Following the publication of Iraq+100 by Hassan Blassim and The Book of Dhaka, we at Comma Press are now on a mission to bring you more searingly good books. From the intensely personal or political to the achingly sad, each of our newest publications offer a sublime insight into the relationship between us and the world that surrounds us. Here’s my take on our upcoming releases:
The Ghost Who Bled – Gregory Norminton
An acclaimed author whose previous work, Serious Things, has been heralded as ‘intelligent and beautifully written’ by the Literary Review, Gregory Norminton is a writer with a unique perception of those characters that live in the periphery of our vision. In The Ghost Who Bled Norminton reimagines these characters in ways that are intended to play those heartstrings whilst keeping a smirk on your face, sucking you into new worlds where anything from a terminally ill actor with a dramatic send off in mind, to an insecure time-traveller is possible. Sad and surprising, Norminton’s work will leave you aching inside—and with a killer book hangover!
A trained scientist specialising in cloud formation, John Latham is perhaps the ultimate example of a poet with a day job, and—much to Keats’ chagrin—he’s very good at being both. Having won a trove of poetry prizes, both from literary magazines and on a national scale, Latham has now completed his fifth collection of poetry, and in my opinion, it’s his best.
Whilst Keats may have thought that science and art were fundamentally opposed to one another, Latham’s experience as a scientist in the field of meteorology is one of the things that make his latest collection of poetry so intriguing. Professor Murasaki’s Notebooks on the effect of Lightning on the Body is an eloquent and eclectic mix of poetry, drawn together through an exploration of the human condition. Whether he looks out of a child’s eyes or an adult’s, Latham’s work unveils striking new truths about the world around us and the way we interact with it.
In the words of John Greening at Poetry Review: ‘The poetic effects are subtle… yet he is able to make the tiniest details sing. Unsentimental, plain, but rhythmically invigorating.’
From Martin Luther King to Emily Pankhurst, protesters and their causes have always been a focal point of historical intrigue by historians and lay men alike. We ask questions like: When does a riot become a revolution? When does a demonstration tip over into greater dissent and eventual political change? And sometimes, what was their favourite food, and why did they give it up?
Food strikes, work strikes, protest signs and pitchforks all feature heavily in this anthology of short stories, giving a new voice to grassroots movements from the perspective of fictional characters caught up in real world events. Including stories written by award winning writers like Sara Maitland, Sandra Alland and David Constantine, Protest! delves into the historical worlds of the Peasants Revolt (1381), The Suffragettes (1914) and the Anti-Vietnam War Grosvenor Square demo (1968), to name three of the 20 featured in this collection. Written in partnership with a witness to the event or a historian, each story is followed by an afterword which gives a wider political and personal context to the event. A moving and inspiring read for anyone with an interest in the shape of our world today.
All of these books will be available on our website, on Amazon and in all good book shops.
Featuring award-winning authors Adam Marek, Robin Ince, and Frank Cottell Boyce Thought X explores the deepest reaches of our universe—all from the seat of your armchair. Nicknamed ‘armchair philosophy’ by Martin Cohen, thought experiments are what you might like to call the lazy side of science, the side where a roaring fire and a glass of brandy are not only nice additions to the end of your day, but necessary additions to your working life.
Exploring some of the most famous thought experiments like Schrödinger’s Cat, The Twin Paradox, and the Grandfather Paradox, Thought X is a unique combination of science and fiction that does not necessarily result in Science Fiction, rather ‘science into fiction’, and is the latest in the acclaimed series following this format, called ‘An Inspiring Tribute to inquiring minds’ by The Guardian. The fictional stories in Thought X feature a mixture of Science Fiction (of the sort where aliens don’t invade the earth), mystic fantasy (where a kind of magic does invade the earth) and realism (well you know what that is).
Like Protest!, each of the stories featured in Thought X is followed by an afterword written by one of 14 leading scientists who acted as consultants for the writers and helped bring the theory to life in its fictional form. Some of the scientists involved in this project were Professor Ian Stewart (as featured on BBC 4), Dr. Tim O’ Brian (from BBC’s Star Gazing) and visual artist Dr Ana Jofre. The result is an anthology of stories that informs, fascinates and enlightens its readers through a playful exchange of scientific ideas and eloquent prose.
In 2008 the art critic, media theorist and philosopher Boris Groyes said:
Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics.
In 2017, nothing could be truer. Following the executive order Donald Trump signed in January of this year, which banned all refugee admissions for the next 120 days and temporarily barred entry from seven Muslim-majority countries, we decided to dedicate our translation programme in 2018 to those countries affected, and only publish in translation from the so-called banned nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
At this time and in this political climate there has never been more apt to give those who have been disadvantaged a greater platform to let their voice be heard. Ahead of our exciting releases in 2018, we wanted to put together an immediate response to Trump. Written in direct reaction to the travel ban and covering a range of approaches – from satire, to allegory, to literary realism – Banthology: Seven Stories from Seven Countries is a testament to the importance of creative resistance in turbulent times.
Written by Joanne Buttner
(Latest intern and Comma Press enthusiast in the Comma offices!)