Speak to Strangers

Gemma Seltzer

"Fantastic, evocative miniature masterpieces"

Josie Long

London is a city full of millions of strangers and Gemma Seltzer wants to meet them all. Speak to Strangers is a brilliant, funny and uplifting sequence of one hundred hundred-word stories.

My mind was elsewhere when you asked me about my default printer. I don’t have the right one. I have the wrong one. I wanted to know why, but you couldn’t explain. Heads turned, also needing an answer. How can something change overnight? We need routine here. A solution would come, you promised us. I saw how you described my needs on your clipboard, both names spelt incorrectly and a dash leading to a series of numbers. This is how you represent my needs. I want to throw off my cardigan and the cold air to fall on my skin.


London is a city full of strangers and Gemma Seltzer wants to meet them all. Originally conceived as a daily fiction blog, Speak to Strangers is a funny, provocative and elegant series of one hundred hundred-word stories,which chart a journey across the city through its inhabitants.



“Fantastic, evocative miniature masterpieces”
Josie Long

“Cryptic, evocative and confessional […] From moustachioed Millwall supporters to aggressive commuters, make-up sales women, waitresses and countless shopkeepers, Seltzer is concerned less with what’s said than what isn’t; all that underlies the random, perfunctory exchanges that comprise city life. Less like short stories than extended haikus, these prose snapshots are perfect for pondering on the bus or Tube.”
Stephanie Cross, The Lady

“A beautiful book … from a writer in command of her abilities, disseminating seemingly bitesize chunks that speak volumes.”

“compelling and original, a coherent and striking work of art […] in the best of these stories Seltzer’s delighted sensitivity to awkwardness provides powerful drama [… she] emerges as a witty, self-deprecating, clear-sighted flaneuse”
Tony William, Flash

heart-warming and innovative … a depth and variety so diverse that it is difficult to believe that this is one person’s journey in just one city
Emma Young, The Short Review (and read an interview with Gemma here)


Gemma on the Londonist Out Loud podcast


Gemma releases the first copy of Speak to Strangers at Spitalfields Market in her day-long London book-drop


Our price £9.99
RRP £9.99
112 pages
ISBN 9780956546791
Published 16.06.11
Cover design: Henry Simmonds


About the author

Gemma Seltzer is a London-based writer and literary blogger. She is interested in charting her creative responses to people and places through interactive web-based projects. Her fiction has been published in .Cent magazine and as part of an exhibition catalogue commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery and ArtSway. She spoke at the 2009 Venice Biennale about the relationship between contemporary art and text. Gemma is the author of Look up at the Sky, an online activity exploring the peace and the pauses in the city.

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