THE SHAPE OF AN ELEPHANT or The Survival of a Publisher of Translations

Christopher MacLehose, MacLehose Press
Monday, October 2, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm
144 Louis A. Simpson International Building
Monday, October 2, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm

Christopher MacLehose began his working life in books as a printer, then as a book reviewer and an indexer. He was for three years the literary editor of The Scotsman newspaper and became a publisher’s editor in 1967. After being for 22 years the publisher of the Harvill Press until it was acquired by Random House he founded in 2008 a very small imprint, the MacLehose Press, now with Quercus under the umbrella of Hachette Group in London. The list publishes 28 new titles a year, almost all translations — from 23 languages — of literary fiction and non-fiction, and also crime fiction in translation.

MacLehose was the last editor of P.G.Wodehouse and in English of Solzhenitsyn, the first in England of Raymond Carver and Richard Ford, of W.G.Sebald, Roberto Bolaño, and of many of the finest books by Jose Saramago, Georges Perec, Haruki Murakami, Cees Nooteboom, Halldor Laxness, Toni Morrison, Roy Jacobsen, Anuradha Roy, Javier Mariás, Ismael Kadare, Eduardo Mendoza. And recently of the Millennium trilogy of Stieg Larsson.

The authors and their works are obviously more interesting than the career of the publisher, but some light may also be shed on the work of translators and on the bewildering paucity of books in translation as a proportion of the gargantuan quantity of titles published in English. And some too on why and what and how a publisher chooses what he or she publishes.

Sponsored by
The Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication