Last week, French novelist Patrick Modiano was announced as the 2014 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His publisher David Godine was pleasantly surprised, though he knows the feeling: another French writer and client of Godine’s, J.M.G. Le Clezio, won the coveted award in 2008.
Part of Godine’s surprise is the fact that Modiano is a foreign writer. “… No one in America reads books written in a foreign language. Cultural traffic only goes in one direction – America to the rest of the world. Never the other way,” the independent publisher told the Boston Globe.
OBS founder and president Laura Fillmore has long known and worked with David Godine and is thrilled at this latest success, particularly in light of Godine’s recent publication of a paperback edition of a title previously published by OBS imprint Protean Press, Alone at Sea: Gloucester in the Age of the Dorymen, 1623-1939 by John N. Morris.
Godine shrewdly maintains that while the award is exciting, the flurry of attention it garners for the independent publisher will be short-lived. “These are wonderful books, but it’s really too bad that it takes a Nobel Prize to get people’s attention,” he told the Globe. “People’s attention span being what it is, this will last for about 30 days and then everyone will forget.”