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About us

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

We believe 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.



What we do

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 to be a respected literary arts company producing new work live, in print and online. This 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. As poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan says,

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

We curate and produce a wide range of events and productions: from bespoke literary salons to touring theatre shows, and from performance lectures to site-specific audio tours. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do, bringing artists from different fields together to create innovative and invigorating new work. Our publishing list numbers almost fifty publications across poetry, experimental fiction and literary non-fiction, and includes award-winning books such as The Shipwrecked House by Claire Trevien, Adventures in Form and Holophin by Luke Kennard.

Penned in the Margins has been selected a National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England for 2015-18.From _




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, Director

Tom Chivers is a writer and literary arts producer. His books include How To Build A City (Salt, 2009) and The Terrors (Nine Arches, 2009; shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award). He has edited several anthologies including Adventures in Form (Penned in the Margins, 2012). In 2009 he presented a documentary about the poet Barry MacSweeney for BBC Radio 4. He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Prize in 2014. Tom was co-Director of London Word Festival from its inception in 2008 until 2011, and was a recipient of a Breakthrough Award from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. He commissioned and produced a range of work including The 14th Tale by Inua Ellams, Hackney Ascension Day by Iain Sinclair and site-specific murder mystery The Crash. Tom has worked on a variety of arts projects with organisations such as the Poetry Society, Writers’ Centre Norwich, Arvon Foundation and Free Word Centre, where he was Digital Editor 2011-12. He was a board member of the Poetry Book Society 2009-2013, and is currently a board member of Inpress Books.

Nick Murray, Production Assistant

Nick Murray is a live literature producer, writer, viola player and head of Annexe Magazine based in London. His art and installation work has featured in exhibitions such as Sites of Alternative Publishing (Five Years Gallery) and toured with Electronic Voice Phenomena (Mercy/Penned in the Margins).

Associate Artists

Siddhartha Bose, Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland

Creative Associate

Russell Bender

Advisory Board

Chris Baker, Paul Cann, Oliver Dawson, Rose Fenton, Julia Payne, Natasha Tripney


At the forefront of exploring what live literature, spoken word – whatever you wish to call it – can and could be

The Stage

Good news for poetry

The Times

The Brian Eno of the poetry publishing world

Selected Poems

An independent one stop shop for exciting literary publications and events

For Books Sake

Cracking (and frequently cutting-edge) live lit events


Each book that comes out of the PITM stable is perfectly packaged, of a super high quality and guaranteed to make readers think a little differently

Reader, Saboteur Awards

Exactly the kind of work that needs to be done ... neither declarative nor factional

SJ Fowler