The North Recommends: And Other Stories

And Other Stories is a not-for-profit press based in Sheffield that aims to push people’s reading limits and help them discover authors of adventurous and inspiring writing. This autumn, And Other Stories celebrated ten years of publishing, and the publication of their 100th book, Three Novels by Yuri Herrera.

Recent and forthcoming highlights include two books from writers based in the North-East:

Fit by Sammy Wright, which was published to acclaim in October after winning the 2020 Northern Book Prize, and explores the fallout on a local community after a local girl leaves town and hits the big time – it brilliantly captures a multitude of perspectives and has a rare empathy with its characters.

Preti Taneja’s Aftermath is an essay/memoir that explores her feelings of grief and loss of trust in the aftermath of the 2019 London Bridge attack, when a man who’d been released from prison after being convicted of terrorism charges killed two people at an event to celebrate the prison education programme Learning Together, which he’d been a student in, and Taneja was a teacher on. But Aftermath is much more than just a reckoning with that one event – it is a powerful critique of racism and Islamophobia in the UK, and an extraordinary piece of writing from one of the UK’s most promising thinkers. And Other Stories are publishing it in April 2022, so look out!

They’ve also had great success this year with two debuts from British writers:
Tice Cin’s Keeping the House is ostensibly about a plot to import heroin in a shipment of cabbages, but really, it’s a love letter to a community and a fantastic portrait of three generations of women, written by a stupendously talented writer/musician/all-round artist, and edited for us by the wonderful writer Max Porter.

And Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi is a beautiful vision through the eyes of a young girl who chooses silence as a way to deal with her mother’s mental illness and the tiny traumas of everyday life and the casual racism it brings. Mona worked for ten years as a human rights lawyer for the charity Liberty before becoming a full-time poet and writer.

And Other Stories wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t throw a bit of translation into the mix, so here’s a final recommendation:

Uruguayan writer Mario Levrero got a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to work on The Luminous Novel, but as any die-hard procrastinator will know, money buys you time, not motivation. Instead of working on the book, Levrero rearranges his furniture, fixes bugs in Windows 2000 and worries about his (lack of a) sex life. On the side he keeps a diary, and the resulting magnum opus was published after Levrero’s death in 2004, has since become a classic of Latin American literature, and since Annie McDermott’s English translation was published in August, it’s been a hit with Anglophone readers too.

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