The Publishing Post
Spotlight On: Salt Publishing
By Mollie Gregory-Clark, Priyanka Joshi, Zoe Maple and Isobel Jones
Salt Publishing is an independent publishing house specialising in discovering and publishing British contemporary literature. Founded by John Kinsella in 1999, this company originates from the journal, Salt Magazine, internationally recognised as the leading publisher of new poetries and poetics. Taking inspiration from the magazine, the company began by publishing a diverse range of poetries, eventually earning the Nielsen Innovation Award in the IPG’s Independent Publishing Awards in 2008 for their efforts.
After establishing itself in the UK’s vibrant publishing scene, the company decided to expand their portfolio to fiction in 2011. In addition to being globally impactful, their books have also achieved numerous literary awards, including winning the Polari First Book Prize, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Of particular note is their nomination for the Man Booker Prize twice and their shortlisting in the Costa Book Awards as well.
New and Upcoming Releases
The Peckham Experiment by Guy Ware
In the light of the death of his twin brother JJ, eighty-five-year-old Charlie makes preparations for the funeral, sparking a journey of fragmentary memories spanning from the 1930s onwards. In a voice which is all at once opinionated, witty, garrulous, indignant, guilty, deluded and – as the night wears on – increasingly drunken, Charlie takes us through the story of two sons of a working-class Communist family, who grew up during the radical Twickenham Experiment, were orphaned by the Blitz and emerged from the war eager to build the New Jerusalem, only to have their ideals rocked by the fatal collapse of a tower block their company had built.
Mammals, I Think We Are Called by Giselle Leeb
This highly praised short story collection utilises outsider characters to explore what it means to live as a human in the 21st century, encouraging its readers to approach the world with fresh eyes. Darkly humorous and strikingly imaginative, the collection moves seamlessly from the realistic to the fantastical to explore a range of topics, from our relationship with the environment, animals and technology to how we grapple with loneliness and the enormity of time.
The Pastoraclasm by John Kinsella
Australian poet John Kinsella was inspired to write this collection during pandemic lockdowns, when his family, who lived “out in the bush” began to rely on garden-grown food to form part of their supplies. His experience of trying to grow essentials during drought conditions reinforced the realisation that gardening requires a careful negotiation with the limitations of time, place and present conditions. His resulting work is a series of dialogues with the garden itself – as well as the endemic wildlife that surrounded it – and an investigation into the nature of the “pastoral” and its failure to translate into the Australian environment.
The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks
In 1923, where England struggles with the economic and social aftermath of World War I, we meet Lucy Marsh, a fourteen-year-old orphan, living in poverty with her grandparents in North London. After climbing into the back of an old army truck, Lucy finds herself in a dark forest where she meets a group of disfigured ex-soldiers living on the fringes of society, nicknamed “the funny men.”
Employing the imagery of a fairy-tale woven within the real horrors of post-war trauma, Xan Brooks creates a fascinating and disturbing soul-searching tale filled with twisted humour and heartbreak. With multiple awards and nominations, Brooks’ debut novel is uniquely eerie with a dream-like quality, leaving this author as one to watch.
A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther
It’s 1964 where aristocrat Enid Campbell is an elderly lady residing in a nursing home, patiently awaiting the visit of her daughter who will possibly be accompanied by her estranged son. Here we travel back to the 1920s when a young Enid, bound by heritage, gender and tradition, is left with no choice but to provide a male heir to take on the family inheritance, following her brother’s death. Detailing a troubled marriage, the birth of three children and postpartum depression, Eleanor Anstruther provides a heart-breaking and beautifully written reconstruction of her family history, filled with empathy and compassion, hopeful to understand why her grandmother, Enid Campbell, came to sell her son to her sister for £500.
My Shitty Twenties by Emily Morris
At age twenty-two and halfway through her degree at Manchester University, Emily Morris found out she was pregnant. Despite not feeling maternal she continued with the pregnancy, moved back to her family home and braced herself for her life to be turned upside down. In this memoir, Morris recounts her pregnancy and early years of motherhood as a single parent, depicting the loneliness, judgement and adventure she experienced along the way. Described as refreshingly honest, witty and warm, My Shitty Twenties, has now been optioned for TV alongside being named one of The Guardian readers’ favourite books of 2017.