Gnarr in Austin; Mwanza Mujila Shortlisted

It’s been a damn good week for Deep Vellum and our authors!

First off, do not forget to subscribe or donate to Deep Vellum by September 1 to receive recognition for your support inside the first book we publish, Carmen Boullosa’s TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT, which is going to press in a week or two!! Subscriptions will still be available after September 1, but your support will be noted in the second book we print (Sergio Pitol’s The Art of Flight) and in books thereafter for the duration of your subscription.

If you live in Texas and especially if you will be in Austin this Labor Day weekend, Jón Gnarr will be performing at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, performing a different set every night:

Jón Gnarr will be taking part in many different shows at Out of Bounds. He is the monologist in our stool Pigeon, will be a storyteller on Kevin Allison’s RISK! podcast live recording, and will be performing a 20-minute stand-up routine followed by a Q&A in the big Sunday Headlining show.

Gnarr did tell Vice Magazine he was moving to Texas after his mayorship in Reykjavik was complete (which it now is), so this will be his first apperance on Texan soil ever, and will prep him for his upcoming move to Houston (for a writing residency at Rice University, Jan-Apr 2015). Gnarr landed in Austin tonight, and as you can see, he is already adjusting quite nicely to life in Texas:


The irony of this photo is apparent in the title of Gnarr’s first literary book we are publishing next year, a memoir-novel about his childhood as an outcast, entitled The Indian:

The future scares me. Everyone’s headed somewhere together and I’m not invited. I’ll go alone, somewhere else. I don’t know where. I never know anything; I’m unable to do anything. No one cares about me at all. I’m all alone in the world.

I’m an Indian.

Wait til you read this book, it’s so touching, warm, funny, humane, you’re going to want Gnarr to be your new best friend and you’re going to admire the fortitude that allowed him to grow from a troubled and outcast little boy into the hilarious, engaging, world-changing man he is today . . . always the outsider, always against the bullies. But the cowboy getup looks good on him, eh?!

In more great author news, Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel, Tram 83, was just released in France by Editions Métailié to widespread acclaim, and was just shortlisted for the prestigious Le Monde Literraire Prize. Le Monde’s praise for the novel is below, for those of you who read French (or have a Google Translate gander of it briefly, because I can’t read French either!), but all you basically need to know is that last line reads: “one of the most exciting discoveries of the fall publishing season.” The prize will be awarded on September 11, and here’s hoping Fiston takes the prize home!!

C’est à Lubumbashi, ville Far West de l’ex-Zaïre (aujourd’hui République démocratique du Congo), que Lucien, apprenti écrivain, et Requiem, copain d’enfance et loubard dessalé, se retrouvent un beau jour. Le Tram 83, l’un des « bars à traînées les plus achalandés », devient leur repaire. « Musiciens par inadvertance ou prostituées du troisième âge (…), boulangers autodidactes ou marabouts ou mercenaires se réclamant de Bob Denard (…) » : la « Ville-Pays » s’y rue, en quête d’un bonheur bon marché. Les cadres des concessions minières et autres « touristes à but lucratif » s’y précipitent aussi. Il y a du Jérôme Bosch dans ce huis clos citadin, frénétique, flamboyant. Mais un Jérôme Bosch insolent, globe-trotter, qui aurait lu Gabriel Garcia Marquez et Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Vivant en Autriche, le jeune Fiston Mwanza Mujila, né au Katanga en 1981, signe là son premier roman : l’une des plus enthousiasmantes découvertes de la rentrée.

Tram 83 is scheduled to be published by Deep Vellum in September 2015, and I am already certain it will be one of the most exciting discoveries in all American season next year, which will be thanks, in no small part, to the brilliant efforts of translator Roland Glasser, whom we’ve just signed on to provide translation for this breathtaking debut novel!! We cannot wait to share it with you and the world, I don’t know if I’ve ever read anything with such vivacity in my life.

In more good news for Deep Vellum, publisher/founder/the guy writing this blog post, Will Evans, was recently named one of the “100 Dallas Creatives” by the Dallas Observer (our indie weekly newspaper in town). This is a huge honor, and means a ton to me to be included on this list with so many friends (Brandon Castillo, Nicole Stewart, Thea Temple, and Karen X. Minzer) and so many of the artists and creatives who make Dallas such a tremendously special place to live, work, and thrive. The Dallas Observer’s introduction to the (extensive!) interview with me is below (my favorite part is they call me “Intrepid Publisher”[!]):

The hyper-connected world we live in makes art and music from the far reaches of the globe easily accessible to everyone, but “for some reason, literature is the only art form that is constantly being made to defend the right to be disseminated and experienced outside of its original culture,” observes Will Evans. And he aims to do something about that.

Of course there is a barrier to entry that doesn’t exist in visual art or music – and that’s language. Evans, who recently launched a small publishing house in Dallas he’s calling Deep Vellum Publishing, is about to start doing his part to cross that barrier. This year Deep Vellum, which is functioning as a non-profit, will publish five original works in translation and he’s already turning heads in the international publishing world.

We pride ourselves in Dallas on our burgeoning arts scene but as Evans sees it, we’re missing a crucial segment of the art world by turning our back on the literary scene. So if you ask him well, why Dallas? There’s your answer. The organizations and resources exist, the Writer’s Garret and Wordspace, for example, we’re just failing to capitalize and discuss what’s already happening in our community.

“There’s no reason not to have more of the type of local literary community that people could identify similarly to Minneapolis–a very similar city (far from the coasts, tons of big business) that is internationally recognized for its dynamic arts scene, including a huge literary arts community,” says Evans of Dallas.

We couldn’t agree more and while Evans is dreaming really big, he’s already influencing the conversation. And he hasn’t even published his first book.

And last but not least, the newest issue of D Magazine hit newsstands yesterday (and subscribers’ mailboxes today), featuring a beautiful two-page spread interview/feature on me and Deep Vellum. Thank you to Peter Simek for the great interview and for all the editorial staff at D Magazine for being gracious enough to include me in their wonderful magazine (I’m a subscriber, you should subscribe too!) and for being such huge supporters of me and Deep Vellum ever since I step foot in the Big D just over a year ago (D Academy class of 2013-2014 forever!). Pick up a copy of the magazine today!

D Magazine Front-Row (1 of 2) (September 2014)D Magazine Front-Row (2 of 2) (September 2014)

That’s all for now. Off to pack for a weekend in Austin with the legend Jón Gnarr himself to talk about life, love, the pursuit of happiness, and every kind of marketing idea we can think for a three-year building Gnarr’s literary reputation in the English language (we are publishing Gnarr’s literary memoir trilogy over the next three years: The Indian in 2015; The Pirate in 2016; and The Outcast in 2017!). For the all-out Gnarr coverage, think Wu-Tang Clan after the release of Enter the 36 Chambers. I’m the RZA. Gnarr is Method Man. It’ll all make sense in time.

AND DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO DEEP VELLUM BY SEPTEMBER 1 TO RECEIVE RECOGNITION IN THE FIRST PRINTED BOOK WE PUBLISH, CARMEN BOULLOSA’S TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT (which is going to the printers in the next two weeks…)!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Subscribe. Donate (tax-deductible, of course). Join the Deep Vellum family. To continue the Wu-Tang metaphor above, you could be the GZA to my RZA. Or you could be Raekwon. Or Ghostface Killah. Or Inspectah Deck. We all have roles to play in building this community, we form together like Voltron and are indestructible together. I need your help, we need your help, the world needs your help. Be a superhero. Donate, subscribe, volunteer to Deep Vellum today. Thank you for your consideration.

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