By Georgia Appleyard and Amy Joan Sayner
In the vast landscape of publishing, Edinburgh-based Charco Press, publisher of celebrated authors such as Claudia Piñeiro and Ana Paula Maia, stands out as a unique and innovative player. The name Charco itself, meaning "puddle" in Spanish, is used in some Latin American countries to refer to crossing the ocean, or travelling between continents. This encapsulates the essence of their mission: to bring to light the hidden gems of Latin American literature that might otherwise remain inaccessible to Anglophone readers. Excitingly, Charco Press is set to publish eleven new works in 2024, each promising to be a literary journey worth embarking on.
In 2023, Charco Press celebrated milestones, including the Netflix release of the film adaptation of Claudia Piñeiro’s Elena Knows, initially shortlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize. Collaborating with Publishing Scotland, Charco produced an audiobook version of Elena Knows. Notably, the publisher also secured its fifth consecutive nomination for Scottish Small Press of the Year at the 2023 British Book Awards, having previously won twice since the press was founded in 2017.
2024 will see Charco Press’s biggest line-up of fresh releases to date, with nine fiction and two non-fiction books set to be published in English. The publisher’s co-founder, Carolina Orloff, commented, “I am particularly excited about the new Claudia Piñeiro, a debut novel by García Márquez’s grandson and the introduction to the UK of iconic US/Dominican Republic author, Julia Alvarez. We are also introducing Jeferson Tenório from Brazil and have new award-winning novels by Selva Almada and Federico Falco. A LOT to be excited about!”
Among the anticipated releases is Claudia Piñeiro’s latest novel, Time of the Flies, translated by Frances Riddle. Born in Buenos Aires in 1960, Claudia Piñeiro is a bestselling author, known internationally for her crime novels. In Time of the Flies, Inés is released from prison fifteen years after killing her husband’s lover and establishes an extermination business with her old friend Manca. Things take a dark turn when one of her clients wants to take advantage of Inés’s criminal past to seek revenge on someone, and the story only becomes more complicated when Inés’s estranged daughter comes back into her life.
The latest instalment from Selva Almada is highly anticipated, considered one of the most powerful voices of contemporary Argentinian and Latin American Literature. One of the most influential feminist voices in the region, Almada has published several novels, including the winner of the EIBF First Book Award 2019, The Wind that Lays Waste. Almada’s upcoming novel, Not a River, is translated by Annie McDermott and follows three men on a fishing trip at the site of a terrible accident three years earlier. As the long, sultry day passes, the forest presses close and violence seems inevitable. But can tragedy be avoided?
Charco Press expanded into Spanish-language original works in 2021, and have since published six books in their Charco OriginalES series. Two new works will be added into the mix this year: Aguas de Estuario by Velia Vidal, or Tidal Waters in English, and Tu Cruz en el Cielo Desierto, or Your Cross in the Desert Sky by Carolina Sanín. In Tidal Waters, translated by Annie McDermott, Vidal turns to the classic genre of the epistolary novel as a means of narrating the aftermath of her return to her home on the Pacific coast of Colombia. Meanwhile, Your Cross in the Desert Sky, translated by Fionn Petch, is an erotic confession and a story of passion without presence. The story explores the relationship of two lovers on opposite sides of the world who connect online.
2024 will also bring an exciting new edition to Charco Untranslated, a series of English-language original works with a tangible link to Latin America. The Cemetery of Untold Stories is an extraordinary novel by best-selling author Julia Alvares. It tells the story of a celebrated author who will go to extreme lengths to avoid a similar fate to her novelist friend and whose inability to finish a book threatens her sanity.
Charco Press’ dedication to quality translation ensures that the essence of the original works are preserved, allowing readers to experience the authenticity and richness of each story, and bridging the gap – or “puddle” – between readers and the best of Latin American contemporary literature. To learn more, or to browse the full 2024 line-up, head to their website, or follow @CharcoPress for the latest updates.