Spotlight on the Most Innovative Publisher Shortlist

The spotlight on each shortlists at the Saboteur Awards continues! Don’t forget to vote here, and buy tickets here.

Burning Eye Books

Fourth year running? Huzzah. Competition looks tough though. I guess we could resort to sabotage… if that is what it takes.

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Burning Eye are are gobshite press run from a spare bedroom near Bristol by a gaggle of activists, freelancers and geeks. We mostly publish spoken word poetry. We are never knowingly mainstream. One of us owns a ferret.

Why voters think they should win:

Cutting edge publishing taking adventurous risks with talented new authors.

Burning Eye’s innovation goes beyond gimmicky format – though great design is a big part of their success – and well into content. No-one else publishes spoken word to this extent, or with such commitment to unusual formats, diverse voices and genuinely engaging content. Clive Birnie’s drive and loyalty is unrivalled by any other press.

One to watch, bringing cutting-edge poets who blaze on the stage and page into print.

Eyewear Publishing

We’re souped to have been shortlisted for this year’s Saboteur Award for Most Innovative Publisher – perhaps we should start calling ourselves Spyware!


Eyewear Publishing is a new independent press, passionate about producing beautifully designed, fascinating books that remain affordable. Based in London, we celebrate the best writing in English from the UK and overseas.  We bring readers a varied list that is full of different voices and styles, kept coherent by our dedication to presenting writers of the highest quality. Through our annual Melita Hume Poetry Prize we discover, support and develop exciting new poets, while also taking great pleasure in working with writers at all stages of their careers. We have been publishing poetry and prose since 2012.  In an unstable climate for small press publishing we have a variety of financial strategies that allow us to continue to publish the very best writing and to ensure our long term success.

Why voters think they should win:

The range of work they publish and the excellence of the design on each book should win them this award.

Genuinely interesting titles, beautifully packaged. What more could you want?

To acknowledge and show gratitude for their integrity and dedication to ‘make heard’ new talent. Eyewear are so refreshingly unafraid to publish the voices that are dangerous. By dangerous, I mean the voices that do not reinforce the status quo within ‘the publishing world’ or bow to it, but write what needs to be written. Without them there would be less diversity, less wealth and less richness in what is being churned out. They ardently seek out the writers who unapologetically ‘write therefore I am’ instead of those who just write to publish. Without Eyewear, as readers and writers, we’d all lose something, some irritant in the blood of publishing that needs to be there causing that fever.

Indigo Dreams Publishing

Yay, we  made the shortlist! We publish poets we enjoy, regardless of name. Our own money, no grant aid, limited just by our own financial and time restrictions. We stand or fall by choices, not targets. To see our poets recognised like this is all we could ask for. Shortlist in the Sabs – go us! Buy into our ethos of ‘pleasure, not pressure’ and vote for us – please! Thank you. Dawn and Ronnie.

Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling, Indigo

Indigo Dreams Publishing, whose ethos is ‘pleasure, not pressure’, is a totally independent company, publishes 3 magazines and around 40 publications of new and established poets each year. They raised a four-figure sum for Macmillan Cancer Support through anthologies they published and have given over £10,500 in prize  money to help poets (this from one of their magazines, not competitions). Indigo run the annual Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize in honour of their friend, poet and publisher. This gives publication to two winners. They won Ted Slade Award for Services to Poetry 2015, which was partly an accolade for giving new writers encouragement and publication for the first time and for what they have achieved without grant aid. Indigo is run by Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling, both published poets and known for their excellent working relationship with their stable of poets.

Why voters think they should win:

They concentrate on talented, original, contemporary poetry – a pleasure to read and explore.

Dawn and Ronnie are a force of energy and an eye for poetry that has that extra twist of zing.

As well as three poetry magazines giving poets publishing opportunities Indigo Dreams also publishes collections and pamphlets from new and established writers. The editors are dedicated to supporting poets and poetry and are renowned for the individuality and quality of their cover designs. They go the extra mile for their poets and make the publishing experience a time of joy and satisfaction where every detail is discussed and agreed with the poet. They are pretty special.

Penned in the Margins

We are thrilled to be named on the shortlist for Most Innovative Publisher again this year. Over the past 12 months we have been lucky to produce and publish some incredibly talented artists, from avant-garde theatre shows and poetry collections to critical essays and modern epics. It is a real honour that the work has been recognised in this way by literature fans and supporters of independent publishing.


Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. They believe in the power of language to challenge how we think, test new ideas and explore alternative stories. 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 to be a respected literary arts company producing new work live, in print and online. This unique blend of publishing and production characterises their distinctive model in the cultural landscape; in 2015 they joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

Why voters think they should win:

Because they keep publishing my favourite writers. Every book is a must-have!

Tom has pioneered theatrical literature whilst remaining, at heart, a page poet of deep focus and high quality.

The only press on the list that I would consider innovative in all senses – their books’ content, poetry style, range of genres (eg novellas), marketing strategies…

The Emma Press

We are delighted to be in the running for Most Innovative Publisher! There are so many other publishers out there doing amazing work with writers and book production, which is great because it pushes us to try harder with each book. We want to bring poetry to the wider public, so we are always experimenting with ways to catch people’s eyes in bookshops and bring more people in to our events. The Saboteur Awards are the most democratic accolades in our field, so it means a great deal for us to be recognised in this shortlist.


The Emma Press is an independent publisher based in Birmingham and dedicated to producing beautiful, thought-provoking books. It was founded in 2012 by Emma Wright, who runs it with editorial support from Rachel Piercey. Their publishing programme includes themed poetry anthologies and pamphlets, and they run regular calls for submissions. The Emma Press was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlet Publishers in 2014 and 2015, and their pamphlet If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women, by Jacqueline Saphra and Mark Andrew Webber, won the Saboteur Award for Best Collaborative Work in 2015.

Why voters think they should win:

Emma Press produces fresh, surprising books I want to tuck into my pockets, share with friends, and carry back home. Images combined with poetry work so well in these collections and anthologies, and there’s such a welcome optimism in the way they keep coming up with new formats and ideas.

Funky, innovative and open-minded — the way you want your press to be! Cutting edge and fruitful rarely go together yet this press does it, and with such style, grace and wit.

The Emma Press has been producing inventive and inspiring titles that again and again make you reconsider what a poetry press can do. They’ve revitalised the pamphlet.