Monday, 17 March 2014

The End of Bloggerel

Originally started in 2008, Bloggerel has been a place for us to discuss literature, not only the latest news from Alma and the inner workings of publishing, but also to post about some of the hidden gems from classical literature. 

As Alma Books and Alma Classics continue to grow and we are publishing more and more titles, the demands on our time have increased accordingly. So it is with sadness that we have decided to stop updating Bloggerel. It has been fun during the last few years, but the blog can no longer be maintained as it had been previously. 

You can still find out about Alma's latest news on other social media: 
Twitter - @almabooks and @almaclassics
Facebook - Alma Books and Alma Classics
Pinterest - Alma 

Alessandro Gallenzi

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

RIP Ignat Avsey

We are saddened to hear that Ignat Avsey – translator of many books for us and for other publishers, including Angel Books, Oxford University Press, Penguin Books and Pushkin Press – passed away last night at the Northwick Park Hospital after a short illness.

We are proud to be the publisher of some of his translations, which include Dostoevsky’s Humiliated and Insulted and The Idiot, as well as a forthcoming novel by Dmitry Merezhkovsky’s, Leonardo.

I am glad I was able to meet him a few times over the past few months, and I am keen to ensure that his literary legacy – as a translator and promoter of Russian and German literature – remains well alive within our list.

Our thoughts and our deepest condolences go to Ignat’s family at this time of mourning.

Alessandro Gallenzi

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pushkin Hills at Pushkin House

From left to right: Katherine Dovlatov, A.D. Miller and Zinovy Zinik at Pushkin House last night, celebrating the launch of Katherine Dovlatov's translation of Pushkin Hills, written by her father Sergei Dovlatov and available now for the first time in English.

It was a wonderful occupation - absorbing and informative - and well attended, thank you to Pushkin House for hosting the event and to the three panelists for their insightful discussion.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Secret Leopardi - Event at the Italian Cultural Institute

Having published Canti by Giacomo Leopardi ourselves we are always interested in reading other translations of Leopardi's work, so tomorrow's event at the Italian Cultural Institute (39 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8NX) should to be quite interesting.  For anyone interested in Leopardi or italian literature in general come tomorrow 17th October at 6:30pm, free event but booking essential, see description below:


Under the supervision of Franco D’Intino and Michael Caesar, Penguin publishes the first integral English translation of Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone, the collection of notes written by the poet between 1817 and 1832.

The result of an impressive effort by the researchers, this work includes critical and philological parts, notes and a detailed introduction. 

Critically acclaimed, the translation will be presented at the Italian Cultural Institute by the curators, Professors Franco D’Intino and Michael Caesar, together with Professor Susan Bassnett.
Writer Elisabetta Rasy, within the series Writers in Residence, will read from the book and chair the event.'

Click here to book online

Friday, 13 September 2013

Morrissey book 'cancelled'

According to the Bookseller, the publication of Morrissey's autobiography has been cancelled after a last-minute disagreement between the singer and Penguin. It seems the singer wanted his 600 page work to be published as a Penguin Classics.

The publishers of Alma Classics, Alessandro Gallenzi and Elisabetta Minervini would love to take this project on and incorporate it into our Alma Classics list. Having exchanged Morrissey tapes when they were young lovebirds and been dedicated fans for the past 25 years, this book would be a joy to work on and as an important account of music history we feel it deserves a place alongside the classics.

Read the full report from the Bookseller:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

A splendid night at the Royal Institute of British Architects for the annual Taittinger-lubricated celebration of fiction in translation. It was good to catch up with so many friends and take bets on the potential winner. Bill Swainson of Bloomsbury was right in tipping The Detour as the dark horse of the competition – I thought the prize would be a close race between Pushkin Press' The Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman or Maclehose Press' Trieste by Daša Drndić (I hope the accents come out OK). We also had a book in the shortlist – Bundu by Chris Barnard – but having won last year, we weren't very hopeful of a new success and were secretly cheering Pushkin's book alongside ours.

When they began to describe the winner, all the contenders thought they'd won: "It's a lyrical book… beautifully written… perfectly translated… a love story… a quest… an escape…" That wise man, François von Hurter of Bitter Lemon Press, who was standing next to us, rightly said: "Every cliché applies to every book – because all books are clichéd."

In the end, as I said, it was a bit of a surprise when the winner (a deserved one, I am sure) was declared to be The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker (translated from the Dutch by David Colmer). The author's and translator's speeches were sweet and I am sure their nerves eased once they got off the podium and toasted their success with more champagne. 

Here I am with our author Elaine Feinstein in front of the podium. Tonight is the Man Book International Award ceremony, and we'll be there to cheer our shortlisted author, Aharon Appelfeld – and catch up with some other friends over a glass or two of bubbly.


Friday, 17 May 2013

The Old Library

I was invited, courtesy of our music editor Gary Kahn, to Trinity College, Oxford, for a tour of the Old Library – which, apparently, has even its own ghost: John Henry Newman. The place is rich with literary associations – Dr Johnson, for example, used to study there.

There are hundreds of fabulous books there, and I'd have been happy to be locked in for a week or two so that I could browse them at leisure. The section I liked the most was the first-editions one. Here I am holding the first volume of the first edition of Pride and Prejudice, first published 200 years ago, in 1813.

But for me the real gems were the first editions of Milton's Paradise Lost, George Eliot's Middlemarch (four green volumes, left in the following picture) and Fielding's Tom Jones (six brown volumes, right). Thanks to Sharon, the Librarian, for showing us around.

A short stroll from Trinity is the Blackwell's bookshop in Broad Street. Alma is well represented throughout, and there's plenty of beautiful modern books on display, including the six titles from our splendid Fitzgerald series.

No trace of ebooks there, thank God. The physical book is still going strong in Oxford, even among students.