about sort of books

Sort of Books is an independent publishing venture by Mark Ellingham and Natania Jansz, founders of the Rough Guide travel series. We set the company up in 1999 mainly to help our friend Chris Stewart launch his debut book, Driving Over Lemons, which became a surprise UK bestseller (eventually selling more than a million copies). Fired by its success, we have hand-picked three or four titles each year since. These have included four further Chris Stewart titles, nine remarkable works of fiction that Moomins creator Tove Jansson wrote for adults, most notably The Summer Book, which has sold 100,000 copies, and her three large format illustrated Moomins books. In 2012 we launched the first ever UK publication of Jansson’s original Moomins book, The Moomins and the Great Flood and, in 2017, the eight iconic classic Moomin novels themselves, restored to their original 1950s and 1960s designs. We are also the proud publishers of acclaimed and prize-winning non-fiction titles by Kathleen Jamie, arguably Britains’s finest nature writer. Her essay collection, Sightlines, published in 2012, a follow-up to the acclaimed Findings has been awarded both the prestigious John Burroughs Medal and the Orion Award.

Turning to contemporary fiction we have published exceptional and ground-breaking novels by Jonathan Buckley, Simon Lewis, Tom Bullough and Sophie Hannah, while also reissuing a select number of neglected classics. These latter include the writing of Jane Bowles and Paul Bowles, The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig, the 1920s hotel book that inspired Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, and one of the great wartime books, There’s No Home by Alexander Baron.

We have also published popular science, notably Robert Kunzig’s Mapping the Deep, telling the extraordinary story of oceanography, which won the Aventis Science Book of the Year award in 2001 and remains a key text and the urgently prescient Fixing the Climate by Wallace Broecker and Robert Kunizg in 2009.

Finally, we are delighted to keep in print Peter Blegvad’s unique Leviathan – a genre-defying comic strip collection of wordplay, puns and ideas. We love this book and owe Peter a debt, having called our company Sort Of after the first record he made with his band, Slapp Happy. Which you can hear here.

Sort Of Books are edited by Natania Jansz and Mark Ellingham, supported by two outstanding designers – Peter Dyer (covers) and Henry Iles (text).

In short, we publish the sort of books we we feel proud of.

SORT OF BOOKS are represented by Profile Books and the Independent Alliance/Faber. PR is handled by Ruth Killick Publicity. Our foreign rights are handled by Andrew Nurnberg Associates and our American rights by George Lucas at Inkwell Management.