It is April 2015. At World Editions we can look back on an exhilarating few months with no less than eight titles launched on the UK market since the start of the year.
I am delighted by the enthusiastic response our first wave of titles has generated. Esther Gerritsen, whose novel Craving set the ball rolling for World Editions in the UK, is currently enjoying great success in the Netherlands with its successor Roxy. It has followed Craving onto the shortlist for the Libris Literature Prize–The Dutch Booker–and features as a forthcoming title.
We are proud to announce that the work of Tom Lanoye, one of the great Flemish writers, has now been translated into English for the very first time. His latest bestseller Fortunate Slaves was nominated for the major literary awards in the Netherlands. Lanoye is also renowned for his Dutch-language adaptations of Shakespeare, which have been staged by a number of leading international theatre companies.
Another highlight due for publication later this year is the box set featuring two titles by Dutch-Iranian writer Kader Abdolah: The Messenger and The Qur’an. Abdolah shot to prominence with his novel The House of the Mosque, which has since been translated into 34 languages. The Messenger is his retelling of the life of the Prophet Muhammad and an introduction to the reading of the Qur’an itself. The Qur’an is Abdolah’s translation of the 114 suras that make up this sacred text. Together, these works shed new light on an often misunderstood religion.
Both books have gone on to play an important role in the public debate in the Netherlands, selling 100,000 copies within a short time. Former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers is in no doubt as to the reason for this success: ‘These books coincide with a new spiritual awakening in our otherwise secular society. Kader Abdolah has given us a wonderful gift.’ In its five-star review, leading Dutch daily de Volkskrant wrote, ‘In his narrative and in his translation, Abdolah has delivered a magnum opus. A masterpiece that […] enriches the world of Dutch literature.’
In recent months, World Editions has enjoyed an intensive introduction to the literary world in the UK. It has deepened my admiration for the love of English literature shown by readers and booksellers alike, informed by a keen awareness of their own literary heritage. World Editions hopes to make its own contribution to this rich tradition by publishing inspired translations of outstanding authors, books that bring readers of English the best that other countries and cultures have to offer.
I look back with gratitude at all the valuable suggestions we have received to date and I look forward to receiving many more.
Managing director and publisher World Editions Ltd.