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Headline Treatment

TANK’s book issue was launched in 2015 when print was, as people liked to say, dead. As a riposte, TANK invited three guest editors to curate an annual snapshot of what the best recent literature looked like, represented in 100+ excerpts.

This year, TANK’s 25th anniversary, we have reimagined the book issue for a new context. The role of the magazine, we believe, is no longer to recommend, whether in the context of publishing or fashion. Print is experiencing a second boom, mainly fuelled by the output of independent presses, but many of the structures that surrounded it have crumbled. In the context of diminishing spaces for criticism, the soaring price of paper, and an incipient AI revolution, we have sought to understand the art and business of books.

Our departure point is an interrogation of “style” – one visible node in a wider critical and creative approach that is being rapidly lost to franchises, serialisation and endless adaptations, remakes and retellings. This results from an attitude that sees our literary terrain as merely another zone of the wider world of content.

We hope that this issue of TANK provides answers to questions that need to be asked. Where does contemporary literature come from, and how is it produced? Why is our critical infrastructure so weak, and what does that do to criticism and reading? All to culminate in the much older questions: where do I find a good book, and how do I read it?