Indie Picks 2019: Part 3

AND HERE IT IS! Without further ado, the third and final part of our sneak peak at what some of the UK’s finest small presses have to offer over the coming year, with selections from Les Fugitives, Saqi Books, Boiler House Press and the Henningham Family Press. Here’s to the indies, a fantastic, eclectic, and diverse selection of forthcoming titles - and what looks set to be another fine year for the Small Press renaissance.

LES FUGITIVES, Cecile Menon (director)

This Tilting World by Colette Fellous (trans. by Sophie Lewis, with a foreword by Michèle Roberts, published 27 May 2019). On the night following the gun massacre on the beach of Sousse in 2015, shortly after the brutal death of a close friend, a woman writes, facing the sea: a love letter to the motherland, Tunisia, from one who feels forced to leave; and an ode to her late father, an apparently simple man. The last part of a trilogy starting with Avenue de France (2001), on the history of Tunisia’s Jewish community, Fellous’s voluptuous writing nods to Proust while composing a mosaic of vivid portraits, sweeping readers onto a musical journey from Tunisia to Paris, to a Flaubertian village in Normandy, celebrating the voices of little people, and loved ones now silent.

Selfies by Sylvie Weil (trans. by Ros Schwartz, published 15 July 2019). Taking selfies is not the exclusive preserve of millennials. In Selfies, the niece of French philosopher Simone Weil, also daughter of one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the 20th century, gives a playful twist to the concept of self-representation: taking her cue from self-portraits by women artists, ranging from the 13th century through the Renaissance to Frida Kahlo and Vivian Maier, Weil has written a memoir in pieces, that is yet unified. Each picture acts as a portal to a significant moment from Weil’s own life (as schoolgirl, writer, teacher, daughter and mother) and sparks anecdotes tangentially touching on topical issues (from the Palestinian question to the pain of a mother witnessing her son’s psychotic breakdown, to the subtle manifestations of anti-Semitism, to ageism, racial tensions, genetics…). Switching from poignant to light-hearted in Weil’s trademark irony and self-deprecating humour, Selfies is a sophisticated, ‘delightful read’, with heartbreaking tendencies.


SAQI BOOKS, Elizabeth Briggs (editor and marketing manager)

The Quarter by Naguib Mahfouz (published 1 July 2019). Nobel Prize Winner Naguib Mahfouz is without a doubt the most beloved Arab novelist of all time.  When journalist Mohamed Shoair discovered 18 handwritten stories amongst Mahfouz’s old papers this year, we jumped at the chance to publish them. Resplendent with Mahfouz’s delicate observations of everyday happenings, these lively stories travel into the beating heart of Cairo’s Gamaliya quarter. From the talented Tawhida who does not age with time to Boss Saqr, who stashes his money above the bath, we are so looking forwards to bringing this neighbourhood of demons, dancing and sweet halva to Mahfouz fans and readers everywhere.

Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making It Happen, edited by Sabrina Mahouz (published 3 October 2019).2018 report showed that only 18 per cent of people in the arts and 12 per cent in publishing are from a working class background. Smashing It is our response. Celebrating the achievements of working-class artists with contributions from the likes of Kerry Hudson, DJ Target, Riz Ahmed and Bridget Minamore, this book also includes a guide section on how to make it in the arts. Backed by the Arts Council, we’ll also be holding workshops and events around the country. We are thrilled to be working with Sabrina again. Her vision, generosity, engagement and empathy is astounding.


UEA PUBLISHING PROJECT, Nathan Hamilton and Philip Langeskov (directors)

Boiler House Press fiction series (Spring 2019).  This spring we’re launching four fabulously distinctive fictions into the world: Animalia Paradoxa – in prose of great precision and beauty these short stories from the ludicrously talented Henrietta Rose-Innes map the complexities of the human specimen in all its troubling glory; This Paradise – a rare and beautiful debut collection from Ruby Cowling which rises magnificently to the challenge of meeting these strange, terrifying moments we find ourselves living through; The Large Door – a brilliant new novel, as provocative and sharp as you would expect from from Jonathan Gibbs, acclaimed author of Randall, witty, provocative, and aching with uncertain longing; and finally Sissy, by Ben Borek – an hilarious, epic romp of a novel-in-verse, encompassing, in its burlesque scope, our modern crisis of masculinity, the banality of City work, our retreat into virtual lives and the alienating effects of modern technology, with plenty of variegated sexing in-between.

Strangers Press short stories series (31 April 2019). Through our translation imprint, Strangers Press, we’re proud to be publishing a new set of eight short stories, this time translated from Korean and compiled with publishing trailblazer Deborah Smith, who runs the excellent Tilted Axis. Similar to Keshiki, our hit from a year or so ago, these will again be available as a highly collectible set of eight exquisitely designed chapbooks. The collection features stories from Han Kang, Bae Suah, Han Yujoo, Kim Soom, Jeon Sung-Tae, Hwang Jungeun, Kang Hwa Gil and Cheon Heerahn translated by Janet Hong, Deborah Smith, Sora Kim-Russell, Mattho Mandersloot, Jeon Seung-Hee and Emily Yae Won. We’re again teaming up with talented Norwich-based designers Nigel Aono-Billson and Glen Robinson and we’ll be announcing the list officially a little later this month, so please follow us on Twitter and Instagram or sign up to our mailing list to catch announcements as soon as they’re made.

CHARCO PRESS, Sam McDowell (co-director)

An Orphan World by Giuseppe Caputo (trans. by Sophie Hughes and Juana Adcock, published 24 October 2019). Perhaps best described as a brutally honest love letter between a father and son, An Orphan World is an exploration of exclusion. On one hand, we witness poverty, and the resourceful ways in which those it confronts must make their lives work, as the protagonists do what they can, saddled with the rosy resignation that there is probably no way out of their situation. And on the other, we are exposed to Colombian attitudes towards homosexuality and homophobia with - at points - disturbing candidness. With delicate lyricism and imagery, Caputo’s originality and creativity produce a tale that harmoniously balances violence, discrimination, love, sex and defiance, demonstrating that he is a storyteller of great skill. 

Feebleminded by Ariana Harwicz (trans. by Annie McDermott and Carolina Orloff, published 2 May 2019). Those that have read Harwicz's first novel, the acclaimed Die, My Love, will have some inkling as to what to expect here. Feebleminded is the second in what Harwicz has called her ‘involuntary trilogy’, and it delves into a mother/daughter relationship - exposing every sinew, every nerve, every neurosis as it does so. In her trademark stream of conscious style, this is an unapologetic rollercoaster ride of highly lyrical prose, that is at once confronting, wild and achingly beautiful.

HENNINGHAM FAMILY PRESS, David Henningham (co-director)

Mud by Chris McCabe (30 April 2019). Borak and Karissa must search twenty-four types of mud until they find a trapped bubble of air. Only then can they be released from their relationship. 

‘Remind me never to date a wizard.’

Chris McCabe’s macabre version of the Orpheus myth brings its themes into the present as we follow a couple whose quest forces them to resist throttling each other and falling in love all over again. 

Having published Chris' sequel to Ulysses, Dedalus in 2018 we are so excited to reveal more fiction from his treasure trove. Another novel that houses visual poetry and this time sculptural collaborations. 

Pattern Power for Future Artists by David and Ping Henningham (published 29 October 2019).  The second in a series reinventing the traditional elements of art, after 2018’s Colour Experiments for Future Artists

Step by step activities and observations of the natural world teach 6-12 year olds the techniques professional artists use to make art with powerful patterns.

We really are grownup artists. It's how we pay for our cornflakes.

This series is our contribution to people who want a fun way to supplement their kids art education at home with best available practice. It comes in our revolutionary Ecoback; a card binding including a gallery and portfolio.