sure there will be more names on the list after my stay in Iceland.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I have never been to Iceland before and I am really looking forward to visiting the country and to attending the famous festival in Reykjavík. I will travel in company (with my family) and do a little tour around the island before the festival starts to experience the landscape of Iceland and to get an idea of what my wonderful authors are writing about. I am also very excited to meet my authors (and their wonderful publishers). And of course, the international authors – and to communicate with colleagues from other countries.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

We consider translated literature as a very important part of our list and we translate about  320 titles per year at Suhrkamp and Insel Verlag (both fiction and non-fiction). Among these are bestsellers like Isabel Allende, Gerbrand Bakker, Louis Begley, Lily Brett, Jaume Cabré, Teju Cole, Rose Tremain, Mario Vargas Llosa, Don Winslow.

We are not so much involved in the worldwide bestseller business with its commercial mass market titles. Suhrkamp is a synonym for literary quality whereas Insel slightly opens the door for more commercial entertainment and genre literature. But the interest in storytellers from the whole world is growing and so is our engagement for international literature (which has always been big).


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP - WILL EVANS (USA)

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Will Evans (photo by Mercedes Olivera)

  • Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I am the publisher of Deep Vellum Publishing, which I founded in Dallas, Texas in 2013 to publish translated literature from all over the world. Deep Vellum is a nonprofit literary arts organization, which means we operate under the mission to publish great works of translated literature, to promote and foster the art and craft of translation, advocate for literature's place in the arts, and strive every day to build a more robust, engaged literary readership and community in Dallas and beyond.

• Have you ever published Icelandic authors? If yes, who were they and how were they recieved in your country?

07_27_2014_525x825_indian4Our one Icelandic author (so far!) is Jón Gnarr. Gnarr is a remarkable person, and was already well-known in the US prior to our publishing him. We've signed three of his childhood memoir-novels for release, and have only published the first one, The Indian.  The response has been great from all who've read it, but we're expecting sales to continue to climb over the long-term, especially around the time we publish the second novel in the trilogy, The Pirate, this winter, and then by the time the third volume, The Outlaw, comes out late next year we hope that he will be as well known in the US for his writing as for starting the Best Party and for his term as mayor of Reykjavík (2010-2014).

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I've never been to Iceland before and am so excited to come for the first time around the Literary Festival! I'm looking forward to meeting international publishing colleagues as well as authors whose work I admire and those I've not had the chance to read yet. All in the setting of the world's most unique country. And my one true goal is that I hope to have a serious literary conversation while soaking in the Blue Lagoon or some other remarkable hot springs!

the_pirate_cover_rgb• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

It's awful. Abysmal. Terrible. Not nearly enough works being published. Publishers publishing one-off books by great authors, not taking the time and resources to build the author's backlist or reputation in English. Reviewers slow to review those works that are published. BUT it's getting better. Way better. Two of the biggest authors in the US right now are Knausgaard and Ferrante, that's a wonderful sign, two completely different styles, two different readerships, both accepting foreign authors. I hope that continues to build, and I hope that more independent publishers continue to start up or start to publish translations to bridge the gap between great foreign authors and the English-language readership.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

Jón Gnarr, of course! I'm shockingly poorly read in Icelandic literature, and my favorite work I've read from Iceland so far is Bragi Ólafsson's The Pets, though I have a stack of Sjón's fiction in English (who's going to publish his poetry?!?!). One of the reasons I'm coming to the Literary Festival is to meet Icelandic authors and publishers to get an idea of what else is going on from a literary standpoint in Iceland, there are a few works I'm interested in, including one that if I sign and publish definitely seems like it could be my new favorite book from Iceland...


PUBLISHERS' FELLOWSHIP - YURY ZAVADSKY (UKRAINE)

yury-zavadansky• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

Krok is a publishing house and it's also starting as an agency to promote Ukrainian and Belarusian authors abroad and to bring the best world literature into Ukraine and Belarus. I'm the founder of Krok and currently work there as it's director. Krok works on numerous translating projects. Authors from Sweden, Poland, New Zealand, Finland, Lithuania, Belarus, Austria, Canada, Australia, and surely from Iceland.

• Have you ever published Icelandic authors? If yes, who were they and how were they recieved in your country?

We have two poetry books already: Emil Hjörvar Petersen's "Refur" in Ukrainian and Aðalsteinn Ásberg Sigurðsson's selected poems in Belarusian. Emil participated in the International Lviv Literature Festival, and Aðalsteinn visited Belarus to take part in Straltsov Literature Festival, both in 2014. Readers are expecting to see special literature to be published by Krok. Looks like these were the first times that Icelandic authors were published inndividually in Ukraine, not in anthologies.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I've never been to Iceland! I'd like to meet good and friendly people there, and hope to find partners to work more and better in book publishing. It is well known that the publishing of fiction and poetry is not just business, it's also a continuous communication between authors, publishers and readers. That's why publishers have to take part in such festivals as the one in Reykjavík.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

There were a lot of books translated into Ukrainian during the history of Ukraine. Some of them were ideologically corrected during 'soviet' times. Some writers were prohibited. So we have plenty of work to do. We're working to bring contemporary literature to Ukrainians, and these books were received well by readers.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

I'm not so good in Icelandic literature and language, to talk about a favourite writer. But I'm sure that we'll have a chance to bring our nations closer one to each other, so we will work on that!