Blog archive for 2017



Justin Hopper on tracing ‘ghost-memories’ in the South Downs

What traces of our fiery lives remain in the landscape once we’re gone? It might be wishful thinking, something bordering on religion, to believe that we don’t just disappear but linger on as ghost-memories, folktales, circles drawn into the land. But it’s easier to get through each day imagining that we do. And so we dig our boot heels into the ground; we make our drawings, dig our tunnels. Everyday, we inscribe.



“Swimming can give you the optimism to keep going” – Elizabeth-Jane Burnett in the Guardian

Swims author Elizabeth-Jane Burnett speaks to Richard Lea in the Guardian for their First Book Interview in November 2017.



“The water brings many things to the surface” – Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett explores the writing process of her debut collection Swims and the act of wild swimming itself in a blog piece for the Outdoor Swimming Society.



Beyond the Monkey Puzzle to the Tree of Heaven: Chris McCabe on writing Cenotaph South

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The process of writing Cenotaph South could be visualised more as a growing tangle of underground rootstalks than a crescent arc from its conception to end. I began with an objective plan – to write a book about the dead poets of Nunhead Cemetery – and ended in a creative frenzy akin to Robert Graves’s account of how poets fall under the trance of the White Goddess. The fact that the Goddess herself became a central figure in the book reminds me of how far I’d drifted, by then, into my own mythopoeia.



Penned in the Margins shortlisted for Clarissa Luard Award

We are delighted to announce that Penned in the Margins have been named on the shortlist for the inaugural Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers.



Melissa Lee-Houghton wins Somerset Maugham Award

We’re delighted to announce that Melissa Lee-Houghton has won the 2017 Somerset Maugham Award for her third collection, Sunshine.



Two Penned in the Margins titles on inaugural Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize

We are delighted to announce two Penned in the Margins books have been shortlisted for the inaugural Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize, the UK’s only prize for second collections



Searching for a Form: Amaan Hyder on writing his debut collection At Hajj

A number of years ago I read a newspaper article about the Hajj. The writer described seeing people walking in a line in the group they were travelling with, their hands around the waist of the person in front so they wouldn’t get lost in the crowds of pilgrims.



Female actor of colour sought for site-responsive production

Female actor of colour (Black British/African/Carribean or Mixed Race) sought to join ensemble for an innovative site-responsive production of a medieval epic poem. Fair Field is a major new project bringing the medieval ‘poem of crisis’ Piers Plowman to life for modern audiences. The production is composed collaboratively by a writing team including Annette Brook, […]



Casting announced for Siddhartha Bose’s No Dogs, No Indians

A company of four British/ South Asian actors will take roles in new play No Dogs, No Indians, which examines three generations of resistance, sacrifice and discovery at the end of the British Empire in India and in the years that followed.



A major modern re-imagining of a medieval poem of crisis

Penned in the Margins invites you to step back through time and explore a world of inequality, political corruption and spiritual crisis in Fair Field.



Luke Kennard’s Cain shortlisted for 2017 International Dylan Thomas Prize

We’re delighted to announce that Luke Kennard’s poetry collection Cain, published by Penned in the Margins in June 2016, has been shortlisted for the 2017 International Dylan Thomas Prize.



Chris McCabe on Resurrecting William Onions at Tower Hamlets Cemetery

Of all of the dead poets I’ve found so far on my way around London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries, William ‘Spring’ Onions is the one that seems to have arrived in life via fiction. Onions was arrested over 500 times for various misdemeanours in the East End and eventually used poetry as a replacement for the alcohol which had sustained the first 70 years of his life. One newspaper reporter wrote:



Casting Call: No Dogs, No Indians

We are on the look out for four actors to star in our upcoming production of Siddhartha Bose’s play No Dogs, No Indians, written to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence. In No Dogs, No Indians intertwining stories explore the effects and legacy of the British in India through characters such as Rani, an 1930s […]



Melissa Lee-Houghton shortlisted for Ted Hughes Award

We’re delighted to announce that Melissa Lee-Houghton’s collection Sunshine has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. This news continues the remarkable success Melissa has enjoyed with the collection, which featured on the shortlists for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and the Costa Poetry Award. Sunshine is Melissa Lee-Houghton’s […]



New Siddhartha Bose play marking 70th anniversary of Indian independence to premiere at Brighton Festival

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Luke Kennard’s Cain longlisted for Dylan Thomas Prize

We’re delighted to announce that Luke Kennard’s fantastic poetry collection Cain, which we published in June, has been longlisted for this year’s International Dylan Thomas Prize.



Fair Field awarded major touring grant

Our flagship project for 2017 – a site-responsive, medieval-inspired fusion of poetry, theatre, music, art and performance – has been awarded a Strategic Touring Grant by Arts Council England. A co-commission with Ledbury Poetry Festival and Shoreditch Town Hall, Fair Field will reimagine the fourteenth century epic poem of crisis Piers Plowman for modern audiences. […]



Announcing our 2017 publishing list

New year, new books. 2017 promises a punchy take on austerity Britain, wild swimming, Indian freedom fighters, must-see theatres and much more!