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The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, thinkers and artists responding to an age of social and environmental crises. Started in 2009 with a manifesto called Uncivilisation by writers Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine, it is an invitation for people to share words and images that make sense of a time of disruption and uncertainty.

At the heart of this project are the bi-annual journals, illustrated hardback collections, where many voices come together to explore the questions which Dark Mountain frames.

This eighteenth issue, FABULA, is the first Dark Mountain book dedicated to fiction.

Fiction has always been at the heart of the Dark Mountain call for ‘uncivilised’ writing. In a world convulsed by crisis, when old certainties are collapsing and narratives are falling apart, it is to stories that we look to bear witness to the state we are in. Unlike essays, non-fiction and ‘facts’ – which become more distorted by the day – fiction does not approach the fears and hopes of our times directly but obliquely, slantwise and widdershins, moving us in unexpected ways and changing our hearts, perhaps, as much as our thinking brains.

In the pages of FABULA you will find short stories, flash fiction and excerpts from novels and longer pieces, as well as artwork and illustrations specially commissioned for this book. This is a journey through modern fairytale, absurdist parable, vision and dream: from the bogs of a dystopian Ireland to near-future West Africa; from the drought-ravaged Australian Outback to the mouldering wreckage of enterprise in the all-consuming Amazon; from a deconstructed bird’s nest to punctuation shipwrecked at sea. You will encounter a vengeful river, litigious bears, a mythical forest guardian, the ghostly shades of America’s wars, stories of religious and sexual ecstasy, swarms of butterflies and drones, and be exposed to a global pandemic – but not the one you’re expecting.

This book is truly international, with writers and artists from the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Ghana and India. A selection of the stories are also available as audio versions read by the authors; details can be found in the back of the book.

Writers: Kahn & Selesnick, Tom Walsh, adrienne maree brown, Julia Blackburn, Conrad Shumaker, Neale Inglenook, Kim Goldberg, Ekow Manuar, Lynsey Wright, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Philip Webb Gregg, Eric Robertson, Siana Fitzjohn, Luke Winter, Cynan Jones, Sophie Shillito, Shaun Tan, Bridget Pitt, Micheál Mac Gearailt, Mike Cipra, Luna Mrozik-Gawler, Mark Martin, Paul Kingsnorth, Kirsty Logan, Romy Tara Wenzel, Wayne Karlin

Artists: Fiona Banner, Shirley Snow, Kahn & Selesnick, Sarah Ainslie, William Bock, Luisa-Maria MacCormack, Effie Paleologou, Shaun Tan, Sunandini Banerjee, Jon Jost, John Weeden, John Massot, Kevin Bell

Illustrators: Johanna Lohrengel, Bethan McFadden, Jack Fawdry Tatham, Nick Hayes, Petra Carlson, Caroline Ross

Cover: Arial (sinking), American Garamond by Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press

Dark Mountain: Issue 18 – FABULA was edited by Nick Hunt, Eric Robertson and Philip Webb Gregg. Art editing by Joanna Pocock. Production by Nick Hunt. It is a hardback book, 255 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper