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The British publisher Christopher MacLehose, one of the towering figures of literature in translation and a key figure in the rise of Scandinavian crime, has started a new imprint at London’s Wellbeck Publishing, the house established by Quercus’ Marcus Smith and Quarto’s Marcus Leaver in 2019.
The imprint is called Mountain Leopard Press and will focus on literary work and literature in translation. Wellbeck said: ‘Drawing on Christopher’s reputation as the champion of translated literature in the UK, the objective of Mountain Leopard Press is to be a small and dynamic list that will focus on translated literature in the main but will include a very few outstanding authors writing in English from around the world. Mountain Leopard Press will publish and champion only the very best books across translated and literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, crime fiction in translation, and illustrated books.’
Its launch list in April includes Beirut 2020, a powerful memoir by the French-Lebanese writer Charif Majdalani, one of the first books to be written about the aftermath of last August’s Beirut port explosion. His literary agency 2 Seas said: ‘At the beginning of summer 2020 in Lebanon – a country ruined by an economic crisis and inflation where people in Beirut stand up for a true democracy while the world is petrified by the coronavirus crisis – Charif Majdalani undertakes the writing of a journal. He wishes to give an account of this terrible and confusing period and confront it with his experience, thoughts, and emotions – and perhaps endure it through writing.
‘This chronicle of suffocation and collapse is struck on August 4th by the explosion in the city’s port of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. From this moment on, the book becomes a testimony of the catastrophe and the uprising, the portrait of a city stunned by the violence of its own history, the account of “fates thrown to the winds”.’
MacLehose says the launch list also includes The Earthspinner, “a very beautiful novel by Anuradha Roy, and Stranger to the Moon, “a devastating fable by Evelio Rosero. In January 2022 Mountain Leopard will be publish the first novel of a historical quartet by James Buchan. MacLehose adds: “The list has translations in progress from seven languages and will strive with all it publishes to contribute to the development of humanity.” He will be joined by Rebecca Strong as senior editor, the two having worked together in the past at Harvill Press.
Mark Smith, executive director of Welbeck Publishing Group, said: “I could not be happier to be reunited with Christopher and his new creation, Mountain Leopard Press. We had a very successful collaboration at Quercus and the books he curated there over 13 years are simply world class. The new list looks equally high quality and everyone at Welbeck is looking forward to introducing Mountain Leopard Press authors to readers all around the world.”