Last September, Little Island Press attended the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall, London. It was the inaugural outing for the press, having published our first title (Ada Kaleh) in July last year. We were to be one of around eighty-plus presses attending the fair. With so many publishers in one place, one would be forgiven for expecting a degree of competition. But that's not how it was at all.
Instead, the Poetry Book Fair was, for us, a fascinating introduction to the extensive network of presses, editors, writers and buyers that all contribute to the incredibly fecund ecosystem of independent publishing in the UK. The same spirit of co-operation, creative support and mutual publishing enthusiasm can be found at the Small Publishers Fair (also held at Conway Hall). Events like these demonstrate that small and independent press publishing is as much, if not more, about sharing and press-to-press recommendations as it is about old-fashioned commercial competition.
To return the support and warm welcome we have received since our launch last year, here is a handful of independent publishers and presses talking about the exciting and important new work they have to offer this year.
2017 looks to be a bumper crop for independent press publications.
"2017 promises to be another year of experimentation for Test Centre. The year's first release is a substantial prose text by Sam Riviere, a narrative formed of alternating voices and found material. A further highlight to follow soon after is the collected The Magic Door by Chris Torrance, an epic work which has been appearing fleetingly since the 1970s, finally brought together. In the autumn, we'll be working with Hannah Barry Gallery on a publication with Rachael Allen." – Jess Chandler
"We have an exciting year ahead, starting off with Camilla Grudova’s eerie debut short story collection The Doll’s Alphabet and Charlie Fox’s This Young Monster, a hallucinatory essay collection on monsters in film, art and literature. In March, we are very excited to be publishing Mathias Enard’s Compass, his most adventurous novel since Zone and the winner of the Prix Goncourt in 2015. We follow Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, as he spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, between the East and the West, revisiting the important chapters of his life. We are also really looking forward to Olga Tokarczuk’s visit to the UK. Tokarczuk, whose novel Flights we are publishing in May, is author of the day at the London Book Fair and will be in conversation with Deborah Levy at the London Review Bookshop on 16 March." – Tamara Sampey-Jawad
HURST STREET PRESS
"Our sights are currently fixed upon the next two months leading up to the launch of the final edition of IRIS, a magazine of art, poetry and criticism. It was also our first publication so this will be a marker of what a monumental first year we’ve had! We’ll be running some events (including a reading at Blackwell’s and a panel discussion) in Oxford and London leading up to and following the launch at Modern Art Oxford so that’s taking up a lot of time at the moment. Following that we’ve got a couple of things in the pipeline. In the summer we’ll be balancing our printing commissions and events, with our next major publication from writer Lili Hamlyn, whose work was featured in IRIS II, so that’s definitely one to watch out for…" – Beth Sparks
SINE WAVE PEAK
"Sine Wave Peak is a small poetry press based in Manchester, established in 2012. The press is currently going through a period of growth, thanks in part to support from Arts Council England. 2017 began with the appointment of Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir as the press’s new Managing Editor, so it promises to be a big year for SWP. Here are three highlights: 1) Mary Ellen Solt, Flowers in Concrete: Collected Poems. Mary Ellen Solt (1920–2007) was a vital force among avant-garde poets of her generation, responsible for the seminal 1968 anthology Concrete Poetry: A World View, but her legacy as a poet requires renewed attention. Flowers in Concrete will contribute to a feminist revision of the twentieth-century avant-garde; 2) Robin Boothroyd. This summer we’re excited to publish the first collection of Robin Boothroyd, an exceptionally promising young poet; 3) Franck André Jamme, Awless Diamond (trans. Michael Tweed). Franck André Jamme received the Grand Prix de Poesie de la Societe des Gens de Lettres in 2005. His books of poetry include The Recitation of Forgetting, translated by John Ashbery. We’re looking forward to publishing a translation of Jamme’s Awless Diamond this autumn." – Luke Allan
Corbel Stone Press
"We’re rather excited to be publishing a series of six pamphlets, one per month, each themed around a particular aspect of our relationship with the natural world. The first, Nature and Language, was published in January, and featured eighteen poets from seven different countries, including Vasiliki Albedo Bennu (GRC), Miki Fukuda (JPN), Edwin Kelly (IRL), Steffi Lang (USA), Gerry Loose (GBR), John Steffler (CAN), and Hans Jurgen von der Wense (DEU). The second, Nature and Myth, is currently in preparation for publication in February. We welcome submissions for future pamphlets in the series: Nature and the Sacred, Nature and Sentience, Nature and Death, and Nature and Regeneration." – Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton
"We’ll be marking Longbarrow Press’s 11th year with a string of new, hand-finished pamphlets, including Quad by Alistair Noon and Kelvin Corcoran’s timely Article 50, and a new hardback collection from Mark Goodwin, the climbing-themed Rock as Gloss (with illustrations by Paul Evans). Off the page, we’ll be taking part in several festivals in South Yorkshire and beyond, including the third Ted Hughes Poetry Festival; developing our long-running series of poetry walks, with a promenade performance led by Angelina D’Roza and Pete Green (reflecting on Sheffield’s status as a ‘city of sanctuary’); and creating new field recordings and podcasts in collaboration with poets Matthew Clegg and Fay Musselwhite." – Brian Lewis
little island press
We're particularly delighted to have Gordon Lish's latest masterpiece of modernist digression – White Plains (£18.99, July) – almost readied for public consumption. There will be a launch in London to celebrate the publication and to commemorate Lish's long and esteemed career (watch this space). As well as this, we've got some fantastic fiction dotted throughout the year, including two outstanding debuts – The Way of Florida and The Feast of Jupiter – and one recovery: A German Picturesque, which can only be described, in Ben Marcus' words, as 'brutal' and 'cryptic'. And, finally, we are especially pleased to be publishing Daniel Roy Connelly's Extravagant Stranger, an hilarious work of 'autobiographical courage'. – Andrew Latimer