At a very difficult time for the book market, Pandora M Publishing House, part of TREI editorial group, is working on a collection of translations from universal literature.
At a very difficult time for the book market, when numerous publishing houses have downsized or even seized book printing due to a dramatic drop in sales, Pandora M Publishing House, part of TREI editorial group, is working on a collection of translations from universal literature. The collection, entitled ANANSI. World Fiction is being coordinated by Bogdan-Alexandru Stanescu, a writer and one of the most appreciated Romanian editors, with a 15-year experience in the field of literary translation. The new collection that bears the name of Anansi, the African god of stories, is made up of five series, namely, one dedicated to contemporary literature, one dedicated to the 20th century classics, one of literary essays, one of memoirs and one dedicated to poetry. Among the writers who form part of this collection are the Syrian Samar Yazbek, a fervent critic of the Assad regime, the Swedish Linda Boström Knausgård, the American writer, poet and literary critic Ben Lerner, a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, Ahmet Altan, one of the most read Turkish writers and an outstanding journalist, all of them translated into Romanian for the first time.
Bogdan Alexandru Stanescu tells us more about the ANANSI collection: Many editors dream of something like this, wish to coordinate such collection, but they often fail to find the support they need. The fact that the first six titles of the collection are sold out is a surprise for me as well. The novelty and quality of the titles surely mattered, as well as the graphics, the covers signed by Andrei Gamart. I would call this a rather subjective collection. I included authors that I like a lot and whom I wanted to see translated into Romanian. I could not bear the thought that Jose Luis Peixoto, one of the greatest contemporary Portuguese writers, dubbed by critics the new Saramago, has not been fully translated into Romanian. I remember that at a certain point there was a Facebook group that tried to convince publishing houses to further translate his books. And still, this didn’t happen. So it’s not a coincidence that Jose Luis Peixoto was included in the first wave of the Anansi collection with his book ’Autobiography ’, translated by Simina Popa, and for me this is a dream come true. Also, it was hard for me to understand why Martin Amis, one of the most influential and innovative voices of British contemporary literature was not being translated. In the case of Paul Auster, I must admit this is my favourite of all his books - ’Moon Palace’, translated by Michaela Niculescu. I believe the role of a publishing house is also to educate the taste of readers. I do not think is right not to have masterpieces in our libraries because they were translated and published 20 years ago and reediting is seen as not having any sense. Unfortunately, many people in the book industry do not understand the value of reediting. Its purpose is to keep on the market and among the readers’options, a number of masterpieces. This is how the reediting of ’I, Claudius’, a historical novel by Robert Graves, translated by Silvian Iosifescu, is justified.
The most awaited come back in Romanian poetry, this is how literary critic Mihai Iovanel describes the poetry book of Ruxandra Novac, published as part of the Anansi collection : Ruxandra Novac is, in a way, the reason behind the Anansi Blues poetry series. I say this because when we decided to publish this poetry book, entitled ’Alwarda’, the collection was almost fully sketched. It was when we decided to publish Ruxandra Novac’s volume that we thought of a series devoted entirely to poetry. Starting this year, we will publish the work of the 2020 Nobel Prize winner in literature, Louise Gluck. When the award was announced, many people said on social networks that they had never heard of her, although she has been a heavy name of the American poetry in the last 50 years. I promise more people will hear of Louise Gluck in Romania as well.
Also part of the Anansi collection are volumes that won the world’s most important literature prizes in 2020, such as L’Anomalie, that brought French writer Hervé Le Tellier the Goncourt Prize, the book of Maggie O’Farrell, that brought her the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the novel The Discomfort of Evening, by Dutch writer Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, awarded with The International Booker Prize, and also Shuggie Bain, the debut novel of the Scottish writer Douglas Stuart, that won the The Booker Prize 2020.