First modern Montenegrin novel published in the UK

Press Release. 11th May, 2011

Istros Books, a new independent publisher set up in 2010 to promote literature from and about South-Eastern Europe, has just released Hansen’s Children by the award-winning Montenegrin author, Ognjen Spahić. Spahić’s novel garnered the prestigious ‘Meša Selimović Prize’ on its original release in 2004, and the recent translation into Romanian earned him the ‘Ovid Festival Prize 2011’.
Set at the end of the 1980s, the book offers us a unique view on the events that changed Europe forever. Following the fates of two hospital patients in a forsaken corner of Romania, Spahić takes us on a journey through the revolution which will change not only our way of seeing this chapter of history, but also challenge how we perceive our own identity. As much about the fall of communism as it is about the continuing disparity between East and West, Hansen’s Children is a highly original story that cannot fail to move you.

This year is proving to be an important one for Spahić, with French and Italian editions of Hansen’s Children published alongside the English version, and a Spanish translation due out in 2012. The popularity of the book proves the growing appreciation of an emerging group of contemporary writers from the region who have left behind the constraints of the old system and are putting down strong roots in new democracies as modern European writers.

With a continuing focus on the newly formed state of Montenegro, Istros Books will be launching a second title from the region later this year: a Mediterranean thriller with a touch of magical realism. Andrej Nikolaids’ The Coming promises to be a tasty alternative in a market perhaps over-satiated with the Scandinavian crime fiction glut.