Damn it, it’s been a long time since I haven’t been posting here… Blame it to the end of the winter, less energy with all those rainy days, and also I’ve been spending long hours of steady work to prepare for HSK4, the international standardized exam which tests and rates Chinese language proficiency.
So let’s come back to the library, let’s come back to books, and this time let’s talk about publishers, especially independent publishers. Initially I intended to post about « Les Allusifs » editor, a new « postcard from the shelves » post, but a happy coincidence made me listen to a great radio program this morning, about independent edition.
This is the first episode of a series that will be proposed every day this week. So, if you can understand french language and if you are curious about editing, this is tremendously interesting, and of course the programs will continue to be accessible on France-Culture website for months and months.
The commentator, Florian Delorme, invited in this first program Liana Lévi, who is an editor of Italian origin (on my photo, the first book on top left has been published by Liana Lévi). She has been publishing in France since 1982, so she knows what she is talking about when it comes down to independent edition. Together they call to mind the historical figures of André Schiffrin, and other participants are intervening on the phone : Sandro Veronesi, an italian author, Octavio Kulesz, an argentin publisher, and Tynan Kogane, from New Directions, a NY-based publisher, who claims that the force of independent edition is in its peculiarity ; he’s much more optimistic than Liana Lévi on the future of independent editing.
I was so enthusiastic about the program that the first thing I did afterwards was to pick up books from independent publishers in my living-room, and to take a picture, just to show the diversity of the covers, of the subjects tackled, and how it’s refreshing and different from « big » editors.
Oh, I forgot to talk about « Les Allusifs ». Twelve years ago, I remember I used to begin to buy novels for the public library where I was working at the time. Since I had been working previously in a music section, it was all fresh and new for me, and I had to rapidly deepen my knowledge of french publishers.
I remember I thoroughly enjoyed discovering all those little independent publishers. Some new may appear from time to time, but unfortunately, some also disappear. Three years ago, I thought the french publisher “Les Allusifs” was about to disappear : only two publications in 2012…one in 2013, but 2014 was a better year with 8 publications, as well as 2015. And now it seems to be back in the game, we just received this week a new book from “Les Allusifs”, with its recognizable circle around the title of the book.
We must not forget Independent publishers are the salt of contemporary publishing. Aside from often boring big editors, they draw their own path and propose different texts, different voices, different views in the worlds of fiction. You can find a lot of those precious publishers in France : Allia, Minuit, Verdier, Philippe Picquier, Le Mot et le Reste, Zulma, Le Dilettante, etc…but les Allusifs has a special taste for me. I am fond of their graphic editing, they publish authors coming from the five continents, and the translations are often immaculate (which is not always the case with so-called “big” editors”). Fine work, isn’t it ?
As individuals and as librarians, we must continue to support independent edition, it’s truly a breath of fresh air on our shelves !