As I mentioned already in an earlier blog post, I am working on some book-related projects that absorb right now a considerable part of my free time. Since then things have become more tangible, and I feel this is the right moment to inform my readers a bit more in detail about these projects.
I am now – together with my associate and dear friend Elitsa Osenska – the proud owner of two new small companies that deal with different aspects of the book market. One of them (Hyperion) is a literary agency that is assisting publishers, authors and other agencies to sell book translation rights and other subsidiary rights on foreign markets; the agency aims also to assist authors in their professional development. The other company (Rhizome) is a publishing house that will mainly publish high-quality fiction (and in some cases also non-fiction). Both companies are located in Sofia, Bulgaria.
As for Hyperion, we have already won a few prestigeous partners with which we will work. We will represent selected titles of the publishers I.B.Tauris, Verso Books (both UK), and Wallstein (Germany) in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, and Indonesia. We are also now the exclusive sub-agent of The Raya Agency (Beirut), the most relevant literary agency in the Arabic world, for Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. We represent books by authors such as H.G. Adler, Kamal Al Riahi, Hoda Al Qudumi, Mohammad Alwan, Benedict Anderson, Sinan Antoon, Hoda Barakat, Samar Mahfouz Barraj, John Berger, Marcel Beyer, Joseph Breitbach, Judith Butler, Hilal Chouman, Joan Copjec, Hassan Daoud, William Davies, Mike Davis, Jabbour Douaihy, Robert Elsie, Elias Farkouh, Iain Finlayson, Richard Hamilton, Mohammad Eqbal Harb, Wang Hui, Ghada Karmi, Khaled Khalifa, Mostafa Khalifa, Naila Jraissati Khoury, Ruth Klüger, Eka Kurniawan, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Ilan Pappe, Youssef Rakha, Makkawi Said, Amina Shah, Fatima Sharafeddine, Marcus Tanner, Abdullah Thabit, Armin T. Wegner, Samar Yazbek, Slavoj Žižek. We are now in negotiations with a publisher and two authors from Bulgaria to represent them as well. Our client base is expanding.
As for our publishing house Rhizome, we are preparing the publication of our first two titles. We are planning to publish by the end of the year a book with poems by the excellent Bulgarian author Vladislav Hristov in German (you can find a sample translation here). Suhrkamp is granting us the Bulgarian language rights of the novel Wer ist Martha? (Who Is Martha?) by Marjana Gaponenko (you can find a review of this wonderful book here). For 2016 we have four more titles “in the pipeline”. For 2017 we plan with six or seven new titles.
Our mission statement as a publishing house is a quote by the famous publisher Kurt Wolff:
„Man verlegt entweder Bücher, von denen man meint, die Leute sollen sie lesen, oder Bücher, von denen man meint, die Leute wollen sie lesen. Verleger der zweiten Kategorie, das heißt Verleger, die dem Publiumsgeschmack dienerisch nachlaufen, zählen für uns nicht – nicht wahr? ” –
(“You either publish books of which you think that people should read them, or books of which you think that people want to read them. Publishers of the second category that run in a servile manner after the public’s taste do not count for us – isn’t that so?”)
It may sound a bit arrogant, but we will definitely be publishers of the first category of this quote.
In October we will visit the Frankfurt Book Fair which will help us to widen and increase our network. We are also developing a website for each of the two operations and will be present at social media.
Of course I will keep on blogging here, but as you can see I am a very busy man these days – I have a regular job and a private life as well, haha. This blog will be free of advertisement also in the future and I will keep my work as a literary agent and micro publisher separated from this blog, but from time to time I might write here about my experiences in these fields as well.
Translation of the Kurt Wolff quote by Thomas Hübner
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