About Peirene


'Two-hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film.' Times Literary Supplement

Peirene Press is an award-winning boutique publishing house with an extra twist, based in London. We are committed to first class European literature in high-quality translation. Our books are beautifully designed paperback editions, using only the best paper from sustainable British sources. Affordable, timeless collector items. And because literature - both reading and writing - can be a lonely affair, Peirene hosts a wide range of regular literary events, from informal coffee mornings to exciting literary salons and tailor-made, exclusive events.


Peirene’s Books

Peirene specializes in contemporary European novellas and short novels in English translation. All our books are best-sellers and/or award-winners in their own countries. We only publish books of less than 200 pages that can be read in the same time it takes to watch a DVD. 


NEW from 2016: Selecting for you each year three books of foreign literature means that we can only choose from what we find on the international book market. However, every now and again there are urgent topics that Peirene likes to see addressed in literature but we can’t find any suitable stories. So, we have decided to launch a new project: Peirene Now! where we commission writers to respond with fiction to current political topics.  Peirene Now! titles can be bought from our shop page and are not part of our subscriptions.


Peirene's Book Subscription

We like to encourage readers to take out our annual book subscription, consisting of three books of our latest translated fiction. Three times a year - every four months - in December, May and September - you will receive a book of world-class literature at your doorstep. A beautiful, unexpected surprise. To find out more visit our subscription page.

Why Peirene

Peirene Press takes its name from a Greek nymph who turned into a water spring. The poets of Corinth discovered the Peirene source and, for centuries, they drank this water to receive inspiration.The idea of metamorphosis fits the art of translation beautifully. To turn a foreign book into an enjoyable English read involves careful attention to detail.

How Peirene chooses books

We regularly review the winners and short listed books for the most prestigious literary prizes in the various European countries, such as the French Prix Médicis, the German Georg Büchner Preis, the Polish Nike, the Czech Magnesia Litera etc. Furthermore, we work with international agents and pay attention to what foreign publishers have translated. We are also influenced by suggestions from readers, friends, writers, translators, journalists, university professors. And last but not least we attend European book fairs and are not afraid of making personal choices.

Peirene’s Literary Events

We curate and host a wide range of regular literary events, from informal coffee morning to elegant literary salons. We also offer exclusive, tailor-made literary evenings. These are no boring readings but parties with performances, conversation, food and wine. For more information, see our events page.


Peirene's Series

We curate our books according to themes. Each year Peirene publishes a new series – three books that belong together in terms of style and/or content. Our series so far:

Female Voice: Inner Realities

Women who live inside their own heads and clash with outside reality.

A story about a French mother who struggles to protect her two sons from the world, a Catalonian woman's life and loves during the Spanish Civil War, and an hour-long walk with a pregnant young German wife in 1943 Rome.


Male Dilemma: Quests for Intimacy

Male authors, male characters: men and their struggle with intimacy.

A German story about a man faced with the next world and the shifting sands of the world he is in, a Dutch road trip with a boxer and a family man, and an Austrian collection of Kafkaesque short stories about loss of identity in the modern world.


Small Epic: Unravelling Secrets

Three stories that rub shoulders with genre fiction.

A Finnish historical family saga, a Danish literary crime story and a Swiss novella about the life of one of the most famous Chinese painters of all time, Bada Shanren.


Turning Point: Revolutionary Moments

Three internationally acclaimed female authors depict pivotal historical moments from within a domestic setting.

A German modern classic about the fall of the Wall, a Finnish postmodern Victorian novel about faith versus knowledge and a Polish love story spanning sixty years from the Warsaw Ghetto to Israel.


Coming Of Age: Towards Identity

Our individual struggles to reach maturity in an ever-changing world.

A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War, a Norwegian novel about a mother-daughter relationship that will send a chill down your spine and a fascinating portrait of a pre-Gaddafi society on the verge of change.


Chance Encounter: Meeting the Other

What happens when you let a stranger into your life?

A stunning Finnish tale about the human will to survive, a French love story about the art of reading and a gripping Norwegian drama about the conflict between two sisters.


Fairy Tale: End of Innocence

About the fairy castles we build inside our minds.

A Belgian gorilla on the loose, a French girl’s plot to regain her father’s love and an Austrian empress with a weakness for cake.


NEW IN 2017 - East and West: Looking Both Ways

On being caught between two worlds.

This series includes a psychological thriller from the woman Thomas Mann called 'the First Lady of Europe', a moving tale of twin brothers who become pawns in a civil war and a tragicomic satire from the heart of East Germany.