Archives: March 2024

Jonathan Buckley’s TELL reading list

Jonathan Buckley, the 2022 Novel Prize co-winner and author of Tell, published 28 March 2024, shares some books that inspired his novel. To read an extract and order the book visit our website.

Family Lexicon by Natalia Ginzburg, tr. Jenny McPhee (2017) 
‘If read as a history, one will object to the infinite lacunae’, writes Natalia Ginzburg in her preface to this extraordinary, episodic story of her remarkable family. The gaps are a consequence of her exemplary honesty – ‘memory is ephemeral’, as she says, and she resists any inclination to smooth over the unfilled spaces by means of invention.

The Inquisitory by Robert Pinget, tr. Donald Watson (2003)
The narrator of Tell might be a very distant cousin of the protagonist of Pinget’s masterpiece, in which a garrulous manservant is interrogated at length about offences that may or may not have occurred in his employer’s château. The old man puts on a wonderful performance, a torrential recitation that deluges his questioner with more information – or misinformation – than any listener could possibly retain. 

Loving by Henry Green (2011) 
Henry Green is someone to whom I frequently return – he’s a superlative and eccentric craftsman, and he writes dialogue that scintillates. Doting, his final novel, is a Mozartian delight, in which every page consists almost entirely of direct speech, but the Green novel that has closest affinities with the big-house setting of Tell is Loving, a delicious concoction of below-stairs intrigue, gossip and sexual tension.

Lunar Follies by Gilbert Sorrentino (2005)
The narrator of Tell, who is deeply suspicious of the art world in which her employer is a significant player, might relish the virtuosic satire of Sorrentino’s collection of essayistic fictions, which presents us with a gallery of pretentiousness in multitudinous forms, all of them parodied in prose of baroque brilliance.

Not to Disturb by Muriel Spark (2018) 
Muriel Spark is another novelist whose work I read over and over again – I love her extreme concision, the severity of her wit, and her impatience with certain conventions of fiction – her disdain for suspense, for example. Not to Disturb isn’t the most highly regarded of her novels, but it’s one of my favourites. An off-kilter detective story, it’s set in a Swiss mansion, where the Baron and Baroness have shut themselves in the library with their attractive young secretary. Awaiting the inevitable but obscure crime of passion, the servants prepare to cash in on the imminent disaster. Mock-gothic elements are also at work – there’s a lunatic brother in the attic.

Things that Bother Me by Galen Strawson (2018)

I have never been persuaded by the widely accepted idea that one’s life should be understood as a story, and that a sense of oneself as a clearly defined protagonist of that story is essential to a meaningful existence. The narrativist fallacy is one of the topics that philosopher Galen Strawson addresses, with characteristic force and clarity, in this astringent collection. He also discusses the intractable problem of the nature of consciousness – a thing that bothers me too.

Anne de Marcken’s IT LASTS FOREVER AND THEN IT‘S OVER reading list

Anne de Marcken, the 2022 Novel Prize co-winner and author of It Lasts Forever and Then It’s Over, published 7 March 2024, shares some books that inspired her novel. To read an extract and order the book visit our website.

The easiest companion reading list for me to assemble would be made of all the books from which the novel’s eight epigraphs are taken, but that feels like cheating. And really there are so many others – too many others. Here is just a handful specifically to do with monsters, monstrosity and grief:

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (2014)
I think it is the uncanny horror of this book that I love – a confusion between human and other that feels correct.

Autobiography of Red (1998) and Red Doc> (2013) by Anne Carson 
The monster protagonist of Carson’s Herakles retelling(s) exceeds his Western classical function as abject other, yet still lives – loves, suffers, goes on – in the register of mythos. 

Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair (2016)
A book of the body – particular, collective, political, epic – these poems are the monster’s precise indictment of the master. Here are grief and rage.

Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World by Timothy Morton (2013)
We are breathing uncanny air in this time of climate catastrophe. Morton’s idea of the ‘hyperobject’ describes the immanent loss that I can feel in my bones and skin but still fail to grasp, both massive and diffuse, a loss I both suffer and cause.

Incubation: A Space for Monsters by Bhanu Kapil (2006)
A road story and a monster story, this book about moving and belonging between places and categories, can itself not be classified.

Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes, tr. Richard Howard (2012)
When you are grieving, people will give you books about grief. This is the only one I managed to take in at all. Maybe in part because the portions are very small (in grief I have felt like an invalid capable of only the smallest sips), but also because its preoccupation is with what has been lost, not with healing from loss.


Photo of Rebecca Tamás credit Sophie Davidson

Fitzcarraldo Editions has hired Rachael Allen to launch a poetry list in 2025. Allen, who
previously started the poetry list at Granta, where she published authors such as Will Harris
and Sylvia Legris, and who publishes her own poetry with Faber & Faber, will run the new
list alongside editor and production manager Joely Day.

Their first acquisitions include works by Matthew Rice, Sasha Debevec-McKenney, Rebecca
Tamás, Oluwaseun Olayiwola and Pulitzer Prize-winner Diane Seuss. Fitzcarraldo Editions’
poetry list will feature four to six books per year, and will also include poetry in translation.
Art director Ray O’Meara is designing a new series for the list, to be unveiled later this year.

Diane Seuss’s 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning frank: sonnets and her new collection Modern
will debut in the UK as part of the launch list. In frank, Seuss moves nimbly across
thought and time, poetry and punk, AIDS and addiction, and Christ and motherhood, showing
us what we can do, what we can do without, and what we offer to one another when we have
nothing left to spare. Modern Poetry is a personal journey through poetic inheritance, moving
from Keats and Hopkins through to Stevens and Plath. A scholarly upending of literary
histories, it is self-deprecating, witty and formally groundbreaking. Diane Seuss is the author
of six books of poetry. For frank: sonnets, she also won the National Book Critics Circle
Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Prize. She was a 2020
Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2021 she received the John Updike Award from the American
Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Michigan. UK & Commonwealth excluding
Canada rights to both collections were acquired from Katie Dublinski at Graywolf Press.

Oluwaseun Olayiwola’s Strange Beach is a sensual and sensitive collection bridging
transatlantic cultures and foregrounding the semantics and somatics of love. Oluwaseun
Olayiwola is a Nigerian-American dancer, choreographer, poet, and critic based in London.
His poems have been published in the Guardian, Poetry Review and Granta. UK &
Commonwealth exc. Canada rights were acquired from Kirsty McLachlan at Morgan Green
Creatives. Strange Beach will also be published by Mensah Demary at Soft Skull in the US in

Matthew Rice’s Plastic is a book-length poem exploring the life of the industrial worker-
turned-poet, set during a single twelve-hour night shift in an injection moulding factory in
Northern Ireland. Matthew Rice is from Belfast. His first book, The Last Weather
 (Summer Palace Press, 2021) was highly commended in the Forward Prize for Best
First Collection. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s
University, Belfast. World rights were acquired from Rice, with North American rights sold
to Mensah Demary at Soft Skull.

POEMS by American poet Sasha Debevec-McKenney is a subversive collection that skewers
poetic precedent on precarity, race and pop-culture with comedy, craft, softness and sincerity.
Sasha Debevec-McKenney is currently a 2023-2025 Poetry Fellow at Emory University. Her
poems have appeared in the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, The Yale Review,
Granta, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. UK & Commonwealth exc. Canada rights were acquired
from Katie Cacouris at the Wylie Agency.

Rebecca Tamás’s second collection contains three sequences, including a series of poems on
Joan of Arc, and a rewriting of the Arthurian legend of the Fisher King through an ecological
lens. Rebecca Tamás is the author of WITCH (Penned in the Margins) and Strangers (Makina
Books), which was longlisted for the Folio Prize. Rebecca’s writing has appeared in the
Financial Times, Guardian, i, the London Review of Books and Granta. World rights were
acquired from Emma Paterson at Aitken Alexander.
Of joining Fitzcarraldo Editions, Rachael Allen said: ‘I am hugely excited to be making space
for poetry with a list that will publish essential work, at a publisher I have adored and
admired since their beginning. These first poets we are publishing define the form, in
different ways, and are all expansive and generous in their thinking and approach. We will
continue to publish in this way, and the list will be defined by its authors, with ambitious,
innovative and progressive poetry.’
On co-editing the poetry list, Joely Day added: ‘It’s long been a dream of mine to expand the
Fitzcarraldo Editions list to include poetry. I couldn’t be happier to be co-editing the list with
Rachael, whose work at Granta I so admired and whose own poetry I return to often.’

Publisher Jacques Testard said: ‘Rachael Allen is one of the leading poets of her generation
and has been one of the most important publishers of poetry in Britain in the last decade
through her work with Clinic and Granta. I’d always thought that in order to be a serious
publishing house we needed a poetry list, and I’m very excited to see what she and Joely will
be publishing in the coming years.’

The launch of the Fitzcarraldo Editions poetry list is funded by a donation from the T. S. Eliot
Foundation, which recently became a minority shareholder in the publishing house via its
commercial arm, Set Copyrights Limited. Clare Reihill, a trustee of the Foundation, has taken
up a seat on Fitzcarraldo Editions’ board as a non-executive director.

Fitz Carraldo Editions