Deep Vellum Publishing
George Henson first heard rumors of a man interested in starting a translation publishing house in Dallas about two years ago. Henson was teaching Spanish at the University of Texas at Dallas and working toward a PhD in Humanities with an emphasis on literary and translation studies. He reached out to Open Letter Books, where this alleged language-maniac was apprenticing and he found an ambitious, mustachioed man by the name of Will Evans. Henson pitched Evans the idea to publish the long overdue translation of Mexican author Sergio Pitol's The Art of Flight. Evans said yes on the spot. Of course, Deep Vellum Publishing didn't launch until a year or so later and the book didn't hit shelves until, well, yesterday, March 17, 2015.
The Art of Flight (or El Arte de la Fuga), Pitol's first book to make it into English, is far from his freshman novel. A recipient of the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 2005, Pitol is one of the country's greatest living authors. This a series of essays that serves as a sort of experimental memoir. (It's the first in a trilogy, all of which Deep Vellum is committed to publishing with Henson as translator.) An author known for questioning the limitations of language, Pitol uses The Art of Flight to chronicle his young life, offering critical analysis along the way of the books that have affected his life. He swirls together memories with poetic reflection, in a way that feels at home in America's memoir culture, but without this obsession with nonfiction. Pitol seems far more interested in playing with language and metaphor, the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction, which is where Henson's role becomes pivotal. We chatted with Henson about translation, language and Pitol.More »