I started Immigrant Press because I wanted to finish a book I was working on, which would only happen if it were to be printed. This work would then be completed and I could go on to the next literary episode.
That first book was Along the Way. Walking in Úbeda (2009), a hybrid part-town human biography, part-visitor guide, and written for hotels and bookshops to offer to visitors to the World Heritage-listed town where I’d settled. The curiosity of my fellow ubetenses has prompted a translation of the book into Spanish, which includes an afterword to bring the story up to date (forthcoming in early 2017).
Local interests also determined the second house title, From the Americas to Jaén/Desde las Américas a Jaén (2011), a bilingual reader for the many young Spaniards impelled by recent economic troubles to prepare for emigration in search of work; the Hispano-Americans whose stories of migration are told in the book headed to this olive oil-producing region of southern Spain in economically better days.
I found the Argentine novel Sudeste (1962) in Úbeda library, and South-East (2013) became the first volume on the Immigrant Library of Translation shelf. A second edition, as Southeaster (2015) took the book back across the Atlantic; the story of this book is told on the Haroldo Conti page.
The second Library of Translation volume has just been published. Come The Day is the first translation of Colombian Manuel Mejía Vallejo‘s work into English.
I didn’t have to edit the book myself this time: Jessica Sequeira offered me help with Immigrant Press at the start of this year, having come across Conti’s novel and written an extensive article on its publication for the Boston Review. Her presence has turned an editorial monologue into a rich dialogue, and will assure readers of the most polished books a small independent press can reasonably be expected to produce.
All these books were carefully prepared and off-set printed by Gráficas La Paz of Torredonjimeno, an hour’s drive from Úbeda through the olive groves. Their advice on papers and binding have allowed the production of beautiful books whose sewn binding means they won’t fall apart with age – something I think is worth the extra publication cost for a classic title.
Look in on us now and then to keep up to date with news of our slow but solid publishing programme; pages will be added as new authors arrive on our shelf.
Many small presses today are seeking ways to bring more female authors onto their lists, and I’d be happy to come on a better balance between the sexes in books available for consideration; several by each are waiting on my reading shelves. I imagine the proportionately fewer titles written by women is due to the general responsibility for domestic duties they have traditionally had – and it’s about time this changed; decisions about my own translations will in any case rest on the quality of the work and not the sex of its author.
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Jon Lindsay Miles