Will 2011 Be the Year Translated Lit Gains Traction in the US?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story looks at the surprise success of Words Without Borders and their new anthology Tablet & Pen.

Yes it might merely be wishful thinking, but could translated lit finally be gaining some traction in the US? The consensus is that “American’s don’t read translated lit” and as we’ve written here before, there are valid reasons why more books don’t get translated for publication in the US. But — and this is a big “but” — the success of Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy certainly demonstrates that a translated title can sell to US readers.

As publishers chase the opportunity to publish the “next Stieg,” will readers follow?

It could happen, if only in genre fiction: already this year we’re seeing Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom pick up some buzz that is translating into sales. It’s also interesting to note that the title is the first from Silver Oak, a new imprint resulting from a publishing arrangement between Sterling in the US and Quercus in the UK.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.