Directors from Dalkey Archive Press travel to Luxembourg to plan editorial projects

Dalkey Archive Press, based at the University of Houston-Victoria, soon will start work on an anthology by Luxembourg authors, many of whom have never had their writing published in English.

“There are many authors in Luxembourg who are virtually unknown in the English-speaking world,” said Jake Snyder, Dalkey associate director. “It is our intention to bring these writers to the attention of an international audience.”

John O’Brien

Snyder and Dalkey Publisher Sir John O’Brien recently decided to publish an anthology of fiction from Luxembourg after a daylong series of meetings with authors, translators, publishers, critics and the media at the National Literature Center in Mersch, Luxembourg. Claude Conter of the center invited them to the meeting that took place earlier this month.

“We are interested in authors from smaller countries who are frequently overlooked abroad,” O’Brien said. “This meeting exposed us to the wealth of literature that Luxembourg has to share with the world.”

Snyder said they now have a better idea of the literary scene in Luxembourg and a long list of authors they would like to include in the anthology.

Snyder and O’Brien hope that the anthology will be the beginning of publishing an ambitious series of books by writers from Luxembourg and that it will be heavily promoted internationally. English is the bridge language to many other countries, and such a series may open the door to publication in several other languages.

Jake Snyder

“Such a multiyear series will be expensive to do the right way to have the proper impact,” Snyder said.

Dalkey also already has signed on its first full-length book by an author from Luxembourg for translation. The book, tentatively titled “Selected Stories,” is scheduled to come out in March 2019, and the author is Nico Helminger, who has written poetry, plays and libretti for operas. In 2008, he was awarded the Batty Weber Prize for his literary work.

Helminger’s short story, “Luxembourg Lions,” also appeared in “Best European Fiction 2016” published by Dalkey.

During the past six years, there has been only one full-length English translation of a literary work from Luxembourg, Snyder said. That was “At the Devil’s Banquets,” a book of poetry by Anise Koltz published by Tavern Books.

“We hope that we will be able to address the scarcity of literature from Luxembourg in English translation by coming to an agreement about publishing our proposed series,” Snyder said.

Dalkey is an internationally renowned nonprofit literary organization that moved part of its publishing operations to UHV in 2015. The press publishes about 60 books a year with an emphasis on translations from more than 50 countries.

The organization also offers an Applied Literary Translation certificate in collaboration with UHV. The unique program culminates in students having their first book-length translation published by Dalkey. Students also complete 12 credit hours toward a UHV Master of Fine Arts in creative writing or Master of Science in publishing.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler