Alumni Ashley Nelson Levy ’12 and Adam Z. Levy ’12 Receive National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Transit Books

BY Audrey Deng, March 10, 2020

The National Endowment for the Arts recently granted $15,000 to Transit Books, a publishing press of work in fiction, nonfiction, and translation started by alumni Ashley Nelson Levy ’12 and Adam Z. Levy ’12.

“This is our first time receiving a grant from the NEA, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their generous support,” said Adam Levy, Executive Director of Transit Books, on Transit’s website. “It’s funding like this that deepens our impact and makes our work possible.”

Transit Books is a nonprofit publisher of international and American literature, based in Oakland, California. Founded in 2015, Transit Books is committed to the discovery and promotion of enduring works that carry readers across borders and communities.

In an interview with Guernica, the two co-founders talked about what it was like starting a literary press together, and how the name Transit Books came about. “I was writing and Adam was translating and we were noticing this kind of partition between two types of readerships: those who read domestic literature and those who read translation...We were interested in the separation of those literary spheres, and began to wonder how to bridge the gap between them,” Ashley said.

Adam added, “Embedded in the word transit, etymologically, at least, is that idea of carrying across. It’s one of the things we loved about the name. It suggested something beyond a movement between languages."

In the past, Transit Book has published award-winning literature, and recently had a book named a finalist for the Firecracker Award last year.

Professor Susan Bernofsky is on the Board of Directors of Transit Books.