Wednesday 13 February 2013

Shortlisted for the IPG Trade Publisher of the Year Award 2013

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to announce that Alma Books has been shortlisted for the IPG Trade Publisher of the Year Award 2013.

It is a shortlist of three, and in the running are also Constable & Robinson (who won in 2012) and John Blake Publishing (who won in 2010). The winner will be announced at the IPG Conference Gala Dinner on 7th March 2013.  Alma was already shortlisted for the award in 2011.

Here is the judges’ comments on our shortlist:

“Alma Books is shortlisted on the back of a year of commercial print success, exponential ebook sales growth and substantial critical acclaim. Judges admired its commitment to translated fiction and outstanding website, plus its instinct for picking up little-heard-of authors who are likely to appeal in the UK. ‘Alma is a small independent publisher with no obvious weak spots. It is finding authors and books in a way most other publishers are not.’ ”

Fingers crossed and, as ever, thank you for your support (and all your emails this morning).

Elisabetta Minervini and Alessandro Gallenzi

Tuesday 5 February 2013

The Rediscovered Skeleton

I was reading Belli's sonnets yesterday and I found this gem (Sonnet No. 1010). I couldn't resist translating it because of the topicality of the subject (the digging-up of Richard III's bones).

1010. The rediscovered skeleton

What a spectacle – dear God – what a spectacle!
Only today you see this kind of thing!
People bothering so much about
four paltry fleshless and skinless bones!

And you hear this sing-song all the time:
“It’s him – it’s not him – they’re his – no, they’re not –
it’s Raphael – no, it’s not Raphael…
and the Pantheon bursts with people every day.

Of course this is something very important,
because there’s such a shortage of bones in Rome, isn’t there,
in all its twenty or thirty graveyards!

You find a skeleton in dug-up ground?
Well, then, without being so solemn about it,
just chuck it back into its grave.

[Translated by Alessandro Gallenzi]

1st November 1833 (All Souls’ Day)

This poem was written by the Romanesco poet Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791–1863) on the discovery of bones – purported to be those of Raffaello Sanzio – in the Pantheon.

Original 1010. Er corpo aritrovato *

È una sscèna, per dio, propio una sscèna.
Ma ttutte ar tempo mio s’ha da vedelle!
Pe quattr’ossacce senza carn’e ppelle
s’ha da pijjà la ggente tanta pena!

E ttutti fanno sta cantasilèna: 1
È llui: nun è: ssò cquelle: nun zò cquelle:
è Rraffaelle: nun è Rraffaelle...
E ttutt’er giorno la Ritonna 2 è ppiena.

Certo, nun dubbità, ssò ccasi serj!
Come c’a Rroma sciamancassin’ossa 3
tramezz’a un venti o un trenta scimiteri!

Trovi uno schertro 4 in de la terra smossa?
Ebbè, ssenza de fà ttanti misteri,
aribbuttelo drento in de la fossa.

1° novembre 1833

* Le ossa di Raffaele Sanzio. 1 Cantilena. 2 Rotonda. 3 Ci mancassero ossa. 4 Scheletro.

At the Savile Club with Anne Sebba

Greatly enjoyed Anne Sebba's talk a couple of weeks ago at the Savile Club. Her latest book That Woman follows the life of Wallis Simpson. The suave man on the right is Alan Williams, the chairman of the Whitefriars Dining Club, one of the oldest dining – if not the oldest – clubs in the UK.