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Customer Discussions > fiction discussion forum

Literary Gems from small presses

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Showing 1-25 of 83 posts in this discussion
Posted on 4 May 2013 08:04:44 BDT
Frank Mundo says:
I really liked How Fire Is a Story, Waiting by Melinda Palacio from Tia Chucha Press, a debut poetry book.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2013 17:17:36 BDT
D. Bennison says:

Bennison Books is a newly formed not-for-profit epublisher. We're just starting out. We have three imprints: People's Classics; Contemporary Classics; and Non-fiction. Our Contemporary Classics imprint is relevant to this thread. Our first carefully selected author is the previously unpublished Australian writer, Peter Bowes. His book, Bloodlines, a collection of observational pieces, has just been released. We're currently working with other previously unpublished authors who fit the bill of 'quirky, edgy, and literary' (just our niche!) and are looking for more. Bennison Books is a labour of love; we do not make any money from our enterprise and our authors keep 100% of their royalties. Our ebooks are edited and formatted to a high standard. From the introduction to Bloodlines:

In Jackson Pollock and the washaway dunes Peter Bowes writes:

Pollock must have had the eyes of a housefly to see the same thing close-up as from a distance. Or the sight of an eagle drifting this way and that, three miles high in the moving air, with its fixed and magnified square of killing vision centred on a patch of tussock grass far below, and the rabbit lunching there.

This intensity of observation marks the true writer's eye as much as it does the artist's or eagle's, and to read Bowes' work is very often to focus on `a fixed and magnified square': the minutiae of unnoticed lives; unmarked losses; small triumphs; private griefs; and unexpected joys.

Posted on 25 Apr 2013 16:57:57 BDT
Just to post something on topic for the thread title, one of the best books I've read from a small press was Jack Dawkins by Charlton Daines, about the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist as an adult. Very well-written. The publisher only has about three authors so definitely small press, but this was quality.

Posted on 24 Apr 2013 21:03:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Apr 2013 21:04:04 BDT
monica says:
Dan, thanks--I'd not looked at Exact Change site for a long time, & I'll have a look at the edition you mention.

A couple of books that arrived in post today are from small independent presses; one of the books was The Scream, by Laurent Graff and published by Aurora Metro Books (and a gem it is). They've been around for a couple of decades, but today was the first time I came across the name. The other is from Istros Books, which publishes fiction from southeastern Europe--something we don't see much of here. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen a book written by a Montenegrin before today, either.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2013 19:45:49 BDT
I Readalot says:
No problem D A Channing, spam messes with all of our heads.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2013 10:18:30 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
I know Amazon are wary of links so I don't know if they'll keep this post up, but the Dennis Johnson webchat (which is today) is and Damien's recommendations are at

Posted on 8 Apr 2013 08:56:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Apr 2013 09:01:48 BDT
I Readalot, I beg your pardon, I should have phrased that differently. I've come late to the conversation and saw calls to delete due to spam and had the impression it applied to the whole thread.

I was attracted by the thread title, as I love a good Literary Fiction recommendation.

Has anyone got a link to this Guardian blog you speak of? Google gives me too much diversity.

Posted on 7 Apr 2013 23:18:43 BDT
Bloodaxe also published Simon Armitage's first book, and I enjoyed their latest version of Tomas Transtromer's Collected Poems.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 21:30:55 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
Oh, thank you pointing me to Tam Tam - some really wonderful things. Another press that specialises in resurrecting obscure classics is Exact Change. They're a US publisher but my local independent bookstore orders from them, and got hold of a beautiful edition of Maldoror for me

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 21:26:02 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
yes, likewise. Long since stopped letting it bother me!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 21:18:56 BDT
monica says:
Ooooh! I've just read the synopsis and you truly are on to a winner . . . It's not a journey, it's (crooked fingers making a wee curve in the air) an odyssey--and it's written as a vernacular narrative--and the style is a never-ending stream of long mind rambling sentences that is similar to Kerouac's style--and then Proust is set spinning in his grave--and those are only a few highlights. I owe you several pints for this one.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 20:59:53 BDT
gille liath says:
Indeed. In fact, why go further than the paper shop?

(I appreciate that your paper shop, like mine, is in fact probably miles away - but you know what I mean).

Anyhow, don't forget to keep your Log up to date in case you afterwards want to publish it. And why wouldn't you?

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 20:45:05 BDT
monica says:
I've only just read this post. Wonderfully well-spotted and amazing. Tomorrow I shall walk to the beginning of the woods on Church Road and thence to the field with Miles Feeney's horses; it's less than 2 miles in all and what's 2 miles when I'm in search of the meaning of life?

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 20:40:22 BDT
monica says:
Your mentioning Bloodaxe reminded me of Leaping Dog Press and Burning Deck books; both are primarily (but not only) poetry publishers. Another very small one that occurred to me is Wakefield Press--not the Aussie Wakefield Press--that publishes 'overlooked gems and literary oddities'. I have their The High Life by Martineau & whether or not a gem it's a literary oddity, all right.

Thanks so much, as I'd never heard of Three Rooms. I'll see you and raise you Tamtam books, which I hope is equally obscure.

Are defunct publishers welcome? I've come upon many finds by scouring lists from Marsilio's series The Eridanos Library . . .

And is there a way to get to the complete series of columns Walter wrote on the subject? Cheers. By the way, the chap in charge of Melville House has a great blog--very opinionated & informative, and good to see pot shots taken there at misbehaviour of publishers, amazon, and the like. Think it's called Moby Lives . . .

Posted on 7 Apr 2013 19:43:16 BDT
Hayley says:
Peter Handal's 'A sorrow beyond dreams' is stunning to read A Sorrow Beyond Dreams The author discovers the hidden depths of his mother after she has committed suicide. A really beautiful read. It's published by Pushkin Press. I've also just finished reading, Cut glass Dreams by Arwydd Jones, Cut Glass Dreams it's self published I think; compelling stuff. Very figurative and experimental. I'm not entirely sure that I grasped what was going all of the time but the writing was very beautiful and I couldn't stop reading so another definitely worth a shot.

Posted on 7 Apr 2013 19:31:46 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 7 Apr 2013 19:32:52 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 16:15:58 BDT
I Readalot says:
As you say, great to see it resurrected and thanks for the info. I can't quite understand why your last 2 posts have attracted negs but then practically every time I post I get one, think I might have a stalker.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 15:20:45 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
good to see this thread resurrected - worth dodging the occasional bullet to see some great small presses.

Talking of which, tomorrow the Guardian has a webchat with Dennis Johnson, the man behind Melville House, who publish th emarvellous Art of the Novella series

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 15:18:28 BDT
Dan Holloway says:
Bloodaxe do a great job with poetry.

I was recently pointed to Three Rooms Press, a small American publisher who focus on Dadaist poery and fiction - absolutely not everyone's cup of tea, but very much an important part of the small press landscape.

I don't know how many people have been following Damien Walter's attempts to unearth small indie gems on the Guardian blogs, but he has just picked 5 from 800 submissions, and three of those are from small presses - a very interesting exercise.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2013 14:10:42 BDT
I Readalot says:
You're wrong, this thread was not started as spam. Dan has been contributing to these discussions for a long time, as have most of the other posters here. He started this thread following a discussion in a different thread about small indie (but traditional) publishers and how they do publish some real gems. With very few exceptions all the recommendations here are from readers and if you take a look at the earlier posts you will see they they are genuine recs from small yet respected publishers. Unfortunately spam will always slip in though.

Posted on 7 Apr 2013 12:34:08 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 8 Apr 2013 08:59:47 BDT]

Posted on 5 Apr 2013 17:36:23 BDT
monica says:
I've recently read an excellent book from Dorothy a Publishing Project and have been intending for some time to read a couple of others they've issued--out of the grand total of 6 on their list.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2013 16:20:32 BDT
Marand says:
Let's hope so - I assume everyone has been hotting the 'report abuse' button?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2013 16:10:52 BDT
I Readalot says:
At least it hasn't taken too long for it to be voted out of sight, next stop deletion?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2013 15:50:33 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
Literary gems??? I suspect cheap paste jewelry would be nearer the mark! If someone who is supposed to have edited these books doesn't know the plural of baby, that's hardly a good advert for these books.
As has already been highlighted where these wretched stories have been plugged elsewhere in this forum, advertising of one's own work on these threads is a breach of Amazon rules.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  83
Initial post:  1 Jan 2013
Latest post:  4 May 2013

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