Through the Iron Age
Published by Iron Press
Through the Iron Age: An Editor's Forty Years Journey
The Iron Age Festival, held in May 2013 in Cullercoats, Northumberland, celebrates forty years of continuous publishing by Iron Press. As part of the celebration, Iron's driving force and long-time editor Peter Mortimer looks back over the past forty years.
"The year Iron Press was born a great number of people had yet to hear of Margaret Thatcher and Bloodaxe Books had still not seen the light of day. This was 1973, and the almost-forgotten Edward Heath was the Prime Minister. I was sharing a Gateshead flat with poet Tom Pickard and his wife Connie, who together ran the famous Morden Tower poetry venue in Newcastle. It was a fairly Bohemian chaotic life, and the ideal breeding ground for a new literary press, which sounded like a good idea in those hazy discussions in the early hours.
"What came first was IRON Magazine, which Connie and I planned to edit together. The name IRON was meant to echo the North East's industrial past - steel, coal, iron, but when artist Geoff Laws created the IRON Press logo (still in use), he plumped for an old-fashioned flat iron (a symbol later used by the Women's Press)..."
This booklet is an updated, expanded version of an article written for Fix This Moment - Writers Respond to North East Literary History, edited by Stevie Ronnie and Claire Malcolm (New Writing North, 2010).