Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


In Memory

Amid the noise and clamor attending the acquisition of Simon & Schuster by Penguin Random House, a more consequential merger transpired this past week, with Deep Vellum folding in Dalkey Archive on the occasion of the demise of the latter's founder, John O'Brien. His legacy extends beyond the press and its associated efforts (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, CONTEXT), which itself speaks volumes, to the mentorship and advice proffered to many now involved in publishing, especially of literary translation. An idealistic vision tempered by clear-sighted pragmatism governed his endeavors (as is evident in conversations from 2009 and earlier), which will be no less durable despite his absence. Nonetheless, it comes at a difficult time for literature in translation, not solely due to but exacerbated by the ravages of lockdown on independent publishers and booksellers alike; there was a pre-Covid drop-off from the plateau in the mid-tweens, and now circumstances put the 2021 BTBA off (even prior to Chad Post's assumption of a continuing role in the merged press, which inspires confidence). Better days are ahead, but we have to get to them first, and that depends on our ongoing support for non-profit publishing of literature in translation, which would be fitting tribute to John O'Brien's vision.

add: tributes from John Toomey and Chad Post


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