2022 was our second full year as a publisher, and the busiest so far by a distance. We published five books in total, with work ranging from Scots translations of Ancient Chinese poetry to lost essays by one of Scotland’s most remarkable women, to an anthology of work on home and homelessness by some of our country’s leading authors and young people. It was exhausting, wonderful, fulfilling, and we’ll look back on it with pride for years to come.
That all feels a lifetime ago already, though, and now we’re refreshed and looking forward to what’s in store for 2023 with renewed energy. While 2022 saw no outright fiction published, 2023 aims to rectify that. From Amsterdam to Ukraine, Kilmarnock to Berlin, and the Hebrides to the Baltic States, the breadth of work on our 2023 list further fulfills Taproot’s mission to publish Scottish writing that looks outward, discovering connections across borders and defying established boundaries. Smart, stylish, serious – what’s not to love?
But enough from us – read on to find out what’s in store from Taproot Press this year…
Available: 15 March
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction
‘Compelling. Femke is a truly unique and memorable character.’
‘Part self-examination, part literary mystery, Femke looks at desire and obsession, and the power both have over us. For some the hold will be fleeting, but no less potent – for others it will last a lifetime.’
Turn-of-the-century Amsterdam. Femke walks its streets and parks with her loyal dog, Bibi. A daughter of the colonial Dutch, a magnetic personality prone to petit mal seizures and destructive relationships – a liar? This is her story.
After being drawn into the unsettling world of a British filmmaker and his wife, she meets and befriends the ageing Dutch poet, Michiel de Koning. Revelations about De Koning’s past work and involvement with poet-murderer Gerrit Achterberg soon lead Femke to try and track down his mysterious great love and inspiration, ‘M’. Could finding M restore the ailing poet to health? And what else might she discover in the process – about her past, her mother, herself?
With a stellar reputation behind him including the 2014 Hennessy Literary Award, in Femke David Cameron applies his poetic sensibility to a story steeped in real-life literary history, as well as literary allusion. Inspired by the infamous story of Dutch poet-murderer Gerrit Achterberg, whose work has been celebrated by Nobel Prize-winner J.M. Coetzee (Landscape with Rowers, 2014), Femke constructs its own fictional poet in Michiel de Koning, whose mysterious relationship to Achterberg challenges our assumed distinctions between reality and fiction, life and art.
Watch an exclusive trailer for the novel below:
Red Star Over Hebrides
Donald S Murray
Available: June 2023
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories, Poetry
In June 2023 we are delighted to be publishing Red Star Over Hebrides, the latest book by prize-winning writer Donald S. Murray, author of As the Women Lay Dreaming and In a Veil of Mist, and one which reasserts him as one of Scotland’s finest writers working today.
A native of Ness, Lewis, in Red Star Over Hebrides Murray uses short stories and poetry inflected by his own personal experiences to shine a light on the deeply rooted social and cultural connections between the Outer Hebrides and Russia, the Baltic States and even Ukraine and Poland. Historically, there is a huge trading link between the Outer Hebrides and Russia. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Stornoway was the leading herring curing port in Europe. The main markets were in the Baltic states and island and other vessels carried the prized cargo as far as Riga and St Petersburg. Red Star Over Hebrides takes poetic licence in its examination of the social and cultural impact of these links in remarkable and varied work that ranges from everyday naturalism to the surreal.
Available: September 2023
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
‘A finely-drawn portrait of family and memory and history – tender and true.’
‘Thom has an acute eye for the small details.’
J. David Simons
‘A hymn to the foremothers we’ve lost and those who’ve survived.’
A tale of parallel mothers both in search of family that has been taken from them, Connective Tissue tells the story of Helena, a woman living in contemporary Kilmarnock whose baby is born with an undiagnosed form of paralysis, and her grandmother, Dora, a young working-class mother and Jew living in Nazi-era Berlin. Elegantly interweaving these narratives across 20th century Germany, London and 21st century Scotland, Thom crafts a unique and deeply-researched novel from the margins of the Scottish Jewish diaspora that is at once personal and historical, a testament to the enduring strength of familial bonds across generations and our need to know the people and places that make us.
The novel marks a long-awaited sophomore effort by Thom, whose debut novel The Tin-Kin, based in part on her family’s traveller heritage, won the Saltire First Book of the Year award in 2009, and was widely praised by authors including Ali Smith and Janice Galloway. We are honoured to be publishing this outstanding follow-up and can’t wait for it to hit your shelves later this year.
The information above is accurate as of January 22 2023. The details of each book including final covers will be routinely updated, with links to launch events and festival appearances added.