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Introducing Calico, a new book series from Two Lines Press

Cat’s out of the bag, folks.

In March 2020, Two Lines Press will launch a new book series dedicated to capturing vanguard works of translated literature—curated around a particular theme, region, language, historical moment, or style—in vibrant, collectible editions.

We’re calling it Calico. 

Calico is a chance to put our twenty-five years of working with translators to excellent use. It is translators who make this work possible, and with a rolodex thousands of names deep, we are, as always, eager to learn from them what’s being left unread by English readers, what we all most definitely should be reading next. 

“While each Calico book will zoom in on specific styles, topics, and regions, the series will build into a composite portrait of today’s vast and rich literary landscape. What’s more, Calico books explore aspects of the present moment without the usual limitations of book publishing: genre, form, style, or a single author. We asked ourselves: What would we like to read that’s not being published? The result is Calico. We hope you enjoy it too.” —Sarah Coolidge, Associate Editor

The first Calico book, That We May Live: Speculative Chinese Fiction, will be published on March 10th. This book collects seven short stories from mainland China and Hong Kong, all of them erring on the side of the strange, the speculative. Government mushroom housing? It’s got it. Uncanny fermented grandma teas? Oh yeah. An aging newscaster engaged in an illicit affair with her boss, who just so happens to get off to her reading the news? Why, but of course. 

In a country where the government provides one narrative while real life is often very different, That We May Live showcases how the speculative provides cover from which Chinese writers can challenge the government’s story and explore their own—and just how difficult it can be to discern reality from absurdity, comedy from horror. With works from previously untranslated writers and rising stars of international literature—all translated by some of the best Chinese translators around—in addition to being delightfully absorbing, can be thoughtfully uncomfortable reading experience when you look for the truths at the stories’ surreal edges.”

That We May Live features work from Dorothy Tse (translated by Natasha Bruce), Enoch Tam (translated by Jeremy Tiang), Zhu Hui (translated by Michael Day), Chan Chi Wa (translated by Audrey Heijns), Chen Si’an (translated by Canaan Morse) and Yan Ge (translated by Jeremy Tiang).

Calico books will be published biannually. The second, as-of-yet untitled book will publish September 2020 and focus on Arabic poetry that pushes boundaries and defies expectations. Those interested in submitting work for this book can find our call for submissions here.

We’re excited. We hope you are too. For more information about That We May Live, including an excerpt from “Sour Meat” by Dorothy Tse and a complete list of contributors, click here. For media inquiries, contact Sarah Cassavant at [email protected]. For bookseller, library, and academic inquiries, contact Chad Felix at [email protected].