The publishing house “Literatūras Kombains” – writers who publish works of other writers

The publishing house “Literatūras Kombains” was founded in 2011 by the well-known Latvian prose writer and poet Andra Manfelde. In 2017 the publishing house was taken over by a new creative team. Team included two Latvian writers and translators, Vija Laganovska and Kristaps Vecgrāvis, and a Russian writer and translator Sergejs Moreino who had recently switched to the Latvian language in his works by that time. The publishing house has been working with texts in Latvian, Russian, Polish, German, and English languages so far. Team members manage multiple roles including editors, proof-readers, book and layout designers, ensuring that the work of an author successfully reaches the printing house. Described approach significantly reduces the costs and duration of book production, allowing publishers to focus on the projects and doing the best they can to benefit society and promote national development of Latvia.

Aware of the popularity of mass literature, the publishing house keeps in mind that the only way to change the habits of readers and open new literary horizons is to actively seek out and publish high-quality literary works outside the local mainstream and to work on translations that may not be undertaken by major publishers. The partners of the publishing house are striving for the essence of a diverse literary process based on European cultural rhythms.

While working in a newly formed team from 2017, the publishing house has announced and published books in three series: “The Borderarea” (orig. “pierobeža”), “Translations of the World” (orig. “Pasaules tulkojumi”) and “Beyond the Time” (orig. “ārpus Laika”).

The series “The borderline” has been intended for publishing authors whose place of residence or subject matter of the work does not significantly belong to Riga. Riga presented as the capital of Latvia as well as the literary capital of the country. Books published in these series are confronting the concepts of centre and periphery in the modern literary process. Manuscripts of literary debutants in “The borderline” series are honed to perfection, ensuring that high-quality works of new generation of authors enter the market, and making sure their names will remain in the Latvian literature. In the process of interaction with a new generation of authors, team of publishing house has arranged various seminars in Latvia as well as abroad including “Matris Lingua”, “Performance of the city Valmiera”, “Scaena Interpretationis”, “Аутопсия русского текста” (orig. “Russian text autopsy”) etc.

In 2019 the series “Translations of the World” was announced and debuted with the anthology of Russian modern poetry in Latvian called “The Season of Singing” (orig. “Dziedāšanas sezona”). In 2021 the series was enriched with a book of Russian fairy tales for adults in various dialects of the Latvian language called “Red and Black” (orig. “Pāris Umpāris”). It is planned to publish a selection of Russian futurists, as well as collections of two outstanding Riga Russian poets – Oleg Zolotov (1963 - 2006) and Alexei Ivlev (1956 - 2006). Critics consider these poets to be the least noticed among all authors who influenced Russian poetry in the 1990s.

Currently the focus of the publishing house is to attract authors who are already noticed by the public. The new series “Outside the Time” was opened by a poetry collection called “The Float. Above daily suffocation” (orig. “Plīva. Virs ikdienas sufokāta”) by Andris Zeibots and “Lui with grabarka” stories by Jānis Grants Luijs Aragons describing his visit to Chelyabinsk, Russia in 1936. The following book in series was a novel “Envy” (orig. “Skaudība”) by Jurijs Oļeša and modern German prose. It is planned to publish collections of articles and essays about sociology, anthropology and culturology to recompense the lack of texts required for the humanities in Latvian.

In autumn 2021 with the support of the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia and the Latvian Writers' Union the first yearbook dedicated to the Riga city called “Almanac of city Riga” (orig. “Rīgas Almanahs”) from the almanac series (City, Time, Water) was published in Russian. The almanac represents the city of Riga and other cities through the eyes of writers and translators. However, each of the writers finds out something different and unique in the Riga: the beauty in the ordinary, the mysterious in the mundane, the new opportunities. The key word of the almanac is opportunities because it reveals a new approach to the rapidly growing demand for the modernity in literary translation.

There are literary works such as “A needle” (orig. “Adata”), “The children who lived in the dugout” (orig. “Zemnīcas bērni”) and more by Andra Manfelde, collection of poems “The blur from the sun” (orig. “Saulesizplūdums”) by Katrīna Rudzīte, collection of poems “On the dark surface I am light” (orig. “uz tumša fona esmu gaišs”) by Jānis Adamsons, collection of poems “Only the sea appears black” (orig. “Melna ir tikai jūra”) by Valentīns, novel “White Globe” (orig. “Baltais globuss”) by Aivars Tabūns, bilingual collection “Pulsations of the ancienct area Kursa” (orig. “Kursas pulsācijas”) by Maija Laukmane, prose selection “Portfolio of city Riga” (orig. “Rīgas portfelis”) by Artūrs Snips, collection of poems “The blowers in ceramic whistles” (orig. “Svilpaunieces”) by Inta Kampara and many more among the books published by “Literatūras Kombains”. The books of publishing house are distributed in more than 50 bookstores in Latvia including such networks of bookstores as “Jānis Roze”, “Globuss”, “Virja”, in the national book distribution “L-Grāmata” as well as across the internet.

The publishing house “Literatūras Kombains” has multiple cooperation partners outside Latvia where it is based including Writers’ Association “SLOG” based in Germany, Writers’ Association “Gallery” based in Poland, JSC Pushkin Museum based in Lithuania, The Institute for Literary Translation, Kaliningrad Union of Writers, and Ural Writers’ Association based in Russia etc.