The International Book Fair 2019, which has just closed in Turin, gave us the opportunity of deepening our knowledge about one of the most prestigious editorial realities of the last few years. Edizioni Anfora, in fact, reached the fair with new titles and best sellers, which confirmed the researched taste in presenting the Italian audience with important writers from Hungary and central Europe.
The new title presented, gave us the opportunity to talk about their catalogue and the new remarkable titles.
Which titles did you choose for the Book Fair?
Per Elisa by Magda Szabò. I took it to the Book Pride in Milan in March and it sold out immediately. Furthermore, I choose a reference book. It is a collaboration with the Accademia d’Ungheria and it teaches kids to play chess. Written by Judit Polgár, it is the method she learnt by her father and she wants to divulgate it, as she is convinced chess can be played by anyone. This piece of writing is the demonstration that commitment leads to big results, as she is the only woman in the worldwide chart. Judit has just been the protagonist of different events for children in Milan and Rome, and we gave a copy of the book to all the participants.
The key book of the fair, though, was the new edition of Settembre 1972 by Imre Oravecz. Free verse poems which can be read as a novel. I wanted to publish it again now that the lights are on us for good.
This is my aim, to present classic authors even if they are still alive, as it already happened with Szabó.
You have lived two different eras as a publishing company? What made you change perspective in 2016?
My husband founded the publishing company in 2003 and I was his assistance. I wanted to stay Italy for a couple of years at the maximum. My husband had a niche publishing company in mind; he would have liked to publish Freud and Camus but it was not possible. During a crisis period, I suggested to publish Hungarian and central European authors. One day in Budapest I showed him possible authors and I managed to gain the right contacts in a couple of weeks. Afterwards, he decided to give me the publishing company as a gift, in 2015. In January 2016 I became the owner and I changed everything: contracts, covers… we started with Il Momento and Per Elisa, both by Szabó.
Will you move towards other central European countries, as you did at the beginning?
I want to publish part of our catalogue again no doubt, however I wrote a list of Hungarian authors to publish first.
Why did you decide to publish Anna Edes by Kosztolányi?
In my mind, there is an ideal library that every Italian reader should have on their shelves. Together with Szabó, there is a theme I particularly cherish: the maid. Anna Edes is a maid (such as the protagonist of The Door by Szabó) and I might have created an involuntary link between them. Magda was young when Dezsó Kosztolányi was already famous. He is an author you study in school, in Hungary. I gathered these authors as they are not as well-known as Sándor Márai, to the Italian readers. As far as Szabó is concerned, Abigail is the most loved novel by Hungarian people, even if The Door is more exported abroad. She was a brilliant author and she wrote wonderful books.
In 2017, for the one hundredth birth anniversary, we published everything we could. Next year we will print a collection of unpublished short tales. We have already shared a piece on our blog and the overwhelming response convinced us it was time to publish the rest, too.
We will simply have to want and… read!