New and forthcoming

You Think It, I'll Say It

Curtis Sittenfeld

‘Most people I know who have read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld would read anything else the woman wrote, me included’ The Times

The title story of this first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld is about a married woman who flirts with a man she meets at parties, playfully putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he's thinking about their fellow guests.But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. The Nominee sees Hillary Clinton confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist who has interviewed her over the years. In Gender Studies, a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for all the wrong reasons.

The theme that unites these stories is how even clever people tend to misread others, and how much we deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, this collection shows Sittenfeld’s knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with dazzling dry wit.

Ground Work

Tim Dee

We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to live in the ruins that we have made?

This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Tim Ingold to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.

Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock,’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.’ This is an important, necessary book.

Orwell on Truth

George Orwell

'Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.'

This selection of George Orwell’s writing, from both his novels and non-fiction, gathers together his thoughts on the subject of truth. It ranges from discussion of personal honesty and morality, to freedom of speech and political propaganda. Orwell’s unique clarity of thought and illuminating scepticism provide the perfect defence against our post-truth world of fake news and confusion.

'The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.'

Includes an introduction by Alan Johnson and passages from Burmese Days, The Road to Wigan Pier, Coming Up for Air, The Lion and the Unicorn, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell’s letters, war-time diary, criticism and essays including ‘Fascism and Democracy’, ‘Culture and Democracy’, ‘Looking Back on the Spanish War’, ‘As I Please’, ‘Notes on Nationalism’, ‘The Prevention of Literature’, ‘Politics and the English Language’ and ‘Why I Write’.

Scraps of Wool

Bill Colegrave

For more than forty years I have collected and read travel books... I marked passages that enthused me and so gathered a library that was annotated by triangular corner-folds and barely decipherable jottings. This was my own inadvertent wool-gathering...

Scraps of Wool is a celebration of travel writing, bringing together in a single volume passages that have enthralled generations of readers, encouraged them to dream of exploration and set off on journeys of their own.
Compiled by Bill Colegrave, its excerpts have been selected by today’s travel writers and journalists, who have revealed the books that influenced them: Dervla Murphy, Tony Wheeler, Rory MacLean, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, Artemis Cooper, Sara Wheeler, Alexander Frater and many more.

Each of these scraps is a document of the writer’s passion for place – thick equatorial jungle, the soft ergs of the Sahara, Patagonian steppe – and each story, each memory will transport you to a different corner of the globe, and maybe even inspire you to plan your own great adventure.

Mockingbird Songs

Wayne Flynt

An indelible portrait of one of the most famous and beloved authors in the canon of American literature – a collection of letters between Harper Lee and one of her closest friends that reveals the famously private writer as never before, in her own words.

The violent racism of the American South drove Wayne Flynt away from his home in Alabama, but the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about courage, community and equality, inspired him to return in the early 1960s and craft a career documenting and teaching Alabama history. His writing resonated with many, in particular three sisters: Louise, Alice and Nelle Harper Lee. The two families first met in 1983, and a mutual respect and affection for the state’s history and literature matured into a deep friendship between them.

Wayne Flynt and Nelle Harper Lee began writing to one other while she was living in New York – heartfelt, insightful and humorous letters in which they swapped stories, information and opinions on topics including their families, books, social values, health concerns and even their fears and accomplishments. Though their earliest missives began formally – ‘Dear Dr Flynt’ – as the years passed, their exchanges became more intimate and emotional, opening with ‘Dear Friend’ and closing with ‘I love you, Nelle.’

This is a remarkable compendium of a correspondence that lasted for a quarter century – until Harper Lee’s death in February 2016 – and it offers an incisive and compelling look into the mind, heart and work of one of the most beloved authors in modern literary history.

The Good Immigrant

Nikesh Shukla (and others)

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?

Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

Wedding Stories

Diana Secker Tesdell

The stories collected here--including such gems as Stephen Crane's "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky," O. Henry's "The Marry Month of May," F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Bridal Party," Joy Williams's "The Wedding," and Lorrie Moore's "Thank You For Having Me", encompass comic wedding mishaps, engagements broken and mended, honeymoon adventures, and scenes both heartwarming and heartbreaking. There are glamorous weddings in Paris and New York, and more eccentric ones in the Wild West and on a remote island beach. There are nervous brides, forgetful grooms, meddling guests, interrupted nuptials, second thoughts, and second chances. Above all, there are all kinds of people - young and old, rich and poor, divorced and widowed, with or without children - joining together in the age-old quest for matrimonial happiness.

Beauty and the Beast

Maria Tatar

Perhaps no fairy tale is as widely known as 'Beauty and the Beast' - and perhaps no fairy tale exists in as many variations. Nearly every culture tells the story in one fashion or another - such cultural phenomena as The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You are recent examples - and it is impossible to find one version that laid the foundation for the rest. From Cupid and Psyche, India's Snake Bride to South Africa's 'Story of Five Heads', the partnering of beast and beauties has beguiled us for thousands of years.

In this fascinating volume preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures.

Rome Stories

Jonathan Keates

During its three-thousand-year history Rome has been an imperial metropolis, the capital of a nation and the spiritual core of a great world religion. For writers from antiquity to the present, however, the place holds an alternative significance as a realm of fantasy, aspiration and desire. Captivating and lethal at one and the same moment, its fatal gift of beauty both transfigures and betrays those in thrall to it. Rome Stories explores the city's fateful impact through the writing of classical historians, a Renaissance sculptor, 18th-century tourists, American, British and French novelists and the authors of modern Rome, each testing and unravelling the city's ageless paradoxes. Gibbon admires the Last of the Tribunes, Goethe decodes the mysteries of the Carnival and Stendhal's subversive aristocrats mingle revolution with a little cross-dressing amid their gilt mirrors and frescoed ceilings From Plutarch to Pasolini, from Hawthorne to Wharton, the city of Caesars and popes, of dreamers, chancers and hustlers confronts the questing imagination with its eternally unflinching gaze.

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: 1

Philip Hensher

'A bold anthology ... alive with provocations and insights' John Carey, Sunday Times

'The Boy-scouts mistook my signal, and have killed the postman. I've had very little practice in this sort of thing, you see'

The British short story tradition is probably the richest, most varied and historically extensive in the world. This new anthology celebrates the full diversity and energy of its writers, subjects and tones, from the story's origins with Defoe, Swift and Fielding, to the 'golden age' of the fin de siècle and Edwardian period, ending with the First World War. Including the most famous authors as well as some magnificent, little-known stories never republished since their first appearance in magazines and periodicals, these stories are by turns topical and playful, ghostly and theatrical, rumbustious and sublime.

Edited with an introduction by Philip Hensher

The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: 2

Philip Hensher

'Eclectic, entertaining ... almost all British, if not human, life is here' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'Mind-stretching, heart-breaking, beautifully-crafted fiction' Claire Harman, Evening Standard

'She would tear the house down - shatter the windows, slash the furniture, flood the baths, fire the curtains!'

Hilarious, exuberant, surreal, subtle, tender, brutal, spectacular and above all unexpected: this extraordinary selection celebrates the British short story from the 1920s to the present day. From Angela Carter to V. S. Pritchett, Elizabeth Taylor to J. G. Ballard, Ali Smith to a host of little-known works from magazines and periodicals, and including tales of air-raids, phone sex, snobbery, modern-day slavery, grief, desire, the familiar and the strange, here is the short story in all its limitless possibilities.

Edited and with an introduction by Philip Hensher, the award-winning novelist, critic and journalist.

Writings from Ancient Egypt

Toby Wilkinson

'Man perishes; his corpse turns to dust; all his relatives pass away. But writings make him remembered'

In ancient Egypt, words had magical power. Inscribed on tombs and temple walls, coffins and statues, or inked onto papyri, hieroglyphs give us a unique insight into the life of the Egyptian mind. For this remarkable new collection, Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson has freshly translated a rich and diverse range of ancient Egyptian writings into modern English, including tales of shipwreck and wonder, first-hand accounts of battles and natural disasters, obelisk inscriptions, mortuary spells, funeral hymns, songs, satires and advice on life from a pharaoh to his son. Spanning over two millennia, with many pieces appearing in a general anthology for the first time, this is the essential guide to a complex, sophisticated culture.

Translated with an introduction by Toby Wilkinson

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