Deep Vellum is still busy behind the scenes getting everything ready to launch officially later this year, with the first Deep Vellum book set to appear this fall. And working behind the scenes isn’t so glamorous. It means writing a lot of grants, sending a bunch of emails into the void, hoping for a response, and for the most part toiling alone for a goal that is still months and months away. Which is why it’s always refreshing to get some good news, it makes the whole startup process that much more meaningful:
1) Deep Vellum has received a grant from the Prokhorov Foundation’s Transcript program to support the translation and publication of Mikhail Shishkin’s Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories. We are over the moon, elated, stoked, and honored to be recognized by the Prokhorov Foundation, who have used the Transcript program to promote Russian literature in all world languages of the last four years. And quick shoutout to Dzanc Books’ new Disquiet imprint, which is publishing Zakhar Prilepin’s San’kya in April, and which received a Transcript grant for their project earlier in 2013. This is an honor and a big deal, and thank you, thank you, thank you a million times for Transcript’s support!
2) Just today I found out I have received a grant to travel to the London Book Fair in April and to participate in panels and talks at the esteemed Translation Centre on Monday, April 7. This will be my first time at the LBF, and I am excited to meet the translators who gather there and to find out what is out there for me to publish for the years to come, along with taking meetings with foreign publishers and cultural organizations I have not yet met in Frankfurt. Infinite thanks to Samantha Schnee, translator of Carmen Boullosa’s Texas: The Great Theft, for making this happen. See you in London!
3) This isn’t really news, but it is a powerful reminder of how important translation is in every aspect of our culture: Texas Monthly has an incredible article this month about how, 150 years after it was first published in Russia, inmates in Texas are learning life skills through the themes and characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The article, “When Prisoners Read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, It’s Pretty Powerful,” describes the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, which operates a yearlong course teaching business skills to inmates to prepare them for life after prison, including a book club reading Dostoevsky’s timeless classic. It is an incredible story and reminds us all how important translated literature is in broadening our world view and deepening our understanding of the human condition. Check it out:
Every graduating class of PEP reads Crime and Punishment. The book “provides a powerful platform from which intense discussions are launched,” explained PEP’s CEO Bert Smith, “from the twisted rationalization of criminal behavior by the criminal to the profound psychological and personal consequences of the crime, and ultimately to the role that the love of another person can play in restoring hope in the criminal’s life.” Jeremy Gregg, the chief development officer, said that the sheer difficulty of the book gives the men a sense of accomplishment, which helps in their rehabilitation.