Hard Pressed: Mapping Manchester’s Small Radical Presses

4 December 2023 - News

Commonword Cultureword has been awarded a grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to deliver Hard Pressed: Mapping Manchester’s Small Radical Presses.

This project will recover and celebrate the hidden heritage of Manchester’s independent publishers of fiction and poetry.  It builds on Commonword Cultureword’s previous archive project which explored the origins of the organisation and its vital role in literature development in North West England.

Manchester has a rich literary heritage, but much of it is hidden and in this digital era it risks being lost forever. The independent publishing scene took great risks to publish voices that the mainstream ignored e.g. working class and poor, Black, Asian, LGBTQ+, disabled, neurodivergent. These presses and writers have earned their place in the city’s history.  Over the next two years, Commonword Cultureword will celebrate this heritage and share its stories through the following:

  • Live events
  • Recorded interviews with the people involved at the time
  • A podcast series
  • Workshops using the published material
  • An online archive and interactive map

Did you run a small Manchester-based publication between 1970 to 2010 to champion voices ignored by the mainstream? Did a small press publish your work? Could you contribute to this project? Do you have any of these publications at home in a dusty box up in your attic? Commonword Cultureword want to hear from you. Contact: heena@cultureword.org.uk with information.