We Were Strangers is a new anthology of ten original short stories inspired by Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures. The collection includes new fiction from the award-winning authors Toby Litt (shortlisted for the 2015 Edge Hill Short Story Prize and the 2013 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award), Jenn Ashworth (winner of the 2010 Betty Trask Award), Nicholas Royle (shortlisted for the inaugural Edge Hill Short Story Prize, 2006), Sophie Mackintosh (winner of the 2016 White Review Short Story Prize, the 2016 Stylist/Virago Short Story competition and longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize) and Eley Williams (winner of the 2018 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction).
The songs which make up Unknown Pleasures are dark and powerful – morose and menacing in both their composition and lyrical content. We Were Strangers, with its eclectic mix of narrative styles, forms and voices, delivers a thoughtful, absorbing and intense response almost 40 years on. The stories range from the bleak and sinister to the moving and thrilling, much like the songs on the album.
Richard Hirst, Editor says:
“Ian Curtis’s legacy lies principally in his distinctive lyrics, suggestive as they are of some kind of story, a chronicle of isolation, anguish, biblical conflict and ecstasy, but one whose plot, characters and structure are all lost in the dark and the fog. The listener feels a temptation to shade in between the lines of Curtis’s oblique words and the group’s cavernous melodies, a flame lit in their imagination. What better medium than the short story – a form currently enjoying an uncanny renaissance – to discover what that blaze will illuminate?...The following stories constitute a contemporary literary snapshot of the impact (the) energy (of Unknown Pleasures) has had: what we heard, what it has done for our imaginations, and where it has led us.”