Deep Vellum acquires two publishers, adds imprints

"Literature is art, literature is power, and literature can and should change the world."


Dallas translation publisher Deep Vellum has acquired the backlist of two separate independent publishing houses—Phoneme Media of Los Angeles and A Strange Object of Austin, Texas—and is expanding into publishing works originally written in English.


Phoneme is a prominent publisher of poetry in translation with a backlist of more than thirty titles from twenty-five languages, including Rilke Shake by Angèlica Freitas of Brazil, which won both the National Translation Award and Three Percent's Best Translated Book Award for Poetry in 2016.


A Strange Object focused on publishing experimental, debut works and has a backlist of seven titles, including Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce, which won the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book from Independent Book Publishers Association in 2013.


“I'm thrilled that Phoneme—its readers, supporters, authors, and translators—have joined such a tight-knit family, dedicated to promoting world literature," Phoneme editor David Shook, who will be joining Deep Vellum and will publish one title a season under the Phoneme imprint, told Publishers Weekly. Jill Meyers, editor of A Strange Object, will also join the company and publish seasonally under the A Strange Object imprint.


Deep Vellum was founded in 2013 and has published forty titles in translation. "Recent translation acquisitions include internationally-renowned Romanian author Mircea Cartarescu’s most recent novel, Solenoid,—an author I think may win the Nobel Prize—as well as titles from Denmark, Turkey, and Cuba," Will Evans, executive director and publisher of Deep Vellum, told Publishers Weekly. He added that starting in 2020, the press will publish its inaugural list of non-translated work in English, including several poetry titles, and, notably, Above Us the Milky Way: An Illuminated Alphabet, the debut-novel by Rona Jaffe Prize-winning writer Fowzia Karimi.


The company has also launched a Texas-focused imprint, La Reunion Publishing. The first titles for the imprint will be published next year and will include the book length essay The River Always Wins by performance artist David Marquis; a history of LGBTQ+ Dallas by Mark Doty; and a translation by Victor Considerant of Au Texas, the founding document of the 19th century La Reunion colony, a short-lived utopian settlement, for which the imprint is named.


Overall, Evans anticipates Deep Vellum will now publish fifteen to twenty titles per year. Sara Balabanlilar, previously a bookseller and marketing director at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, has been hired to oversee sales and marketing.


“I’m so excited to welcome these changes to Deep Vellum, adding new dimensions to our list, expanding the offerings readers are hungry for, the best translated and American literature side by side at last, making us an ever more inclusive press," said Evans. "It will further our mission to put into practice our belief that literature is art, literature is power, and that literature can and should change the world."


Deep Vellum, a nonprofit, tax exempt 501(c)(3), is a literary arts organization with the mission to bring the world into conversation through literature by publishing underrepresented, marginalized, and vital literary voices, while building a more vibrant literary community in the Dallas community and beyond.