My first two books for Istros


Istros Books




198 × 129 mm


July–September 2022


ff Tisa & Soleil
Novel & ff Real

Just when my rather short two-year stint at Goga Publishing as literary agent was coming to an end, I met Susan Curtis of Istros Books (London) at a small open-air book fair we were organizing with Ljubljana, UNESCO City of Literature. In the end, Susan stayed in Slovenia for a couple of months, beginning with her stay as a resident of the Slovene Writers’ Association and concluding with her reading at the international Days of Poetry and Wine festival.

We’ve collaborated before, but this time, what began with negotiating rights for Dušan Šarotar’s new novel just before the Kresnik award ceremony for best novel (alas, the award went to someone else), quickly turned into a fruitful collaboration with my being entrusted with typesetting Istros’s new titles.

The first title was Triumph Street, Bucharest by Dov Hoenig, a novel set before and during WWII, the story of this young man and his dreams and torments during this dark period of human history. The second title was Like a Prisoner by Fatos Lubonja, a collection of short stories from the author’s 17 years in prison under the former communist region, a moving collection of character studies of the author’s fellow inmates.

Given the rather small dimensions of the two books, I wanted to set the texts to pleasing proportions while still anchoring the text firmly onto the page. Hoenig’s text presented additional challenges as there were two sets of notes (both footnotes and endnotes). I decided to separate the cues visually, with the endnotes marked by cues in the margin and the notes themselves set in two columns.

I’m a huge fan of the Novel typeface by Atlas Font Foundry which worked rather nicely for Hoenig’s novel with its soft feel and fine italics with a strong character, lovely when used tor titles. FF Real, another favorite, worked perfectly for notes.

For Lubonja’s book, I chose the amazingly well-proportioned, extremely versatile, and madly beautiful Tisa typeface (designed by a Slovenian, no less!), with Soleil by TypeTogether for contrast.

Istros Books was set up in 2011 in order to publish and promote literature in translation from Central and SE Europe. In its short history, it has managed to prove itself at the forefront of discovering and promoting exciting new works, ranging from essays and flash fiction to historical novels.