Dalkey Archive Press
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Funks Grove, Illinois|
|Distribution||Ingram Publisher Services (US)|
Central Books (UK)
Dalkey Archive Press is a publisher of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism specializing in the publication or republication of lesser-known, often avant-garde works. The company has offices in Funks Grove, Illinois, in Dublin, and in London. The publisher is named for the novel The Dalkey Archive, by the Irish author Flann O'Brien.
Founded in Chicago in 1984, Dalkey Archive began as an adjunct press to the literary magazine Review of Contemporary Fiction, itself founded by John O'Brien, John Byrne, and Lowell Dunlap and dedicated to highlighting writers who were overlooked by the mainstream critical establishment. Initially, the Press reprinted works by authors featured in the Review but eventually branched out to other works, including original works that had not been published. Until 1988, Dalkey Archive was a two-person operation: O’Brien and office manager/typesetter Shirley Geever. That year O’Brien hired Steven Moore as managing editor, who recommended two novels that elevated Dalkey’s presence: Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson and Chromos by Felipe Alfau. Both were well reviewed, went through several printings, garnered foreign rights sales, and attracted the attention of several foundations, providing financial stability for the press. Moore left Dalkey Archive in 1996; later editors include Chad Post (who went on to found Open Letter Books), and authors Martin Riker and Jeremy Davies.
In 1992, the press accepted an invitation to move from suburban Chicago to Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. In December 2006, Dalkey Archive relocated to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to be part of the university's commitment to global projects that complement the Press's commitment to translations.
Modeled on such publishers as Grove Press and New Directions, Dalkey Archive's emphasis is decidedly upon literary fiction, usually of a modernist or postmodernist bent. In the publisher's own words, Dalkey Archive "place[s] a heavy emphasis upon fiction that belongs to the experimental tradition of Sterne, Joyce, Rabelais, Flann O'Brien, Beckett, Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes." One of the publisher's primary goals is to keep all of its books in print, regardless of their commercial success, in the interest of maintaining the availability of works that it deems culturally and educationally valuable.
In 2011, Dalkey founder John O’Brien was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle. In 2015, O’Brien was appointed Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts & des Lettres in recognition of his significant contribution to French arts and literature by the Minister of Culture and Communication of France; its authors and translators have been recipients of many major awards, including the Nobel Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, the Vondel Prize, and the Premio Valle-Inclán award.
Founder and publisher John O'Brien died on November 21, 2020. He leaves behind 7 dogs, daughter Kathleen O’Brien, and sons Emmett, William, and Kevin.
Dalkey Archive has published a variety of books and authors from many countries. In some cases, the publication of certain books by Dalkey Archive has led to a resurgence in their author's popularity, particularly in the United States, as happened with Felipe Alfau and Flann O'Brien. Some notable books and authors published by Dalkey Archive are listed below.
- Felipe Alfau, Chromos and Locos: A Comedy of Gestures
- Djuna Barnes, Ryder, Nightwood: The Original Version and Related Drafts
- Roger Boylan, Killoyle, An Irish Farce
- Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet
- Joshua Cohen, Witz
- Robert Coover, A Night at the Movies
- Jean Echenoz, Chopin's Move
- Jon Fosse, Melancholy, Melancholy II
- Kass Fleisher, Talking out of School: Memoir of an Educated Woman
- Carlos Fuentes, Terra Nostra
- William Gaddis, J R and The Recognitions
- William Gass, The Tunnel
- Henry Green, Concluding
- Aidan Higgins, Flotsam and Jetsam and Bornholme Night Ferry
- G. Cabrera Infante, Three Trapped Tigers
- Hugh Kenner, Flaubert, Joyce, and Beckett: The Stoic Comedians
- Danilo Kis, A Tomb for Boris Davidovich
- António Lobo Antunes, Knowledge of Hell
- Yuri Lotman, Non-Memoirs
- Ben Marcus, The Age of Wire and String
- David Markson, Wittgenstein's Mistress
- Harry Mathews, My Life in CIA
- Nicholas Mosley, Natalie Natalia
- Flann O'Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman
- Patrik Ouředník, Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century
- Raymond Queneau, Pierrot Mon Ami
- Ann Quin, Berg and Passages
- Ishmael Reed, Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down
- Arno Schmidt, Bottom's Dream
- Viktor Shklovsky, Theory of Prose and Energy of Delusion
- Gilbert Sorrentino, Blue Pastoral and Mulligan Stew
- Boris Vian, Heartsnatcher
- Douglas Woolf, Wall to Wall
- Philip Wylie, Generation of Vipers
- Dennis Barone, "What's in a Name? The Dalkey Archive Press." Critique 37.3 (1996): 222-41.
- Official website
- Interview with Martin Riker nthWORD Magazine Shorts
- Interview with John O'Brien, publisher, and founder
- A Conversation with Nobel Laureate in Literature Claude Simon
- A Conversation with Raymond Queneau
- A Conversation with Richard Powers
- A Conversation with David Foster Wallace
- Finding aid to Dalkey Archive Press at Columbia University. Rare Book & Manuscript Library.