For those who didn't see, the other day I posted about my plans to make 2016 the year of only buying from independent bookshops and publishers. In other words the year of making mine an indie. Yes, this was the best title I could come up with so we're all just going to have to live with it! In the interest of doing some research into small publishers particularly as I know... not a lot... I decided to make this a semi regular blog series spanning the rest of 2015. Hopefully I will start 2016 armed with knowledge and anticipation, and if I can inspire some of you along the way, so much the better!
The first small publisher I want to talk about is one that I'm also really excited about. There is nothing I don't like about And Other Stories so far. Their website is fantastic and one of the first things I saw after arriving was that in 2018 they are publishing only female authors. As a massive supporter of the #readwomen campaign on twitter and in general I was really intrigued by this and am very much in favour. In the article Sophie Lewis says that only publishing women for a year will allow them to "carry out a thorough investigation of how different books reach us, and how we can encourage more underrepresented voices to be heard" which I thought was just fantastic. It's an even bigger deal as the primary business of And Other Stories is publishing translated fiction, often written by authors whose work is otherwise unavailable in English, so they're already representing the underrepresented and I thought it was really interesting and exciting that they're pushing that even further.
Other things I love love love about And Other Stories: they have a subscription service where you pay an amount of money per year and they send you 2,4, or 6 titles ahead of publication. This is what I will be doing the minute my book buying ban ends and I am so excited for it, what a fantastic idea! I also love that they use foreign language reading groups as a source for suggestions of which titles to publish. I have to admit to not knowing an awful lot about the decision process behind what gets published, but this kind of direct link with the readers is amazing and innovative and very inspiring to read about.
Overall their catalogue looks extremely diverse (a big plus for me this year, obviously) and yes I'll admit a lot of the books they publish don't look easy but as they say often the things that are most worth doing (or reading) are the hardest.
A couple I'm really excited about:
The Adventure of the Busts of Eva Peron by Carlos Gamerro.
From the And Other Stories website:
1975. The cusp of Argentina’s Dirty War. The magnate, Fausto Tamerlán, has been kidnapped by guerrillas, who as part of their ransom demands have stipulated the placement of a bust of Eva Perón in all ninety-two offices of Argentina’s leading construction company, Tamerlán & Sons. Tamerlán’s head of procurement, Ernesto Marroné, is the man tasked with the job, but he soon finds out that his is a mission for executives of a heroic disposition. His subsequent picaresque journey plunges him into a world of occupied factories, the slums of Buenos Aires and the utopian Evita City. Equipped with his trusty copy of Don Quixote: The Executive-Errant, Marroné is a modern knight who finds himself forced to penetrate the ultimate Argentinian mystery: Eva Perón – that maid of myth and legend whom we know as Evita. A stand-alone novel in its own right but also a prequel to his first novel, The Islands (And Other Stories, 2012), Carlos Gamerro’s caustic and utterly original novel is a shattered window onto Argentina’s recent past.
Esperanza Street by Niyati Keni.
From the And Other Stories website: