The North Recommends: Honford Star

Honford Star is an independent publisher based in Stockport, Greater Manchester. It publishes exciting literature from East Asia, be it classic or contemporary. Read on as Taylor and Anthony tell us about Honford Star’s mission and what sets it apart – then go and browse its beautiful selection of books!

In a world where a handful of publishers account for the vast majority of books sold, Honford Star has carved out a unique spot in British publishing by focusing on translating unique titles from East Asia, creating books with unique art and design, and printing with premium paper and finishes.

The desire to find different voices from East Asia provided the original motivation to start Honford Star. We found that only a narrow range of books were being translated from many East Asian countries, while other types of books – notably genre fiction, classics, and works by indigenous authors – were neglected. With this goal in mind, our first four books were all classics by some of the most influential authors of early modern Korean and Taiwanese history, some of whom had never been published in their own book before. We have continued publishing classics but have spread out into a wide variety of modern authors too. Since our first modern book, Hunter School by the indigenous Taiwanese author Sakinu Ahronglong, we’ve published Japanese historical fiction, Korean sci-fi and fantasy, Taiwanese horror, and literary fiction from all over the region. In the years since we started Honford Star, we’ve noticed that the English language publishing industry has started to put out a wider variety of books from East Asia, and we are proud to have played a small part in that change.

The second way we have gained notice in a crowded marketplace is with our covers, all of which are designed or illustrated by East Asian artists. By working with artists from the region, we sidestep the current cover trends in the anglosphere to create books that don’t look like anything else at the bookstore. East Asian artists also bring unique insights as locals that they can add to their artwork. As a result of this unique working process, we (humbly) believe that our covers are among the best in the industry.

Finally, the books themselves are beautiful works of art. Every book has French flaps and thick cover stock, to give it a nice pleasing heft. Our books also have colored endpapers, an idea we stole from the Korean book industry, that adds some nice character to the books. Finally, we use premium Japanese papers as often as feasible so even turning the page is a joy.

These unique features of Honford Star books are going to be evident in our upcoming titles like Bora Chung’s new collection of sci-fi short stories, Your Utopia, and Shinya Tanaka’s semi-autobiographical gothic coming of age tale, Cannibals. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.

Browse Honford Star’s collection