New Kafkaesque Story Collection with Ali Smith, Elif Batuman, and more

In partnership with the Oxford Kafka Research Centre and its AHRC-funded Research Project ‘Kafka’s Transformative Communities’, Abacus Books is publishing a collection of Kafkaesque short stories to commemorate the centenary of Kafka’s death in 2024.

A Cage Went in Search of a Bird, a book of 10 brand new stories inspired by Kafka’s work, is written by a list of major literary bestsellers and prize winners. These include Ali Smith, Joshua Cohen, Elif Batuman, Naomi Alderman, Tommy Orange, Helen Oyeyemi, Keith Ridgway, Yiyun Li, Leone Ross and Charlie Kaufman. The stories will be introduced by prize-winning critic Becca Rothfeld. 

“What happens when one of the most idiosyncratic and visionary imaginations of the 20th century meets some of the greatest literary minds writing in English today?” the publisher teased. “From a future society who ask their AI servants to construct a giant tower to reach God; to a flat hunt that descends into a comically absurd bureaucratic nightmare; to a population experiencing a wave of unbearable, contagious panic attacks, these 10 specially commissioned stories are by turns mind-bending, funny, unsettling and haunting.” 

A Cage Went in Search of a Bird will publish on 30th May 2024 in hardback, e-book and audio, ahead of the centenary on 3rd June 2024.

The book accompanies the Oxford Kafka Research Centre’s rich programme of events for the centenary, which also includes a major Kafka exhibition at the Weston Library in Oxford, a new dance adaptation of Kafka’s A Hunger Artist, and two new radio dramas of The Trial and Amerika for BBC Radio 4 by playwright Ed Harris. 

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