The upcoming season is rich with strong titles from independent and university presses. Here are 20, for adults and kids, to put on your radar.


Fieldwork: A Forager’s Memoir

Iliana Regan (Jan. 24, $27)

Announced first printing: 10,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Promotions with MIBA/GLIBA; prepublication advertising.

Regan, a Michelin-starred chef and the author of Burn the Place, a 2019 National Book Award nominee, returns with another memoir. After her debut’s success, she and her partner created a culinary destination, the Milkweed Inn, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Here she examines her journey from her roots on a rural Indiana farm to her return to the forest.


Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We’ll Win Them Back

Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow (Sept. 20, $26.95)

Announced first printing: 30,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Promotion to Doctorow’s website and social media; national print, online, and trade advertising.

Scholar Giblin and activist Doctorow examine the plight of creative workers, whom they believe are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by Big Tech and Big Media, to argue that creators and producers aren’t adequately rewarded for their original content. Rather, corporate giants and middlemen use their disproportionate power to reap the rewards.


Piet Mondrian: A Life

Hans Jessen (Sept. 27, $50)

Jessen, former chief curator at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag, offers the first comprehensive biography of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian to be translated into English. Mondrian’s progression—from representational painting, to abstract painting, to leading the De Stijl movement—had a profound impact on 20th-century art. The author uses his own research; previously unknown letters, writings, and archival materials; and the work of other scholars to explore the life of this pivotal artist.

Dorothy Books

Some of Them Will Carry Me

Giada Scodellaro (Oct. 11, $16.95 trade paper)

Announced first printing: 5,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Prepublication excerpts in Astra, Bomb, Granta (online), Harper’s, and the New Yorker (online).

In her debut story collection, Scodellaro takes a collage approach to exploring what it means to be a Black woman. She pulls from social commentary, surrealism, recipes, folklore, and art, as well as the imagery of European films of the 1960s, to create new fictions.


Life Is Everywhere

Lucy Ives (Oct. 4, $18 trade paper)

Announced first printing: 10,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Book tour with stops in Boston, Chicago, Iowa City, L.A., and N.Y.C.

Taking a “novel-within-a-novel” approach, Ives follows graduate student Erin Adamo over the course of a single night. After her husband leaves her and she is locked out of her apartment, Erin takes refuge in the university’s library, where she digs into her own manuscripts as well as one of a faculty member who has recently become embroiled in a scandal. Erin has no idea what the next steps in her suddenly upended life might be, but she senses that the manuscripts will guide her forward.


Deer Man

Geoffroy Delorme, trans. from the French by Shaun Whiteside (Oct. 27, $26.95)

Announced first printing: 10,000

In what PW’s review called a “poignant debut” in which “nature lovers will delight,” Delorme describes becoming a creature of the forest, working to blend in with the deer without disrupting them, and living without a tent or sleeping bag. Booksellers have already begun to offer their accolades: “It’s just beautiful,” says Anne Whalen of the Brown University Bookstore in Providence, R.I.


In the Black Fantastic

Ekow Eshun (Sept. 9, $39.95)

Announced first printing: 40,000

Eshun recycles and reconfigures elements of folklore, science fiction, spiritual traditions, ceremonial pageantry, and the legacies of Afrofuturism in this exploration of Black culture. The three sections—“Invocation,” “Migration,” and “Liberation”—feature works from leading artists such as Ellen Gallagher, Chris Ofili, and Kara Walker, and dozens of others, and celebrate the ways that Black artists draw inspiration from African myths, beliefs, and knowledge systems.

New Press

Who’s Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children

Susan Linn (Sept. 20, $27.99)

Announced first printing: 25,000

In its starred review, PW called this “must-read” for parents and educators “a stunning examination of how marketing, technology, and consumer capitalism impact the well-being of children.” Linn shows how the increasingly digitized world is damaging to children and delivers an lucid critique of the ways the social media, toy, and tech industries strive to influence children’s development and turn them into lifelong consumers.

Rowman & Littlefield

Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia

Natasha Lance Rogoff (Oct. 15, $26.95)

Announced first printing: 10,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Author appearance at the Boston Book Festival.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the timing appeared perfect to bring Sesame Street to millions of children in former Soviet satellites. American producer Rogoff saw the Muppets as ideal ambassadors of Western values, but as she relates in what our starred review called a “thrilling debut,” she and her team faced challenging and dangerous obstacles once on the ground, including bombings, assassinations, and a military takeover of the company’s production office.

Seven Stories

Getting Lost

Annie Ernaux, trans. from the French by Alison Strayer (Sept. 27, $18.95 trade paper)

Announced first printing: 20,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Excerpt in the Paris Review; virtual event with filmmaker Audrey Diwan.

One of France’s most acclaimed authors, Ernaux here presents the diary she kept during the year and a half when she had a clandestine affair with a younger, married Russian diplomat. The story was told in her novel Simple Passion, but here she is unfiltered as she recounts how her entire being rested on the expectations of encounters with her lover. PW’s review called it “scintillating” and “astonishingly candid.”

Soft Skull

The Survivalists

Kashana Cauley (Jan. 10, $27)

Publicity and marketing highlights: Dinner speaker at Winter Institute, IndieNext campaign, advertising on social media, virtual author events.

In this darkly humorous novel, Cauley spins a tale about Aretha, a habitually single Black lawyer, who has had only one obsession in life: success. Then she falls for a coffee entrepreneur and—after moving in with him and his illegal-gun-stockpiling, optimized-soy-protein-eating, bunker-building roommates—finds that her dreams of making partner are slipping away.

Soho Crime

Sinister Graves

Marcie R. Rendon (Oct. 11, $27.95)

Announced first printing: 50,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Appearance at New England booksellers’ dinner, in-person author tour, ABA Whitebox mailing.

Pinckley Prize–winner Rendon serves up the third installment in the Cash Blackbear mystery series. Set in the 1970s on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, it follows Cash, a young Ojibwe woman, as she hunts down the truth about the mysterious disappearances of Native girls and their newborns . “Yes! Cash Blackbear is back. This character has stayed with me for years,” says Audrey Huang of Belmont Books in Belmont, Mass. “I’m thrilled that the series is continuing.”

Tin House

When They Tell You to Be Good: A Memoir

Prince Shakur (Oct. 4, $27.95)

Announced first printing: 20,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Launch event at Two Dollar Radio in Columbus, Ohio, in conversation with Hanif Abdurraqib; event at P&T Knitwear in N.Y.C., cosponsored by PEN America Prison and Justice Writing; Litquake, San Francisco, in conversation with Bay area poet, James Cagney.

In 1995, after immigrating to the U.S. from Jamaica with his family, Shakur learned of the murder of his biological father. As family secrets emerge in the wake of the death, Shakur traces his journey from coming of age as a queer closeted kid to becoming an American journalist, organizer, and activist. “Beautiful, essential, and full of truth, Prince Shakur has restored my faith in the memoir,” says Javier Ramirez of Chicago’s Exile in Bookville.

Univ. of California

License to Travel: A Cultural History of the Passport

Patrick Bixby (Oct. 25, $24.95)

Announced first printing: 8,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Advertising in the Atlantic, Bookforum, the Nation, NYRB, and Smithsonian; Amazon A+ page.

Reaching back millennia, from ancient Egypt through the dynastic eras of China and up to contemporary border and security controls, Bixby offers a history of the passport and an examination of the power they carry, both for the bearer and the issuer. As well, he surveys travel documents of renowned figures including Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, David Bowie, Elon Musk, Salmon Rushdie, and Ai Weiwei.

Univ. of Chicago

Hilma af Klint

Julia Voss (Oct. 27, $35)

Announced first printing: 9,550

Publicity and marketing highlights: Author events in North America, including a Roundtable at the 92Y in N.Y.C., and Europe.

This is the first biography of Hilma af Klint, whose 2018 exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum was the most attended show in the museum’s history. Though male painters such as Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian declared themselves the inventors of abstraction, Klint’s earliest nonrepresentational works predate them, and she is now widely considered to be one of Europe’s first abstract painters.

Univ. of North Carolina Wilmington

Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic

Edited by Valerie Boyd (Nov. 15, $18.95 trade paper)

Announced first printing: 10,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Launch event with the book’s contributors and the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, into which Boyd was inducted just before her death in February.

The last project by Boyd—a scholar of the Black archive, founder of the University of Georgia’s MFA program in narrative nonfiction, biographer of Zora Neale Hurston and editor of Alice Walker’s journals—is an anthology of essays by Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Deesha Philyaw, Jason Reynolds, and Alice Walker, among others. It sprang from Boyd’s desire to bring together the voices of those affected by the pandemic and systemic racism, which she also identifies as a pandemic.

Yale Univ.

Cleopatra: Her History, Her Myth

Francine Prose (Nov. 8, $26)

In Prose’s fresh look at Cleopatra, one of three launch titles in Yale’s new Ancient Lives series, she reinterprets the myths surrounding Cleopatra to cast new light on the Egyptian queen and her legacy. Delving into ancient Greek and Roman literary sources, as well as modern representations of Cleopatra in art, theater, and film, Prose questions what it has meant for the global understanding of Cleopatra to have had her story told by writers who had a political agenda and who distrusted her motives, and by historians who believed she was a liar.


Minedition US

City Under the City

Dan Yaccarino (Nov. 15, $17.99)

Announced first printing: 30,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Indie Next Campaign, digital advertising, downloadable activity sheets, and author events.

Yaccarino offers an adventure set in an imagined alternate future. Bix lives with her family in a city where people rarely talk or play together, and no longer read books. Instead, they stare at screens, monitored by giant eyeballs that help with everything. But Bix discovers another world: the City Under the City. There, she befriends a rat who leads her to a library and its treasure trove of books and knowledge. Kristin Vlahos of the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver calls it “a perfect adventure book to help illustrate the need to get off screens, spend time with loved ones, to appreciate reading and what books can do, and independence.” Ages 4–8.


Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice

Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes, illus. by Dawud Anyabwile (Sept. 27, $22.95; $17.95 trade paper)

Announced first printing: 50,000

In this graphic memoir, Olympic gold medalist Smith recounts the story of his history-making medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, during which he and John Carlos stood on the podium and raised their fists to protest racial injustice. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships. It is cowritten with Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Honor recipient Barnes and illustrated by Emmy Award–winning illustrator Anyabwile. Ages 13–up.


Wombat Said Come In

Carmen Agra Deedy, illus. by Brian Lies (Oct. 11, $18.99)

Announced first printing: 50,000

Publicity and marketing highlights: Author appearances at ALA and other shows, readaloud kit with book in White Box mailing, collectable signed and numbered prints for booksellers, consumer advertising.

When a wildfire breaks out, a somewhat fussy Wombat offers his cozy underground home as a refuge to his animal neighbors, though he would rather be snuggled under his blanket with a cup of tea. Nevertheless he welcomes a wallaby, a kookaburra, a platypus, a koala, and a sugar glider. Fortunately, he knows it’s okay to encourage his guests to go home when it’s safe to do so. However, when Wombat learns that Sugar Glider has no home to go to, Wombat invites the critter to become his roommate. Alisa Edwards of Napa Bookmine in Napa, Calif., calls it a “clever and tenderhearted tale” that’s “good for kicking off a discussion about wildfires, Australia, and Australian wildlife.” Ages 4–8.