Submission Guidelines: “Only agented submissions.”
Interview with Michael Reynolds, Editor in Chief
How did Europa Editions start?
Europa was founded by Italian indie publishers Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri in 2005. Following 9/11 they began asking themselves what, as publishers, they could do to address the communication breakdown that was happening between cultures and nations. They also saw a business opportunity in the scarcity of foreign works being published in the US. They founded Europa in response both to what they saw as cultural imperative and to an opening in the market.
Tell us a bit about Europa. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
Europa has always focused on quality fiction for a general readership. Rather that fiction that is densely literary and/or experimental and thereby suited to a niche audience—i.e. the kind of foreign fiction being published by the majority of presses that publish a significant amount of work in translation—we have concentrated on accessible literary fiction and upmarket commercial fiction in an attempt to bring the books that readers abroad love to the American market. In this, we feel we’re not only connecting foreign writers with their readership, but also connecting broad foreign readerships with American readerships.
We have also published works in English by British, Australian, American, South African, etc. writers since our inception. We are not and never wanted to be a translation-only house. Rather, we set out to be a publisher of quality international fiction.
We place great emphasis on our brand, our look, our personality. We feel that this is beneficial to our authors and their works. It also affirms the publisher’s role in the broader cultural context. We facilitate a conversation, a dialogue—it is important to know that it is one among many conversations and our brand helps us distinguish the kind of conversation we want to have with and facilitate for American readers.
Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?
We have a number of very important and very good Australian authors coming in the summer—Charlotte Wood, whose The Natural Way of Things is a gripping novel dealing with the themes of misogyny, the demonization of female sexuality, and survival; and, Joan London’s The Golden Age, a heartwarming story of young love (and shenanigans) set in a sprawling children’s hospital in Western Australia in the early 1950s.
In the fall, we’re publishing a magnificent cathedral of modern romance and eroticism called The Carousel of Desire by one of Europe’s most beloved authors, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. This is a playful sex-positive romp through the lives of 20 or so characters who all live around a single piazza in Brussels. I’ve been describing it as Amélie (the movie) with sex.
We have a new novel, set in the 1990s in the Pacific Northwest, by Alexander Maksik, whose debut was a NYT bestseller, and whose second a NYT Notable Book. Shelter in Place is a novel about the intensity of youth, the consequences of love, about family, mental illness, and militant idealism. Xander is a defiant, hugely talented literary author and this book is going to be a big one for us.
We also have a new book by Elena Ferrante, author of the megabestseller My Brilliant Friend. Entitled Frantumaglia, it’s a collection of letters, occasional writings, essays, and interviews about what it means to write, to read, to publish today; about the position of women, Italian politics; and about the author’s choice to remain absent.
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
Everything! The big publishers are becoming fewer and are increasingly indistinguishable. It is difficult to follow the “conversation” they are having with readers. Independent publishers, by virtue of the personality they project (call it brand, identity, reputation, whatever) are reaching further into the culture and connecting with readers directly. We publish work that is as good as if not better than the corporate publishers; we do it with passion, commitment and imagination. There are far more opportunities for us to penetrate the market than ever before. It’s a good time to be an independent publisher.
How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at Europa Editions?
Hard work. Keeping overheads low. Drinking the indie publishing cool aid!
4 straight years of growth. 2 million-copy bestsellers in 10 years and on our way to a third. 6 NYT bestsellers. Gads of notables, accolades, picks, best-ofs.