LBF Translation Notes: Curr Leads HarperVia, Frankfurt Adds Translators

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As HarperCollins’ Judith Curr launches the HarperVia translation imprint, and the Frankfurter Buchmesse opens a new program for translators of German-language fiction and nonfiction.

A packed Tuesday afternoon audience at London Book Fair’s Literary Translation Center. Image: Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Curr’s HarperVia: World Titles, English Translation
In what may be another sign of much-welcomed new momentum for translated literature—close on the heels of the news reported by Publishing Perspectives of Nielsen Book’s evidence of rising interest in the UK—HarperCollins is announcing today (March 12) the launch of a new translation imprint.

The advent of the new project is being toasted today at the HarperCollins stand at the London Book Fair.

Under the direction of Judith Curr, president and publisher of the HarperOne Group based in New York City HarperVia is focused on acquiring international titles for world English publication. Curr will collaborate on the new imprint with David Roth-Ey, executive publisher at HarperCollins UK, and James Kellow, CEO of HarperCollins Australia.

Judith Curr

HarperVia’s acquisitions are expected to be mainly fiction in translation, “with an eye,” according to media messaging, “toward books that celebrate the universal desire for discovery, understanding, and connection through exceptional storytelling.” Titles are to be published worldwide in the English language.

In a prepared statement, Curr is quoted, saying, “We’re excited to bring extraordinary stories with a global appeal to the world English market

“HarperVia is looking for books in translation that will enliven conversation and spark the reader’s imagination. By working with our colleagues in the UK and Australia, we have a combined three acquisitions teams seeking out superb content for the list.”

And HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray says, “Over the last four years, HarperCollins has established strong trade publishing programs and capabilities that publish English writers in sixteen languages. HarperVia completes our global publishing vision by offering non-English writers a publishing partner seeking books in translation for English-speaking markets.”

Once fully up and running, HarperVia is expected to produce around two-dozen titles annually.

  • The imprint’s first title is to be Lost in the Spanish Quarter by Heddi Goodrich. It’s a book written originally in Italian and translated by its author.
  • The Goodrich title is to be followed by It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, a book that’s to be published in 22 countries initially.
  • And The German House by Annette Hess is to be the third book in the  imprint’s first season.

For 2o20 and later, HarperVia also has acquired novels by Norwegian bestselling author Maja Lunde; French Canadian writer Éric Dupont; Iranian author and journalist Amir Ahmadi Arian; and Korean YA author and film director Won-pyung Sohn.


Buchmesse ‘s New Program: ‘Frankfurt Translators’

Participants in the 2018 Frankfurter Buchmesse fellowship and invitation programs. Image: Frankfurter Buchmesse, Niki Theron

Familiar to Frankfurt regulars, three of the Frankfurter Buchmesse’s fellowship programs now are open for applications:

Applications can be submitted worldwide by publishers, editors, rights and licensing managers, literary agents, and literary translators. The deadline for applications is April 30.

The new International Translators program of the trio is aimed at translators of German-language fiction and nonfiction into other languages.

Organizers say there will be space for as many as 30 participant-translators in this new program, which is scheduled to run October 14 to 18. (Frankfurter Buchmesse this year runs October 16 to 20.)

Applicants must have translated at least three German-language literary works.

During the week of the fair, translators will participate in expert seminars, workshops, and networking events in the city of Frankfurt and as well as at the Buchmesse. The aim of the program is to encourage exchanges between international literary translators of German-language works and to promote networking between translators, publishers and editors.

In a prepared statement, Bärbel Becker, director of international projects at Frankfurter Buchmesse, is quoted, saying, “Our new program will allow us to invite translators, who play an important role in the international literary discussion, to the world’s largest book fair in Frankfurt. This will put literary translators firmly in the spotlight.”

The program, while organized by the Frankfurter Buchmesse, has financial support from the German Federal Foreign Office. The program covers participants’ travel and accommodation costs, meals, a trade visitor ticket to the book fair and participation in conferences and workshops.


More from Publishing Perspectives on translation is here. More from our Industry Notes series is here.

Our Spring Magazine is ready for your free download, and at the London Book Fair, you’ll find the print edition available, also free of charge.

Get the jump on the issues and players important at LBF and other major fairs of the season this year, plus an early look at key points interest about the coming Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20).

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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