"It's an honor to carry on John's legacy"
Dallas’s Deep Vellum Publishing is acquiring the assets of McLean, Illinois–based Dalkey Archive Press and will maintain the company as a distinct imprint, acquiring new titles as well as maintaining the press's backlist. Dalkey Archive will be run by Deep Vellum's publisher, Will Evans, with the assistance of Chad W. Post of Open Letter Books, who will serve as editorial consultant.
The news comes in the wake of the passing of Dalkey Archive founder John O' Brien, who died on November 21 at age seventy-five. The Dalkey Archive board had approved the merger shortly before O'Brien's death, and Will O’Brien, John’s son and current president of Dalkey Archive’s board of directors, will join Deep Vellum’s board as part of the merger.
"It's an honor to carry on John's legacy, to work with the amazing authors and translators he published, and to continue his legacy as a publisher and educator and carry forth his mission of serving readers," Will Evans, publisher of Deep Vellum Publishing, said.
Dalkey Archive Press was founded with the mission of recovering works that had fallen out of print due to market forces and making them available forever. With a strong connection to academia and educating future generations of readers, the press also published the Review of Contemporary Fiction to provide scholarship on underrepresented authors, along with CONTEXT magazine, a free tabloid distributed through independent bookstores and a network of academic advisors. As Dalkey grew over the years, the focus of the press expanded into one of the country’s largest publishers of international literature.
Some of the press’s key authors include Gilbert Sorrentino, Flann O’Brien, Svetlana Alexievich, Arno Schmidt, Ishmael Reed, David Markson, Anne Carson, Nicholas Mosley, Stanley Elkin, Carlos Fuentes, Danilo Kiš, Carole Maso, Gerald Murnane, Jon Fosse, Gertrude Stein, Édouard Levé, Marguerite Young, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and many more. Over its history, the press published one thousand works of fiction, poetry, literary nonfiction, and scholarly works, including several Nobel Prize, National Book Award, and National Book Critics’ Circle Award winners, as well as the Best European Fiction anthology series.
O’Brien himself was awarded the Sandrof lifetime achievement award from the National Book Critics’ Circle in 2011, and in 2015 was appointed Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts & des Lettres in recognition of his significant contribution to French arts and literature by the Minister of Culture and Communication of France.
After founding the press while teaching at Illinois Benedictine College, O’Brien moved the press to Illinois State University, before moving to University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and then University of Houston-Victoria. The current offices are in McLean, Illinois; Dublin, Ireland; and London, UK.
As an editorial imprint of Deep Vellum, Dalkey Archive will remain true to O’Brien’s vision of keeping its legendary backlist in stock, continuing to publish leading literature from around the world, and working closely with readers, students, editors, writers, and translators to foster an international community for literature.