Gifted in translation: specialist publishers

Peirene Press Christmas Package 2010

Blood Sisters by Alessandro Perissinotto (Hersilia Press)Books are always a lovely Christmas present, all the more so if they’re carefully chosen and a wee bit out of the ordinary.

Hersilia Press and Peirene Press both specialise in books in translation.

Hersilia is “an independent publisher bringing you the best of Italian crime fiction” and Peirene “specializes in contemporary European literature in English translation”, only publishing though-provoking and well-designed books of less than 200 pages. Peirene also offers subscriptions, or you can buy their cotton “book-bag” for just five pounds.

So both are pretty niche publishers, but their books are such a lovely fit for anybody who love language(s) or crime novels, or is a translator, or all three. If you know them well enough to judge their taste in books, Peirene and Hersilia books could also make good gifts for clients — and act as a little reminder to them of translatorly skills.

For more ideas on books in translation, check out the Booktrust’s Translated Fiction website.

PS: It’s interesting that both Hersilia and Peirene have taken their names from ancient mythology. Hersilia was the wife of Romulus, the founder of Rome. And Peirene “takes its name from a Greek nymph who turned into a water spring. The poets of Corinth discovered the Peirene source and, for centuries, they drank this water to receive inspiration.The idea of metamorphosis fits the art of translation beautifully.”

PPS: More Christmas gift ideas coming later this week!

By Marian Dougan

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