Peirene Now! No 2: The Cut, by Anthony Cartwright
The Cut is a commissioned novel responding to Brexit, by the writer Anthony Cartwright. Published on the first anniversary of the EU referendum on June 23rd 2017, it will be a fictional exploration of the forces that split Britain in two. Help us bring this novel to life by backing us and securing your advance copy of the book.
The Cut is a wound, of course, but it is more than that.
Cairo Jukes walks the towpaths of "the cut", the Black Country term for the canals that web this small region of England, the open veins of an old industrial order.
And then there is Dudley – a town at the heart of the Black Country – where a young woman runs through the market-place with her clothes on fire.
Who is she? Why is she burning? And what part has Cairo played in her life?
We follow these two characters across a single day in Brexit-era Britain.
'I want to write this book because, like many people, in the days after the referendum I felt angry. But I quickly realized that my anger was different. I was outraged at a reaction which labelled seventeen and a half million people "stupid" or "racist" or simply lacking (too old, too poor, too far away from London, too white). In The Cut, I want to analyse the complex divisions undermining British society. We've been offered too many answers already, this is a story built on questions.' – Anthony Cartwright, author of The Cut
'The result of the EU referendum shocked me. I realized that I had been living in one part of a divided country. What fears – and what hopes – drove my fellow citizens to vote for Brexit? I commissioned Anthony Cartwright to build a fictional bridge between the Britains that opposed each other on referendum day.' – Meike Ziervogel, publisher of The Cut
Who we are, and what we do
Peirene Press is an award-winning publishing house specialising in translated fiction. Whilst European literature is our bread-and-butter, and we will never stray far from it, last year we encountered a challenge. There were books we wanted to see written - urgent, contemporary fiction - that we couldn’t find. Working only with translations meant that if we wanted to publish something on a specific subject, but couldn’t find anything being published in Finland or Spain, let's say, we were stuck. So we decided we needed to launch a new series, in which we would work closely with writers, and commission fiction on current political topics.
Last summer we put out a call asking for book proposals on the subject of the refugee crisis. We wanted something that would take seriously the fears and concerns of people on all sides of the argument. The stand-out proposal came from a writing duo: Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes. Last winter they visited Calais and collected testimonies and stories from refugees living in the camp. Using this experience, and in close collaboration with Peirene publisher Meike Ziervogel, they put together the first Peirene Now! book, breach, which was published in August 2016.
breach was a critical success, called ‘fine, suspenseful fiction springing from human lives in extremis’ in The Guardian and ‘An essential book for our time...fiction as an act of witness, generosity, and yes, love’ by the writer Peter Orner. The reception of the book, and the experience of working on it closely with the authors, confirmed to us at Peirene that this project can do something really interesting, important and different.
Peirene Now! No 2: The Cut
For our second Peirene Now! book, we are again tackling a subject which has dominated the news over the summer, and inspires strong and complex feelings on both sides of the debate: Brexit.
We are delighted that Anthony Cartwright has agreed to write The Cut, inspired by the events surrounding the EU referendum result, to be published on June 23rd 2017, the first anniversary of Brexit. Born in Dudley in 1973, Anthony is the author of four previous novels, most recently Iron Towns (2016), which was praised in both The Guardian (‘Cartwright achieves something bold in Iron Towns: a fictional enactment of communal identity and shared culture...expert, restrained and skilful.’) and The Daily Mail (A gritty, moving elegy for an abandoned, once-thriving section of society’). His first three novels were all shortlisted for various literary awards, and he has also published a collaborative novel with Gianluca Favetto, Il giorno perduto (The Lost Day), released in Italy in 2015. In July 2016 Anthony wrote an article about the referendum result for Granta magazine. Click here to read it. And click here on more information about Anthony.
Whilst journalists and non-fiction writers are busy preparing their responses to the events of this summer, The Cut is the first commissioned work of fiction on the subject to our knowledge. We believe that good literature, by not looking for easy answers, can get closer to the emotional landscape behind the headlines.
Why we need funding
Publishing books is expensive. The up-front costs are high, and there is of course no guarantee that sales will return that money. Usually, our subscription service means that our readers pre-order our series; we can then afford to produce the high-quality, carefully edited books that we do. The Peirene Now! books are a little different. They are not included in our usual series, and so we don’t know how many readers we have until the book is released. As a small publisher, with tight margins, this is a high-risk book for us. But we also believe it is important, and something only a small publisher might be brave enough to do.
We have carefully budgeted our costs for production, and come to the figure requested. This will cover costs for all aspects of book production, such as the author’s advance, the printing costs, design costs and proofreaders fees. It does not pay for our time spent editing the book, or for our marketing and PR costs.
Every pledge of £12 or more will receive a copy of The Cut on publication in June 2017. This is the cover-price of the book, and includes packing & postage. By pledging, you will put yourself at the front of the queue for the book, receiving it before anyone else. Your pledges mean we can press on with the project in confidence and concentrate on creating something special.
Peirene Press is an award-winning boutique publishing house with an extra twist, based in London. We are committed to first class European literature in high-quality translation. Our books are beautifully designed paperback editions, using only the best paper from sustainable British sources. Affordable, timeless collector items. Every year we publish three first-time translations of European novellas, all based around a theme; for example, in 2016 we published our Fairy Tale series, featuring books from Belgium, France and Austria. You can find out more about our series here.
Risks and challenges
Publishing is a risky - and indeed challenging - business these days. We have spent the last 7 years turning Peirene into a sustainable business, publishing each year 3 world-class translations from European literature. However, the Peirene Now! series is a new chapter in our story, and as such we are still building an audience.
This is why we need your help to get us going - once we can produce the first books and be sure of an audience, we see a long and exciting future for the Peirene Now! series.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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