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Best Books 2019 Named By Independent Publishers

Have you ever paid attention while picking a book what publisher it is associated with? More and more these are small presses who outperform the old grands. If you even look at the current longlist of the Man Booker International prize, only two out of 13 titles came not from independent publishers. So there's no surprise that this new publishing force has established the prize of their own and it is called The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses rewarded to the best fiction published by publishers with fewer than 5 full-time employees.

This year the prize was split between two winners: Lucia by Alex Pheby (Galley Beggar Press) and Murmur by Will Eaves (CB Editions).

Fellow judge David Collard commented on Pheby’s book about James Joyce's troubled daughter Lucia: “She spent much of her life locked away in grim institutions. Pheby is a magician and – quite literally and breathtakingly – ushers Lucia’s restless spirit into a serene afterlife through the careful application of Egyptian funerary rituals.”

Judge Catherine Taylor said of Murmur, which reimagines the chemical castration of Alan Turing: “Will Eaves’ playful, fiercely intelligent interpretation of aspects of the life of a character who closely resembles the brilliant, multifaceted Alan Turing is a dreamlike wonder of memory and consciousness. Its ways are mysterious, its effect deepens with every reading.”

Each book receives £3500, split between publisher and author. The award is funded by the University of East Anglia, the Times Literary Supplement, crowdfunding, private donors and an Arts Council England grant.


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