Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter

Congratulations to Angela Slatter on her recent success in the Aurealis Awards. In the Best Collection shortlist of five, Angela had two books: Sourdough and Other Stories (Tartarus) and The Girl With No Hands (Ticonderoga). The judges gave the prize to The Girl With No Hands, but in their report said of Sourdough by Angela Slatter:
 
"Sourdough is probably the most exquisitely produced and packaged collection of the year. The artifact produced is a credit to Tartarus Press and the quality of the inter-linked fairy-tale-esque stories is a credit to Slatter’s prowess as a short story writer." 

Sourdough was Angela's first collection (by a matter of days!), and we first came across her work when she submitted her story "Sistser Sister" to Strange Tales III. This was also shortlisted in the Aurealis Awards, and lost out to -- Angela Slatter (with Lisa Hannett, for "The February Dragon"). 

Angela was recently a featured author in Black Static. Peter Tennant wrote:"With their larger than life characters and the beautiful, evocative writing, the intricate plotting that continually reinvents itself and twists back on what has gone before, these are wonderful stories from a writer who appeals to both the emotions and the intellect. Sourdough and Other Stories was one of the best books I read in 2010, and it’s work from a writer whose career is just beginning. . . . Tartarus have done Slatter proud with a truly sumptuous volume. Sourdough is a beautiful book, one that gets its collector’s edition status and price tag on merit and not simply by virtue of being signed by whomever or number whatever of a limited edition."
The constituent parts of Sourdough and Other Stories, before assembly.
Because there is something rather magical about Angela's work, we wanted to create a magical book. We had already worked with the artist Stephen Clark, and asked him to illustrate the title story for the jacket. When it arrived we knew that it also had to be added as a full-colour frontispiece to do the picture justice. Then we realised the possibility of using the design for the boards... Stephen simplified his design, and then we broke it up into three separate images to create three brasses, each of which stamped the design with a different coloured metal foil:

The three images.

The book was printed and bound by Biddles in Norfolk, who consistently do a great job for us. 

Sourdough has been a great success, and in years to come, when Angela is an established writer the book will probably be horribly collectable. But no matter what fun we had in creating the book, it is essentially down to the writing, as the following reviews attest:

"Slatter displays a rare gift for evocative and poetic prose." - Publishers Weekly
 "The sixteen stories contained within this collection attests to both Slatter’s storytelling and her consistency in creating entertaining tales with deep, almost primeval, resonances." - Simon Marshall-Jones, Beyond Fiction
 "Slatter’s fairy tales have a ravishing quality which leaves the reader totally spellbound by their elegance and imaginative power." Mario Guslandi, Bookgeeks"This book is a fantastic achievement on every level." Alan Baxter, The Word
 "Slatter’s writing is exquisite and very vivid, she really is a master storyteller. " - Scott Wilson, The Fringe
 "I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dark fiction, fairytales, strange tales, elegant horror, or anyone who likes stories with strong women protagonists and good characterization." - She Never Slept

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