“Nightjar Press publish chapbooks of individual short stories which are beautifully told, and which unnerve with accumulating, unnerving detail.”
Nightjar Press is an independent publisher specialising in limited edition single short-story chapbooks by individual authors. It is brought to you by the people behind early 1990s British Fantasy Award-winning publisher Egerton Press, responsible for Darklands, Darklands 2 and Joel Lane’s short-story collection The Earth Wire. The publisher and editor is Nicholas Royle, the designer John Oakey.
The nightjar–aka corpse fowl or goatsucker–is a nocturnal bird with an uncanny, supernatural reputation that flies silently at dusk or dawn as it hunts for food. The nightjar is more often heard than seen, its song a series of ghostly clicks known as a churring. In her poem ‘Goatsucker’, Sylvia Plath wrote that the ‘Devil-bird’ flies ‘on wings of witch cloth’.
Why We’re Excited About These Books:
Nightjar Press are the brainchild of author Nicholas Royle. They specialise in releasing limited edition chapbooks of creepy, uncanny fiction. With two new releases this month, it seems the perfect time to recommend this fantastic small press.
The first new release, The Numbers, by Christopher Burns is the story of two brothers and the fallout of their chance meeting. Understated in its telling, it blindsides the reader with a dramatic, implicitly violent twist. Also out this month, Jackdaws, by Neil Campbell is focused on a hiker in the Derbyshire Peak District, a locale impressively realised, with a brooding, haunting atmosphere… To say any more about either tale would be to ruin the effect of first reading. But it can be said that both stories illustrate Nightjar Press’s ethos: short stories beautifully told, which unsettle the reader with accumulating, unnerving detail. Each story is exactly as long as it needs to be and lingers in the mind long after reading.
And there’s plenty more where that came from. If you’re only hearing about Nightjar Press now then you’ve missed out on stories by Michael Marshall Smith, Joel Lane and Alison Littlewood, among others. Sorry. But there are still many fantastic titles available. There’s Alison Moore’s deadpan tale of urban living The Harvestman. There’s Hilary Scudder’s remarkable M, which manages to combine dream-like, surreal imagery with the atmosphere of a John Le Carré thriller. This Is Horror favourite Conrad Williams tackles parental paranoia in the terrifying The Jungle and Elizabeth Stott crafts a tale of as creepy as its title in Touch Me With Your Cold, Hard Fingers. And that’s not even mentioning stories by Tom Fletcher, John D. Rutter and Leone Ross.
Publishers like Nightjar Press represent a vital part of the UK genre scene; here’s hoping they go from strength to strength.