Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks

"A marvellously exciting venture, bringing together the worlds of experimentalism and performance, always looking for new ways to present the spoken and written word in a time of artistic flux. The mainstream will, in the future, be redefined and enriched by companies like Penned in the Margins."

Ian McMillan, poet and broadcaster

Our story

From small beginnings as a reading series in a converted railway arch in south London, Penned in the Margins has grown over the last decade into a respected, award-winning literary arts company producing new work live, in print and online.

Penned in the Margins believes in the power of language to challenge how we think, test new ideas and explore alternative stories. We operate across the arts, collaborating with writers, artists and creative partners using new platforms and technologies.


A unique blend of publishing and production characterises our distinctive model in the cultural landscape. The hallmarks of a Penned in the Margins book or event are curiosity, innovation and openness. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do, bringing artists from different fields together to create innovative and invigorating new work. We have a history of developing new artists and writers, and have given important early opportunities to the likes of playwright Inua Ellams, novelist Joe Dunthorne, spoken word artist Scroobius Pip and poets Hannah Silva and Melissa Lee-Houghton.


Penned in the Margins has been a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England since 2015. We have been based in Artsadmin’s Toynbee Studios in London’s East End since 2010. Our books are represented by Inpress Books and distributed by NBN International. We are a member of STAMP, the network of London organisations supporting emerging theatre and performance makers.



Shortlisted, Griffin Poetry Prize 2019 | The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Winner, Ted Hughes Award 2019 | The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Shortlisted, Rathbones Folio Award 2019 | The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Shortlisted, Jhalak Prize 2019 | The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Shortlisted, New Angle Prize 2019 | Low Country by Tom Bolton
Recommendation, Poetry Book Society 2019 | WITCH by Rebecca Tamás
Choice, Poetry Book Society 2018 | The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Recommendation, Poetry Book Society 2018 | The Triumph of Cancer by Chris McCabe
Guest Selection, Poetry Book Society 2018 | Natural Phenomena by Meryl Pugh
Shortlisted, Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers 2017
Shortlisted, Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize 2017 | The Story of No by Emma Hammond
Shortlisted, Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize 2017 | Spacecraft by John McCullough
Longlisted, Green Carnation Prize | Spacecraft by John McCullough
Winner, Somerset Maugham Award 2017 | Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton
Shortlisted, Dylan Thomas Prize 2017 |Cain by Luke Kennard
Shortlisted, Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2016 | Sunshine
Shortlisted, Costa Poetry Prize 2016 | Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton
Winner, British Book Design & Production Awards 2016 | Cain by Luke Kennard
Shortlisted, Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2016 | Melissa Lee-Houghton
Shortlisted, East Anglian Book Awards 2016 | What I Learned from Johnny Bevan
Winner, Best Novella, Saboteur Awards 2016 | The Lost Art of Sinking by Naomi Booth
Winner, Best Spoken Word Show, Saboteur Awards 2016 | What I Learned from Johnny Bevan
Winner, Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year 2015 | The Good Dark by Ryan Van Winkle
Winner, Most Innovative Publisher, Saboteur Awards 2015
Longlisted, Medicine Unboxed Prize 2015 | The Hard Word Box by Sarah Hesketh
Shortlisted, Gordon Burn Prize 2015 | Midland by Honor Gavin
Next Generation Poet 2014 | Beautiful Girls by Melissa Lee-Houghton
Winner, Most Innovative Publisher, Saboteur Awards 2013
Shortlisted, Ted Hughes Award 2013 | Total Man by Hannah Silva
Longlisted, Guardian First Book Award 2013 | The Shipwrecked House by Claire Trévien
Recommendation, Poetry Book Society 2013 | Beautiful Girls by Melissa Lee-Houghton
Best Novella, Saboteur Awards 2013 | Holophin by Luke Kennard
Recommended Translation, Poetry Book Society 2013 | Beowulf by Meghan Purvis
Special Commendation, Poetry Book Society 2012 | Adventures in Form


Who we are

Tom Chivers

Tom is a writer, publisher and arts producer born in south London in 1983. His poetry releases include How To Build A City (Salt, 2009) and Dark Islands (Test Centre, 2015). He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks (2009) and Edwin Morgan (2014) Prizes. Tom was co-Director of London Word Festival from its inception in 2008 until 2011, and was a recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Award. He was a board member of the Poetry Book Society (2009-2013) and Inpress Books (2013-2017).

*Tom works Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays


Publishing Co-ordinator
Rosie Dunnett

Rosie’s background is in bookselling and project management in the arts; she has previously worked for Tate Modern, the Whitechapel Gallery and Libreria Bookshop. She has also collaborated with artists on sound works, installations, film and screenplays, the most recent of which, for short film Sparta North, screened at the British Film Institute and the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Rosie is a writer of prose fiction and essays. Her work, in various forms, has appeared in publications including Ambit, Hotel and Broadly.

*Rosie works Tuesdays and Thursdays


Sales & Marketing Officer
Kate Wilkinson

Kate has worked in various forms of arts journalism and online storytelling including as a reporter for BookBrunch and a content producer for Royal Museums Greenwich. Alongside her role at Penned in the Margins she also commissions articles for Wellcome Collection Stories.

*Kate works Mondays and Tuesdays


Creative Associate
Russell Bender

Russell is a theatre maker and director, and is Creative Associate of Penned in the Margins. He trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq. Credits as director include Darknet by Rose Lewenstein (Southwark Playhouse), Kiss of the Earth (UK tour), No Dogs, No Indians by Siddhartha Bose (Brighton Festival, Southbank Centre et al) and Game of Life by Rose Lewenstein (The Yard). Russell has developed work at BAC, Cambridge Junction and the National Theatre Studio. As staff/assistant director he has worked for the National Theatre and Complicite. He is artistic director of theatre and technology company Potential Difference.


Associate Producer
Nick Murray

Nick is a producer, composer, writer and sound artist. His body of work includes, site specific installation, score for film, literary festivals and theatrical production. Nick’s current projects include being the producer for Nua Dance, as well as composing the score for Nua Dance’s latest piece QUIMERA. Parallel to this, Nick’s research explores communicative loss and contemporary grief through current and outdated technology using interactive small-scale theatre, digital experiences and sonic installation.


Associate Artists
Siddhartha Bose, Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland


Advisory Board
Jess Chandler, Hannah Hood, Julia Payne, Ben Pygall, Aki Schilz, Doug Wallace

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22 Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB
United Kingdom

020 7375 0121

Book proposals

We are currently accepting new book proposals from both agented and unagented writers. Please read our guidelines carefully.

Working with us

We do not have any vacancies at present. Please note: we offer internships/work placements only in partnership with our existing higher education partners and do not accept individual applications.

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