Literary Hub



May 10, 2016  By Francesca Pellas

This interview first appeared in Italian in America 24.

What is “the groundskeeper of the biggest maze in the southern hemisphere” doing in New York working at an Italian-owned publishing house? Very simply, as he has done in the past, he guards secrets.

Michael Reynolds is the editor in chief of Europa Editions, the American younger sister of the Italian press Edizioni E/O. Here, in brief, is the story: in 2005 the husband and wife and the founders of E/O, Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri, decided to invest in an American publishing house specializing in European literature.

After years spent doing the most fascinating and diverse jobs on three continents (and becoming in the process a human box of stories) Reynolds was an Australian in love, living in Rome. There was an immediate affinity between the Ferris and Reynolds, and he started working for the fledgling Europa Editions, whose main offices at the time were still in the Roman headquarters of E/O. The idea of publishing European authors in a country like the United States, where readers read only (or mostly) books originally written in English, was an ambitious one. “You’re crazy; it’s not going to work,” they were told by many.

Eleven years, two children, several books, and a literary phenomenon later, I pay a visit to Reynolds in Europa Editions’ headquarters in New York. He welcomes me in his office: a room full of light and books, nothing like a maze. He prepares tea while I prepare to collect his stories, stories that run the gamut from his relationship with Italy to the number of copies sold by Elena Ferrante in the United States so far (one million!), from the challenges posed by the profession, to finding and selecting books from abroad that can fare well on this side of the pond.

Francesca Pellas: You’ve had many different jobs in your life: you were a gold miner, a maze groundskeeper, a barman, a windsurfing instructor, a “guinea pig” for sleep deprivation experiments, a poetry teacher, an English teacher, a gardener, a builder, and a translator. You have directed a writer’s festival, a literary magazine, and written three books. Where did you have the most fun?

Michael Reynolds: This is the greatest job that I’ve ever had!

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Two Line Press

AUDIO: Two Voices Salon with Michael Reynolds and Ann Goldstein on Elena Ferrante


On Thursday, March 19, Elena Ferrante’s translator Ann Goldstein and her editor Michael Reynolds of Europa Editions graced Two Lines Offices with their presence and conversation. Ann is currently in the midst of translating the fourth and last volume of Ferrante’s acclaimed Neapolitan Novels, and she is also almost done editing (and partially translating) the complete works of Primo Levi. She is an editor at The New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award. Author and editor Michael Reynolds has himself translated Carlo Lucarelli’s De Luca series, children’s fiction by Wolf Erlbruch and Altan, and Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s Days of Fear.

The conversation between Michael, Ann, moderator Scott Esposito and Salon attendees includes first experiences of Ferrante’s work, translator invisibility, and a discussion on dialectics and the translation process. Tune in to hear personal insights about Neapolitan culture, history, and Ann and Michael’s experiences with working on the famed series.
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