Move over, London – the Northern Fiction Alliance collective, made up of some of the most exciting small presses in the UK, was set up a year or so ago to shine a light on the North of England as a hive of creativity in the publishing sector.
Led by Manchester’s own Comma Press, with core members Leeds’s Peepal Tree Press, Liverpool’s Dead Ink Books and Sheffield’s And Other Stories, the NFA has eaten its own body weight in independent publishing houses, and now counts Bluemoose Books, Mayfly Press (including the Moth crime imprint), Route, Scotland-based Saraband and Tilted Axis Press in its numbers. Bringing together the best new titles on offer, the project was devised to showcase the diversity, creativity and spirit of risk-taking that sets Northern publishers apart, and aims to increase the exposure to and resilience of the emerging domestic fiction market in the UK.
This special event marks the NFA’s very first roadshow, showcasing the different presses and the books they are publishing, with networking opportunities, plus talks and readings from some of the authors and editors (including And Other Stories publisher Stefan Tobler, pictured).
Authors include Martyn Bedford, whose new collection, Letters Home – aptly, a portrait of the changing face of modern, Northern Britain – is out on Comma later this year. Bluemoose author Heidi James along with And Other Stories short story writer Joanna Walsh both have books out in September, perfect timing for this event, while later this year Route publishes Paul Hanley’s Leave The Capital, about how Manchester music freed itself from the control of the London music industry.
Peepal Tree will be hosting Jacob Ross at the roadshow – his latest book, The Bone Readers, won the recent Jhalak Prize. Dead Ink’s Naomi Booth will be discussing her novel Sealed while Benjamin Myers will be talking about These Darkening Days, out with Mayfly. Finally Graeme Macrae Burnet, shortlisted for last year’s Man Booker Prize with His Bloody Project, will be along with Saraband.
The ticket price for the roadshow includes a drink on arrival, 10% discount on any books purchased on the night published by any of the presses in attendance and, we’re told, some freebies!