• 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?
Our 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!
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…