The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies

Jo Lloyd

‘A major talent’ Hilary Mantel

Shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize

Whether seeking knowledge, riches, or a better life, the characters in these stories are united by a quest for lasting value, as they ask how we should treat our world, our work, our selves, and each other. A vainglorious mine owner dreams of harnessing all of nature to the machinery of commerce. Two ladies of a certain age hunt rare butterflies in a pre-First World War Europe already experiencing the first bites of biodiversity loss. A climate campaigner must choose between personal happiness and political action. A rural Welsh community is fascinated and angered by glimpses of its invisible, wealthy neighbours.

Exact and lyrical, compassionate, and full of wit and truth, this debut collection from Jo Lloyd, winner of the BBC National Short Story Award, announces a fresh new voice with a sensibility all her own.


ISBN: 9781800750104

Published: February 4, 2021


ISBN: 9781800750128

Published: April 7, 2022


ISBN: 9781800750111

Published: February 4, 2021


Reviews for The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies

‘Jo Lloyd has drawn out all the intensity and latent power of short fiction. All her effects are earned, and she writes with the assurance of an original mind. Line by line, her judgment is impeccable, and the whole has a substance and finesse that marks a major talent‘ – Hilary Mantel

‘Jo Lloyd writes stories that have the epic sweep, sly humor, and cold, thrilling depths of Mavis Gallant and Jim Shepard, as well as an idiosyncratic brilliance that is hers alone. Her sentences could rouse the dead (and do, in this excellent book)’ – Karen Russell

Wryly observant and beautifully written, this collection confirms what I’ve thought for a long time – that anyone who delights in the power and possibility of the short story should read Jo Lloyd’ Carys Davies

‘Jo Lloyd’s voice is clear-sighted and timeless, and the stories in her debut collection are magnetic and prescient’ – Sara Baume

‘I would read anything with her name on it’ – Zoe Gilbert

Beautifully balanced and well-proportioned, the stories in The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies add up to a compassionate portrait of the ways that people are frail and all the different ways that they can fail’ – Jessie Greengrass

‘The collection reminds me of nothing so much as a series of incredibly detailed black and white photographs, each of which perfectly captures an aspect of existence that I’ve brushed against before but never taken the time to consider. And it’s not enough that each story is perfect

‘These stories have a relish for language and an enviable precision that announce a crisp, exciting new voice in short fiction’ – Richard Beard


Jo Lloyd

Jo Lloyd won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2019 and an O. Henry Prize in 2018. Her stories have appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and elsewhere. The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies is her first collection. She grew up in South Wales, where she now lives.