Writer Ilan Stavans is now set to don the publisher cap as well with the launch of an ebook imprint, Restless Books. Among his initial offerings will be Between Clay and Dust, a novel by the Pakistani author Musharraf Ali Farooqi along with three books on poetry and memoir by the Chicano poet Jimmy Santiago Baca. These apart, Restless Books also have other literary works lined up for publishing, which include those from Mexico, Argentina, Russia and Cuba. Ilan Stavans stated one of his goals behind setting up his own publishing unit is to see the US be seen more cosmopolitan with its publishing efforts by coming up with more translated book or publishing original works of American authors.
“Only 3% of books published annually in the United States are translations,” something that Stavans claims is “embarrassing.” “This country has become an island. We forget the rest of the world is out there. And great literature (fiction, poetry, journalism) is released on a daily basis in Turkey, Poland, Argentina, China.”
“Readers today access literature in multiple languages,” Stavans further added. “So instead of the old model of bringing a translation into the U.S. audience, in digital form we want to bring the translation and the original together and let the reader choose. Price and weight don’t matter here because we’re talking digital books.”
Among the titles that Restless Books will have on offer from next month include The Underground by the Russian writer Hamid Ismailov, Journey to the Land of Israel, 125th: Time in Harlem, among others.