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Indie Spotlight on Deep Vellum Publishing

By Jess Fisher, William Swift and Elizabeth Haslam 


Founded in 2013 by book lover Will Evans, Deep Vellum is now the largest publisher of literature in translation in the USA. Deep Vellum is a non-profit independent publishing house and literary arts centre in the heart of Dallas, Texas which aims to bring people together through literature and literary events.

 

Past events have included book clubs, readings with authors and conversations on accessibility and inclusion within the literary world. At Deep Vellum, dialogue is a top priority.

 

In 2015, Deep Vellum opened a small indie bookstore carrying almost all the works they publish as well as many other exciting reads, including an underrated poetry selection. While one half of their published works are English-original material, they proudly boast of the array of international literature making up the other half. Their bookstore serves as a community space where readers can browse the shelves and even say hello to the shop dog!


New Releases


Return of the Chinese Femme by Dorothy Chan: Return of the Chinese Femme is an eclectic, queer poetry collection exploring everything that, as a woman of East Asian heritage, Chan was told never to indulge in. Walking through the world with her forehead uncovered, playing in a girl band and experiencing everything from good food to sex and intimacy, Chan shares her experience as a queer Asian person. In form and presentation, this collection is equally as groundbreaking as its content. This text is both an accessible collection of poetry that speaks to the experience of East Asian women and a study of culture that can be explored academically as it is divided thematically into sections. Return of the Chinese Femme made its literary debut in April 2024.

 

Divided Island by Daniela Tarazona: Also released this April, and available now thanks to Deep Vellum, is the award-winning title Divided Island. This short novel contains profound thoughts on grief, a unique perspective on life with cerebral dysrhythmia and is its own work of art. Readers of poetry will be at home in this novel, which uses fragmented vignettes to paint a picture of a life split in two, and fans of Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and other surreal novels will find themselves in agreement. As Deep Vellum has promised, this genre-bending, taste-overlapping novel will give the literary world something to talk about.

 

The River of Goodness by David Marquis: The River of Goodness, with its vein of optimism that flows through this second volume and its predecessor, is a beautiful and realistically grounded example of what is “good,” and how to make positive changes last. Highlighting for readers real-world examples of truly good and hardworking people, Marquis’ selection of the best that society has to offer will inspire others, as well as providing a heartwarming reading experience that will restore your faith in the world today. The River of Goodness is a fount of positivity and hard work that Deep Vellum will bring to readers in June of 2024.


Notable Releases


Ross Sings Cheree & the Animated Dark by Ross J. Farrar: Described as a cross between “Samuel Beckett and hardcore punk,” this debut poetry collection by Ross J. Farrar is an exploration of the narrative voice behind the punk genre. Endearing readers with his heartbreaking reminiscences of growing pains, Farrar explores the life and path of a post-punk musician. With experiences that are universal – working atypical jobs for a pay cheque and experiencing a full range of emotions on US election night, 2016 – even those who haven’t listened to a single bar of post-punk music can enjoy a dialogue with this evocative poetry collection.

 

Solenoid by Mircea Cartarescu: Solenoid – along with the free reader companion published by Deep Vellum to enrich the reading experience – is a contemplative, mind-bending study of philosophy and art. From the mind of a schoolteacher in 1970s and 80s Romania comes a unique perspective on a myriad of philosophical questions, including, for example, “When you rush into the burning building, will you save the newborn or the art?” While the answer may seem clear, stepping into this novel is an unparalleled experience in which readers will first doubt everything they know, only to come through with a new cultural knowledge and fantastic talking points. Deep Vellum’s acquisition of this title in translation fulfils their promise to bring the literary community titles to talk about.

 

Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov: Deep Vellum books are known to start a conversation, and there are few better ways to do this than to bring the English-speaking world a story of modern Ukraine, where readers can recognise their own lives in the details. Kurkov’s Grey Bees is set in the year 2015 and is not a story of the tragic beginning of war, but the apathetic middle. While no less tragic, Kurkov transports readers to a place where never-ending violence has wearied the civilians, leaving them indifferent to the shelling around them. Sergey, an ageing, disabled man, struggles to care for his many beehives, to charge his mobile phone and to find a new normal in the “grey zone.” Grey Bees shows the human life, in all its mundanity, that still exists amid tragedy.

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