What are some upcoming trends?
In the context of my work at Archipelago, I don’t spend a great deal of time considering trends. I’m in the unique—and I think fortunate—position of working in an environment where books are bought almost exclusively because we believe that the writing will remain vital and will affect sensitive readers 100 years from now. Something I have noticed is the steady proliferation of literature in translation. Of course, international works still make up a small percentage of what is published in the U.S., but the number of presses that work with books in translation is increasing each year. It’s very heartening to see.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
It’s always a pleasure to encounter an author who has created a compelling universe of his or her own, in spirit and in language—a novel that has urgency but still takes its time, offering new or inventive ways of seeing. I’m especially interested in books that allow readers to see largely unknown or forgotten locales—the Spanish Basque Country, the Chukchi lands of Siberia, the scrublands of South Africa, war-torn Lebanon—through the eyes of the people who live there.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I don’t think it’s wise, as an editor or as a reader, to be averse to any topics. That said, I might have a different answer if my inbox was flooded with YA dystopia.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
In an effort to broaden the American literary landscape, we only publish literature in translation. We’re also an uncommonly small-scale operation, made up of two full-time employees and a part-time assistant editor. Every member of our staff sees the books brought to life, from acquisition through the editorial process into production, and we all do our parts to make sure the books find themselves in the hands of readers. But what makes Archipelago Books stand apart ultimately is its publisher, Jill Schoolman, who founded the press 11 years ago. She is involved at every level of the process and unswervingly devoted to this goal of introducing the world to a voice it hasn’t heard yet.
Kendall Storey is the associate editor and publicist at Archipelago Books. Previously, she worked at New Directions and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.