28 February 08 | Chad W. Post

A relatively young press, Autumn Hill Books is one of those impressive indie presses that gets nowhere near the attention it deserves.

Autumn Hill Books is a nonprofit based in Iowa and is closely linked to the writing programs at the University of Iowa, especially the International Writing Program. (Which is no surprise, since AHB’s founder, Russell Valentino is an Associate Professor of Russian, Cinema and Comparative Literature, at the University of Iowa.)

The mission of the press is noble: “Autumn Hill Books is an Iowa non-profit corporation whose emphasis is on making fine translations of primarily contemporary literature from around the world more widely available in English.”

I just received three of their recent publications in the mail: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh by Slobodan Novak, translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth; The Death of the Little Match Girl by Zoran Feric, translated from the Croatian by Tomislav Kuzmanovic; and Anima Mundi by Susanna Tamaro, translated from the Italian by Cinzia Sartini Blum and Russell Scott Valentino. Each of these books looks really interesting and are representative of the unique, exciting fiction coming out from indie presses these days.

Feric’s The Death of the Little Match Girl is the one that I’d like to read first, due in part to Michael Orthofer’s review and this bit from the description:

It is a world unto itself loaded with creepy settings, biazarre exchanges, and dark, sardonic humor. The novel ends up being not so much a murder mystery as a bizarre, uncomfortable fusion of detective story, crime novel, political thriller, and raw, grotesque fiction. In short—Balkan krimic.

Overall, this is one of those presses that more people should know about, and their forthcoming title Laundry by Suzane Adam sounds intriguing.

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