Penguin is launching a European Series in April to celebrate “forgotten classics”, with introductions by acclaimed contemporary authors such as Colm Toibin, Elizabeth Strout and Deborah Levy.
Penguin European Writers was spearheaded by Isabel Wall, assistant editor at Viking, who “felt compelled by the current political climate” to promote literature from Europe.
Penguin will publish four titles in total for the series throughout the year, from Spain, Italy, France and Germany. A spokesperson described it as an “ongoing project to advocate for diversity in publishing, old and new”.
The first title in the series is “Catalan classic” Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda with an introduction by Toibin. This “relevant political dystopia” was the author’s final novel, written when Rodoreda was exiled to France during the Spanish Civil War. It will be published in paperback format on 5th April with a rr.r.p. of £8.99.
The Beautiful Summer by Cesare Pavese will follow with an introduction by Strout, author of My Name is Lucy Barton (Viking). It follows a young girl falling in love with “devastating consequences” in 1930s Italy, and is slated for 7th June publication, retailing at £7.99.
Swimming Home author Levy will provide the introduction for The Lady and the Little Fox Fur, a “quirky and compassionate tale of a woman’s solitary wanderings through 1960s Paris”. It will be published on 6th September with an r.r.p. of £7.99.
Wall, who studied French and Italian at university, said: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to bring some of my favourite novels to a new readership, and it is wonderful to have them championed by some of our greatest living authors.”
She joined Viking as editorial assistant in May 2015.