One of my favourite literary awards announced its longlist the other day. The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, now in its second year, is open to UK and Irish publishers who have a maximum of five full-time paid people working for them. It sums up its criteria for winning as “hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose”.
The 13 longlisted titles, in alphabetical order of publisher, are:
- Playing Possum by Kevin Davey (Aaaargh! Press)
- Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell (And Other Stories)
- The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers (Bluemoose Books)
- An Overcoat by Jack Robinson (CB Editions)
- Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, tr. Sarah Moses and Carolina Orloff (Charco Press)
- Gaudy Bauble by Isabel Waidner (Dostoyevsky Wannabe)
- Compass by Mathias Énard, tr. Charlotte Mandell (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
- Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre, tr. Sophie Lewis (Les Fugitives)
- We that are young by Preti Taneja (Galley Beggar Press)
- Attrib. and other stories by Eley Williams (Influx Press)
- Darker with the Lights on by David Hayden (Little Island Press)
- In the Absence of Absalon by Simon Okotie (Salt Publishing)
- The Iron Age by Arja Kajermo (Tramp Press)
Last year’s longlist had introduced me to some new writers, and even a few new publishers. So I was quite surprised to find that I’d heard of all 13 of this year’s books. I concluded that I must be more immersed in the world of the small press than I’d thought.
Well, I counted up and found that I had copies of nine books on the longlist… but I’d read only one, Compass. So I’ve decided I want to read the longlist. The winner is not announced until March, so there’s plenty of time; and the ethos of the prize is right up my street. This could be just the thing to get me back in the swing of reading (and, hopefully, blogging).