Judith Curr, president and publisher of the HarperOne Group, says that it’s “wonderful” to launch the new international books imprint, HarperVia, at BookExpo. The imprint, which will primarily focus on fiction in translation for English-speaking markets, will publish three books this fall and build to 24 titles a year.
“When I came to Harper [last year], I wanted to do a fiction list. But I didn’t want it to be another stop on the tour,” says Curr. For her, publishing authors in translation, many making their debut, makes the imprint special. And she has some popular writers to work with, including Heddi Goodrich, whose debut, Lost in the Spanish Quarter (Sept.), has already hit the bestsellers list in Italy, and Karina Sainz Borgo’s It Would Be Night in Caracas (Oct.), which has gone into six printings in Spain and has been snapped up by 22 countries. The German House (Dec.), the third book on the inaugural list, is also by a debut novelist, Annette Hess, who has written for TV and streaming services.
Another distinguishing feature of HarperVia is that three offices around the world can acquire books—HarperCollins in New York; HarperCollins UK; and HarperCollins Australia. Curr sees this as a way to add to the “international flavor” of the imprint, which has already signed Norwegian, Canadian, Iranian, and Korean authors for publication in 2020 and beyond.
For Curr, Heddi Goodrich, the imprint’s inaugural author, is “the perfect ambassador for what we’re trying to do. She is the embodiment of what it means to be an international author.” That’s because Goodrich, who was born and raised in the U.S., but attended high school and college in Italy, now lives in New Zealand. Goodrich tells Show Daily that she initially wrote the novel, which is loosely based on her school years in Naples, in English. But, she says, “I felt something was missing. Then I realized I could only tell my truth in Italian. Now I don’t write in English.” However, she did translate her own novel into English for the HarperVia edition.
Curr wants to turn HarperVia into a brand and platform that, she says, “gives us the ability to publish fantastic authors who don’t have a platform of their own.” This will give her the ability to continue to publish authors who may be relatively unknown in the U.S., but who she’s excited about. While Curr is concentrating on fiction in translation to begin, she says that phase two will involve publishing some nonfiction. She also plans to publish some international literature that is written in English.