The importance of an independent publisher such as Marion Boyars in today’s homogenised publishing climate cannot be stressed enough. For instance, just how can their Literature in translation list be ignored? Why aren’t there huge window displays, table displays, face outs and end of row displays of Marion Boyars’ titles in high street bookstores across the land? What is it, exactly, that we are scared of? Why does Literature of this quality turn our stomachs? Why, for instance, are we force fed the tripe displayed in its place? The dross thought to constitute readable Literature these days?
Is it because we are so far out of sync with ‘what/why Literature is’ today that it is, in fact, just like a foreign language to us? Have we seriously sunk this low?
I first heard of Marion Boyars many years ago when I read their excellent translation of Georges Bataille’s ‘Blue of Noon’. I soon realised that here – under our very noses – we had a publisher that takes its translations seriously. I was quite young when I first read Georges Bataille – up until that point my tastes had been largely American (as most teenagers’ tastes are) – and his writing hit me like a thunderclap. I was instantly hooked. I didn’t really understand what his books were about then; I just knew they were different. I just knew that I had to read more of them – and more importantly, I realised that there were publishers out there who could take me away from that well-worn path I was, up until then, happily ambling along.
Without Marion Boyars I wouldn’t have found Calder Books, or Peter Owen, Alma Books, Herperus Press, and Deldalus Press. Then, of course, there is my own inimitable publisher Social Disease.
This very well may sound like a rant – it is, I suppose – but what else have we got? Where else should we turn to? It's a real testament to the passion and belief of those involved in independent publishing that such publishers still exist.