LBF22: 5 Minute Interview with Amazon Crossing

LBF22: 5 Minute Interview with Amazon Crossing

As we approach The London Book Fair, we continue to highlight publishers and publishing professionals in anticipation of reuniting. As part of this, we’re spotlighting Amazon Crossing. To find out more about them, we spoke to Editorial Director Gabriella Page-Fort.

Amazon Publishing is a leading trade publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books with a mission to empower outstanding storytellers and connect them with readers worldwide. We publish emerging, bestselling and critically-acclaimed authors in digital, print, and audio formats. With Amazon’s drive for innovation and passion for books, Amazon Publishing merges technology and art to support our authors and help their stories change the world.

Amazon Crossing publishes award-winning and bestselling books from around the globe, making international literature accessible to many readers for the first time. Since 2010, Amazon Crossing has published books by authors from 51 countries and six continents, and writing in 30 languages. In 2019, we launched Amazon Crossing Kids, which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and from around the world and to encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives.

How long has Amazon Crossing been around, and how did it get started?

We launched in 2010 with Tierno Monénembo’s anti-colonial satire The King of Kahel, translated from French by Nicholas Elliott, and Oliver Pötzsch’s The Hangman’s Daughter, translated from German by Lee Chadeayne (may he rest in peace) and Lisa Reinhart, which has now reached more than 5 million readers. Amazon Publishing saw a need for making more international authors accessible to English speaking readers, and Amazon Crossing has been committed to expanding readers’ perspectives ever since.

What impact has the recent changing world had on Amazon Crossing?

We sit at the crossroads of the world – for me, literature is our most vibrant tool for diplomacy. In 2020 we decided to dedicate ourselves to publishing more authors from the Global South. In 2022 we are thrilled to publish seven books from those regions, including: Haitian author Emmelie Prophète’s lyrical English debut, Blue, translated from French by Tina Kover; Ousman Umar’s gripping memoir of migrating from Ghana to Spain, North to Paradise, translated from Spanish by Kevin Gerry Dunn; Cameroonian author Mutt-Lon’s anti-colonial satire The Blunder, translated from French by Amy B. Reid; and “the Iraqi Maya Angelou” (per Faleeha Hassan’s timely memoir about coming of age amidst endless war, War and Me, translated from Arabic by William Hutchins.

What authors are you as a company most excited about right now? Who’s making waves?

Dutch award-winner Anna Enquist has been one of my favorite writers for years, and it’s a delight to publish her novel The Homecoming, translated by Eileen J. Stevens. It’s the richly imagined, intimate, and deeply researched journal of Elizabeth Betts Cook – wife of explorer Captain James Cook – and it offers emotional drama as tense as any high seas adventure. It’s a must-read.

Likewise, what books are you as a company most excited about right now?

We’ve had great success with true crime in translation – The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin by Jan Stocklassa, translated by Tara F. Chace, set a high bar – and we’re excited to debut Italian author Pablo Trincia’s All the Lies They Did Not Tell: The True Story of Satanic Panic in an Italian Community, translated by Elettra Pauletto, in August. The story began as a podcast, and the book maintains that same pacing and suspense that kept people listening to this twisted and deeply unsettling true story of false accusations and fallout in a small community. Another exciting book on our 2022 list is Small Deaths by Rijula Das, a gripping literary thriller set in Shonagachhi, Calcutta’s notorious red-light district. Written in English by an Indian author currently based in New Zealand, the book is both thought-provoking and impossible to put down. In India it was long-listed for the JCB Prize for Literature and short-listed for the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award in 2021, and a television adaptation is in the works.

What is your biggest hope for the future?

Peace on Earth. Seriously! I think books can help. Our social responsibility as publishers is always on my mind. We’re building bridges across difference through books, and I am eager to watch as more and more readers are drawn to international fiction and nonfiction. I’d like to see “the conversation” about books in the US mirror the beautiful and energetic atmosphere of international book fairs like LBF, where polyphony is the baseline and cultural collaboration crosses all borders.

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