Saboteur Awards 2018: Spotlight on the Most Innovative Publisher Shortlist

If you’re low on inspiration of where to buy your next books, look no further than this stunner of a shortlist!

Don’t forget to vote before 9th May here!

404 Ink

Photo Suzanne Heffron

404 Ink is the award-winning alternative, independent publisher of books and literary magazines based in Edinburgh. We publish books like Nasty Women, Chris McQueer’s Hings and rock band Creeper’s The Last Days of James Scythe. 404 Ink believe in publishing little but publishing loud, putting full energy and resources into every author we publish.

Follow them on their website here or their Twitter here

Why voters think they should win:

Two badass women taking the Scottish and UK-wide publishing industry on and winning. Nothing they publish is predictable and they show other more established publishers how it should be done.

taking advantage of every inch their small size gives them to punch above their weight, and manoeuvre skillfully in a difficult industry fraught with way more risk than reward. great work, 404 Ink!

Bad Betty Press

We’re an independent publisher of new poetry, founded in July 2017 by Amy Acre and Jake Wild Hall. We publish pamphlets by emerging writers, with our first full collection, and ACE-funded mental health anthology, The Dizziness of Freedom, out this year. We’re also currently working on a series of mini pamphlets called Bad Betty Shots – each containing a single, long-form poem.

Follow them on their website or Twitter

Why voters think they should win:

Created by young dynamic people, who have been able to build something within a tough industry. Giving opportunities to those often overlooked thus giving hope and belief where there may be none.

I don’t think I KNOW they are the best!

Burning Eye Books

Bristol based Burning Eye Books specialise in publishing by slam-stand up-performance and spoken word poetry.

Follow them on their website or Twitter.

Why voters think they should win:

They’ve published so many amazing voices and I feel they are really courageous and have loads of integrity.

It is greating publishing space for poets who are sometimes sidelined as ‘performers’

Indigo Dreams

How fantastic to be shortlisted again for these awards. They really make a difference.  Indigo Dreams Publishing an independent, award-winning publisher run Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling. We publish 3 magazines, about 30 publications (collections/pamphlets) annually.. We also run 2 competitions where 4 winners receive publication, royalty contracts and free copies of their collections.
We received The Ted Slade Award for Services to Poetry for giving opportunities to new writers and for keeping poetry high on the writing agenda. We also won a Saboteur award  last year – yay! Our maxim is ‘pleasure, not pressure’ and we are known for our friendly approach and easy working relationship with our wonderful poets (honestly!)

Follow them on their website or Twitter!

Why voters think they should win:

The most eclectic publisher, everyone is giving the same opportunity and your work will be nurtured and presented as you want it by IDP.  They are all about supporting their poets and giving poets opportunities through 3 mags, pamphlets and collections.

They are by far the friendliest and most productive publisher in the UK. Fantastic ethos and production values. they do more for poetry nationally than anyone I know.

Sidekick Books

Sidekick Books is a London-based small press, publishing collaborative fusions, interactive anthologies and mixed-media hybrids. We blend art, play, poetry and reference, and our multi-authored titles cover a rich range of topics, including wildlife, folklore, robotics, cinema, video games and underwater exploration.
Follow them on their website or Twitter!

Why voters think they should win:

Their Headbooks and Birdbooks are some of the most innovative and unique poetry books in the world.

They are not aiming for cool or avant garde – they are about growing and merging genres and above all supporting people to be creative in whatever way they need to

Saboteur Awards 2018: Shortlist

The results are out! 

After nearly 5,000 people cast their nominations, we now have a shortlist!

The four most nominated works in each category have made the shortlist + an editor’s choice (identified by an asterisk*). You can see which editor picked which category here – in the interest of fairness, the editors will only reveal why they picked each work after the voting has closed.

Note to those shortlisted: we have tried to get in touch with everyone shortlisted last week but haven’t heard back from everyone. If you are shortlisted and hearing about it for the first time here, please drop an email to [email protected] as soon as possible!

Voting is now open until 9th May at midnight.

The results will be announced at the end of our festival on 19th May at Theatre Delicatessen (Broadgate). You can book tickets here, and view the programme here.

Cast your votes here.

Like previous years, we’ve also chosen to share with you the longlist of works that narrowly missed out on making the shortlist. 10 for each category, we hope you will go and explore them too!

Best Short Story Collection Shortlist 

Bank Holiday Hurricane by Kelly Creighton (Doire Press)
Come Let Us Sing Anyway by Leone Ross (Peepal Tree Press)
Fifteen Minutes by Erinna Mettler (Unbound)
Hings by Chris McQueer (404 Ink)
You Will Grow Into Them by Malcolm Devlin (Unsung Stories)*


A witness of waxwings by Alison lock (Cultured Llama)
The Chemist’s House by Jude Higgins (V. Press)
Dazzling the gods by Tom Vowler (Unbound)
Food of the Gods by Emma Dehaney (Brave Boy Books)
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Serpent’s Tail)
Hollow Shores by Gary Budden (Dead Ink Books)
Paisley Shirt by Gail Aldwin (Chapeltown Books)
Room little darker by June Caldwell (Head of Zeus)
Some of Us Glow More Than Others by Tania Hershman (Unthank Books)
Worlds from the Word’s End by Joanna Walsh (And Other Stories)


Best Spoken Word Performer Shortlist

Amina Bhatti
Shruti Chauhan
Susan Evans
Tyrone Lewis*
Miss Yankey


Hannah Davies
Jemima Foxtrot
Robert Garnham
Jess Green
Jo Howard
Leyla Josephine
Emma McGordon
Abbey Oliveira
Lydia Towsey
Scarlett Ward

Best Magazine Shortlist

Into the Void Magazine
The Journal
Riggwelter Press*


The Blue Nib Literary Magazine
Coast to Coast to Coast
The Lonely Crowd
The Poets’ Republic
Storgy Magazine

Best Wildcard Shortlist

Affleck’s Creative Space*
I am not a silent poet
Poetry Prescribed
#WomenAloud NI 2018
Yours Faithfully, Edna Welthorpe: a tribute to Joe Orton


Avijeet Das
Coast to Coast to Coast
Colchester Write Night
DUSK: Solstice Shorts Festival, Arachne Press
Flash Fiction Festival 2017 (Bath)
Poetry as F*ck
Process Productions
Ronnie Goodyer at Indigo Dreams Publishing
Verve Poetry Festival
The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James (Dead Ink)

Best Novella Shortlist

Dead Dogs & Angels by Mickela Sonola (Holland House Books)
How to Make A Window Snake by Charmaine Wilkerson (Ad Hoc Fiction)
The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga (Jacaranda Books)
Seed by Joanna Walsh (Visual Editions)*
Tumours by Chay Collins (Ampersand Publishing)


Gaudy Bauble, Isabel Waidner (Dostoyevsky Wannabee)
El Hacho by Luis Carrasco (époque press)
Love by Hanne Ørstavik, trans. by Martin Aitken (Archipelago Books)
Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
The Ogress of Reading by Eithne Cullen (new Generation Publishing)
Our Bright Dark Summer by Richard Daniels (Wild Soar Books)
Saving Maya by Kiran Manral (Bombaykala Books)
Sealed by Naomi Booth (Dead Ink)
Water into Wine by Joyce Chng (Annorlunda Enterprises)
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter (Picador)

Best Poetry Pamphlet Shortlist

Anima by Ana Prundaru (Dancing Girl Press)
A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller by Jacqueline Saphra (Hercules Editions)
Paisley by Rakhshan Rizwan (The Emma Press)*
Rice & Rain by Romalyn Ante (V. Press)
Somewhere Between Rose and Black by Claire Walker (V. Press)


& by Amy Kinsman (Indigo Dreams Publishing)
All of the spaces by Maria Isakova Bennett (Eyewear Publishing)
The art of conversation by Mick Yates (Clare Songbird Publishing)
Elephants (Fragile) by David Gilbert (Cinnamon Press)
Heelster gowdie/beul-fo-bhonn  by Marcas Mac an Tuarneir/Stuart A Paterson (Tapsalteerie)
How To Lose Your Shadow by Kit Rayne (Umbrella Poetry)
Selfie with Waterlilies by Paul Stephenson (Paper Swans Press)
Solomon’s World by Jake Wild Hall (Bad Betty Press)
Spools of Thread by Angi Holden (Mother’s Milk Books)
The Punkawallah’s Rope by Chrys Salt (Indigo Dreams Publishing)

Best Spoken Word Regular Night Shortlist

Cafe Del Nino’s Spoken Word Night, Cannock
Find the Right Words, Leicester
Fire and Dust, Coventry*
Mind Over Matter, London
Verbose, Manchester


Apothecary Words, Bridport
Bad Language, Manchester
Big Poetry at The Blue Walnut, Torquay
Boomerang Club, London
Inn Deep, Glasgow
Monday Night Cure, Derry
Outspoken, London
Raise the Bar, Bristol
Tongue Fu

Best Spoken Word Show Shortlist

Doctor Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine by Martin Figura
Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea, by Jemima Foxtrot and Lucy Allan
This Is Not A Safe Space, by Jackie Hagan*
Hopeless by Leyla Josephine
Sexy by Vanessa Kisuule


Coat by Yomi Sode
Door to Door Poetry by Rowan McCabe
Fat Kid Running by Katherine McMahon
Frankie Vah, by Luke Wright
The Hair Show by Rob Auton
Juicy by Robert Garnham
Narcissist in the Mirror, by Rosie Fleeshman
Poets, Prattlers & Pandemonialists, by Emma Purshouse, Steve Pottinger and Dave Pitt
Two Little Ducks by Matt Abbott
The Venus Papers by Lydia Towsey

Most Innovative Publisher Shortlist

404 Ink
Bad Betty Press
Burning Eye Books
Indigo Dreams
Sidekick Books*


By Me Poetry
Clare Songbirds Publishing
Dead Ink Books
The Emma Press
Nine Arches Press
Penned in The Margins
Platypus Press
Speculative Books
Valley Press

Best Reviewer of Literature Shortlist

Charlie Baylis
Dave Coates
Joey Connolly
Jade Cuttle*
Sandeep Parmar


Colin Dardis
Greg Freeman
Ross Jeffery
Emma Lee
Scott Manley Hadley
Ruth McKee
Mary Paterson
Sam Smith
Angela Topping
Tim Wells

Best Collaborative Work Shortlist

The Ambassador’s Reception by Interrobang!? and Poetry AF
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta and Ben Connors*
Experimental Words by Dan Simpson and Dr Sam Illingworth
Heelster-gowdie by Stuart A. Paterson and Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
Inheritance by Ruth Stacey & Katy Wareham Morris (Mother’s Milk Books)


100 Voices for 100 Years
Aaron Kent’s Poetic Interviews
The Book of Hours by Lucy English
Dancing Words by Nathalie Teitler
Fair Field (Penned in The Margins)
MakeyUppers– Alternative Bedtime Stories
A Matter Of Time – Ross McFarlane, Ellen Renton, Bibi June and Shannon McGregor
Subcritical Tests by Ailbhe Darcy and SJ Fowler
What We Now Know by Adam Clarke, Victoria Bennett, Beth Porter & Ben Please (The Bookshop Band), and inspired by the poems in the #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology
Where Love Meets the Waves by Kevin Bateman

Best Anthology Shortlist

Aquanauts (Sidekick Books)*
#MeToo – A Women’s Poetry Anthology, edited by Deborah Alma (Fair Acre Press)
Please Hear What I’m Not Saying: a Poetry Collaboration for MIND, edited by Isabelle Kenyon
A Portrait in Blues, edited by jay dodd (Platypus Press)
Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, edited by Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka, and Daniel Sluman (Nine Arches Press)


A Change of Climate, edited by Sam Illingworth and Dan Simpson
A Change Is Gonna Come (Stripes Publishing)
Come as You Are, edited by EK Anderson (Anomalous Press)
Diversifly – Poetry and Art on Britain’s Urban Birds, edited by Nadia Kingsley (Fair Acre Press)
Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland, edited by Linda Anderson and Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado (New Island)
Liberating the Canon: an Anthology of Innovative Literature, edited by Isabel Waidner (Dostoyevsky Wannabe)
The Lobsters Run Free: Bath Flash Fiction Volume Two (Ad Hoc Fiction)
Metamorphic: 21st Century Poets Respond to Ovid, edited by Nessa O’Mahony and Paul Munden (Recent Work Press)
Mind The Time: an anthology of poetry to support Football Memories Scotland, ed. Jim Mackintosh (Football Memories/Nutmeg)
On Anxiety (3 of Cups Press)

View the shortlist in full below: