The Evolution of Other Press
How many publishers can say they got their start by translating Lacan texts into English, and then segued that into publishing bestselling novels? Most likely the answer is “just one.” Other Press is unique in every way, and its staff members have turned their passion for the written word into one of the most innovative publishing houses of the 21st century.
A One-of-A-Kind Beginning
Other Press’s publisher, Judith Gurewich, is a practicing Lacanian psychoanalyst who was trained in Europe, and when she began teaching Lacan in the United States, she realized that there was a dearth of relevant texts available in English. “So she started having them translated, and Other Press was born,” says Terrie Akers, marketing director for Other Press.
After a few years, Gurewich “began to feel that fiction and narrative nonfiction were more suited to exploring the nuances of the human psyche and culture,” said Akers. So the company published Peter Stamm’s novel Unformed Landscape in 2004, and over the next few years, the firm transitioned into being a trade publisher. “It’s been a delight (and an adventure) to see the press grow and evolve into what it is today,” Akers added.
After the success of Unformed Landscape, Other Press found success with numerous other novels. Simon Mawer’s Booker-shortlisted The Glass Room became a national bestseller in 2009, and Kamel Daoud’s 2015 novel The Meursault Investigation became a national bestseller and a New York Times Best of the Year selection. “This represents the books that we do best,” Akers said. “Global literature that is psychologically astute, culturally engaged, and beautifully written.”
Writers interested in submitting work to Other Press should first read the firm’s books. “While many of them may seem wildly different at first glance, there is a distinct sensibility to our list; read just a few of them and you’ll understand what makes an Other Press book,” advises Akers. “And if your book is a fit for us, be prepared for an intense — but rewarding! — publishing experience. We treat our authors like family.”
Focusing on the Future
Other Press’s goals for the future reflect the company’s attitude toward publishing in general: creating meaningful, dedicated relationships with readers and authors alike. “We publish around twenty-six books every year, and we’re fully invested in every single one of them,” Akers said. “We just want those twenty-six books to be the very best that we can publish, and to get them into the hands of as many readers as possible.”
One of the company’s upcoming releases is Hitler, My Neighbor, expected to debut this fall. The book is an engaging first-person account of historian Edgar Feuchtwanger, a Jewish man who grew up next-door to Adolf Hitler. Other Press also plans to release numerous lost classics this fall, such as For Two Thousand Years by Mihail Sebastian, which was originally published in 1934, and Sabahattin Ali’s Madonna in a Fur Coat, originally published in Turkey in 1943.
When it comes to finding intimate, culturally relevant stories, Other Press is showing no signs of slowing down. “Our long-term goals are to grow our readership and to always foster a culture of ideas without borders,” Akers said. In a business constantly occupied with finding what’s next, Other Press has managed to find the best of both worlds: discovering new authors who are constantly expanding the idea of what fiction can accomplish, as well as publishing books from the past that can teach readers invaluable lessons.