Thanks for swinging by the Publisher Spotlight! Today we’ll be hearing from Adam Freudenheim, the Publisher and Managing Director of Pushkin Press, headquartered in the grand old city of London. We asked him a few questions regarding Pushkin, which he was kind enough to share his insight on. Our questions are in italics, while his responses are bold. Enjoy!
Firstly, what circumstances led to the creation of your company? Some publishing companies start out as passion projects—was this the case for yours? Tell us about yourself!
Pushkin Press was founded in 1997 and, until I took over the company in 2012, its focus was primarily on Central European classics, publishing a few beautiful books each year. As Publisher of Penguin Classics and Modern Classics for more than eight years, I became increasingly passionate about translation and wanted to publish not just classics in translation, but contemporary books and children’s books, as well as fiction and nonfiction for adults. It was this passion that led me to take over Pushkin Press.
Many publishing houses operate based on a set of core concepts or values that they would like to see propagate throughout the world—or at least the areas the publishers can reach! What would you say are the values that you search for when considering whether to publish a work?
Quality is paramount. We see ourselves as a literary publishing house and we care about publishing excellent books from around the world, in a variety of genres.
So obviously we are a blog about translation, and as such are very interested about your thoughts regarding it! Do you gravitate towards specific languages or genres? Linking back to the previous question, what about the languages or genres draws your attention?
Pushkin has published translations from the beginning, and we have published books translated from about 25 different languages. Having said that, we probably publish a disproportionate number of books that originally appeared in various Scandinavian languages, as well as in Japanese. I’m personally drawn towards these regions of the world, among others. We publish literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, classics, and a broad range of children’s books for middle grade and YA readers.
When you work with translators and authors in other languages, how do you go about contacting them? Do they find you? Do you have in house translators that you prefer to use? What’s the thought process behind the decision, whether it is artistic or pragmatic?
We find translators in a variety of ways – word of mouth, foreign cultural organizations, social media, direct submissions, etc. We do work with many of the same wonderful translators again and again. Generally, if they’re good we keep working together!
What are the upcoming titles in your catalog that you are most excited about? What book in your catalog would you recommend for a lazy beach goer stretched out on a beach chair? What about for a precocious child reading under the covers of a bed? For a weekend pop into the library?
I’m hugely excited about an original and accessible biography called Young Rembrandt that we’ll publish in November; it’s brilliant and will be a stunningly beautiful book. For the beach I recommend Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li or Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. For a precocious child I’d recommend The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt or The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius. Finally, for the weekend try Bearmouth by Liz Hyder, an original YA debut out in September.
Wow, those are some good looking stories! I’m gonna see about grabbing The Letter for the King to feed my own inner child. Thanks for spending time with us today! We’ll see your books on the bookstore and library shelves!
A huge thank you for Pushkin and Adam for being willing to respond to our questions for World Kid Lit month. Each title has a link to its page of you click on its name, but if you’d also like to check out the rest of Pushkin’s awesome collection, then click here! Happy Friday, everyone!
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