Less than two years after launching, they are releasing their first anthology of English short stories and poetry by Luxembourgers and expats, “Fresh from the Fountain, English Writing in Luxembourg”.
What is more, the book has been chosen as a study text at the University of Luxembourg and will feature as part of the Luxembourg stand at the Frankfurt book fair, arguably the most important in the world for printed and digital books.
“It’s actually quite amazing,” editing director Anne-Marie Reuter told Delano, adding: “Definitely it confirms the need for publishing in English. We feel it’s still a bit overwhelming.”
Reuter said the anthology idea arose a year ago when Black Fountain Press hosted at stand at the Walferbiicherdeeg (Walferdange book days).
“We had been sent work by quite a few people we liked but didn’t really see ourselves in a position where we could publish all of those books. We thought it’s a shame if these texts go unnoticed,” she said.
The team, comprised of Nathalie Jacoby and Jeff Thill, listed of all the people they knew writing in English, be they native or non-native, and reached out to them. “That I think it becomes more and more obvious that young people write in English and that there are quite a few people here in Luxembourg who write in English. The proof is we’ve 29 authors. We could have included more.”
Photo: Black Fountain Press. The publisher has published three books since it was founded in early 2017
Each author submitted a short biography explaining their reasons for choosing English. Reuter said that among both groups there was a strong emotional attachment to the language.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if for many people there’s a question of loving for a place for a country that’s so radically different from Luxembourg. And I think if you write you move in a different atmosphere or different realm. The language you write takes you away from your every day life. It’s an escape in a sense and that’s why a lot of people write,” she says.
Personal relationships abroad have also likely influence non-native writers’ attachment to the language. The closing essay by Pierre Joris, “Glottal Choice”, is a case in point, telling the story of how he feel in love with English by falling for an English-speaking woman.
“Fresh from the Fountain” is the third text to be published by Black Fountain Press, after “On the Edge” by Anne-Marie Reuter and a translation of “One Day I Will Write a Poem,” by Lambert Schlechter.
Looking ahead, Reuter says she would like to publish a novel by a native English speaker for the next project. “We’ve now had a Luxembourger who writes in English, we’ve had translations and an anthology. It would be nice to have a native speaker to illustrate all the different kinds of authors,” she said, adding that interested writers can send synopses of their English-language novels via email to the team.
“Fresh from the Fountain” will be on general release in all bookstores from 10 October and can be ordered online from the Black Fountain Press website, with free delivery within Luxembourg.