Journalist and translator Orsola Casagrande has joined independent publisher Comma Press as editor-at-large.
She will work on several publications featuring writers from across the world, working on forthcoming titles including The Book of Venice , an anthology of contemporary city stories, The American Way, an anthology exploring the legacy of US foreign policy through short fiction and, with Mustafa Gundogdu, Kurdistan +100, thought to be the first anthology of Kurdish science fiction ever collected.
Casagrande has worked for 25 years for the Italian daily newspaper il manifesto and is currently co-editor of the web magazine Global Rights. She writes in Italian, English, Spanish and Turkish and also speaks Basque and Catalan. She writes regularly on Spanish, Catalan and Basque politics and culture, and has covered Turkey and Kurdistan as a special correspondent.
Spending much of her time in Cuba and Central America, she has worked as cultural liaison for the Irish Embassy in Mexico and helped co-ordinate the cultural activities of Irish Week at the Havana Book Fair in 2017. She has translated several books from English to Italian, and previously edited and co-translated, with Irish poet Seamas Carraher, The Book of Havana for Comma in 2018.
Ra Page, publisher at Comma Press, said: “The most challenging part of commissioning new work (and compiling anthologies of existing contemporary work) from other languages is finding the right person to work with on the ground, as an editor or co-editor. We’ve sometimes spent years looking for the right co-editor for projects. In Orsola, we've found the perfect person to develop and extend our reach in places such as Latin America, Turkey, Kurdistan, with her bounty of contextual knowledge and good will among local writing communities.”
Casagrande said: "Because of my work as a journalist I had the opportunity to travel and live for some years in different places. Every time I moved from one place to another, I carried with me valuable friendships, memories and stories, books and films. In Comma Press I found an openness and curiosity which, combined with Ra’s literary knowledge and his intuition about the need to ‘revive’ short stories, meant that I was able to realise some dreams such as introducing Kurdish writers to a wider audience or getting writers and historians from the world to contribute to The American Way, which will tell of the 75 years of US-led invasions, CIA-sponsored coups, election interference, stay-behind networks, rendition, and weapons testing... all in the name of Pax America, the world’s police.”