Radical publisher Verso Books is launching its own fiction imprint this September, promising a string of "politically astute" novels.
Launched as a paperback imprint in the 1970s, Verso became known for publishing hard-hitting works by writers such as Traiq Ali on international politics. But the outfit said fiction had been an unsung part of its list and it felt readers increasingly wanted novels that "come at them sideways".
Fiction editor Cian McCourt said: "We want to publish bold, intelligent writing that’s politically astute, but not dogmatic or charmless."
Books published under the new Verso Fiction imprint will include Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth, described as an "emotionally searing" story on the nature of trauma and memory to be published in September 2019. Kitchen Curse by Eka Kurniawan and The Disappearance of Joseph Mengele by Olivier Guez will follow in October.
The publisher said: "We’ve published some excellent writers over the decades, from John Berger to Marianne Fritz. You’d often find a gem of a novel buried in the back of a catalogue, among the new editions, if you found it at all. But in recent years we’ve found ourselves being drawn again and again to contemporary novelists; writers we couldn’t not publish and, many of who – like Vigdis Hjorth and Jenny Hval – we want to publish for a long time to come. And 2020 will see follow-up books from both of those authors, alongside plenty of new voices.
“We plan to publish a mixture of English language and translated fiction. This dedicated section of our catalogue is designed as a home for these intelligent and inventive voices, a place where they can get a little more daylight than they might have done previously.”
Verso’s acquiring fiction editors are Cian McCourt and Andrew Hsiao. All enquiries to Maya Osborne on firstname.lastname@example.org