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Dedalus Books

I have received the following e-mail from Dedalus Books, and I thought I'd post it here.


Dear Friend of Dedalus,

           Re letter of support

We are in negotiations with Arts Council England (ACE) about reinstatement as a Regular Funded Organisation. A recommendation will be made by Nick McDowell, Director of Literature on 24 May and The Regional Council of ACE will consider this recommendation and our response and take a decision on 29 June 2010. ACE has said it will, as part of this process, consider third party letters of support. As ACE has specifically asked for these testimonials it is clear that they consider them highly relevant and that they might make it easier for ACE to reinstate Dedalus.

We hope that you will consider providing Dedalus with such a letter and will write to or email Nick McDowell. His address is:

Nick McDowell, Director of Literature                                                                                              ACE                                                                                                                                                2,Pear Tree Court, London, EC1R 0DS                                                                                               email:

Please send us a copy of your letter or email so we can include them in our final submission to The Regional Council.

Our mission, as we state on our website, is to be unique: an exciting, innovative and distinctive alternative to commercial publishing; to find new talent and put British publishing at the heart of Europe. To achieve this we have translated books from 16 European languages and introduced authors such as Sylvie Germain, Yuri Buida and Herbert Rosendorfer into English and made a body of work available in English from neglected classic authors such as J.- K.Huysmans, Giovanni Verga, Eca de Queiroz and Gustav Meyrink in fine new translations.

The English authors we have discovered include Robert Irwin, Andrew Crumey and David Madsen. Not only have we created an opportunity for new writers in the UK, but have championed their work around the world, selling rights in our books to publishers in twenty eight different territories and into twenty three different languages.  We average out five translation rights for every new title we commission and a film option on every sixth book. As we deal in uncommercial fiction the amounts concerned tend to be small. The most we have earned for a rights’ sale is £25,000 but a few thousand pounds is closer to the norm, whereas for Eastern Europe one is talking on the whole of several hundred pounds only. Most publishers we have spoken to about rights consider our record remarkable, especially so considering the titles we have to sell.

Dedalus has won the following literary prizes: French, German, Russian, Greek, Oxford Weidenfeld, Pen/Book-of-the-Month-Club translation prizes, the Occult Book of the Year, The European Crime and Mystery Award, the Saltire Prize for the Best First Novel, in addition Dedalus has been shortlisted twice for both the Portuguese and German translation prizes, four times for the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize and nominated for The American Library Association Notable Book Awards. Two Dedalus titles were longlisted for The Booker Prize. Despite the recession Dedalus continues to find exciting new authors and to publish their work.

The financial restraint which large publishers work under makes it impossible for them to publish uncommercial literary fiction, or literary non-fiction, so it is a role which can only be fulfilled by smaller publishers who are able to take publishing decisions based on cultural and not commercial reasons. To do this it is necessary to have the support of a rich owner or some kind of financial support provided by cultural organisations or altruistic sponsors. Dedalus at the moment has neither.

From 1990 to 2008 Dedalus received financial support from ACE, which went from £5,000 in 1990 to £24,958 per annum in 2008. Dedalus has enjoyed two years of sponsorship from Routledge Books, as part of its corporate responsibility programme, getting £30,000 per annum. This sponsorship ended in March 2010 so it is important that Dedalus secures regular funding from ACE so that it can continue to publish books which extend what is available to English readers.

Dedalus has a staff of 1.5 people, who earn between them under £24,200 per annum, its directors are unpaid, despite in some cases doing considerable amounts of work, it has never paid its shareholders a dividend and has minimal office expenses. Any money generated by Dedalus is reinvested in its list.

As an innovative and high risk publisher, which makes a contribution to the cultural life of this country, we hope that Dedalus is worthy of your support.

Yours Sincerely,

Eric & Marie Lane

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