Spotlight On: Influx Press
By Mollie Gregory-Clark, Priyanka Joshi and Isobel Jones
Exciting, caring and fascinating, Influx Press has been praised as an important, thought-provoking independent publisher of the 21st century.
Since being formed in 2012 by writers Kit Caless and Gary Budden, the publisher has gone on to produce a range of award-winning fiction, anthologies, memoirs and radical poetry that have been shortlisted and longlisted for prestigious awards, including the James Tait Black Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Edge Hill Prize. After winning the 2018 Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, the publisher has gone from strength to strength, continuing to publish brave new work often consisting of fresh and marginalised voices, named as keeping the industry alive with their diverse stories.
After ten years of building a successful independent publishing house, Caless and Budden have announced a hiatus for Influx in 2023 in order to pursue other goals. However, Influx will remain a publishing house with all its innovative current and backlist titles remaining in print.
Human Sacrifices by MarÍa Fernanda Ampuero
After the global success of her last collection, Cockfight, Ecuadorian writer María Fernanda Ampuero is back with twelve new – and equally as disturbing – short stories in Human Sacrifices. Expertly translated by Frances Riddle, this unflinching collection cuts right to the heart of contemporary society’s brutal, exploitative and self-serving nature, tackling themes from machismo to marginalisation and capitalism to class. In shining a spotlight on such social inequalities, Ampuero demonstrates that daily realities prove far more terrifying than the ghouls and ghosts that traditionally populate horror writing.
For fans of other figures from Latin America’s growing contingent of horror writers, such as Mónica Ojeda and Mariana Enriquez, Human Sacrifices is not to be missed!
The Blue Mask by Joel Lane
Long out-of-print, The Blue Mask was originally published to critical acclaim in 2003 and is now set for re-release in October, complete with a new introduction from Irish author Joseph O’Neill. Set against the backdrop of late nineties Birmingham, the novel follows the story of Neil, an ordinary university student who, one night, becomes the victim of an act of violence that sees his face brutalised beyond recognition and changes the course of his life forever. After several rounds of facial surgery, Neil begins to recover physically but is unable to recognise himself in the face – or ‘mask’ – that looks back at him in the mirror. What follows for Neil is a quest to identify his attacker and, ultimately, to understand himself.
Where Furnaces Burn by Joel Lane
Also set for re-release in October is Lane’s short story collection Where Furnaces Burn, for which the author won the World Fantasy Award in 2013. Once again set in post-industrial Birmingham, this gritty collection reads as excerpts from a police officer’s casebook, blending urban realism with horror, fantasy and the occult. Here, derelict workhouses, disused railways and abandoned mines are the playgrounds of bizarre cults, cruel gods and unearthly looking thieves… If you’re looking for an unsettling read that will keep you up at night, then Where Furnaces Burn is the collection for you.
Attrib. and Other Stories by Eley Williams
Attrib. and Other Stories is a collection of seventeen short stories addressing the difficulties of communicating one’s all-encompassing thoughts, most of which are told by nameless and genderless narrators. This multi-award-winning book is the debut collection of Eley Williams, depicting her passion and use of language. Comprising several micro dramas, Williams focuses on moments when a person is in a state of mental disarray and time seems to stand still – the silence after a breakup, the indecision before a first kiss – all whilst offering the readers a peek into the narrator’s muddled mind.
The Trees by Percival Everett
Bringing the American history of lynching to the forefront, The Trees is a satirical revenge novel combining derisive and biting humour with horror. Set in Mississippi, this story opens with multiple brutal murders in the racist town of Money and spreads further throughout the country. Concerned, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation dispatches two Black detectives to investigate these recurring murders of white people with a connection to lynching. Furthermore, the crime scenes mimic the brutality of the 1955 death of a fourteen-year-old boy, Emmett Till, which serves as the preamble to this horror-comedy. Everett’s description of the empathic and clever detectives juxtaposed against the ignorant and dull-witted white locals portrays a brilliant reversal of stereotypical characterisation that leaves readers laughing and gasping in equal measure.
Plastic Emotions by Shiromi Pinto
Inspired by the life of Minnette de Silva, Plastic Emotions is an architectural romance novel centred around the fictional tale of a relationship between Le Corbusier and Sri Lanka’s first modernist architect, Minnette de Silva. Taking us all over the world, Pinto weaves a story around de Silva’s struggles in a turbulent post-independence Ceylon (former name of Sri Lanka) and her passionate relationship with the Swiss-French modernist, celebrating their love and belief in architecture. Pinto’s exploration also highlights de Silva as a fiercely independent woman making her way in a highly male-centric society.