About Alma Books
Shortlisted for the 2011 IPG Trade Publisher of the Year Award and the Bookseller Independent Publisher of the Year Industry Award
Alma Books was set up in October 2005 by Alessandro Gallenzi and Elisabetta Minervini, the founders of Hesperus Press. Publishing from twenty to twenty-five titles a year, mainly in the field of contemporary literary fiction, Alma takes around half of its titles from English-language originals, while the rest are translations from other languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese. Alma also publishes two or three non-fiction titles each year.
Alma's launch title, Anthony McCarten's The English Harem, sold over 20,000 copies when it was released in December 2005. This early success was matched, in 2006, by William T. Vollmann's National Book Award-winning epic, Europe Central, Mike Stocks's sparkling Indian comedy, White Man Falling, winner of the Goss First Novel award, Robert M. Pirsig's Lila, a sequel to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Tom McCarthy's debut novel Remainder, which has garnered huge critical acclaim both in the UK and across the world.
2007 brought Alma the phenomenal success of Michel Benoît's religious thriller, The Thirteenth Apostle, which has now sold close to 80,000 copies, as well as Jane Hawking's memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen and Carmen Posadas's witty Moroccan mystery, The Last Resort.
In 2008 Alma has consolidated its status as one of the most adventurous – but at the same time commercial – publishers in the English language, with remarkable additions to its list such as Alexander Terekhov's satirical masterpiece The Rat-Killer and Tibor Fischer's new novel, Good to Be God.
In 2009 Alma's programme expanded along the same lines – with a similar balance of international and English titles, established writers and debut authors. Our highlights for 2009 include Sarah Stonich's beautifully written The Ice Chorus, a new edition of The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy with a foreword by Doris Lessing, Kachi A. Ozumba's darkly humorous The Shadow of a Smile, and Rosie Alison's moving war-time novel, The Very Thought of You.
2010 saw Rosie's novel – which by now has sold over 100,000 copies – being shortlisted for the Orange Prize for fiction and longlisted for many other important literary prizes such as the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year and the Le Prince Maurice Prize, while Kachi's book was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. Later in the year, such renowned authors as Michel Houellebecq, Alberto Manguel and Lindsay Clarke joined the Alma ranks.
2011 was another greatly successful year, and saw the publication of Aharon Appelfeld’s Blooms of Darkness, Anna Stothard’s The Pink Hotel and Peter Benson’s Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke. Blooms of Darkness went on to win the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, The Pink Hotel was longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and Two Cows was selected for Fiction Uncovered 2012.
2012 looks set to be another vibrant year for Alma. After the acclaimed publication of Peter Conradi’s The Great Survivors and Louise Miller’s A Fine Brother, we look forward to publishing Clara Sánchez’s sophisticated and nail-biting page-turner The Scent of Lemon Leaves in June and N. M. Kelby’s delicious White Truffles in Winter in September.
Alma – which is Spanish for 'soul' – is a publisher that regards a book as an aesthetic artefact rather than as a mass-produced commodity. The company's whole emphasis lies on quality over quantity, all the way from choosing projects for publication to creating the physical look and feel of the books. Alma works closely and intimately with authors to develop the best possible finished scripts, and displays a commitment to the kind of professional editing, copy-editing and proofreading that is dying out elsewhere.
In April 2007, Alma Books, in partnership with Oxford-based non-fiction publisher Oneworld Publications, launched a new classics list, Oneworld Classics, and acquired Calder Publications and the Calder Bookshop. This year, Oneworld Classics has changed its name to Alma Classics, and it includes two new imprints: The Calder Collection and the opera and classical-music list Overture Publishing.