Friday, 28 April 2017
This week at Valley Press, #52: 'Mountain Stories'
A book launch was held this week in the city of Xi'an, in the Shaanxi province, Northwest China. Word on the street is that esteemed local writer Ye Guangqin has work coming out with an English publishing house ... apparently (it is whispered) these publishers have close ties to Her Majesty the Queen, are responsible for some of greatest works of literature ever to be laid down on the printed page, and arrange all this from a castle on the English coast (while famous cyclists pass underneath, for their entertainment).
The name of this prestigious organisation? Valley Press, of course.
The green speck on the above picture is a stack of Mountain Stories, our next-but-one publication, due to hit bookshelves in July. (The next project is still Helen Burke's book, which is currently in the middle of typesetting – Jo claimed on Thursday that we're 'getting close' to finishing, which I was happy to hear! More on that next week.)
So how did the work of an acclaimed Chinese author travel all the way from Xi'an to Scarborough, and how did the resulting books make the five thousand mile journey in the opposite direction; from a shelf in our humble office to that grand table in Northwest University? The answer to the second is: by plane, I guess, and the first is a long story of chance encounters and deeply engaged literary people at both ends (particular thanks due to Robin Gilbank and Professor Hu Zongfeng, pictured above with the author and other key staff at the university.)
You may not have heard the word Shaanxi before, or be particularly familiar with the bestselling Chinese-language authors who call that province their home, but you're about to be: in an unprecedented arrangement, we've signed an agreement to publish a whole series of titles from the region's finest authors, in 2018 and beyond. Translated with great care by the team in Xi'an, then edited and proof-read by native English scholars, these books offer an astonishingly fresh literary experience for UK readers. I'm excited; it's something genuinely new for us all to get to grips with.
What kind of writing should you expect? I've put up a sample from Mountain Stories here; one of my favourite extracts, describing the author's struggles to film a TV drama in a remote Chinese village. If you've read and enjoyed that, and want to know more about the book and the author, all the details are on our website here (and you can buy, of course! Remember to apply your 10% subscriber's discount code, TENFOREVER).
If you are fluent in Chinese, you can read their side of the story here (Google translate isn't much help!), but otherwise I think that's enough info for the time being. More later in the year. In other news this week: Norah Hanson will be reading in Scarborough on May 18th, details to be confirmed – keep that evening free if interested – and there's some truly fascinating anecdotes about Aunts from Emma Press writers on our blog, in honour of their latest anthology. You can't say we don't give you anything to read!
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher