In 2019, a new publishing house was born, specializing in Catalan literature in English. Doug Suttle, teacher and translator, is the founder of Fum d’Estampa Press, which will publish titles of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Their vision is, “Catalan literature. In English. Beautiful poetry, inspiring stories, new perspectives. ”
In 2020, the year of the pandemic, Suttle plans to publish five titles, both on paper and in digital format, with a distinctive design by Rai Benach. The publisher prioritizes collaboration with prestigious literary translators such as Alan Yates, Ronald Puppo, Peter Bush and Christopher Whyte. Fum d’Estampa Press is based in Vilafranca del Penedès and London, prints books in the south of England and stores them in Scotland.
The first two published books, which were made available during the lockdown through the Fum d’Estampa website, are the diary English Hours, by Ferran Soldevila (translated by Alan Yates), and The Hermitage and The Pomegranate, by Jordi Llavina (both works collected in a single volume under the title Poetry and Prose, translated by William Hamilton). Fum d'Estampa chose to begin with a modern classic, mainly known for being a key Catalan historian, and a contemporary author, in the midst of his creative period.
In autumn of 2020, three more works will come out: The Madness by Narcís Oller (translated by Doug Suttle), One Day of Life is Life, by Joan Maragall (edited and translated by Ronald Puppo), and London under snow, a collection of short stories by Jordi Llavina (also translated by Doug Suttle).
For 2021 Fum d'Estampa is preparing the English edition of novels by Llorenç Villalonga, Rosa Maria Arquimbau and Raül Garrigasait, poetry by Jaume Subirana and Jordi Larios, and an essay by Josep Maria Esquirol, following with the publication of works by both classical and living authors, and from a variety of literary genres. The translators of these works will be Peter Bush, Louise Johnson, Christopher Whyte and Tiago Miller, among others.
On Soldevila and English Hours
Ferran Soldevila (Barcelona, 1894-1971) was one of the most outstanding historians of Catalonia during the 20th century. Most of his historical studies, written in Catalan language, are on medieval Catalonia and also works that offer an overview of the history of the Catalans.
In 1926 he went to the University of Liverpool to work as a reader of Hispanic literature, and remained there until 1928. In 1934-35 Soldevila published a Història de Catalunya in three volumes that was commissioned to him by the politician and philanthropist Francesc Cambó.
Exiled to France, he returned to Catalonia in 1943. From 1952 to 1959 he published the eight volumes of his Historia de España in Spanish. As a writer he published several works of poetry, plays, fiction and memoir, such as English Hours (1938), written in 1928, and Throughout My Life (1970).
Written in the form of a diary that runs from 1926 to 1928, English Hours is a delightful account of a Catalan homme de lettres in the UK during the inter-war period. In it, Soldevila writes endearingly of the country and people that he meets while providing an invaluable “foreign” look at this critical period in 20th century Great Britain.
On Llavina and Poetry & Prose
Jordi Llavina (Gelida, Barcelona, 1968) is a writer, poet and literary critic. His works of fiction include Nitrato de Chile (2001, Josep Pla Prize) and El llaütista i la captaire (2013). He was the founder of the Fum d'estampa radio programme on literary and cultural issues, which received several awards.
In the field of poetry, Llavina has published, among others, Diari d’un setembrista (2007), which received the Alfons el Magnànim and Crítica Serra d’Or 2008 awards; Vetlla, which in 2013 was awarded the Catalan Poetry Critics Prize; Ermita (The Hermitage, 2017), awarded in 2018 with the Lletra d’Or prize; and El magraner (The Pomegranate), which in 2019 won the Marià Manent award.
Poetry & Prose is the first time Jordi Llavina’s work has been translated into English and published. The book is a collection of two of his most important and popular pieces of work: The Hermitage and The Pomegranate. In both, Jordi Llavina evokes the sights, sounds and smells of the Mediterranean landscape while weaving together themes of singular poetic beauty.
Fum d’Estampa Press publishes works from modern classics and contemporary authors. Its catalogue comprises works of fiction, poetry and essays.
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