Swan River Press

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Swan River Press
Swan River Press Logo Text.jpg
FounderBrian J. Showers
Country of originIreland
Headquarters locationDublin
Publication typesBooks, Journals
Fiction genresGothic, supernatural, and fantastic literature
Official websiteswanriverpress.ie

Swan River Press is an independent Irish publishing company dedicated to gothic, supernatural, and fantastic literature. It was founded in Rathmines, Dublin in October 2003 by Brian J. Showers. Swan River publishes contemporary fiction from around the world with an emphasis on Ireland's past and present contributions to the genre. They also issue the non-fiction journal The Green Book: Writings on Irish Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic Literature, and sporadically organise the Dublin Ghost Story Festival. [1][2][3][4]


Swan River Press was founded in 2003, originally to print hand-sewn chapbooks and booklets for private distribution. In 2010 Swan River published their first hardback title The Old Knowledge & Other Strange Stories by Rosalie Parker. The company name comes from the subterranean waterway which flows through the neighbourhood of Rathmines in Dublin and the logo was created by Duane Spurlock from the image of the keystone on the entrance of the Rathmines town hall. [5][6]


Swan River specializes in publishing high quality editions with dust jackets, printed boards, sewn binding, and head and tail bands on its hardbound books, with all booklets being hand-sewn. The press is financed by the sales of the books and by patrons who can sign up at various levels of support.[1][7][8] Swan River Press has worked with artists such as Lorena Carrington, Brian Catling, Brian Coldrick, John Coulthart, Dave McKean, Mike Mignola, Alisdair Wood, and Jason Zerrillo to create distinctive covers and designs. The publisher features contemporary authors such as Mark Valentine, and Helen Grant in the Uncertainties anthology series as well as classic works by writers including Bram Stoker, J. S. Le Fanu, B. M. Croker, Thomas Leland, and George William Russell (A.E.). The two sides are united by the press in William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland, which features an introduction by Alan Moore and an afterword by Iain Sinclair.[9]


Uncertainties is a series of anthologies considered to be the flagship publications of the company. Stories from this series have been given honourable mention in or selected for Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year and Stephen Jones’s Best New Horror reprint anthologies.[10] The volumes are "the very latest in weird storytelling" according to Michael Dirda in the Washington Post; with the series lauded by Joyce Carol Oates in the Times Literary Supplement as "Among the most memorable books I’ve read this year".[11][12]

The Green Book[edit]

Since 2013, the press has published a twice-yearly journal The Green Book: Writings on Irish Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic Literature.[13] Ellen Datlow called The Green Book, "A welcome addition to the realm of accessible nonfiction about supernatural horror."[10] The publication includes articles and commentaries on Irish genre writers and their work, as well as reprints of classic writing, interviews, and occasional fiction, including previously uncollected work by both Bram Stoker and Dorothy Macardle. Past themed issues have given focus to J. S. Le Fanu on the bicentenary of his birth, the 1916 Easter Rising, writing by Irish women, and Lord Dunsany.


Dreams of Shadow and Smoke: Stories for J. S. Le Fanu, edited by Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers, won the Ghost Story Award for best anthology in 2014.[14][15]

Selected Bibliography[edit]

Assorted titles


  • Bending to Earth: Strange Stories by Irish Women (2019) edited by Maria Giakaniki and Brian J. Showers
  • Dreams of Shadow & Smoke: Stories for J. S. Le Fanu (2014) edited by Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers
  • The Far Tower: Stories for W. B. Yeats (2019) edited by Mark Valentine
  • Ghosts of the Chit-Chat (2020) edited by Robert Lloyd Parry
  • The Scarlet Soul: Stories for Dorian Gray (2017) edited by Mark Valentine
  • Uncertainties I (2016) edited by Brian J. Showers
  • Uncertainties II (2016) edited by Brian J. Showers
  • Uncertainties III (2018) edited by Lynda E. Rucker
  • Uncertainties IV (2020) edited by Timothy J. Jarvis
  • Uncertainties V (2021) edited by Brian J. Showers

Dublin Ghost Story Festival[edit]

Swan River Press organised two Dublin Ghost Story Festivals. The first on 19 - 21 August 2016, co-organised with Irish author John Connolly; the second on 29 June - 1 July 2018. The venue for both festivals was the Grand Lodge of Ireland on Molesworth Street.[16][17]

The guest of honour in 2016 was Adam L. G. Nevill, while other guests included Sarah Pinborough, Angela Slatter, and David Mitchell. In addition to readings and panel discussions, the festival featured a performance of M.R. James's "Casting the Runes" by Robert Lloyd Parry of Nunkie Theatre Company.[18][17][19]

In 2018 the guest of honour was Pulitzer-prize winning author Joyce Carol Oates. Other guests included Lisa Tuttle, Nicholas Royle, and Andrew Michael Hurley. The festival opened with a talk, "The Lure of the Ghost Story", by Reggie Oliver, as well as a reading of his story "Quieta non Movere".[16]

The Dublin Ghost Story Festival logo was designed by Alisdair Wood. [16]


Authors published by Swan River Press have included:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "the independent publishing magazine". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  2. ^ "irish times". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  3. ^ "The American Scholar". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  4. ^ Showers, Brian. "The mystery is what matters". The Irish Times.
  5. ^ "Swan River Blog". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Swan River Press - Interview with Author and Publisher Brian J. Showers". The Independent Publishing Magazine. 2020-06-09. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  7. ^ "washington post". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  8. ^ "trumpetville". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  9. ^ The House on the Borderland.
  10. ^ a b Datlow, E. (2014). The Best Horror of the Year. Best Horror of the Year. Night Shade Books. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-59780-523-0. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  11. ^ "- The Washington Post". Washington Post. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  12. ^ "Books of the Year 2018 - Arts & books roundups". TLS. 2018-11-20. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  13. ^ "Homepage". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  14. ^ "The Supernatural Tales: The First Ghost Story Awards!". The Supernatural Tales. 31 March 2015.
  15. ^ V, Mark (30 March 2015). "Wormwoodiana: THE GHOST STORY AWARDS". Wormwoodiana. Archived from the original on 2015-04-14.
  16. ^ a b c "Creeping Towards Us Again, the Dublin Ghost Story Festival". Dublin Inquirer.
  17. ^ a b Doyle, Martin. "Dublin Ghost Story Festival launches and Ulysses Centre gets green light". The Irish Times.
  18. ^ Nevill, Adam (22 August 2016). "Dublin Ghost Story Festival 2016". Adam LG Nevill.
  19. ^ "Frank O'Connor's widow Harriet O'Donovan Sheehy dies, aged 92". webcache.googleusercontent.com.

External links[edit]