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8 British Independent Presses You Should Know

by Writing Workshops Staff

A year ago

by Writing Workshops Staff

A year ago

Are you hoping to submit your book to a small or indie publisher in the UK, or simply diversify your reading? The British indie scene is thriving and continuously bringing new projects to light outside of the mainstream — and very often, outside of London.

For the sake of brevity, I’ve collected 8 of my favorite British indie presses that are worth checking out if you’re looking to work with them, pitch your novel, or simply find some exciting, out-of-the-box titles to read.

1. Tilted Axis Press

A nonprofit, Tilted Axis Press publishes Asian fiction and nonfiction in translation. Notable titles you may have heard of 一 that were running for the 2022 Booker International include Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu (longlisted), Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park (also longlisted), and Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree (winner). Though it’s safe to say that they’ve attracted the Booker Prize’s attention, this small press has been turning eyes since they were founded in 2015. Coming across a few of their titles started my own journey of reading books in translation, so I can’t recommend their list enough.

If you're a translator interested in submitting to them, they'll next be accepting submissions in January 2023.

2. Influx Press

Influx Press is a north London-based publisher run by duo Kit Caless and Gary Budden. Their list of bold, exciting writing includes Eliza Clark’s Boy Parts, UK editions of Percival Everett’s work (need I say more), and several short story collections, like Man Hating Psycho by Iphgenia Waal, Jolts by Fernando Sdrigotti, and Ways of Living by Gemma Seltzer.

Their website states they’re currently closed for unagented submissions, so in the meantime, you’ve got time to get acquainted with their excellent list.

3. And Other Stories

Sheffield-based nonprofit And Other Stories really champion diverse reading — and their publication record reflects that. Their list is a mix of contemporary British authors spanning the entirety of the UK (Deborah Levy, Joanna Walsh, Luke Brown, Mona Arshi, to name a few) and international authors in translation (among others, Lina Wolff, Yuri Herrera, Andrzej Tichy, Rodrigo de Souza Leão). And Other Stories is working hard to find new books to translate — their translated books are found through reading groups where readers of other languages are invited to discover books that are yet to be published in English. They also run on an innovative subscription model that shows just how much trust regular AOS readers have in their small but passionate editorial team.

And Other Stories is currently closed to author and translator’s submissions.

4. Charco Press

While we’re discussing translations, Charco Press is an enthusiastic small press publishing Latin American fiction and nonfiction in translation, as well as a new Untranslated series publishing works originally written in English with a Latin American connection. Titles you may have heard of include Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro, Dead Girls by Selva Almada, and Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París. Whatever Charco Press publishes is worth checking out.

5. Dead Ink Books

A proudly northern press, Liverpool-based Dead Ink is making waves — you’ll have seen some of their titles: Exit Management by Naomi Booth, Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy, The Doloriad by Missouri Williams. This small publisher has mighty plans: they’re opening a bookshop in Liverpool next month, and are working to introduce imprints for Northern Crime, Northern Classics, and US Indie Cult Classics in the future. If you weren’t already paying attention, now’s the time.

6. 404 Ink

Duo Heather McDaid and Laura Jones comprise 404 Ink — a small press based in Edinburgh. They work hard to champion new and emerging writers, including Elle Nash, Liam Konemann, and Helen McClory. A fun project you should check out is their pocket nonfiction series, Inklings, including titles like Love That Journey For Me: The Queer Revolution of Schitt’s Creek by Emily Garside and The New University: Local Solutions to a Global Crisis by James Coe. In addition to their busy publishing schedule, 404 Ink also provides resources about breaking into the publishing industry and a paid internship to help aspiring publishers build relevant work experience.

To submit to 404 Ink’s 2024 list, check out their guidelines here.

7. Comma Press

This nonprofit publisher specializes in short fiction, publishing single author short story collections (David Constantine, Sean O’ Brien, Empar Moliner) and anthologies alike. Their city anthologies, titled The Book of Newcastle, The Book of Bristol, and so on, and their BBC Short Story Award anthologies, published annually, are always a reliable source of interesting work from authors you may not have known before. They, too, are based in the North of England (Manchester), and have founded the Northern Fiction Alliance (which also includes Dead Ink Books, And Other Stories, and 6 other publishers) to champion work written or set in northern England.

To submit to Comma Press, look out for their call-outs seeking work that fits specific projects.

8. Galley Beggar Press

Known for publishing innovative, sharp literary fiction and narrative non-fiction, Galley Beggar Press has published many award winners or nominees: Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, Toby Litt’s Patience, and A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride. They also run an annual short story prize helping discover new writers, currently open to entries!

If you hope to submit to Galley Beggar, you’ll find detailed guidelines here.

If you’re new to the world of British indies, a very warm welcome, and best of luck on your path to publication. If you were hoping to find some small presses publishing poetry instead, check out this list on the Writing Workshops blog. 

Kleopatra Olympiou is a writer from Cyprus, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Durham University. She’s previously written for Electric Literature, LitReactor, and Reedsy’s blog for self-publishing authors.

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