Engine Books
Submit to Engine Books

Though Engine Books has no specific allegiance to any particular form or style of fiction, the work we publish falls squarely into the category of “literary,” which the press defines generally as “everyday life made worthy of art.” In the case of “genre” work—crime fiction, romance, sci-fi, etc.—manuscripts should rise beyond the usually formulaic nature of the genre.

Submissions to Engine Books are currently being considered only via our annual Fiction Prize. Learn more here!

All styles of literary fiction are happily considered. Of course, that’s not a very helpful answer. Instead of attempting to prescribe an aesthetic for the press, I present here a list of my favorite books. The one quality they all share is a big storytelling heart—human stories large in scope. If you feel your manuscript bears similarity to any of the books below or to the excellent titles already in the Engine Books lineup, please consider sending a query letter.

If your manuscript contains vampires, werewolves, ghosts, or other supernatural creatures, or if its plot relies heavily on references to said creatures, it is extremely unlikely that Engine Books is the right press for you. If your primary readership will be YA or teen readers, Engine Books is definitely not the right press for you. Excellent publishers exist for such books; please look elsewhere to find one.

(listed in no particular order)
Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
This Side of Brightness, Colum McCann
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
The Feast of Love, Charles Baxter
Anything by Joan Didion
Hyssop, Kevin McIlvoy
American Owned Love, Robert Boswell
The Patron Saint of Liars, Ann Patchett
Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Evening, Susan Minot
The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
The Hours, Michael Cunningham
The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Coconuts for the Saint, Debra Spark
Story Collections
(also in no particular order)
Female Trouble, Antonya Nelson
Girl Trouble, Holly Goddard Jones
Ghosts of Chicago, John McNally
Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson
What the Thunder Said, Janet Peery
A Wild, Cold State, Debra Monroe
Drown, Junot Diaz
Girls in the Grass, Melanie Rae Thon
Honey, Elizabeth Tallent
Cowboys are My Weakness, Pam Houston
Cold Snap, Thom Jones
Lucky Girls, Nell Freudenberger
I Sailed With Magellan, Stuart Dybek
A .38 Special and a Broken Heart, Jonis Agee