The Indie Presses Team’s Favourite Seasonal Reads
By Millie Kiel, Megan Cooke and Mara Radut
It is, once again, that time of the year. With summer being long gone and Christmas alarmingly close, we revel in the in-between period: the changing of colours, the crisp autumn air, Halloween and Pumpkin Spice lattes. And lots and lots of books, of course.
Autumn is an odd one when it comes to readers’ preferences. What exactly do you read during this season? Some may pay no mind to the weather and would read anything. Some prefer buckling up for winter and picking up that intimidating Russian classic off their shelves. Some cannot quite let go of summer yet, so they carry on with beach reads. Finally, some will make autumn the main motivating force in choosing their next read. The Indie Presses team, quite predictably, falls into this last category.
But what exactly are we all reaching for at the moment?
Wild Hunt Books is a South London independent publisher founded in 2020 by Ariell Cacciola. The novelty of this indie lies in its rather whimsical, mystical niche publications and principles. “A home for authors dabbling in the darker genres and liminal spaces,” Wild Hunt focuses on new and emerging voices, as well as established authors in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Their publications, albeit experimental, follow some clear genres such as folk horror, gothic, magical realism, dark fiction and fairy tales among many others.
Novella-length submissions by British or Irish citizens who experiment with the aforementioned genres are all welcomed by Wild Hunt. The guidelines can be found on their website, as well as a list of books that offer keen writers a taste of what Wild Hunt appreciates and looks for in literary texts. The Wild Hunt magazine fosters the submissions and keeps readers up to date with writing contests and the indie’s very own book club.
Wild Hunt’s publications are short, yet impactful. Eerie and immersive. Full of liminal spaces and peculiarities, they are bound to create that mysterious autumnal vibe, which is best savoured and enjoyed at this time of the year.
Do you ever get the urge to leave your life behind and settle in a forest, far away from everyone and everything? We think Wild Hunt can simulate this exceptionally, hauntingly well.
The next indie press on our team’s watch list at this time of year is perhaps a familiar face, but in a different guise: British Library Publishing.
British Library Publishing is an independent publisher attached to the library, which publishes works from the library’s collection, bringing often long-forgotten books back into the light of day. From maps and manuscripts to rare novels, the range covered is as immense as the library’s collection (which does, after all, hold over 170 to 200 million items, so there’s a lot of scope!).
They pride themselves in publishing works that are affordable, accessible and exquisitely produced, whether it’s a history of books, a tome on typography or a medieval manuscript.
For one member of the Indie Presses team, though, it is the British Crime Classics that are the must-have for this time of year. Perhaps the most iconic of British Library Publishing’s list, this is a series of murder mysteries and detective stories written in the Golden Age of crime fiction (typically taken to be between the 1920s to 1930s). What could be cosier than a log fire, a cup of hot chocolate and a nice murder (in cold blood, of course!)?
The revenue generated from the books British Library Publishing publishes goes to support the wider work of the British Library, whose aim is “to make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone for research, inspiration and enjoyment.”
In other words, buying these books raises money for getting more books to more people – surely that’s as good a reason as any to get out to your local indie and pick up a good ol’ whodunnit?
Of course, it wouldn’t be autumn without a bit of horror to complement the Halloween spirit and, for the final member of the team, that is the seasonal favourite.
Formed in 2020, Sliced Up Press offers themed horror short story anthologies that are perfect for reading on cold autumn nights when huddled up by the fire. Its latest anthology Bodies Full of Burning focuses on menopause and how horrifying life changes can be –placing a topic which is not often discussed in media under an even more unusual and yet surprisingly apt lens.
Sliced Up Press does not shy away from difficult topics and make its work as reader-friendly as possible. Part of this is through the inclusion of spoiler-free trigger warnings at the end of each book, ensuring that readers can peruse the short stories within their books without encountering anything that may distress them.
Ultimately, regardless of what you decide to pick up in the upcoming season, the crisp air and roaring fireplaces set the perfect scene to curl up with a book. If you are looking for something new to get you to the winter months, consider supporting some indie presses –you might discover your new favourite autumn read.