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Serpent's Tail is a British independent publishing firm founded in 1986 by Pete Ayrton. It is notable for its translated works, particularly European crime fiction, and is the British publisher of Elfriede Jelinek and Lionel Shriver. In January 2007 it was bought out by British publisher Profile Books.

The press publishes predominantly fiction, leaning towards edgy, left of centre writing. Its non-fiction output tends to focus on popular culture, film and music, and left-field politics. It publishes the current output of authors such as Nicholas Royle and Stella Duffy and the back catalogues of Derek Raymond and Kathy Acker.

Prizes won by its authors include the Nobel Prize for Literature (Kenzaburo Oe, Elfriede Jelinek and Herta Müller), the Orange Prize for Fiction (Lionel Shriver for We Need To Talk About Kevin) and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (Jonathan Trigell for Boy A).

In 2001 it published the collected journalism of the late Elizabeth Young, having previously published her study of American 'blank generation' fiction in 1992 (Shopping in Space).

Serpent's Tail is known for publishing debuts - notables include Colm Toibin's The South, Michel Houellebecq's Whatever and David Peace's Nineteen Seventy-Four.

High Risk Books

From 1993-1997, Serpent's Tail had a New York firm titled High Risk Books under Ira Silverberg. The imprint specialised, as its name suggests, in risk-taking progressive and transgressive fiction (Kathy Acker, William Burroughs) and non-fiction (including the collected journalism of Cookie Mueller).

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