I’ve already blogged on my main site about my newfound love for Europa Editions, the fledgling offshoot of the Italian publisher edizioni, which aims to bring notable literary and crime fiction in translation to American soil. LA Weekly profiles one of the company’s founders, Kent Carroll, who founded indie publisher Carroll & Graf then went out on his own for a while before getting Europa off the ground:
after a three-year absence from the publishing world, the lean, gray-haired Carroll is back in business. You could consider Europa Editions, the sprightly new publishing venture he has just started in New York, as a kind of book club for Americans who thirst after exciting foreign fiction. Itï¿½s not Oprah, but Carroll thinks heï¿½s got a winning strategy: Good writing, eye-catching cover art and an eclectic list that includes new fiction from Europe and the fringes of the Middle East, along with reissues of neglected or out-of-print classics. Furthermore, he has some serious backing. Europa Editions is the U.S. imprint of Rome-based Edizione e/o, itself known for publishing fiction in translation in Europe, and it was the idea of its publisher, Sandro Ferri, to extend its mission to America.
“It was a noble idea, but it also turned out to be a very smart business idea,” says Carroll in his sparsely furnished office off Union Square in New York. “Sandro’s feeling was there remained a lot of first-rate books in the Middle East and Europe that just weren’t getting to the U.S. and could compete with American literature and would find an audience.”
Granted, the audience for translated books is frustratingly limited (owing to many readers’ reluctance to read books that are even set in foreign climes, let alone originally written in different languages) but there’s always room for good books, wherever they originate from.