The lovely ladies at Peirene Press recently shared an email they got from the editor Andrew Wille. In it, he praises the way they have been making their mark in their particular niche – European short fiction. And he adds that he's teaching a class of creative writing students and has given them the assignment of creating a fantasy launch list for their own publishing companies.
Now that got me thinking. And thinking, and thinking, and having a thoroughly good time thinking about setting up my own niche publishing house. The niche, as you might guess, would be excellent and innovative contemporary German-language fiction. And here's my very own fantasy launch list, arranged around the theme of coming of age, seeing as I'd be a fledgling publisher:
First off, an old favourite that still hasn't found a publisher in English: Selim Özdogan's Die Tochter des Schmieds. It's a beautiful, evocative and loving portrait of a girl growing up in 1950s rural Turkey. And it's part one of a trilogy, so there'd be lots to look forward to.
Secondly, Olga Grjasnowa's forthcoming Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt. Trauma, loss, survival in Azerbaijan, Germany and Israel, beautifully written and composed. A girl who asks all the right questions but can't find the answers.
Number three would be Jan Brandt's Gegen die Welt. 927 pages of East Frisian gothic, as a friend of mine put it. A boy's youth is an absolute disaster, while the village he comes from lives and breathes in his descriptions.
Finally, number four would be Clemens Meyer's Als wir träumten. Lads living it up in Leipzig, before and after the Wall came down.
All in all, perhaps a tad melancholy. I'd probably have to find some more cheerful books for the next season. What would you put on your fantasy launch lists?
Also, if you happen to work in publishing and have a degree in economics and also speak German, the perfect job opening's come up: senior commissioning editor at Bloomsbury Berlin. Go here to download the details.