Celebrating Polish publisher Sonia Draga & her 15 years in Krakow – with Jonathan Franzen: Kickoff Poland @BookExpo 2016
Sonia Draga is not simply an independent publisher in Poland. She stands out in today s business of books as someone who gave an old industry an exemplary fresh look. Starting with just one book (a cook book), typesetting it herself, 15 years ago, and broadening the venture into one of Polands leading houses for international fiction since then.
An yet, she is not the only one of her kind. A good week ago, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, we welcomed in the Frankfurt CEO Talks two of her peers, Marcos Pereira of Editorial Sextante in Brazil, and Andrew Wilkins of Profile Books in the UK (more on that soon in this blog – and by the way, these glorious indie publishers even do not know each other in person, so far).
All three share an appetite for good international reading, aka great authors, and the boldness to say: There is plenty of room for new publishers in this industry. Which is an attitude that, frankly, I admire a lot.
In Krakow, I just had spent a full day of multiple conversations, because Poland will be the honorary guest country at the BookExpo America Global Market Forum 2016. BEA, as we call it, will be in Chicago next year which, co-incidentally, is the second largest Polish city, right after Warsaw – and by head count of Polish immigrants from a century and a half, topping Krakow!
(Sidestep: Europeans, watch out for such developments, which provide a strong argument to emphasize the long term perspective when it comes to migration! For Austrians, for instance, Chicagoe is arguably the biggest city of Burgenland, our country s most Eastern province).
And Jonathan Franzen in all this? He is published in Poland by Sonia, of course, and he was most upbeat, as we shook hands at Sonias party, about BEA this year, where he had held the big opening address.
International book publishing is certainly big in its good spirits, but also a small world.