Pete Ayrton founded Serpent’s Tail in 1986 with a mission to introduce British readers to risk-taking world literature no one else in the UK was publishing. The list established a reputation for its diversity of voice and fearlessness, publishing writers of colour from all over the world including Langston Hughes, Ernest J Gaines, Nella Larsen, Walter Mosley, Alain Mabanckou and Lola Shoneyin, and LGBT authors including Virginie Despentes, Jayne County and Neil Bartlett.
After two decades of independence, in 2007 Serpent’s Tail joined Profile Books, also independent, where it continues as an imprint that celebrates originality. What makes a Serpent’s Tail book? A Serpent’s Tail book will challenge you, entertain you, tell you something about the world, provoke change and leave you hungry for more. We publish writers who dare to think originally and help us look at the world anew. Whether their books make the past feel immediate, or illuminate the present, are subtly devastating, politically urgent, or laugh out loud funny –they always have something important to say.