The North Recommends: Comma Press

The Book of Newcastle coming January 2020

Comma Press’s ‘Reading the City’ series has been traversing the globe since 2006, sourcing a selection of ten authors from specific cities to collate ten short stories that depict the social, historical or political essence of their contemporary city. From The Book of Tbilisi to The Book of Tokyo, from The Book of Dhaka to The Book of Khartoum, and in this year alone we’ve covered both Tehran and Cairo, and, closer to home, Sheffield.

That’s right; our latest city publication saw us return to the North of England for the first time since the series began thirteen years ago with The Book of Leeds and, a few years later, The Book of Liverpool. The Book of Sheffield is edited by Catherine Taylor and features the likes of Margaret Drabble, Helen Mort, and Philip Hensher, with ten authors covering themes such as the city’s economic divide, black history erasure and the post child-birth body. And we’re not stopping at the ‘Steel City’…

Comma’s first publication of 2020 will be The Book of Newcastle, edited by local, award-winning author Angela Readman and Zoe Turner. This collection, which originally began as the pamphlet Newcastle Stories (Comma Press) in 2004, now combines Newcastle’s renowned literary talent with some of the city’s most exciting contemporaries, demonstrating that while Newcastle continues to feel the effects of its lost industrial past, it is also a city striving for its future and brimming with writing talent.

The Book of Newcastle features work from Jessica Andrews, whose debut novel Saltwater was published this year to much acclaim and Newcastle’s literary treasure and author of The Taxi Driver’s Daughter, Julia Darling, as well as Crista Ermiya, Chrissie Glazebrook, and winner of the inaugural NorthBound Book Award, J. A. Mensah, Sean O’Brien, Angela Readman, Glynis Reed, Degna Stone and Margaret Wilkinson.

The original Northern Powerhouse, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne has witnessed countless transformations over the last century or so, from its industrial heyday, when Tyneside engineering and innovation led the world, through decades of post-industrial decline, and lack of investment, to its more recent reinvention as a cultural destination for the North. The characters in these ten stories all seem to be searching for something, or growing into themselves. From the woman who imagines herself far away from Newcastle through phone conversations confined to her call centre job, to the man trying to outrun his mother’s death on Town Moor, this forthcoming collection offers glimpses into the lives that occupy this transitional city.

The Book of Newcastle will be published 23 January 2020. You can pre-order the collection from Comma Press at our discount online price here.

The book will launch at Newcastle City Library on the 6 February, 17.30-19.00, with discussion from contributors J. A. Mensah, Margaret Wilkinson and Crista Ermiya. Event details here.