Want to know what your favourite small press has got in the works this year? Whether you’ve been following what we do for longer than you can remember or you’ve only recently discovered our world of short fiction, we want to share what will be landing in a bookshop near you over the next nine months.
From our collaboration anthology with English PEN, featuring twelve translated stories about political divides across the world, to the reissue of Nigel Kneale’s sole short story collection, and a very special debut single-author collection from North India, there’s bound to be something to scratch your literary itch.
Rivers of the Unspoilt World by David Constantine
The new collection of stories by one of the UK’s finest short fiction writers.
A read to counter the current world of war that we occupy, Constantine intricately interweaves fictional characters and events with the real to create new ways of seeing and connecting our past, present and possible futures.
From the academic in Paris, researching the atrocities of the fall of 1871 Paris Commune, to the young biographer who tries to befriend the ailing poet Hölderlin, the characters in this collection are united by an urge for connection, a desire to better know themselves – and the world around them – to counteract a loss of hope and belonging.
All Walls Collapse: Stories of Separation
The collaborative anthology of translated fiction from Comma and English PEN, marking ten years of the PEN Translates programme. Featuring specially commissioned work by 12 writers from 12 countries on the legacy of borders and political divides.
The history of walls – as a way to keep people in or out – is also the history of people managing to get around, over and under them. From the Berlin Wall to the U.S.-Mexico border, the short stories in this collection take place across thousands of miles of fences and barriers, and explore the impact of dividing lines on people’s lives, as well as their communities. In an era in which more walls are being built than are being brought down, All Walls Collapse brings together writing from across national and linguistic borders, and reflects upon our relationship to walls, both real and metaphorical.
Featuring new fiction from 12 acclaimed international authors, including New York Times-bestselling author Kyung-Sook Shin, and Booker International shortlisted authors Geetanjali Shree and Paulo Scott.
Tomato Cain and Other Stories by Nigel Kneale
The long-awaited reissue of Kneale’s only collection of short fiction (originally published 1949).
Thomas Nigel Kneale (1922-2006) was a British screenwriter who wrote professionally for more than 50 years, was a winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and was twice nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay.
Drawing on his experiences of growing up on the Isle of Man, many of Kneale’s tales conjure up a remote, old-fashioned community where mythology and superstition are part of everyday life. Several stories go further, making imaginative leaps into the kind of weird, eerie territory with which Kneale would go on to make his name, as the writer of TV’s Quatermass, The Road, Beasts and The Stone Tape.
Though garlanded with praise on publication – it won its author the 1950 Somerset Maugham Award – Tomato Cain has long since been out of print. In the face of a steady groundswell of interest, this new edition, published by Comma Press to mark the centenary of Kneale’s birth, makes the collection available again at last, uniting the stories from both the original UK and US editions for the first time ever. It’s sure to delight Kneale’s legions of fans and indeed all admirers of skilfully-crafted short stories.
Kurdistan + 100: Stories from a Future State
The first anthology of Kurdish science fiction ever collected and published in the UK, and the newest in our +100 series.
Throughout the 20th century (and so far in the 21st), the Kurds have been betrayed, suppressed, stripped of their basic rights (from citizenship to the freedom to speak their own language) and had their political aspirations crushed at every turn.
In this groundbreaking anthology, Kurdish authors (including several former political prisoners, and one currently serving a 183-year sentence for his views) imagine a freer future, one in which it is no longer effectively illegal to be a Kurd. From future eco-activism, to drone warfare, to the resuscitation of victims of past massacres, these stories explore different sides of the present struggle through the metaphor of futurism to dazzling effect.
The Book of Bristol
Our Reading the City series returns to the UK, showcasing the best short fiction that encapsulates the spirit of Bristol.
A city much celebrated for its culture of resistance and community, Bristol has fostered a progressive attitude amongst its people. Located close enough to the capital to stay on top of trends but remaining small enough to keep independent and inspire connection, its voice is loud and singular. But since the regeneration of the harbour side and years of private development in the centre, it’s also a divided city, with a fifth of its children being reported as living in low-income families.
From the elusive angel who turns up at a stagnant café along the Malago River, to the witch trying to expel a spirit from her granddaughter at their home on Dundry Hill, the stories gathered in this anthology lean into the understated magic of Bristol and maintain an air of mystery that will leave readers wondering who exactly makes up this city – and how they stay so powerful.
The BBC National Short Story Award 2022
This year’s shortlist published as a pocket-sized anthology, so you can keep up-to-date with the best new short fiction from the UK. Introduced by author and broadcaster Elizabeth Day.
Established in 2005, the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University was originally conceived to highlight a literary genre regarded as undervalued and under threat. Its aim was to recognise and celebrate the very best writers of short fiction who had no prize equivalent to major literary awards like the Man Booker Prize.
Fifteen years on, the short story is in robust health and the BBC National Short Story Award is recognised as the most prestigious for a single short story with the winning writer receiving £15,000 and the four shortlisted writers £600 each. Every year, the shortlisted stories are broadcast on Radio 4 and published in this anthology by Comma Press.
The American Way: Stories of Invasion (paperback)
Our mammoth History-into-Fiction anthology exploring the impact of American intervention on foreign soil, now in paperback.
“I strongly recommend this book.” – Counterpunch Magazine
“There are some books that are absolutely impossible not to admire, and The American Way is one of them.” – Dawn
“Challenging, engaging, and at times deeply unsettling” – The Irish Times
After 75 years of war, occupation, and political interference – installing dictators, undermining local political movements, torturing enemies, and assisting in the arrest of opposition leaders (from Öcalan to Mandela) – the US military-industrial complex doesn’t seem to know how to stop.
This anthology explores the human cost of these many interventions onto foreign soil, with stories by writers from that soil – covering everything from torture in Abu Ghraib, to coups and counterrevolutionary wars in Latin America, to all-out invasions in the Middle and Far East. Alongside testimonies from expert historians and ground-breaking journalists, these stories present a history that too many of us in the West simply pretend never happened.
Ma is Scared by Anjali Kajal, trans. Kavita Bhanot
The debut collection by Anjali Kajal, translated into English, on desire, abuse, silence, love and oppression against the backdrop of North India.
Born in 1978, Anjali Kajal is a short-story writer from Ludhiana, Punjab. Her stories have been published in various literary magazines and publications, including the renowned Hindi monthly magazine Hans. In 2003, she was honoured by Jallandhar for her contribution to Hindi literature.
From the anxious mother waiting for her daughter to return home safely, to the young student accused of stealing because of her caste, the stories gathered here explore the experience of women in small towns and urban centres across North India.
Kajal writes about desire, abuse, silence, love and oppression in nuanced ways; how they are negotiated in the world; through relationships, family, motherhood, school, university, jobs. Her language, imagery and concerns are thoroughly contemporary, capturing the yearnings, restrictions and possibilities of modern life from a feminist and anti-caste perspective.
The Monster, Capital: Stories of Modern Unease
Our next anthology in the Modern Horror series is inspired by Mark Fisher’s (and other ‘postmodernists’) critiques of late capitalism, applying classic horror tropes to the all-pervading, all-surviving logic of the marketplace.
There is something monstrous about capital, something alive and creeping about it. It’s been compared to a parasite, a vampire, a zombie-maker; one that transforms human lives into dead labour, and marshals all creative, free-thinking individuality into the long trudge that is work, money-making, aspiration.
For the latest book in its acclaimed horror series, Comma has invited ten authors to explore this emergent, monstrous property of capital through supernatural and surreal means. Thus, we see characters disappearing into algorithm-driven spending addictions, property development spreading like a virus across cityscapes leaving buildings empty and people homeless, and citizens so addicted to the ‘news drug’ that promises everything is about to change that nothing does. We may think of capitalism as the ghost in the machine, driving things forwards. But what happens when we become the ghosts?
Excited? We are too.