Penned in the Margins acquires Amber Massie-Blomfield’s ‘inspirational’ Acts of Resistance

Blog | Published on December 18, 2020

Independent publisher Penned in the Margins has acquired an ‘inspirational’ creative non-fiction book by writer and arts professional Amber Massie-Blomfield.

Acts of Resistance tells a series of astonishing stories from the past – moments when the arts have achieved genuine impact as a form of political resistance. These stories span the globe – from apartheid-era South Africa and the Warsaw Ghetto to indigenous communities in Boliva and the recent Arab Spring uprisings – and consider the work of artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers including Susan Sontag, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Claude Cahun and Rabindranath Tagore. Massie-Blomfield will draw on a rich store of material to consider the meaning and relevance of the arts and ‘reinvigorate readers with the power of creativity, looking to the past to learn what we may be capable of today’.

Acts of Resistance follows Massie-Blomfield’s critically acclaimed first book, Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die, which was released by Penned in the Margins in 2018 and praised by Holly Williams in the TLS as ‘Wide-ranging, open-minded … a sustained and deep inquiry into what theatre is and what it does’.

Publisher Tom Chivers says, ‘Acts of Resistance is a powerful, timely and inspirational book about art, politics and the people that make it happen. And as with Amber’s first book, it is both rigorously researched and evocatively written. This year has really shown how much we need the arts; Amber makes a compelling case not for art as pure escapism, but as the basis for cultural and societal change. I’m overjoyed to be working with her again.’

UK and Commonwealth Rights were acquired from Becky Thomas at Johnson & Alcock. Acts of Resistance will be published in 2022.

Amber Massie-Blomfield is an arts professional and creative non-fiction writer. In May 2018 her first book, Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die was shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize in 2018 and received the Society of Authors’ Michael Meyer Award. For Acts of Resistance, she’s been awarded a grant by Arts Council England and Gladstone’s Library’s ‘Politics-in-Residence’ Award, and has undertaken a residency with Arthouse Jersey. From 2014-2018 she was Executive Director of Camden People’s Theatre and was selected by the Evening Standard as one of '18 Women to Inspire the Next Generation' on International Day of the Girl 2017. She received the Special Achievement Award at the 2018 Off West End Awards. In 2019 she founded the Creative Nonfiction Club, resident at Pages of Hackney. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a graduate of UEA's Creative Writing MA. She regularly contributes articles to The Stage, and has written for The Independent, The Guardian and The Pool, amongst others.

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 books have won or been shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Award, Griffin Poetry Prize, TS Eliot Prize, 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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