Deep Vellum Publishing is turning a new page. The nonprofit has acquired the backlist of two independent publishers, Los Angeles-based Phoneme, a publisher of poetry in translation; and Austin-based A Strange Object, which focuses on experimental debut works. Deep Vellum will also introduce a new, Texas-focused imprint called La Reunion Publishing, named after the utopian socialist colony that formed in Dallas in 1855. The Dallas-based publishing house will for the first time begin publishing works that were originally written in English (it’s published about 40 works in translation to this point).
Will Evans started Deep Vellum Publishing in 2013 with plans to make a big impact on Dallas’ literary scene. When the shop opened a while later, it was one of only two independent bookstores in town (Wild Detectives was the other). It’s become something of a hub of the local writing community in the years since, hosting poetry nights and book events in addition to its normal operations.
“I founded Deep Vellum when I came here specializing in translations, because that’s my background, and the goal was to expand in five years,” says Evans. “We’ve specialized in underrepresented authors and voices and that’s really important to us, and I see now that Dallas authors and authors from the English world can be just as underrepresented.”
Evans says he’s admired both Phoneme and A Strange Object since discovering them, and that the two presses will nicely complement what Deep Vellum’s done thus far.
Deep Vellum will release its first works under La Reunion next year, books that speak “to the narratives of Dallas and North Texas,” including a book length essay by artist David Marquis, and a history book of LGBTQ+ Dallas by Lost Dallas author Mark Doty, who is also the city’s chief historic preservation officer.
“Deep Vellum is taking steps to become an inclusive literary publisher that’s working to make Dallas a more robust literary community,” says Evans. “That’s why we’re a nonprofit.”