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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Let's hear it for the independents

There is a further interesting side to the publication of Myrrha Stanford-Smith's The Great Lie. (Not the frequently reported fact that the author is 82. Enough of the ageism, already; Jose Saramago didn't start producing novels much before he was 60 and Penelope Fitzgerald didn't begin until she was 61. Besides, it looks as though we're never going to be allowed to retire here in the UK and we'll all be working into our eighties.)

No, the interesting thing for me is that the book has been brought out by Honno, an independent Welsh publisher. I'm sure everyone now knows Canongate Books for its excellent fiction list (The Life of Pi, The Crimson Petal and the White, Lanark and many many more), but it too was a small publisher until the mid-nineties. There's a lot of good stuff being brought out by the independents. One of my favourite recent discoveries - well, I read about him in an interview with Ali Smith if that counts as a discovery - is John Aberdein, author of  Amande's Bed and Strip the Willow, the first brought out by Thirsty Books and the second by Polygon. A couple of other smaller publishers whose catalogues I like to keep an eye out for are Hesperus Press and Pushkin Press. Do you have any favourites among the independents? Let us know.

You can find links to these publishers websites and catalogues here:
Hesperus Press
Pushkin Press
Thirsty Books

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