Montreal publisher Baraka Books is launching a new imprint this spring called QC Fiction, which will translate contemporary French novels by Quebec authors into English. The imprint, which will be overseen by literary translator Peter McCambridge, will look to bring work by French-speaking authors in the Canadian province to a wider audience.
QC Fiction will publish three translated titles in 2016 and four in 2017 and, according to McCambridge, each title will have an initial print run of 800. The first title, due in spring 2016, will be Éric Dupont's 2008 novel Bestiaire, which will be published by QC Fiction under the title Life in the Royal Court of Matane.
“We realized that Quebec has a big book culture, and we have a large number of young fiction writers who are in their 20s to 40s, whose books do not come out in English,” said Robin Philpot, president and publisher of Baraka Books.
McCambridge, was born in Ireland but has lived in Quebec City since 2003, has translated several books for Baraka in the past. And Bestiaire, he explained, happens to be the book that made him want to become a literary translator.
For McCambridge, QC Fiction isn't just about bringing more exposure to Canadian authors writing in French; he also hopes the imprint will allow him to work with "up-and-coming" local translators who he believes can bring an appropriately contemporary edge to the books.
“We’re going to put out proper international-quality fiction," McCambridge said. "People around the world could be talking about these books, not just people in Ontario."
With an eye toward reaching a global audience, McCambridge is looking to publish books that can compete for the major literary accolades. “It’s not always the best books that are nominated for the big prizes, let alone go on to win them," he said. "I feel there’s a lot of good fiction that’s gone under the radar, and because we’re really just doing Quebec fiction in translation, we’re going to take the time to read a lot and find the stuff that’s gone beneath the radar."
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Life in the Royal Court of Matane will not be Éric Dupont's first novel translated into English. His novel Voleurs de sucre was published as Sugar Thieves in 2012.