The Northern Publishers’ Fair idea started when Isabelle Kenyon, Founder of Fly On The Wall Press, went to the London poetry fair in 2018. We spoke to her about how that inspired the Northern Publishers Fair, ahead of the 2021 event taking place at the end of July.
I paid £70 for my train (which would now cost me £80+), and £45 for a half table. I spent £10 on lunch. I made £45. It didn’t seem an affordable or fair experience and it struck me that there was no reason we couldn’t have a fair in Manchester, for all the Northern independents who often can’t afford travel to London.
The first fair was in 2019 and it was heartening to see readers travel from Birmingham, Liverpool, Scotland and Yorkshire to experience the day. We had a mix of magazine publishers and mixed genre book publishers from the North, and everyone left feeling excited for the next one – and then COVID hit!
So after 2 cancelled 2020 dates, we are here in 2021, with a fool-proof socially distanced plan for the Northern Publishers’ Fair to go ahead on Saturday 24th of July, 11.30am-4pm. I could not be more excited to chat to readers again! We have some brand new publishers to the fair and I can’t wait to introduce you to them. In a nutshell…
- Bluemoose Books is an award-winning independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Kevin and Hetha Duffy started Bluemoose in 2006 and if you want brilliant stories that have travelled from Hebden Bridge, across the border into Lancashire, down to London across to Moscow, Sofia and Budapest and into the United States, Australia, India, Colombia and Greenland, Iceland and Bosnia Herzagovina then Bluemoose is the publisher for you.
LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL by Ronan Hession has been chosen by Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature as Book of The Year 2021!
- Route is a terraced publishing house in the north of England with a principle commitment to authentic stories and good books. Their titles have been bestowed with Book of the Year Awards from Rolling Stone Magazine, Mojo, Rough Trade, Guardian, Northern Soul, Morning Starand Reader’s Digest, and have been deemed worthy of being shortlisted for the James Tait Memorial Prize for Fiction, Penderyn Music Book Prize, NME Book Award, Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award and PEN Ackerley Prize.
‘The sharpest, on the button writing you’ll read all year. Route could soon start taking on a Samizdat level of importance as it quietly ushers in the beginnings of a much needed literary renaissance.’ – The Big Issue
- Saraband Books is an award-winning independent publisher of outstanding fiction, absorbing nature writing, pressing environmental issues and compelling memoir. They publish authors with deep knowledge of the culture, local landscapes, wildlife, folk traditions and history in regions around the UK. They champion diversity and inclusion as part of a wide-ranging commitment to excellence. They are based in Salford, Manchester.
- Vertebrate Publishing: books to inspire adventure. The Peak District was the inspiration behind their first books, their offices being situated on its doorstep, minutes away from world-class climbing, biking and hillwalking. Vertebrate are driven by their own passion for the outdoors, for exploration, and for the natural world. They feel it’s particularly important that young people get outside and explore the natural world, something they support through their publishing programme.
- Stairwell Books was conceived by founder Rose Drew who would sit in the stairwell of her home in Connecticut sharing poems with her upstairs tenant, an accomplished ‘cellist. In 2002 Rose, with her then fauxmari, Alan Gillott, produced poetry booklets to sell when they featured at poetry venues in the USA. In 2005 Stairwell Books published its first book, an anthology of the poets in their First Tuesdayopen mic which met monthly in Wilton Connecticut. In 2007 Stairwell Books produced a second anthology, this time of the poets they met in York, England, at their open mic, The Spoken Word. More Exhibitionism, published in 2016 is their 50th book, and celebrates 11 years of The Spoken Word. Since then Stairwell Books has published further anthologies of the best of local poets. As of January 2016 they have 17 novels, 28 collections, 12 anthologies, 4 History and Memoires, and 4 books for children and young adults.
- Manchester Poetry Library – really pleased to host this new endeavour! A new poetry library coming in 2021 as part of Manchester Metropolitan University- come find out more!
- Verve Poetry Press is a prize-winning Birmingham based publisher (but we Northerners love them anyway…) dedicated to promoting and showcasing Birmingham and Midlands poetic talent in colourful and exciting ways. (Just what you’d expect from a press that had grown out of the giddy and flamboyant annual four days of poetry and spoken word that is Verve Poetry Festival.) Co-founded by Stuart Bartholomew and Amerah Saleh, the press works hard to publish poets from all corners of Birmingham – poets that represent the city’s varied and energetic qualities and are able to communicate its many poetic stories. While their horizons have expanded beyond Birmingham more recently, there will always be a place for excellent poets from their home city at Verve! They won the Michael Marks Award Publishers Award 2019 and Sabotage Reviews Most Innovative Publisher 2019.
- Fly on the Wall Press – It’s us! We are a not for profit Manchester-based independent publisher with a conscience. We were delighted to be a Small Press of Year finalist 2020 & 2021 at the British Book Awards. We publish innovative short stories, poetry and photography books and, in 2022, novels and novellas, on pressing issues, from exceptional authors around the globe, all with a socially conscious theme. Social action is intrinsically linked into our books, and has been since the Press was established in February 2018. Our flagship anthologies work in two ways: each sale fundraises for the chosen charity and each reader continues our conversation, tackling the issues highlighted. We are proud to publish short stories and poetry on the pressing issues of our time, being unafraid to generate conversation about perhaps ‘prickly’ subjects, whilst also dedicating a large proportion of our yearly publishing schedule to charitable projects.
We also have some secret publishers we will rolling out in the lead up to July 24th!
We are staggering audience entrances in 20 min slots to ensure distancing and the library café will also be open if you want a brew! Manchester Central Library is wheelchair accessible and there is parking for blue badge holders.
Get your free tickets below.