CB editions publishes short fiction, poetry, translations and other work which, as the Guardian noted, ‘might otherwise fall through the cracks between the big publishers’. The first four books were published in November 2007. CBe titles have won a fiction prize, a translation prize and three poetry prizes, and have been shortlisted for other awards. An overview of CBe (‘if it began as a publisher of last resort, it has become one of first-class tastes’), published in the online Guardian in 2011, can be read here.
May-Lan Tan grew up in Hong Kong, where her family had migrated from Indonesia. She lived in Northern California before before moving to London to study art at Goldsmiths. Things to Make and Break (CB editions, 2014), her first collection of short stories, was shortlisted for the 2014 Guardian First Book Award, having entered the longlist as a readers’ choice.
Gordon Lish: ‘So here is what I, my having just two seconds ago finished getting myself jazzed crazy by Things to Make and Break, am wagering when it comes to May-Lan Tan – to wit, that some smart gobbet of the populace will, five years hence, be found entering her name onto a list of those whose first-hand reports from the interior can be counted upon when, at the world-wide betting window, it’s time to risk what’s left of time. Nah, I’ve reconsidered – make it two and a half years.’
‘That May-Lan Tan was shortlisted for the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award is surprising. She does not write badly about sex –she writes very well about bad sex, which is not the same thing. And not only bad sex – it’s sometimes disturbing, sometimes funny, always refreshingly explicit and, in one episode, spell-bindingly weird and transgressive. And she writes in character, often with quite dazzling ventriloquial skill … Tan is a cinematic writer in the same way some directors are literary – think of David Lynch at his most Guignol.’ – David Collard, Times Literary Supplement
‘This kind of writing is a serious turn-on.’ – Lucy Jeynes, Bare Fiction
‘A fantastic introduction to a writer in the process of teaching us new ways of reading.’ – Tobias Carroll, Volume 1 Brooklyn
Matthew Siegel is a poet and essay-writer who lives in San Francisco. His first poetry collection, Blood Work, won the Felix Pollak Prize, and was published in the US by the University of Wisconsin Press in early 2015 and in the UK by CB editions.
‘Siegel’s poems see the world with an immediacy and compassion that could only come from the decision to be vulnerable. It’s such a simple-seeming principle of poetry – yet it is as rare as hen’s teeth.’ – Tony Hoagland
‘A book that simultaneously tickles you and shakes you by the scruff of your neck.’ – Lucia Perillo
‘The deceptive directness of Siegel’s debut is remarkable; in his capable hands, illness reveals how barely contained any human being is, and how we reach, alone and together, for whatever will hold us.’ – Mark Doty
Julian Stannard is a poet who teaches at Winchester University. His several books include a study of Basil Bunting (2014) and, as co-editor, The Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann (CB editions, 2013). His most recent poetry collections are The Parrots of Villa Gruber Discover Lapis Lazuli (2011) and The Street of Perfect Love (2014). His next collection, What Were You Thinking?, will be published by CB editions in early 2016.
‘There’s an air of luxurious melancholy about these poems, a languid play of feelings and associations, that sets them wholly against the uptight, earnest strain in British writing and that appeals to me warmly. They can be very funny, too.’ – Christopher Reid