Poetry publisher Penned in the Margins announces 'indefinite hiatus'

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The independent and innovative poetry publisher Penned in the Margins, whose recent title The English Summer by Holly Hopkins was shortlisted for this year Forward best first collection prize, has announced that from January 2023 it will cease to publish or produce new work.

It said that the move is as a result of changes in director Tom Chivers’ personal circumstances, and not a response to loss of funding from Arts Council England; their bid for the 2023-26 NPO programme was withdrawn in September.

Tom Chivers said: “It’s been 18 years since I started Penned in the Margins as a small poetry reading series in south London. Since then we’ve published over 90 books, produced hundreds of events, and created a wide range of theatrical productions and projects. I have recently had a change in my personal life which makes it financially impossible to continue producing new work. The company will take an indefinite hiatus from January 2023, but our books will still be available in bookshops and through our website. It has been a very challenging year and I recognise the impact this news has had on our authors, especially those with books scheduled for the next 12 months.”

Penned in the Margins began in 2004 as a series of poetry events in a converted railway arch in Herne Hill, south London. Their 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.  Since then, the company has published over 90 titles of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and criticism; other authors include Raymond Antrobus, Luke Kennard, John McCullough, and Luke Wright.

Meanwhile leading spoken word and performance poety publisher, Burning Eye Books, has said it will not be taking any new submissions this year after a "rough few years". On its website it said: "We’re sorry to announce that we won’t be open to new submissions this year. Apologies for any disappointment, it’s been a rough few years and we’re allowing ourselves more room to rest in 2023/24."

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