Company Profile

Imaginative life. More flavour.

‘Salt is essential seasoning in the world of British books. A fine, independent list, published with great spirit.’ —Robert McCrum, Associate Editor, Observer

Salt is one of UK’s foremost independent publishers, committed to the discovery and publication of contemporary British literature. We are advocates for writers at all stages of their careers and ensure that diverse voices can be heard in an abundant, global marketplace. 

We believe books are key to developing an imaginative life, and that the imagination is key to being fully human. We intend to make a positive difference to readers’ lives.

We also believe books cannot succeed without being discovered and we invest heavily in finding audiences through direct engagement, through the quality of our editing, design and manufacturing, and though creative sales, communication and publicity. Good publishing is participative and inclusive, yet dependent on judgement and, of course, on you the reader. 

Salt was founded in Cambridge in 1999. Our first publications were poetry and we rapidly developed an award-winning international list. We went on to win the Nielsen Innovation Award in the IPG’s Independent Publishing Awards in 2008 for our work in taking poetry to new audiences. Salt’s publishing soon expanded to include children’s poetry, Native American poetry, Latin American poetry in translation, poetry criticism, essays, literary companions, biography, theatre studies, writers’ guides and poetry chapbooks as well as a ground-breaking series of eBook novellas. By the end of 2010 we had published over 1,000 products and sold them internationally.

In 2011 we moved our administrative base to Cromer and began to focus our efforts on developing our fiction and short story lists, gradually moving away from publishing in other genres. Since that time we have achieved considerable critical success in numerous literary awards including winning the Polari First Book Prize (twice), the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award (twice) and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Most notably, we have been nominated twice for the Man Booker Prize.

Today, Salt is considered one of UK’s leading independent publishers – a small business that has an international impact.

What’s in a name?

‘Salt is born of the purest of parents: The sun and the sea.’ —Pythagoras

Salt’s administrative base currently lies in the seaside town of Cromer and you might imagine that this location, like the quote above, had some special significance, but our name has many connotations.

For example, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, arose from the sea and is often described as ‘the salt-born’. She is frequently depicted carrying a small bag of salt and her followers did the same in ancient temples. Salt and its symbolism permeates the ancient world, a world of myths and stories.

Of course, as a mineral, salt is an essential nutrient for human health and, for the publishing team here at Salt, we think books are, too. You simply can’t live without a little Salt.

A History of Salt in 10 Books

In 2007, Salt published a remarkable second collection from an emerging poetic talent. Luke Kennard’s The Harbour Beyond the Movie went on to be shortlisted for the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection. The collection was selected for The Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets 2014 promotion highlighting ‘twenty exciting voices for the future’.

In 2009, we published the debut poetry collection of poet Siân Hughes. The Missing was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection in the Forward Prizes for Poetry, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and went on to win the inaugural Seamus Heaney Centre Prize.

In 2012, we published a debut novel by Alison Moore. That novel, The Lighthouse, went on to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Awards, and won the McKitterick Prize. Alison has remained with Salt, and we have since published her collected short stories, The Pre-War House and Other Stories, and two subsequent novels, He Wants and Death and the Seaside.

After issuing Alexander Hutchison’s Scales Dog: Selected Poems in 2007, we went on to publish a new poetry collection, Bones & Breath in 2013. Bones & Breath went on to win the Saltire Society’s Poetry Book of the Year. The book was sadly to be Sandy’s last in English (and Scots). He died in 2015.

In 2014, we published Lesley Glaister’s landmark novel, Little Egypt. Having taken twenty years to come to fruition, the book marked a turning point in this gifted writer’s career. The novel went on to win the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, was longlisted in the Dublin Literary Awards and was a Sunday Herald Book of the Year.

Also in 2014, Salt published the Kirsty Logan’s debut, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales. The book was shortlisted for The Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year and the Green Carnation Prize, then went on to win the Polari First Book Prize and the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection. It was a Herald Book of the Year.

In 2015, Salt published Cary Davies’ second collection of short stories, The Redemption of Galen Pike. The book was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and Wales Book of the Year, then went on to win the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.

Also in 2015, we published a debut novel by Paul McVeigh. The Good Son was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, a finalist in the People’s Book Prize and shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. It was chosen for City Reads 2016 and was an ELLE Best Book of 2015 and one of The Reading Agency’s Books of 2015.

In what was a bumper year for Salt, 2015 saw the publication our first YA novel by Stefan Mohamed. Bitter Sixteen was a winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize for New Writers, and the novel was a Times Book of the Week and a Guardian Top Teen Read of 2015.

In 2016 Salt published a debut novel by Wyl Menmuir. The Many went on to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the second time a Salt author has been nominated in four years. The novel sold out three times, quickly becoming one of our bestselling books.

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