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Publisher of the Month September 2018

Posted on September 01, 2018 by Sophie O'Neill
Our September Publisher of the Month is Penned in the Margins. They specialise in contemporary poetry and spoken word. We spoke to their editor Tom Chivers to find out more...
  • What was your pathway into publishing?

Pathway? It's been off-road all the way. I started Penned in the Margins in 2006 with no formal training in publishing, though I had an English literature degree under my belt and 18 months' experience working in an arts consultancy. Penned is an odd creation - part indie publisher, part performing arts company - and I've always felt we exist right at the edge of the conventional publishing scene.

  • Where is Penned in the Margins based?

Our office is in the East End of London, but our books and touring productions have a national (and international) reach.

  • What gets you creatively inspired?

I love working closely with writers and artists and sharing in their creative obsessions, whether that's discovering Britain's weirdest theatres (Twenty Theatres to See You Before You Die by Amber Massie-Blomfield, May 25th), using glitch drumming to access memories (How to Keep Time: A Drum Solo for Dementia by Antosh Wojcik, Edinburgh Fringe) or exploring the marshy landscape of Essex (Low Country by Tom Bolton, October 30th).

  • Which exciting titles are on the horizon? 

Raymond Antrobus's first full collection The Perseverance (October 1st) is generating a lot of pre-publication buzz, and has just been announced as the Poetry Book Society's Choice. Quite rightly: Raymond is a really significant new poet of British-Jamaican heritage who explores hybrid/mixed identities with great subtlety and flair. He is also deaf and many of the poems speak movingly about memory, loss and the complexities of language from a deaf perspective. I think it's going to be one of the major poetry debuts of the decade.

  • If you had to sum up Penned in the Margins in three words, which would you pick?

Curious, risk-taking, driven. (The hyphen is this editor's prerogative.)

  • What are the staff currently reading?

Tom is reading OK, Mr Field by Katharine Kilalea. Lily is reading The Idiot by Elif Batuman and a book of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, by Hanif Abdurraqib.

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