Simon & Schuster UK is set to publish a collection of short stories by Booker Prize-winner Graham Swift.
The publisher has secured UK and Commonwealth rights for England And Other Stories, which captures moments of English life across the centuries and in different regions “with humour, an underlying sexuality, an edge of violence and a moving sense of inevitability and loss.” The collection will be published on 3rd July.
S&S chief executive and international publisher Ian Chapman brokered the deal through Caradoc King at A P Watt at United Agents.
Picador has been Swift’s long-standing publisher, including for his 1996 Booker Prize winning novel Last Orders, aside from a brief departure in 2003 to publish The Light of Day with Hamish Hamilton. Swift then returned to Picador for his 2007 novel, Tomorrow.
The London Evening Standard has claimed Swift’s move away from Picador was not “entirely amicable” because the author had been dissatisfied with the publisher’s handling of his 2011 novel Wish You Were Here. However Caradoc King told The Bookseller that Swift’s “tough” decision to move to S&S wasn’t “in any way” unamicable.
“Graham made the decision after a lot of anguish because Picador has been his longstanding publisher whom he has a good relationship with. But he made the decision based on the passion Simon & Schuster had to publish these stories, which Graham showed directly to Ian (Chapman), not to me,” he said.
Picador publisher Paul Baggaley agreed, saying: "This departure is entirely amicable. We have published some wonderful books with Graham and we wish him all the best for his new collection of stories with Simon & Schuster."
Swift said he wanted S&S to publish his new book of short stories “for the simple reason that their passion for it and to be publishing it couldn’t be greater.” He added: “My writing career began with writing short stories and it’s been a joy to return to them and to discover that writing, anew, a whole book of stories can be every bit as embracing a task, a mapping of human territory, as writing a novel.”
Chapman said Swift was one of England’s finest writers. “The ease with which Swift writes and is able to set a scene and characterise personalities and relationships, and his ear for dialogue and sense of place is nothing short of genius," Chapman said. "This collection hangs together wonderfully, and yet each individual story has a poignancy and a power that leaves you fulfilled…It makes you ask: what is England? The result is stunning and deserves to be taken to the widest audience, which is our collective intention.”
Two of Swift’s titles – Waterland and Last Orders – have been made into films and the author has also won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, and the Guardian Fiction Prize.