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Amanda DeMarco, publisher of Readux, talks to NBG

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The Back Story
Amanda DeMarco worked in publishing in the United States before moving to Germany in 2009. Being based in Berlin gave her both the creative impetus and the financial freedom to create start-up publisher Readux, whose first four books were announced in July and will be launched this October. Amanda was also inspired by her work with Swedish short-form publisher Novellix, who publish four high quality books every quarter, each of around thirty pages long. Amanda loved the concept, and decided to adopt a similar model for Readux.
 
The Format
Readux will publish essays and stories of between 5,000 and 10,000 words in length, mainly in translation. Its books will be released in sets of four, three times a year, and each set will include one text by an English-language writer. This decision has been made ‘very consciously’, says Amanda, who wants people to think of Readux books as great texts in their own right, whether they are translations or not. Readux aims to give readers access to a wealth of texts which are currently not being published because they are too long to appear in magazines but too short to be novellas: ‘The format is perfect for right now,’ says Amanda. Readux books are affordable and can be read in one sitting, either electronically or in print; the printed books are designed to be beautiful objects that people will want to own. There is no shortage of talented designers in Berlin, as Amanda points out, and the striking covers of the first four books are certainly proof of this. The bold, vibrant designs are the work of André Gottschalk, an award-winning Berlin-based illustrator.
 
The Books
Thanks to its location in Berlin and its collaboration with Novellix, Readux has strong ties to both German and Swedish literature; one of its four October titles is translated from Swedish and two are translated from German. Living in Berlin makes Amanda’s relationship with German literature very different from what it would have been had she stayed in the US. She is able to meet authors in person, understand the social conditions from which their books arise, and keep up with developments in the German literary scene as they happen. Because of this – and because the texts are short and therefore quick to translate – Readux is able to publish translations hot on the heels of original texts (two of the three translated texts due to be released in October were also published in their original languages in 2013).
 
The Translators
Amanda is herself a translator from German and has translated one of the titles in Readux’s October selection, the essay In Berlin by Franz Hessel. Another of the titles, The Marvel of Biographical Bookkeeping (‘a great story, very readable, formally very unusual and innovative’) was translated by Katy Derbyshire, who Amanda met through an And Other Stories reading group the two ran together in Berlin. Translators have given Amanda many ‘wonderful suggestions’ for texts to add to Readux’s list in the future.
 
The Future
Readux books will be available online, via subscription and in bookshops in Germany, the UK and the US. One of Amanda’s main aims in the long term is to build up Readux’s distribution network, and she also hopes eventually to be able to publish more than three sets of books a year. She is optimistic about the future, pointing out that a number of small presses set up in recent years have helped to cultivate a readership with an interest in translated literature. There is much more awareness and discussion of literature in translation now than there was five years ago, she says, which is great news for Readux and other publishers like it. With such an interesting line-up already announced, NBG is looking forward to seeing what exciting new titles Readux will have to offer in 2014.
 
Interview with Romy Fursland
 

 
 
Amanda DeMarco Photo: private


 

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