Here we are at the start of another year at Penned in the Margins. 2016 will feature new books from some of our best-known writers, a non-fiction first on landscape & Englishness, a literary criticism sequel and an experimental poetry debut. So, without further ado, here is the low-down on those books coming out of PITM towers in the next 12 months!
We kick things off in February with Luke Wright’s Fringe First Award-winning Edinburgh show. A modern epic written in verse, What I Learned from Johnny Bevan is a story of friendship, class ceilings and political disillusionment. We launch the book on 24th February – press night of the show’s run at Soho Theatre – in trade paperback, priced £9.99. We have also printed 50 copies of a signed and numbered special edition hardback. At time of writing there are only 10 copies left!
In March we release the second collection from Anglo-Breton poet, Claire Trévien. Following the success of her Guardian First Book Award-longlisted debut, The Shipwrecked House, these delicate, playful poems take us to a place where ancient stone circles collide with the language of the internet. Formally inventive and intricately composed, Astéronymes is a book of redactions – and an elegy for places and people that have been ruined by time, erosion or neglect.
We are delighted to welcome John McCullough to our list with his second collection, Spacecraft. John’s first book, The Frost Fairs, won the Polari First Book Award, and this follow-up conjures floating churches and mobile cities; takes on etymology, obsolete words and punctuation marks; and continues to explore the contemporary gay experience. Watch out in April for launches in Brighton, London and Oxford, alongside Astéronymes.
Cain is the long-awaited new book of poetry from Next Generation Poet (and newCanal Laureate!) Luke Kennard, published as a deluxe hardback edition in June. One of the UK’s most influential poets, Cain once again proves Kennard to be a master of the surreal and innovator of form, with a series of cutting and hilarious poems in which the author undergoes therapy from the Bible’s first murderer, debating everything from interfaith dialogue to zombies. Thirty-one poems – anagrams in their entirety of one Biblical passage – makes for a central sequence very few poets could dream up, let alone pull off with such aplomb.
PLEASE NOTE – THE OLD WEIRD ALBION HAS NOW BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL OCTOBER 2017
As we move into Autumn we shift from poetry to a book that fits somewhere between literary non-fiction and alternative nature writing. In The Old Weird Albion, American writer and artist Justin Hopper will set forth into the foggy underculture of the South Downs Way in search of an alternate version of English identity. Taking in urban spaces, suburbs and sweeping landscapes in the Sussex homeland of Hopper’s ancestors, this debut will attempt to reconnect with the land and the self.
The second Next Generation Poet we’re publishing in 2016 will be Melissa Lee-Houghton’s powerful and provocative third collection, Sunshine. Continuing the stark confessional style that has garnered critical acclaim and a growing fanbase, Sunshine is at times explicit, at others tender, sexual and dangerous. These poems ooze confidence and demonstrate Melissa’s ability to shine a light on human emotion with startling precision. Out in September.
Following on from 2014’s In the Catacombs, Chris McCabe again turns sleuth to search the cemeteries of London for a forgotten dead poet. This time he walks among the graves of Nunhead Cemetery and across the parklands, heaths and industrial estates of south London. Chris even locates what he believes to be the exact tree where William Blake had a vision of the angels. So expect a literary stir this November!
We have signed up London-based poet Charlotte Newman for a debut collection, to be published in October. The as-yet-untitled book will be bold and experimental and comes from a writer whose first selection of poems won the inaugural Saboteur Award for Best Pamphlet in 2013.