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 A rookie reporter, searching for his first big story, re-opens a murder case that once saw crowds of protestors surround Tbilisi's central police station...

A piece of romantic graffiti chalked outside a new apartment block sends its residents into a social media frenzy, trying to identify the two lovers implicated by it....

A war-orphaned teenager looks after his dying sister in an abandoned railway carriage on the edge of town, hoping that someday soon the state will take care of them...

In the 26 years since Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union, the country and its capital, Tbilisi, have endured unimaginable hardships: one coup d'état, two wars with Russia, the cancer of organised crime, and prolonged periods of brutalising, economic depression. Now, as the city begins to flourish again – drawing hordes of tourists with its eclectic architecture and famous, welcoming spirit – it's difficult to reconcile the recent past with this glamorous and exotic present. With wit, warmth, heartbreaking realism, and a distinctly Georgian sense of neighbourliness, these ten stories do just that.

'Acts as an introduction to a literature quite neglected by the Anglophone world... the language consistently has the direct, clean and unadorned quality of great fiction.' – Luke Kennard.

‘A soaring, searing collection – important new stories that are sure to live long in the memory.’ – Eley Williams, author of Attrib.

Published with the support of the Georgian National Book Center and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia.

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About the author

 Ina Archuashvili was born in 1969. In 1995 she graduated from the Georgian Philology Department of Ivane Javakhishvili, Tbilisi State University. From 1995 she worked for newspapers and magazines Kavkasioni, HOT Chocolate and Arili. From 1999-2002 she taught Georgian language and literature at School no. 6. Her stories have been published in various periodicals, including Literaturuli PalitraLiteratura (Hot Chocolate literary supplement), Kartuli MtserlobaChveni Mtserloba and Literaturuli Gazeti. Her first collection of short stories was published in 2010 by Saari Publishers. She received 3rd prize in the 2010 Pen Marathon (the special prize of Rezo Inanishvili) and was also nominated for the 2011 SABA Prize. In 2013 she participated in the Literary Seminar for writers and translators in Lithuania. Her collection of novellas He Was Called Watanabe was shortlisted for the SABA Prize in The Years Best Prosaic Collection category.


Gela Chkvanava was born in 1967, in Sukhumi. After finishing school, he was recruited into the army and assigned to an anti-missile unit in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). After military service Chkvanava returned to Sukhumi and studied philology at Sukhumi University. The armed conflict broke out in Abkhazia when he was still a student. Everything he wrote before the war was abandoned in Sukhumi and destroyed when his house was burnt down. To distract himself from the war, and to gain experience in creative writing, he began work on several stories set in peacetime. His first success was in 2002, in the Pen Marathon literary contest organised by Diogene Publishers. Since then, Gela’s works have been published in Georgia regularly. Russian translations of Chkvanava’s short stories have appeared in St. Petersburg literary magazines, such as Neva and Kreshchatiki. His debut book titled Local Colours won him a SABA Prize in 2005. Gela Chkvanava has won several literary awards and is regarded as one of the best modern Georgian writers.


Erekle Deisadze was born in Kutaisi in 1990. In 2008 he entered the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Cinema University, studying documentary and film direction. In 2010 his debut collection Secret Fuck-Up was published, and aroused much controversy. There were motions demanding that the book be banned, and, because of the aggression in certain social circles, for a considerable period Deisadze had to go into hiding. In 2013 he published his novel The Cleaner, which was nominated for a SABA literary prize award for the Best Novel of the Year. In 2015 his novel Russian School Holidays, about the Russian-Georgian war, was released. Deisadze writes both poetry and music. In 2015 his first musical album Walk was released. He has recorded some ten music videos, one of which, ‘What Daddy Wants’, was named by an international jury of Electronauts 2014 as the year’s best video.


Born in 1966, Shota Iatashvili is a famous poet, fiction writer, translator and art critic. He made his debut as a poet in 1993 with The Wings of Death, and since then has published a significant number of poetry collections, four works of prose and a book of literary criticism, which won a SABA literary prize for Best Criticism of the Year. Iatashvili has also translated and introduced to Georgian readers Styles of Radical Will by Susan Sontag and an anthology of American poets. From 1993-97, he worked as an editor at the Republic Centre of Literary Critics (on the literary newspapers Rubikoni and Mesame Gza). He was an editor-in-chief of the newspaper Alternative issued by the Center for Cultural Relations - Caucasian House and later became the editor of the publishing house Caucasian House. Currently, he is an editor-in-chief of the journal Akhali Saunje and leads the rubric ‘Library’ at Radio Liberty. Iatashvili has won several poetry awards and is the participant of numerous international literary festivals. His poems have been published in several countries, among them the UK, Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands.


Dato Kardava (the pseudonym of Jimsher Rekhviashvili) was born in 1968. He graduated in 1992 from Tbilisi State University’s physics faculty. For over twenty years he has been a working journalist and at the same time writing prose works. His first stories were published in the magazine Arili in the 1990s. Since 2002 he has been a reporter and blogger at the Tbilisi office of Radio Liberty. His first prose collection Noah’s Doves was published in 2005, and in 2011, his extended essay A Toilet Reader. Both books were nominated for the SABA literary prize. He has won several other prizes for journalism and literature. In 2011 a story of his was included in the anthology 21st Century Georgian Short Stories. In 2013 he published a collection of essays about the River Mtkvari, The Mtkvari and its Two Banks.


Lado Kilasonia was born in 1985. He studied rugby in Durban, South Africa, at the Sharks Rugby Club academy, and graduated from Tbilisi State University in 2007. At the same time he was a trainer for Georgia’s 19- to 20-year-old rugby players’ team, and a member of Georgia’s rugby development group and national academy. He was four times European champion: in 2005, as a player; in 2011, 2013 and 2014 as a trainer. At the same time, he wrote articles on rugby for various sports and general newspapers and magazines. He has written seven books. His works have been published in Georgian literary journals and newspapers Kilasonia’s short stories have been translated into Russian, Polish and Lithuanian and shortlisted for the SABA literary prize 2008-2014. 


Zviad Kvaratskhelia was born in 1986. He graduated from the Faculty of Jurisprudence at Shota Meskhia Zugdidi State Institute. In 2008 Zviad Kvaratskhelia started to work as an art editor of the magazine Premieri and later, through 2010-2011, he was a deputy editor of the magazine Kartuli Mtserloba (Georgian Writing). At present the author works at the publishing houses Intelekti and Artanuji as coordinator of publication projects and as an editor. He is the author and editor in-chief for several publication projects, and has blogged for since 2013. Kvaratskhelia has also published short stories, miniatures and literary-documentary essays in Georgian periodicals, as well as story collections. In 2016 his first novel Form No.100 won a SABA literary prize for Best Novel of the Year.

Bacho Kvirtia (b. 1974) is a writer, playwright and screenwriter, who graduated from Tamaz Chiladze’s Studio at the Rustaveli Film and Theatre University in 1996. His prose has been published in various Georgian periodicals. In 2011-2012 he participated in the Royal Court Theatre two-year project New Writing, organised by the British Council Tbilisi and the Tumanishvili Foundation. His prose collections include: Before the Train Comes In (2007), The Call of the Sleeping Cyclops (2011) and The Tasmanian Tiger (2013). Kvirtia is the recipient of many literary awards, including the Pen Marathon award; the Tsero (Heron) award (2007); the SABA prize for the Best Prose Debut (for the collection Before the Train Comes In, 2008); Guram Rcheulishvili Prize Alaverdi for the Best Short Story (2011). In 2011, he became a member of the Georgian PEN-Club. His debut novel Inga’s Corduroy Jacket (Intelekti Publishing) was published in 2017. 


Iva Pezuashvili was born in 1990. He is a contemporary Georgian writer and screenwriter, and in 2011 graduated from the Feature Film Department of Shota Rustaveli Cinema and Theatre University. In the same year, he won the Autumn Legend, a student literature competition, with his story ‘Alchu (Lucky Toss). In 2012 he made a film, Babazi, based on the story. He is the author of several TV documentary films. He has been publishing his stories in periodicals since 2012. Since 2014 he has been a scriptwriter for the film series Tiflis. Intelekti published his debut book I Tried in 2014.

Rusudan Rukhadze (born 1974) graduated from the History Department of Ivane Javakhishvili, Tbilisi University, and completed her MA in Media Management and Journalism at GIPA in 2008. She has worked for numerous periodicals since 1996, and her first story The Morning Before Christmas was published in Literaturuli Gazeti in 2013. In 2014, Intelekti released a collection of her published stories called Tea-Time Stories. The book includes Ada and Eve, which won third prize in the Tsero literary competition. It was also included in the annual selection of The Best 15 Stories published by Bakur Sulakauri, and nominated for the 2014 SABA prize for the Best Debut. Rukhadze won the literary SABA prize for her second book One of You Betrays Me in the Best Prose Collection category in 2017.

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Additional Information

Comma Press
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Published on
Dec 14, 2017
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Fiction / Anthologies (multiple authors)
Fiction / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
Travel / Former Soviet Republics
Travel / General
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