Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Contra Mundum Wants You!

Contra Mundum's newest birth, The Selected Poetry of Emilio Villa
    As you all know, it is extremely difficult in this day and age to keep a small independent press alive, especially one publishing translations of obscure books, like my own current translation/collection of Robert Musil's Small Prose (forthcoming in 2015 with Contra Mundum).
   Contra Mundum Press has a new plan to keep thriving and to keep being able to publish these important works--a plan that would depend on your subscription/donation to the cause for the next three years. In exchange you will get three free books a year and a discount on any other books you want, and the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping keep a small press alive. Since I will be publishing translations of Robert Musil  with Contra Mundum (one every year or every other year for the next 5 or 6 years or so), you can be sure to get free copies of new Musil, as well as many other interesting books.

Here are the official details:

Contra Mundum Press (CMP) is a New York based boutique publishing house dedicated to the value and the indispensable importance of the individual voice. Our catalog includes poetry, literature, drama, philosophy, film criticism and essays. In the future, we intend on expanding it to include works on architecture, music, & other fields.

In order to reach our next stage of development, CMP is currently seeking at least 300 donor/subscribers to promise to commit to offering $100/year to the press for a period of three years. In return, each donor/subscriber will receive three books/year of his or her choice as well as a 15% discount on any other books they wish to purchase.

When achieved, this will generate a guaranteed $30,000 per year for the press and enable it to devote further funds to design, editing, marketing, and to offering needed advances to translators and editors. Some of these funds will also be used to create a new website more in line with the character of the press, as well as to purchase translation rights necessary to further expanding our catalog. This support will also help CMP to establish an even more prominent global presence over the next several years and to further extend its impact.

While it is nothing like an exhaustive account of our projects & critical reception, the following précis indicates the scope & reach of CMP, as well as our development – in the space of 30 months – into an independent publisher whose work has been heralded in the pages of The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Paris Review, The Quarterly Conversation, & the Los Angeles Review of Books

As a press that models itself on Goethe’s notion of world-literature, CMP’s focus is global. To date, we have published translations from Sumerian, French, Hungarian, Italian, and German. Additionally, we have published several world premiere books (both by Fernando Pessoa), two bilingual books (French–English; German–English), several multilingual books, and we will also be publishing translations from Turkish as well as other languages.

Since publishing our first book in January of 2012, CMP has received awards from the Hungarian Book Foundation, the French Embassy (Hemingway Grant), TEDA (a Turkish literary foundation), and the Austrian Ministry of Education, Arts, & Culture. Our translators include distinguished and world-renowned figures such as Mary Ann Caws, Tim Wilkinson, and Stuart Kendall as well as new translators like Genese Grill (NEH recipient and the only English-language representative of the International Robert Musil Society) and Dominic Siracusa (recipient of the Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship for his translation of Emilio Villa).

While many if not most presses do not credit their typographers, CMP has reinstituted the colophon to give such due recognition. Meticulously conceived by Alessandro Segalini, each CMP book is typeset in a clear, balanced, & precise manner and nobly spaced, making them eminently pleasurable to read, beautiful objects in their own right.

The global vision of CMP extends beyond its publications to events staged in New York, Budapest, Berlin, and Karlovy Vary, including a retrospective of Elio Petri’s films curated in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture and Arsenal (Institute for Film and Video Art). Most recently, in 2014, our author Josef Winkler was invited to both the Austrian Cultural Forum in NYC and to the PEN World Voices Literary Festival. For a complete list of our publications and further info about the press, download our catalog here:


If you wish to lend us support, payments can be made via Paypal to: (those without a Paypal account can still pay via credit card thru the Paypal site), or by sending a check to CMP at:

Contra Mundum Press
P.O. Box 1326
New York, NY 10276

To note some forthcoming highlights, in the fall and winter of 2014 we will publish Fellini’s Making a Film and the first ever translation of Miklós Szentkuthy’s legendary Prae. Some publication highlights of 2015 include Robert Musil’s Short Prose, vol. 1 of the letters of Otto Dix, and Turkish modernist Oğuz Atay’s While Waiting for Fear. We have also agreed to publish the writings of internationally renowned Hungarian-German cinematographer and director Fred Kelemen, who also shot films for Béla Tarr, and are currently negotiating to acquire the rights to a number of books by Jean-Luc Godard.

Contra Mundum Press