Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

Our friends over at Urim Pub­li­ca­tions con­nect­ed us with one of their new col­leagues in the field, Sim­taot Books (trans­lat­ed as alley­ways). Yes­ter­day, I had a chance to sit down with Uriel Cohn, edi­tor of Sim­taot Books, to hear more about the project.

Sim­taot high­lights key works in mod­ern world lit­er­a­ture in the Hebrew lan­guage. Sim­i­lar to press­es like New Direc­tionsOpen Let­ter Books, and Dalkey Archive Press in the U.S., Sim­taot aims to curate a list of out­stand­ing works of fic­tion and uncon­ven­tion­al writ­ing from through­out the world, trans­late them into Hebrew, and bring them to an Israeli audi­ence. The results are impres­sive. With already 5 books behind them, and about 15 more sched­uled for release this year, Sim­taot is mak­ing their mark on the Israeli pub­lish­ing scene — gen­er­at­ing inter­est and buzz through­out the coun­try and through­out Jerusalem Inter­na­tion­al Book Fair.

Sim­taot is struc­tured to pro­duce two series, with one book from each series pub­lished each month. The first series focus­es on the con­cept of the wan­der­er and on the uni­ver­sal quest for iden­ti­ty. Uriel explains that since the cre­ation of the State of Israel a sense of dias­poric long­ing has dis­ap­peared from the Israeli men­tal­i­ty. He argues that this state is an impor­tant one, and it’s impor­tant to rein­tro­duce these themes into Israeli cul­ture and con­ver­sa­tion. Stress­ing the impor­tance of trav­el­ing between com­mu­ni­ties to find gems to bring to the Israeli pub­lic, Uriel describes a series that will feel mod­ern, but will come from across geo­graph­ic bor­ders and bor­ders of time. The sec­ond series focus­es on mod­ern Jew­ish writ­ers’ uncon­ven­tion­al writ­ing on the inter­na­tion­al scene. And…to top it off, the titles are not only inter­est­ing, but also smart­ly designed.

Find out about the authors includ­ed in the series here.

Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.