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 modest beginnings as a reading series in a converted railway arch in south London, Penned in the Margins has grown over the last 15 years into an award-winning small arts organisation 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 IPS (Ingram). We are a member of STAMP, the network of London organisations supporting emerging theatre and performance makers.

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Who we are

Director Tom Chivers

Tom is a writer, publisher and arts producer. 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). His non-fiction debut London Clay (Doubleday, 2021) was audiobook of the week in the Times.

Sales Manager and Assistant Editor Roisin Dunnett

Roisin's background is in bookselling and project management in the arts. Her writing has been published by Prototype, Ambit and elsewhere. Her fiction pamphlet Animal, Vegetable was published in 2021 by Broken Sleep Books. She has also collaborated with artists on sound works, installations and film.

Sales and Marketing Assistant

This role is currently vacant. Click here to apply.

Associate Producer Nick Murray

Nick is a producer, composer, writer and sound artist. His body of work includes site specific installation, film scores and theatrical production. Nick's practice explores communicative loss and contemporary grief through current and outdated technology using interactive small-scale theatre, digital experiences and sonic installation.

Creative Associate Russell Bender

Russell is a theatre maker and director. 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 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 Artists
Siddhartha Bose, Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland
Advisory Board
Annette Brook, Jess Chandler, Hannah Hood, Julia Payne, Ben Pygall, Aki Schilz, Doug Wallace


Our work regularly wins, or is shortlisted for, accolades including the Ted Hughes Award, the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Costa Book Awards and the Griffin Poetry Prize. In 2017 Penned in the Margins was shortlisted for the inaugural Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers.


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

020 7375 0121

Book proposals

We are currently accepting new proposals for non-fiction only. Please read our detailed guidelines and direct to your proposal to the relevant email address.

Working with us

We are currently recruiting for a Sales & Marketing Assistant (part-time).

Please note: we do not currently offer internships/work placements.

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