Saturday, 14 May 2016

Make Mine an Indie: CB Editions

Welcome back to another sporadic edition of Make Mine an Indie! At the moment I'm in the depths of researching and setting up crowdfunding for my Indie Book Box (tentatively titled The Ninja Book Box) so I'm even more excited than usual to be researching, reading and talking about indie publishers and titles. If you're interested in hearing more about that project, please add your email to the list here.


CB Editions is a one person independent publisher, started in 2007, which publishes poetry, prose and work in translation and specialises in publishing the kinds of things which might otherwise be missed by larger publishers. In 2011 CB founded the Free Verse poetry book fair, which now runs annually in September, and in 2015, with funding from the Arts Council England they started the Sonofabook magazine which is published biannually (in March and September) and contains prose, poetry and work in translation. 

They are also interesting because with a few exceptions, all of the covers of their books are plain grey/brownish colour with just the title and author in a colour. They're really quite striking. 

I was particularly excited to discover this publisher as I had a conversation yesterday with Ellie, following on from her blog post, about reading poetry and ended up re-reading Auden's Tell Me the Truth about Love and ordering myself a copy of Alice Oswald's Dart, so I think there will be some poetry books on this list!

As usual, some titles I'm particularly excited about: 

The German Lottery by Miha Mazzini, translated by Urska Zupanec
From the CBe website:

A young postman in 1950s Yugoslavia delivers a registered letter to a woman who is hanging out her washing . . . Soon he is involved in a lottery scheme devised by the woman’s husband, who has been spending some time in prison – a scheme, he is persuaded, that will bring wealth and happiness to the town’s poorest and most deserving citizens.

How did he get it so wrong? As the narrator recalls for his grandchildren his coming-of-age, Miha Mazzini constructs a political fable that is also a satire on youthful idealism, greed, and the coincidence between our beliefs and what we want to believe.

White Sheets by Beverley Bie Brahic
From the CBe website:

 In Paris, night falls without haste; starlings
.    flock to the oak. A neighbour appears on her porch,
     gives her white cloth
     a conjuror's shake . . .

Brimming with light and wit and appetite, White Sheets is a book of clear-sighted affection in which neither grief nor love’s hard obligations can deflect from Beverley Bie Brahic’s delight in the pleasures of nature, art and the body.

War Reporter by Dan O'Brien
From the CBe website:

      Let’s watch some more TV. Let’s drink some more wine.
      As long as I’m safe I don’t need to do
      anything. See, this is why I don’t talk
      to people. People ask me these questions
      they don’t want answers to.

Paul Watson won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1993 photograph of a dead American being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu; he has since reported from the Balkans, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria ... Deriving from correspondence between poet and war reporter and their eventual meeting on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, and from transcripts and Watson’s own memoir, these poems bear unsparing witness to the incalculable damage inflicted by contemporary warfare.  

Sister of the Artist by Dai Vaughan
From the CBe website:

Prompted by the example of the composer Felix Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny,Sister of the artist addresses the injustice of a brother and sister, both artists, whose talents are respectively encouraged and thwarted by the conventions of their time and place. Their story is layered with fragments of more ancient narratives that explore the mysteries of sibling love and the wellsprings of creativity.

Sister of the artist is prefaced by two stories of a writer and her sister, guests returning from Dai Vaughan’s first novel, The Cloud Chamber (1993).

This sounds the most intriguing of all to me, as I'm sure you can imagine. I love books that look at the place and roles of women in history and how they have affected their achievements. 

Find CB Editions on their website, twitter and facebook pages. 

Catch up with the rest of the Make Mine an Indie series here. I've also started a spreadsheet of upcoming releases by independent publishers so watch this space for how you can access that!

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