Verso Books
Parent companyNew Left Review
Founded1970; 54 years ago (1970) (as New Left Books)
Headquarters location
DistributionPenguin Random House (U.S.)
Marston Book Services (UK)
Bloomsbury Publishing (Australia)
Publication typesBooks

Verso Books (formerly New Left Books) is a left-wing publishing house based in London and New York City, founded in 1970 by the staff of New Left Review (NLR) and includes Tariq Ali and Perry Anderson on its board of directors.


In 1970, Verso Books began as a paperback imprint. It established itself as a publisher of nonfiction works on international politics. Verso Books has also periodically published fiction over its history.[1] The publisher gained early recognition for translations of books by European thinkers and Continental philosophy, especially those from the Frankfurt School, and its affiliation with Marxist and neo-Marxist writers. Verso Books' best-selling title is the autobiography of Rigoberta Menchú, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.[2]

On April 8, 2014 Verso began bundling DRM-free e-books with print purchases made through its website. Verso's managing director and US publisher, Jacob Stevens, stated that he expected the new offer on the Verso website to contribute £200,000 to the publisher's revenue in its first year helping to "shake up how publishers relate to their readership, and help to support independent publishing".[3]

In 2019, Verso Books launched its fiction imprint, Verso Fiction.[4] The fiction editor, Cian McCourt, said, "We want to publish bold, intelligent writing that's politically astute, but not dogmatic or charmless."[1]

By 2020, Verso Books had published over 1,800 titles.[5]

Verso Books titles are distributed in the United States by Penguin Random House. The publishing house is known to host many events in the United States and the UK, focusing on radical politics and history.[6]

Verso has published books by Tariq Ali, Benedict Anderson, Robin Blackburn, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, C.L.R James, Mike Davis, Norman Finkelstein, Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, Max Shachtman, Rebecca Solnit, Nick Srnicek, Paul Feyerabend, Ellen Meiksins Wood, and Slavoj Žižek.[7] Updated translations of Jean Baudrillard, Régis Debray, Jürgen Habermas, Rigoberta Menchú, and Paul Virilio have also been published through Verso.


Verso Books was originally known as New Left Books. The name "Verso" refers to the technical term for the left-hand page in a book (see recto and verso), and is a play on words regarding its political outlook and is also reminiscent of the expression "vice versa," or "the other way around".


In 2021, Verso was publicly accused of poorly handling an internal sexual harassment grievance brought by a former publicist against its long-time US publisher, Jacob Stevens. She described the incident in a Medium piece thus: "He then said, of my hiring, “we needed someone nice to look at in the office besides Wes.” She claims that this remark, along with Verso's inadequate response to her allegation that it was inappropriate and disrespectful, caused severe depression, including self-harm in the form of excessive exercise, cutting and burning herself, and trying to hang herself from a stairwell.[8]

Per the writer's account, the incident occurred in the period following the #MeToo movement, during which Verso author Franco Moretti[9] and Verso and New Left Review board member Gopal Balakrishnan[10] were accused of sexual assault (the latter resigned from the NLR board and subsequently was fired from UC Santa Cruz). It was also shortly following the creation of the Shitty Media Men list of largely NYC-based literary and publishing institutions. The writer emphasizes what she felt as the company's hypocrisy in publishing feminist books in comparison to their internal policies and practices. The board of directors responded with a public apology and updates on their sexual harassment policy. However, they likewise maintain that their procedures were properly followed, as determined by an independent review.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Verso Books launches 'bold' fiction imprint | The Bookseller". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  2. ^ Verso Books, About Verso
  3. ^ "E-book/print bundling venture from Verso".
  4. ^ "Announcing Verso Fiction".
  5. ^ Barron, Michael (3 July 2020). "Verso, Feminist Press Turn 50". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Verso". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Verso". Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  8. ^ Janakiram, Emily (30 January 2021). "I was the first person to file a sexual harassment grievance at Verso Books. This is what happened". Medium. Retrieved 9 February 2023.
  9. ^ "Harassment, assault allegations against Moretti span three campuses". 16 November 2017.
  10. ^ Subbaraman, Nidhi (24 September 2019). "UC Santa Cruz Has Fired A Professor After He Violated The University's Harassment Policy". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  11. ^ "Statement from the Verso Board". Retrieved 9 February 2023.