By Andrés Delgado Darnalt
Fundación para la Literatura Peruana unveiled the winners of their first program to support for fiction books by Peruvian authors. Each of the winners – Editorial Estruendomudo, Paracaídas Editores, Colmena Editores and Animal de Invierno — received a subsidy of around US$1,400.
The foundation is led by Soledad Cunliffe, a cultural manager with experience in event management in book fairs in Peru, and by an advisory council of people from the Peruvian literary scene which include journalist Fernando Ampuero, Alonso Cueto (Herralde Prize for Novel in 2005) and Ivan Thays (shortlisted for the Romulo Gallegos and Herralde prizes) among its members.
Aside from the publishing grants, the foundation also carries out projects to foster reading, improve publishing management and advance literary translation, all intended to promote the rich legacy of Peru’s literature and raise the profile of emerging writers in foreign markets.
Publishing Perspectives spoke with two of the grantees. Today we profile, Leonardo Dolores, of Animal de Invierno, an imprint of local cultural foundation, Estacion Cultura. Tomorrow, we talk to Armando Alzamora, of Colmena Editores — about their businesses, roster of books and, of course, the titles to be financed.
Animal de Invierno
The title supported by Animal de Invierno is Escuchando tras las puertas, a book of short stories published in 1975 by Spanish imprint Tusquets and written by Harry Belevan, a Peruvian diplomat, writer and teacher, and member of the Peruvian Academy.
“Belevan is largely unknown in Peru although he published his book in a very prosperous period for book publishing in Spain,” says Leonardo Dolores, CEO of Estación La Cultura, the business that houses the Animal Invierno imprint. “His books have been more popular outside and it’s difficult to find them here. When we met with him he told us that people knew him more for his activities as diplomat than for his writing.”
Animal de Invierno is the literary imprint of Estacion Cultura, a local provider of publishing solutions set up in mid-2013 by business studies graduate Leonardo Dolores and writer Luis Zuñiga, who took the name from a book of poems by Peruvian poet Pepe Watanabe.
Dolores and Zuñiga has previously worked at Borrador Editores (another Peruvian publisher) and took a risk launching four fiction titles under the Animal de Invierno imprint: El fantasma del redentor, by Carlos Calderón Fajardo; Lima Nights, by María Arana; La sangre de la aurora, by Claudia Salazar; and Hudson el redentor, by Diego Trelles.
Save for La sangre de la aurora (winner of the Americas prize for best work of fiction in 2013) all had been published in previous editions. Calderón Fajardo’s novel was shortlisted to the Tusquets prize for Novel in 2006 and Lima Nights, written originally in English by Peruvian-American author Maria Arana, was chosen by Oprah’s Book Club. Trelles’ work, on the other hand, had appeared in magazine form, but the Animal de Invierno published the definitive version.
Fiction publishing, second on the list for Estacion Cultura as their main work at the moment, is also offering publishing services to local public offices. They are slowly building their trade catalogue under a group of imprints which include La Nave (science fiction and literary chronicles) and Ludo (books for teachers). However, despite their short life, they have done key findings on how to promote their books with influencers.
“We have seen that people pay a lot of attention to opinion leaders. Some of our books received very good reviews from key people after their publication, these bounced to other people and in the end it created a big influence chain. We have also seen it helps a lot to get acquainted with book sellers and with the type of books they’re looking for: you need to view them not as friends (they may help you once or twice with your books, but no more) but as allies in your business”.
Their most recent titles are a book of short stories on urban violence, Las siete bestias, by Christ Gutiérrez Rodríguez; two novels (La muerte de Papi, by Johnny Payne, a teacher of creative writing at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Austin, Texas 1979, by Francisco Ángeles); and their first book of poetry, El primer asombro by Denisse Vega Farfán.