Q&A with World Editions

Today I am delighted to welcome Judith Uyterlinde, publishing director at World Editions, an independent publisher set up to bring international literature to a global readership. This year World Editions is bringing the Netherlands’ Boekenweek (Book Week) to the UK by promoting three prize winning Dutch authors they have had translated into English. If you click on the covers below you may read my reviews of these books.

Judith has answered some question I put to her about World Editions. I hope that you enjoy finding out more about this publishing house.


Can you tell me a little about World Editions and why it was set up?

World Editions publishes and promotes high quality literary titles from all over the world in translation into English. We believe there are a lot of treasures to discover for English language readers. There are so many great books out there that haven’t been translated into English yet!

You publish books from around the world. With such a wide remit how do you select the titles you wish to acquire?

One has to read a lot and trust one’s taste. I believe I have a nose for good literature. And of course you need the help and advice of other people too. We have a broad network of agents and publishers, translators and authors all over the world. We visit book fairs in London, Paris, Frankfurt and other places all over the world, to find the most beautiful books to translate into English.

What is the most rewarding aspect of independent publishing, and the most challenging?

The most rewarding aspect is getting to know the most wonderful people and ideas. The most challenging is making sure that the books reach the wide readership they deserve.

Is your experience of marketing what you expected when you started out – how do you connect with booksellers and readers?

The books and the authors need to be visible: in the bookshops, at festivals, on (social) media, everywhere. We are a very young Publishing House – we only just got started with a brand new team in the UK and the USA, so there still is a lot of work to do!

There are a good number of small publishers out there publishing some great works. Do you consider yourself different and, if so, how?

We focus on translated books and we all read them ourselves. Coming from a small, international oriented country, the Netherlands, with a strong tradition in traveling, trading and translating, we have the advantage of reading many languages. Within our team we read French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish and English. And on top of that all of us have a lot of publishing experience from working for big international literary houses in both Europe and the USA before.

Latest trend or totally original – what sells?

Selling books is like winning a war – it’s only with hindsight that you can tell who the winner is. But you need to keep trusting that gut feeling and convince others of it!

Ebook or hard copy – what do your buyers want?

Hard copies are still most popular but E-books have their merit too in international publishing.

Do you consider World Editions to be niche or mainstream?

We are specialised in the sense that there are not many Publishing Houses which focus on international literature and translations as intensively as we do. But our ambitions and the quality of our books do not differ from those of the major literary houses.

When working with your authors are you collaborative or dictatorial?

Working together with the authors is one of the things I love most about publishing. There is no use or fun in being dictatorial.

Plans for the future?

To keep on publishing the best books from all over the world! To contribute to an intercultural dialogue. If books can change our view of the world, they can also change the world. Is that enough of an ambition?


Visit the World Editions website here.

You may follow them on Twitter: @WorldEdBooks



Chatting to independent publisher, Tramp Press

As part of my feature on the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses I invited publishers and authors whose books were selected for the longlist to answer a few questions or write a guest post for my blog. Today I am delighted to welcome Lisa Coen from Tramp Press, which published The Iron Age by Arja Kajermo.


An introduction – who you are and what you aim to achieve?

Tramp Press is an independent publisher based in Dublin. Officially it’s just two of us: Sarah and Lisa, but we have a growing team of people helping us out. We publish the best writing by new and established authors, and we’re working hard to nurture great talent all the time. Ireland is known for its great writers, we’d like it to also be known for its excellent independent publishing.

How have things have changed in publishing since you started?

We started Tramp in 2014, but even in that short time we’ve seen Irish fiction make incredible strides in the market. Mike McCormack talks about how hard it was for his unusual style of writing to get published, and that’s no longer a problem. The growth of independent publishers like Galley Beggar, And Other Stories and so on has seen the conservatism of the big 5 being somewhat balanced out in terms of representation on shelves. There’s still a long way to go but it’s a good start.

What is your experience of prize listings – costs and benefits, monetary or otherwise?

We put aside money to enter prizes because we think it’s a really important way of bringing an author to a reader’s attention. Critical review space is shrinking all the time, so it’s vital to have another opportunity to demonstrate that someone else has read and judged the novel to be important new work

The future – where you would like to see your small press going?

We always say it’s strange that Ireland has four Nobel laureates for fiction but no equivalent publisher to Faber & Faber or Editions Gallimard. We’re working hard to develop our distribution network in the UK and the US so we can grow and compete on a bigger stage.


Thank you Lisa for answering my questions, and congratulations on the part you and Sarah played in getting that other literary prize, The Man Booker, to accept submissions from Irish-published novels. 

You may follow Tramp Press on Twitter: @TrampPress

Click on the book cover above to find out more about The Iron Age. 

Keep up with all the news on The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses by following on Twitter: @PrizeRofc

Guest post by independent publisher, CB Editions

As part of my feature on the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses I invited publishers and authors whose books were selected for the longlist to answer a few questions or write a guest post for my blog. Today I am delighted to welcome Charles Boyle from CB editions, which published An Overcoat by Jack Robinson. Jack Robinson is one of Charles Boyle’s pseudonyms.

CB editions publishes short fiction, poetry, translations and other work which, as the Guardian noted, ‘might otherwise fall through the cracks between the big publishers’. Charles provided me with a few sentences which succinctly express his thoughts on being longlisted for this prize.


During the last decade in British publishing, nothing has been more interesting than the blossoming of a range of small presses publishing writers, most of them new, whom the old guard had got too tired and hidebound to be interested in.

The traditional ways in which new books get known about and distributed have not kept pace. The Republic of Consciousness Prize is a wonderful and necessary means of focusing attention on the essential work of the small presses and enlarging the readership for their books.

CB editions has been publishing for ten years. Number of staff: one. Office: living-room desk. Start-up cost: £2,000. Arts Council funding for the books: zero. CBe currently has around 50 books in print, and that’s as far as the one-man-and-his-cat model can stretch. Rather than pursuing the ‘growth’ model, CBe is now reducing its activity. Ten years is a good innings and there are plenty of others to celebrate.

CBe published just two books in 2017. Following the Republic of Consciousness shortlisting of one its books for last year’s prize, it is immensely heart-warming to have one of these two books on this year’s longlist.

Does there have to be a winner? Boringly, yes. It’s how the world tick-tocks. But that doesn’t matter, because the real point of the Republic of Consciousness Prize is to celebrate a movement and a community.


My thanks to Charles for participating in this feature. You may follow him on Twitter: @CBeditions

Click on the book cover above to find out more about An Overcoat. 

Keep up with all the news on The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses by following on Twitter: @PrizeRofc

Guest post by independent publisher, Charco Press

As part of my feature on the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses I invited publishers and authors whose books were selected for the longlist to answer a few questions or write a guest post for my blog. Today I am delighted to welcome Carolina Orloff from Charco Press, which published Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz.


Charco Press was founded at the end of 2016 by myself, Carolina Orloff, and my partner Samuel McDowell. We were spurred into action by what we saw as a stagnated landscape with regards to Latin American literature available in English. ‘Oh I love Latin American writers’, was the usual refrain when we asked friends and colleagues, before the usual names would be rattled off: García Marquez, Isabel Allende, maybe Borges, and very seldom a more contemporary name such as Bolaño; and always ‘magic realism’. In other words, although all these writers are iconic and still very much referential, the general view we encountered of the literature from this part of the world tended to be dated by 30 or more years.

Meanwhile, across Latin America, scores of extremely talented writers have been emerging in the last decades, with stories and perspectives that have captured the attention of readers not just in Latin America and Spain, but across the world. These are voices that have been shaped by a very different experience of recent history, politically and socio-economically speaking. They have stories to tell that are fuelled by experiences that can be touching, funny and, at times, brutal. Why should English language readers be left out? Why should they be denied the discovery of these award-winning authors?

So, we started Charco Press. The name itself is a nod to our mission – charco is Spanish for ‘puddle’, and ‘crossing the puddle’ is a colloquial euphemism in some parts of Latin America for heading overseas, going to new territory. That is what we are doing with these titles – bringing them across the puddle into the territory of the English-speaking readership.

We are both new to publishing, although not new to literature, and it is fair to say we have been learning the ropes as we go. Our first three books were released in September 2017. Three very different titles, by three very different authors, each with a very distinct style, and none of them have been translated into English before. All three are from Argentina, a way of us demonstrating our point, of demonstrating the breadth of originality coming out of just that one country alone. In 2018, we are publishing authors from a broad array of countries: Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil.

Upon embarking on this venture, we were buoyed to quickly discover that we are not alone in our mission to put forward new voices in literature, to take some risks and put some faith in the reading public. There is a sturdy group of proud independent publishers that are forging their way in the literary world, and making a radically positive change. That is what makes prizes like the Republic of Consciousness invaluable, highlighting the amazing work being put in, and the incredible writing being unearthed by these publishers. We are thrilled that one of our first titles, Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, has been selected as part of such a high-calibre longlist. It is a wild ride, bruising and inescapable, very much the epitome of Ariana’s style of writing, which is definitely impactful and quite unique.

Gradually, and in unison with this group of likeminded publishers, we hope to enrich the literary landscape for the English-speaking reader. To provide them with new and exciting options – whether they choose to take them or not!


My thanks to Carolina for participating in this feature. You may follow Charco Press on Twitter: @CharcoPress

Click on the book cover above to find out more about Die, My Love. 

Keep up with all the news on The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses by following on Twitter: @PrizeRofc

Chatting to independent publisher, Dostoyevsky Wannabe

As part of my feature on the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses I invited publishers and authors whose books were selected for the longlist to answer a few questions or write a guest post for my blog. Today I am delighted to welcome Vikki and Richard from Dostoyevsky Wannabe, which published Gaudy Bauble by Isabel Waidner.

An introduction – who are you and what do you aim to achieve?

At its core, Dostoyevsky Wannabe is essentially two of us, Victoria Brown and Richard Brammer but beyond that we like to think of it as a collaborative affair that includes all of the writers who we work with and our readers. What do we aim to achieve? That’s a tricky one. We don’t really have any aims beyond doing what we’re already doing which is having nothing to do with the cookbooks and books about wizards of mainstream publishing (although we do have an idea for a range of cookbooks actually) and sitting to the side of the more normative versions of independent publishing and seeing what develops in that space.  We don’t seek to deliberately marginalize ourselves or our books with this approach, we’d like ALL of our books to gain plenty of readers but the reality is that some do and some don’t but from our point of view all of our books are equal. We tend to attract readers who having discovered their first Dostoyevsky Wannabe book come back to see what else we’ve got.

How have things changed in publishing since you started?

Publishing hasn’t changed all that much in the time that we’ve been around from what we can tell. Maybe it should change more. It’d be cool if independent publishing didn’t seem so institutionally dominated by middle-class, white, male affair though because that’s how it often looks to us, when we view it out of the corner of our eye.  Maybe it’s getting better, we haven’t done a sociological study, and, as we say, we only really see it in our peripheral vision because we don’t subscribe to ‘Publisher Monthly’ or any of that trade stuff. We do have a good record collection though.

Your experience of prize listings – costs and benefits, monetary or otherwise?

The prize we’re currently long-listed for is the first prize we’ve ever entered. It seems a worthwhile one. We’re not sure how we feel about prize-giving culture more generally. Ambivalent probably. On the one hand, prizes maybe do give publicity (and therefore readers) to books and authors who might not get their due otherwise and that is a good thing but quite often they tend to reward the already previously awarded. The other discomfort we have with the culture of prizes is that from a certain angle some prizes can have a slightly unpleasant whiff of Darwinian Capitalism about them that often skews who is and isn’t allowed to acquire readers and it all presents an idea that there is such a thing as good ‘literary’ quality between one book and another and we’re not sure that such canonisation has ever made any sense. Our general opinion is that the notion of a canon has long been a strategy of the powerful, one that wields false notions of ‘quality’ in order to maintain things in favour of certain groups and not others. We’re not down with all of that ‘the best things that have been thought and said’ Matthew Arnold nonsense.

That said, if any prize-givers are reading then please feel free to award us and long-list us and short-list us for your prizes. We won’t mind and we deserve them as much as anyone might deserve them.

The future – where would you like to see your small press going?

We’ll just be carrying on as we have been. We’ve received vast amounts of submissions over the last year, and they keep on coming, they’ve tended to grow exponentially over the lifetime of Dostoyevsky Wannabe. We can’t do them all and we apologize to anyone who has submitted to us where we didn’t choose to go ahead and work with them on the book and we hope that those people aren’t too disheartened and will realize that we’re not any authority on the quality of a book, we either like it or we don’t but it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t like it and want to publish it. Alternatively, why not publish it yourselves or put it out with a few friends. It’s about time the taboo of the vanity press got shown up for what it has always been. After all, the world would never have had certain songs by The Pastels, Tallulah Gosh, Bikini Kill, Team Dresch, The Buzzcocks or Joy Division without those bands setting up with their friends to do it themselves in the form of what, in literature, would be dismissed as vanity publishing.

Back in Dostoyevsky Wannabe world, we are looking forward to the following books due out with us in 2018 which are as follows (these are the ones that we know about, to date):

  • Yeezus in Furs by Shane Jesse Christmass
  • Dark Hour by Nadia de Vries
  • A Hypocritical Reader by Rosie Šnajdr
  • Lou Ham: Racing Anthropocene Statements by Paul Hawkins
  • The Peeler by Bertie Marshall, Honest Days by Matt Bookin
  • A Furious Oyster by Jessica Sequeira
  • Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas by Fernando A Flores.

They’re all on our Dostoyevsky Wannabe Originals imprint. On our Dostoyevsky Wannabe Experimental imprint we have a huge anthology edited by Isabel Waidner titled Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature featuring a whole host of fantastic writers, Metempoïesis by Rose Knapp, Blooming Insanity by Chuck Harp and Sovereign Invalid by Alan Cunningham. Finally, we have Cassette 85 guest-edited by Troy James Weaver and there’ll be a few chapbooks on our Dostoyevsky Wannabe X imprint from time to time.

Please check our site: Dostoyevsky Wannabe  for more info.


Thank you Vikki and Richard for providing such interesting answers to my questions. You may follow Dostoyevsky Wannabe on Twitter: @dw_wannabe

Click on the book cover above to find out more about Gaudy Bauble. 

Keep up with all the news on The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses by following on Twitter: @PrizeRofc

Q&A with Obliterati Press

Today I am delighted to welcome to my blog Nathan O’Hagan and Wayne Leeming from new independent publisher, Obliterati Press. Obliterati state on their website that they are ‘a publisher for writers set up by writers keen to use the experience they have gained to unveil great new voices.’ Please read on to find out more.


1. Why did you decide to set up Obliterati?

Nathan: It all started almost as a joke. We were in Leeds doing a panel with Armley Press at the Big Bookend Literary Festival, and a few of us went for a curry the night before. Wayne and myself got chatting and it came up that starting a press was something we had both thought about. Wayne said we should think about it. I laughed it off initially, but Wayne kept the idea alive, and eventually, after we’d talked seriously about it for a while, I realised it was something I’d really regret not doing.

2. What sort of books do you want to publish?

Nathan: The kind of books we want to publish will have a certain edge to them. I know ‘edgy’ is a bit of a vague term, but it’s one we keep coming back to. We want distinctive voices, hopefully from as diverse a group of authors as possible.

Wayne: We tend to share a liking of material that is gritty. Material that explores the darker, rougher elements of human nature. Material that portrays life as lived by those who struggle in some way. If someone sent a manuscript chronicling the trials and tribulations of pre-war aristocracy, I’m not likely to be interested.

3. How do you go about finding and signing authors?

Nathan: When we were talking about setting up, an idea that was struck on very early was that, rather than opening for submissions, I would approach a couple of very talented but unpublished writers to see if they’d let us read their novels. The first two I thought of were Richard Rippon and Dave Olner, and both of them were up for the idea of being there at the start of a new press, and were willing to take a chance with us. Since then we’ve been approached by a few other writers in our extended network, and we’re hoping they’ll all have something for us to look at soon. Sometime late this year or early next, we’ll be opening for a short submissions window, and will do that at regular, short intervals thereafter.

4. Is your experience of marketing what you expected when you started out?

Nathan: I knew it would be challenging. It’s hard even for some big presses to get media coverage, so for a brand new indie press starting out, it’s always going to be an uphill struggle. I’ve had to be quite persistent, but I’ve found many book bloggers to be incredibly supportive and helpful, and they’re all very supportive of each other. Most of them don’t get paid for it and do it in their spare time, so it’s great that so many are willing to help out a new press like ours.

Wayne: This is one of the things I’d say Nathan excels at. Promoting work is hard, and I learned that from my efforts self-publishing. But we’ve had a few good ideas between us that we think are unique to us, and we’ll continue to expand on that so our writers know we really care about getting their work some attention.

5. There are a good number of small, independent publishers out there publishing some great works. Do you consider yourself different and, if so, how?

Nathan: I like to think we have our own identity, but we certainly have a lot in common with other small publishers, in that we want to find good writers who don’t yet have the audience they deserve.

Wayne: Ultimately, we have a goal that is shared with other independent publishers, so I don’t see it as some sort of competition. Independent publishers should support each other as we all have the intention of bringing good writers some attention; the kind of writers who’ve been ignored by bigger publishers despite being talented. However, as Nathan says, we do have our own identity and it’s only right that we do.

6. Latest trend or totally original – what sells?

Wayne: I believe there’s a place in the market for both. But for my own part, I won’t disregard a manuscript simply because it doesn’t fit into a current trend. Trends change, and part of our ethos is to consider work by writers potentially deemed risky by other publishers. Work that fits within a trend is fine, too, as long as we think it’s good.

Nathan: I think ‘originality’ is also an overrated virtue. Something can be wholly original but poorly written. There’s not much new under the sun, and the quality of writing is what counts.

7. Ebook or hard copy – what do your buyers want?

Nathan: That remains to be seen! Richard Rippon’s ‘Lord Of The Dead’ will be our first release in November, and I’m very interested to see what readers go for. I’ve got a feeling it’ll be more kindle, as a lot of crime fiction fans seem to like that format, whereas I think Dave Olner’s ‘The Baggage Carousel’ will be more hard copy, but that’s just an instinct, I’m really looking forward to see what people prefer.

Wayne: My own feelings on this are that readers will buy whatever makes them happy. It’s not easy to second-guess what they want so why try it? All the arguments about the experience of reading an eBook versus physical book seem pointless to me; when push comes to shove, it is the existence and availability of the book itself that matters more. How readers choose to consume those words is a matter for them.

8. Do you consider Obliterati to be niche or mainstream?

Nathan: I suppose more niche, but ‘Lord Of The Dead’ has huge commercial potential. We want the kind of books that most mainstream publishers wouldn’t publish, regardless of how good it is, but we’d love to cross over.

9. Collaborative or dictatorial?

Nathan: Definitely collaborative. We have pretty clear ideas what we’re after, and I think we’d always have the final say, but any decision we make, we want it to be in consultation with the authors. They’ve got to be happy with what you’re doing

Wayne: Collaborative, yes, but with some necessary dictatorial elements. We want our authors to enjoy the process and feel that they’re getting their ideas across, but we too have certain clear ideas that we’d like to adhere to, so someone has to take charge somewhere. And that’s us. We want authors to have some input, but it has to be controlled and contained.

10. Plans for the future?

Nathan: ‘Lord Of The Dead’ is out soon, and we can’t wait for it to be out there, then we’ve got ‘The Baggage Carousel’ out around February or March next year.

Wayne: Although we haven’t opened submissions yet, we’re liaising with some good writers who want us to look at their work. I’m excited about that, as I know from experience that they’re good writers. After that, I’m just keen to open the floodgates and see what we get in our inbox.


Thank you Nathan and Wayne for taking the time to answer my questions. To find out more about this small press, including details of their books, visit their website by clicking here: Obliterati Press

Keep up to date with all of their news via Twitter: Obliterati Press (@ObliteratiPress)

Over the next few weeks I will be reading their inaugural title, Lord of the Dead. Do look out for my review.

Lord of the Dead will be published on 3rd November 2017

Guest post by independent publisher, And Other Stories


As part of my feature on the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses I invited those publishers whose books made it through to the shortlist to answer a few questions or write a guest post for my blog. Today I am delighted to welcome Nicky from And Other Stories to tell us a little about this excellent publishing house. I review their contender for the prize, Martin John by Anakana Schofield, here.

And Other Stories was founded by our publisher Stefan Tobler in 2010, as a result of his frustration with the conservative tendencies in the publishing industry, and a desire to do publishing in a different way – a way that was committed to extraordinary writing, rather than guaranteed commercial success.

As a translator, he was tired of constantly hearing that publishers loved the books he was showing them, but wouldn’t be publishing them because they were too risky. Other writers and translators were also concerned, and they got together to brainstorm ideas. And Other Stories was born out of these discussions. Our business model is not-for- profit and based on subscriptions (And Other Stories was the first modern independent publisher to bring back this eighteenth-century idea). And Other Stories also opened up the commissioning process through a series of reading groups where translators and readers of a particular language would come together to discuss books that And Other Stories might like to publish.

And readers and critics were apparently ready for this new approach. Two of the books published by And Other Stories in 2011, our first year of operation, went on to be shortlisted for major prizes (the Man Booker Prize for Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home and the Guardian First Book Award for Juan Pablo Villalobos’s Down the Rabbit Hole). Many of our books have gone on to get widespread recognition and to find thousands of readers. In 2016, Lisa Dillman’s translation of Yuri Herrera’s brilliant novel Signs Preceding the End of the World, which weaves together Latin American mythology, US-Mexican border politics and linguistic innovation, won the Best Translated Book Award, and has to date sold over 20,000 copies.

Indeed, both independent publishing and literature in translation have continued to flourish, and we are honoured to be counted alongside so many innovators and risk-takers in having a book shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize. It has been a privilege to publish Anakana Schofield’s Martin John, a novel that is virtuosic in the way it makes form and content each work to enhance the other, and we were delighted when we heard it had been shortlisted for this prize.



Click on the book cover above to check out what others are saying about Martin John. You may also wish to buy the book.