Penned in the Margins to publish ‘astounding epic of family, memory and loss’ by Elizabeth Reeder

Blog | Published on November 12, 2019

Independent publisher Penned in the Margins has acquired An Archive of Happiness, a new novel about an unconventional family in the Scottish Highlands by Elizabeth Reeder.

An Archive of Happiness is mostly set over the course of one day, during the Avens family’s annual get-together on the Summer Solstice. Theirs is a fractured family, broken by arguments, by things said and not said, by a mother who left and a father who was left behind. What happens on this day will force them to cleave together to survive and redraw the traditional bonds of family. The novel offers sharp insights into family and the LGBTQ experience.

Elizabeth Reeder is a Chicago-born writer living in Scotland whose books have been shortlisted for a number of awards including a Saltire Literary Award.

Penned in the Margins acquired UK and Commonwealth Rights (ex. Canada) from Laura Macdougall at United Agents. Audio rights have already been acquired by Bolinda Publishing.

Tom Chivers, director of Penned in the Margins, commented, “An Archive of Happiness is a beautiful novel – an unravelling, astounding epic of family, memory and loss that left me, frankly, overwhelmed. We are all really excited to be working with Elizabeth, and honoured that she has entrusted this special book to us.”

Reeder commented, “I’m incredibly pleased that An Archive of Happiness has found the perfect home with Penned in the Margins. They are a wonderful press fuelled by the fantastic possibilities of expansive poetry and prose, and I’m looking forward to see what we can do together.”

An Archive of Happiness will be published in September 2020.


Elizabeth Reeder is a Chicago native now living in Scotland. She writes novels, essays and stories. She is fascinated by things we build and dismantle (houses, identity, family, community) and how we write about them. Her first novel, Ramshackle, was shortlisted for a number of awards including a Saltire Literary Award. Interested in writing that creates spaces between forms, subjects and discipline, she supports other writers, artists and thinkers to make their best work including making space for risk, exuberant failure, collaborations, and rigorous creative editorial processes. microbursts, a collection of her lyric essays produced in collaboration with artist Amanda Thomson, will be published by Prototype Publications in Spring 2021. She's a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at University of Glasgow.

Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. 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. Their authors include Luke Kennard, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Raymond Antrobus, Ross Sutherland, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett and Hannah Silva. Their books have won the Ted Hughes Award and the Rathbones Folio Prize and been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, Gordon Burn Prize and the International Dylan Thomas Prize; in 2017 they were shortlisted for the inaugural Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers.

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