Short-story Collections to Look For in 2014: ‘The Book of Gaza’ and ‘Iraq Plus 100’

Two exciting short-story collections are forthcoming in 2014 from Comma Press, one of the leading publishers of the short arts, one from Gaza and another from Iraq a hundred years in the future:

downloadThe Book of Gaza – A City Through Short Fiction, edited by Atef Abu Seif.

The collection, which is set for an October 2014 release, promises short work by  Zaki Al Ela, Mona Abu Sharikh, Abdallah Tayeh, Talal Abu Shawish, Asma Al Ghul, and others. Comma Press promises:

Bringing together ten of Palestine’s greatest modern prose writers, this anthology sets contemporary stories against the backdrop of one of the world’s most talked-about cities, presenting them in English translation for the first time. Together, these stories will enable English-speaking readers to sides-step the global media coverage, and enter into the daily life of ordinary characters struggling to live with dignity in what is effectively the world’s largest prison.

Also: An interview and two stories from Atef Abu Seif.

Iraq Plus 100, edited by Hassan Blasim.

This ambitious collection, set for a November 2014 release, features Ali Bader, Abdul Rahman Al Housih, Kusay Salih Hussain, Khaled Kaki, and others. According to Comma:

Perhaps one of Comma’s most daring commissions to date, this anthology features ten Iraqi authors offering visions of their cities in the year 2103 – one hundred years after the American-led invasion. As well as offering a snapshot of some of the most exciting Iraqi authors working today, it also presents a unique insight into the far-reaching, long-term consequences of war. As with all great science-fiction, the future very often acts as merely a canvas for addressing the present in new ways.

Barring some horrible error at the printers, both will certainly be worth having.

Both were in “part 2” of English PEN’s publishers’ highlights list for 2014. Other titles that touch on the region is Boualem Sansal’s Harraga, translated from the French by Frank Wynne, due out in November from Bloomsbury. And another to have is Africa 39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara, due out from Bloomsbury in October.