We Were Strangers is an anthology of ten original short stories inspired by Joy
Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures. The collection includes new fiction from the award-winning authors Toby Litt (shortlisted for the 2015 Edge Hill Short Story Prize and the 2013 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award), Jenn Ashworth (winner of the 2010 Betty Trask Award), Nicholas Royle (shortlisted for the inaugural Edge Hill Short Story Prize, 2006), Sophie Mackintosh (winner of the 2016 White Review Short Story Prize, the 2016 Stylist/Virago Short Story competition and longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize) and Eley Williams (shortlisted for the 2018 James Tait
Black Memorial Prize).
Joy Division are one of the most influential and best-loved bands Britain has produced. Formed in 1976 in Salford, the band developed a unique sound and style that made them one of the pioneers of the late-1970s post-punk movement. Their combination of weighty themes and raw, brooding music has impacted on the imagination of countless listeners since 1979 when Unknown Pleasures was released. It was the only Joy Division album released during lead singer Ian Curtis's lifetime. Curtis suffered from depression andepilepsy and committed suicide in May 1980, aged just 23. The remaining band members re-formed under the name New Order, achieving global success and acclaim.
The songs which make up Unknown Pleasures are dark and powerful – morose and menacing in both their composition and lyrical content. We Were Strangers, with its eclectic mix of narrative styles, forms and voices, delivers a thoughtful, absorbing and intense response almost 40 years on. The stories range from the bleak and sinister to the moving and thrilling, much like the songs on the album.