Penned in the Margins began in 2004 as a series of poetry events in a converted railway arch in Herne Hill, South London. Our first book, Generation Txt, was published in 2006 and featured six up-and-coming poets including future best-selling novelist Joe Dunthorne and award-winning playwright Inua Ellams. The group subsequently toured a stage show to 14 venues across England.
Since then, we have published over 90 titles of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and criticism. Our authors include major names in contemporary poetry such as Raymond Antrobus, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Luke Kennard, Gail McConnell, John McCullough, Rebecca Tamás and Luke Wright, as well as prose writers who take a fresh look at the world and our place within it, including Justin Hopper, Abi Palmer, Amber Massie-Blomfield, and Khaled Nurul Hakim. Penned in the Margins books have won or been shortlisted for over 50 literary awards including the Rathbones Folio Award, the Forward Prizes, the TS Eliot Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Costa Book Awards and a British Book Design and Production Award. Our last two publications were released in autumn 2022: Improvised Explosive Device by poet Arji Manuelpillai and Meryl Pugh’s non-fiction debut Feral Borough.
Our pioneering performance work includes solo shows by Hannah Silva, Siddhartha Bose, Ross Sutherland, Caroline Bergvall and Antosh Wojcik, and the landmark productions Fair Field (2017) – a theatrical re-imagining of the medieval poem Piers Plowman, which featured on BBC Two’s Art That Made Us in 2021. Our projects have reached audiences across the UK and internationally in both traditional arts venues and unconventional spaces – from London’s Victorian cemeteries and an RSPB nature reserve in Teesside to the top of the Malvern Hills. Penned in the Margins has been based in Toynbee Studios in London’s East End since 2010, and was a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England from 2015 to 2023. Our books are represented by Inpress Books and distributed by IPS.