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Instructions for the Working Day

A Novel 

An unsettling story of betrayal and freedom set in past and present East Germany.

'Joanna Campbell's Instructions for the Working Day, a clever reflection on ramifications of the Stasi era in East Germany, is an elegant, chilling reminder of what happens when people set out to deliberately disintegrate another person's spirit.' (Martin Chilton, The Independent)


 'An evocative and poignant novel exploring home and family and the hold of the past. Totally absorbing.' (Alison Moore, author of 'The Lighthouse', shortlisted for the Booker Prize)


''I love how this seemingly quiet novel is also one of extremes: funny and tragic, captivating and disturbing. Joanna Campbell has written a mind-bending and enigmatic story that blurs the lines between thought and reality.' (Claire Fuller, author of 'Unsettled Ground', novel winner of The Costa Book Awards and shortlisted for The Women's Prize for Fiction)

'A wonderful book' (Paul McVeigh, author of 'The Good Son', winner of The Polari Prize)


'Instructions for the Working Day not only weaves an uncomfortable, gripping story of foreboding but also leads the reader to a better understanding of the deeply felt ramifications of the post-war era of the German Democratic Republic for a whole country and its residents, the echoes of which can still be felt today.' (Kerry Mead, The Mechanics' Institute Review)

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Published by Fairlight Books

When Planets Slip Their Tracks

Short story collection

This is Joanna Campbell's first collection of short stories, many of which have won prizes or been shortlisted in international competitions.

They are about lonely people for whom the world has shifted a little on its axis. A wry sense of humour often illuminates the dark edges of these tales.

Each story catches the moment of implosion - a lame girl’s friends disappear on a bleak mountain, a schoolboy nurses a doll during a lesson, a babysitter is caught in her own web of lies, a mother watches her pram sink in the river, and a child discovers the truth about birth and death in the space of a day.

Shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award 2016: 'These short stories, several of which end with a smart twist, are superbly written and populated with strong characters and fine, small details. [Campbell] demonstrates genuine compassion for ordinary people, those whose great skill when confronted with a hostile world is to pretend that all is well.'

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Published by Ink Tears



Winner of the inaugural National Flash Fiction Day 2022 Novella-in-Flash Award

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