The Arabic Literature (in English) blog has posted an interview with Antibookclub founding editor Gabriel Levinson about their new plan for re-vivifying the publishing industry in the 21st century. Consciously modeling Antibookclub off Grove, Black Sparrow, and New Directions, here’s how Levinson explains responding to the challenges of publishing translations in English:
GL: The biggest challenge, unfortunately, is the risk factor: Before I took on the role of publisher, I was confused as to why only 3% of our books are translated literature, but getting into it was a big wake up call: It costs quite a bit for a book to be translated and even then you don’t know if it’s a book you want to publish until you read it. To put up the money for a manuscript that may or may not be publishable is a daunting task, and when you are as small as us with only two books a year…such a risk is not negligible. But we are determined to find the most exciting literature in the world and even if we cannot release as many translated works as we would like to in these early days, it is our long term goal to remain committed to the global scene.