Short Stories 2020
Anthologies of short stories published in the UK
First short-story collection from the Syrian-born writer raised in the US, who now lives in Manchester, explores the many ways people can be displaced and made to feel “other”.
Picador, £12.99, 28th May 2020, 9781529029895
Collection of 12 short stories that confront what it means to have a body. The narrators “battle with inhabiting a form that makes them feel deeply uncomfortable and detached, constantly challenging the limits of gender and reality as they try to connect with other people and with themselves,” says the publisher.
Cipher Press, £9.99, 6th August 2020, 9781916355309
“Twisted, exhilarating and darkly strange vision of our time” told in 13 interconnected stories; including a young man who decides to transition from an analogue body to a digital existence. Eight of the stories have already been optioned for TV or film: “Life Sentence” has been optioned by Netflix, which paid a reported six figures after a nine-way auction.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, £14.99, 4th August 2020, 9781526618382
London-based indie Influx Press published Attrib and Other Stories by Eley Williams to huge acclaim, here’s another collection it is tipping for great things: one of short stories which draw on the human need to be in control, no matter what the cost.
Influx Press, £7.99, 20th February 2020, 9781910312476
Nine stories exploring the often unseen tenderness of black men and boys. “Not only heralds the arrival of a fully formed, entirely distinctive new voice, but reinvigorates the short story itself,” said the Observer.
Profile Books Ltd, £8.99, 4th June 2020, 9781788163224
A woman granted a superpower discovers it’s more trouble than it’s worth; a neighbour forum becomes the setting for a bizarre ghost story; and a harassed dad attempts the primary school cake competition.
Sandstone Press Ltd, £8.99, 23rd January 2020, 9781912240876
A collection of new Irish short stories, including work from Eimear McBride, Lisa McInerney and Sally Rooney.
Faber & Faber, £9.99, 7th May 2020, 9780571354108
Exquisite collection of short stories from the author of Multitudes and editor of Being Various. The unifying theme is the young women trying to find their place in the world. As a parent of young children, the opening story sent my heart plummeting into my stomach. She’s such a good writer.
Faber & Faber, £12.99, 4th June 2020, 9780571353743
Short-story collection which “draws back the curtain on the realities of modern China”. A brother competes for gaming glory while his twin sister exposes the dark side of the Communist government on her underground blog. A worker at a government call-centre is alarmed one day to find herself speaking to a former lover.
Scribner UK, £14.99, 4th February 2021, 9781471190599
Set in various cities around the world—Hong Kong, New York, London, Ipoh and Singapore—these stories explore the Singaporean-Malaysian diaspora and those who are torn between different cultures. “Full of verve and wit”, says Monica Ali.
Myriad Editions, £8.99, 23rd January 2020, 9781912408368
Twenty-eight women from 28 countries share their vision for the future of Europe. Includes short stories and literary essays from contributors including Lela Slimani. .
Comma Press, £12.99, 12th March 2020, 9781912697298
Ten stories (ranging from crime to SFF) from writers associated with the single largest city in the world (over 24 million residents) once known as the “Paris of the East” and now China’s cultural capital.
Comma Press, £9.99, 6th February 2020, 9781912697274
First collection of short stories featuring characters from the much-loved novel My Name is Leon. De Waal is also the author of The Trick to Time. BookScan
Penguin Books Ltd, £8.99, 21st July 2020, 9780241973424
A collection of short stories from the Northern Irish writer, “every bit as good as her early stories in the always astute Stinging Fly magazine promised”, said the New Statesman of this collection.
Picador, £8.99, 25th June 2020, 9781529017076
A library in Brittany houses manuscripts that were rejected for publication, until young editor Delphine finds one so powerful she takes it back to Paris to publish it. The book is a sensation-but who is the mysterious author, one Henri Pick? First title in a new collaboration with Channel 4’s Walter Presents will be supported by a PR and marketing campaign.
Pushkin Press, £9.99, 7th May 2020, 9781782275824
New collection from the Pulitzer-winning writer tells of great moments in small lives. A group of middle-aged friends reunite for dinner when one loses her husband, but bitter revelations about their shared past emerge. A divorced suburban dad helps his daughter pick out a card for her friend who is moving away.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, £16.99, 14th May 2020, 9781526620026
An illustrated, modern retelling of the classic fables. “A reminder that adult minds were originally the target of this litany of pocket-sized parables,” said the Sunday Independent.
Head of Zeus, £9.99, 9th January 2020, 9781789542622
Debut collection of interconnected short stories set on a fictional west London council estate. It examines the complex inner lives of working-class men struggling with the concept of masculinity.
Dialogue Books, £14.99, 13th February 2020, 9780349701134
Published for the first time in the UK, the “sharp, bittersweet” stories of Howland (1937-2017), a working-class single mother who was recognised as a major writer in her native US after three books, but who disappeared from public view. One for fans of Lydia Davis and Alice Munro says Picador.
Picador, £12.99, 9th July 2020, 9781529035827
A collection of stories set in modern Britain but inspired by Greco-Roman myth, the Bible and folklore, from the Samuel Johnson Prize-winning author of The Pike. “Hughes-Hallett uses myth to get at the shimmering violence underneath the dowdy trappings of little England,” said the TLS.
Fourth Estate Ltd, £8.99, 11th June 2020, 9780008334888
With foreword by 2019 Women’s Prize-winner Tayari Jones, this collection from Hurston (1881-1960), one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance, is about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism. Includes eight “lost” and previously unpublished stories by “one of the greatest writers of our time”, according to Toni Morrison.
HQ, £12.99, 20th February 2020, 9780008374716
Billed as a “quirky and magical” collection, these stories were inspired by the author’s stint as a bookseller at Mr B’s Emporium in Bath: “I began to see how books become our ‘escape routes’ out of the ordinary world-out of drudgery, mundanity, out of set ways of thinking and our own emotional limitations.” She is also the daughter of Nobel-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro.
Tinder Press, £14.99, 6th February 2020, 9781472264855
Grin (pronounced Green) is one of Russia’s most enduringly popular writers, I’m told, although he remains little translated into English. To rectify that, Columbia University Press has brought together Grin’s best stories, which it claims are comparable to Robert Louis Stevenson and Edgar Allan Poe.
Columbia University Press, £13.99, 7th January 2020, 9780231189774
I loved Strange Weather in Tokyo and The Nakano Thrift Shop, so I’m looking forward to this collection of micro-fiction, known in Japan as “palm of the hand” stories. An old man has two shadows, one docile, one rebellious; two girls named Yoko are locked in a bitter rivalry to the death.
Granta Books, £12.99, 6th August 2020, 9781846276989
First published in 1964, the first collection of short stories from the African-American author (1937-2017) of A Different Drummer and A Drop of Patience. BookScan
riverrun, £8.99, 6th August 2020, 9781787478053
Collection of short stories from the reliably brilliant Kennedy, twice selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and winner of the Costa Book of the Year for Day. “Wry, caustic and unsparing,” says Cape. BookScan
Jonathan Cape Ltd, £16.99, 2nd April 2020, 9781787331822
Eight new stories from Kureishi in this well-reviewed collection.
Faber & Faber, £14.99, 15th November 2010, 9780571249824
A new collection of short stories from the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014.
Oneworld Publications, £8.99, 7th May 2020, 9781786077769
Collection of “interlacing” tales of men and women facing the mysteries and magic of the world. A doctor is beset by seizures, in which he is possessed by a second, perhaps better version of himself. A telegraph operator finds an unexpected companion in the middle of the Amazon.
Mantle, £14.99, 12th May 2020, 9781529038491
Selected short stories from the Northern Irish writer, shortlisted for the Booker three times and author of The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, published in advance of the centenary of his birth in 2021.
Turnpike Books, £10.00, 1st May 2020, 9781916254701
Summerwater is set in a rainy Scottish campsite over the course of a single day and night at the height of summer. The inhabitants of six tatty cabins, cooped up with their families, are mostly stuck inside owing to the bad weather, with not much to do except watch the other residents. As we move around the cabins, and listen in to characters ranging from young children to teenagers, to middle-aged parents and elderly retirees, it becomes clear that there are deep divisions; by age, or class, or along political lines (this is very much a post-Brexit novel). One family-a mother and her daughter-wearing the wrong clothes, behaving the “wrong” way, do not fit in. There is a sense of unease from the beginning of the novel, that builds -almost imperceptibly-to a deafening thrum of dread, and by the time I reached the end of the novel I could hardly breathe. So, so good.
Picador, £14.99, 20th August 2020, 9781529035438
First UK publication for these short stories from cult Australian author Murnane, originally published from 1985 to 2012.
And Other Stories, £12.99, 27th February 2020, 9781911508649
Second collection of six short stories from the Mexico City-based writer. “Nettel’s eye slightly deforms things and gives rise to tension, subtle but persistent, that immerses us in an uncomfortable reality, disquieting, even disturbing-a gaze that illuminates her prose like an alien sun shining down on our world,” says Valeria Luiselli (The Lost Children Archive).
Seven Stories Press UK, £9.99, 13th August 2020, 9780995580725
Short story collection from the Danish Booker International Prize shortlistee (Mirror, Shoulder, Signal) is “a series of intimate, psychologically acute portraits of individuals in states of emotional crisis”.
Pushkin Press, £9.99, 23rd April 2020, 9781782275503
Twelve short stories from the Costa-shortlisted Irish writer spanning a century and two continents and exploring “the resilience of the human heart and its ability to keep beating even in the wake of grief, trauma and lost love”.
Jonathan Cape Ltd, £14.99, 7th January 2020, 9781787330900
A new collection of short stories from the Booker winner.
Head of Zeus, £8.99, 7th May 2020, 9781789544619
A collection of short stories from authors including A L Kennedy, Will Self and Lionel Shriver, put together by the director of the Pin Drop storytelling studio.
Simon & Schuster Ltd, £8.99, 1st March 2019, 9781471147333
One for fans of Carmen Maria Machado; a collection of short stories about the ache of first love, the scourge of addiction and the banality of self-loathing. “Exhilarating, enchanting, charming and irresistible… this is real-deal fiction” found the LA Times.
Atlantic Books, £8.99, 6th August 2020, 9781838951290
This debut short story collection about infidelity, faith and family was called “passionate, sensuous, savagely intense and remarkable” by the New York Times.
Picador, £8.99, 9th January 2020, 9781509859009
A collection of nine short stories, united by a crumbling apartment building in Ukraine, which span the chaotic years leading up to and immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Brilliant and bitingly funny,” says Virago.
Virago Press Ltd, £14.99, 7th May 2020, 9780349012704
The short story collection featuring the record-breaking “Cat Person”, which became the New Yorker’s most read short story ever, with more than 2.6 million hits and counting. Published as You Know You Want This in hardback, the Times said that “‘it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself thumping someone’s dinner table vigorously as you discuss [this]… Roupenian’s latest tales are sexy, chilling and disturbingly gruesome in finest fairytale tradition”. HBO has greenlit the development of Cat Person and Other Stories into an anthology drama series. An eye-catching cover.
Vintage, £8.99, 6th February 2020, 9781784709204
The latest from tiny indie Blue Mark Books was written entirely on train journeys, and is billed as a “hauntingly descriptive poetic-prose tapestry of fairytale fragments”.
Blue Mark Books, £12.99, 7th May 2020, 9781910369203
First collection of short stories from a Tottenham-born clinicial psychologist and magistrate, set on Broadwater Farm, “one of the most notorious housing estates in Britain”. Onjali Q Raf is a fan.
Fairlight Books, £8.99, 3rd September 2020, 9781912054572
“Original and satirical” collection of 10 stories which tell of people attempting to use technology to escape their uncontrollable feelings of grief, rage or despair, only to reveal their most flawed and human selves.
Picador, £12.99, 6th August 2020, 9781529041453
Debut collection from the Dublin-based writer. A woman orders a sex doll for her husband’s birthday. A married couple take turns to sit in an electric chair. Kevin Barry is a fan: “A unique imagination.”
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £14.99, 23rd July 2020, 9781474618489
Mary Gaitskill rates this debut collection-“poignant and deceptively quiet stories… powerhouses of feeling and depth”-from the Canadian poet who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. She captures the day-to-day lives of immigrants in a nameless city, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, and pursuit of a place to belong.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, £14.99, 16th April 2020, 9781526610430
Next in Comma’s popular Reading the City series turns to “the original northern powerhouse”, with contributions from poets and novelists inspired by the city. Edited by the Costa Short Story Award-winning Readman, this will be launched at Books on Tyne: The Newcastle Book Festival.
Comma Press, £9.99, 17th January 2020, 9781905583102
Fifteen stories of women, from teenage to elderly, who are trying to be themselves while clowning around for others. At the centre of each story is a woman engaged in an act of self-preservation, says Myriad.
Myriad Editions, £8.99, 26th March 2020, 9781912408382
A debut short story collection about a young generation of Chinese Millennials, called “striking, soulful and ablaze with promise” by the Observer.
Atlantic Books, £12.99, 6th June 2019, 9781786497413
One of Barack Obama’s favourite books of last year, this collection of short stories follows a young man finding his place in Houston. “A stunning work of art from a young writer with immense talent and a rare sense of compassion, and one of the strongest literary debuts in several years,” said the US’ National Public Radio.
Atlantic Books, £8.99, 4th June 2020, 9781786497864
Reality-twisting stories about the human thirst for connection amid rapid technological advancement: a man is given a choice to have his trauma surgically removed; a mourning daughter brings her dead mother back as a hologram-but the source material isn’t quite right.
The Text Publishing Company, £10.99, 4th February 2020, 9781922268549
Short story collection from the Swedish writer which “probes, with savage honesty, the choices we make when we believe no one is watching”. An underemployed chef is pulled into the escalating violence of his neighbour’s makeshift porn channel. A hose pumping cava through the maquette of a giant penis becomes a murder weapon in the hands of a disaffected housewife.
And Other Stories, £10.00, 4th August 2020, 9781911508809