Saboteur Awards: Spotlight on the Most Innovative Publisher

Only a few more spotlights to go before voting closes at the end of the month. Next up is the shortlist for most innovative publisher, which includes previous winners in this category (Burning Eye Books, Penned in the Margins), veterans of the shortlist (Unthank Books, Indigo Dreams Publishing) and the new dark horse on the block (zimZalla). Investigate their wares and vote for your favourite before 30th April!

Burning Eye Books

Wow! Again? That’s five in a row. Huzzah! We must be getting something right. -Clive Birnie

We are always proud to be recognised in the Saboteurs. This is a big deal in our end of the lit universe. We started out 5 years ago putting stage on the page and showing that it could sell. We have a 50:50 gender policy in managing our list, and have a strong LGBQT presence in an ethnically diverse stable of writers. Our model is primarily geared to help writers make some extra bucks from their books. Later in 2017 we will publish our 100th title.

Why voters think they should win:

  • Have you seen their list? :) In the past couple of years, they’ve become a must-go-to space for spoken word poets and writers who are series about getting their work in print.
  • Fantastic people! I’ve got to see so many great performance poets have their works published here.
  • They publish a wide range of beautiful and intriguing titles. The work shimmers on the edge of the page and you can almost hear the authors talking to you.

Indigo Dreams Publishing

We made the shortlist again – how pleased are we! Thank you ALL for voting to get us here. We publish poets we enjoy, use our own money to back our judgement and are  limited just by our own financial / time restrictions. To see our poets recognised like this is fantastic. Buy into our ethos of ‘pleasure, not pressure’ and vote for us – please! It’s like voting in Strictly but without the sequins (probably).

The Indigo Dreams Dream Team

Indigo Dreams Publishing an independent, award-winning publisher run by us – Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling. We publish 3 magazines, about 35 publications (collections/pamphlets) annually and one of the won a category in Saboteur Awards 2016. We like that. We also run 2 competitions where 4 poets have collections published.

We received The Ted Slade Award for Services to Poetry for giving new writers encouragement and publication also for keeping poetry high on the writing agenda. Our maxim is ‘pleasure, not pressure’ and we are known for our friendly approach and easy working relationship with our wonderful poets (honestly!)

Why voters think they should win:

  • Hard work, leading by example with top of the range writing by the editors, and creating a close and happy family of contributors
  • They should win because they totally 100% give their all to publishing poetry and they give complete support to their poets. They are generous and supportive and they listen to their poets and try to meet all their needs. They publish stunning books and that support is long lasting after the book is published. They also produce three fabulous poetry magazines, no publishers offer this many publishing opportunities to both known and unknown poets.
  • An excellent, ever-evolving, supportive and non-elitist publishing house.

Penned in the Margins

We are overwhelmed to be recognised again on the Saboteur Awards’ Most Innovative Publisher shortlist. It’s been a remarkable year for our authors and this represents something of a cherry on top. That it’s been voted for by our peers and supporters of independent publishing makes it all the more special. -James Trevalyan

Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. We believe 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. In the past year we have won a British Book Design Award and our authors have appeared on major literary prize shortlists such as the Dylan Thomas Prize and Costa Poetry Award.

Why voters think they should win:

  • Quality, experimental and has a brilliant overlap with staged performance of its works.
  • Still hard to see past this pioneering house, making real lovely books out of real writing by the least visible and least marketable sensibilities.
  • Innovative without losing quality. And that innovation throughout – the books but also the advertising approach and the performance aspect. 

Unthank Books

To be shortlisted again as Most Innovative Publisher is humbling and invigorating

Unthank Books is an independent publisher founded in 2010. Historically, the Unthank is the unclaimed land at the edge of town, and that’s where we reside, nurturing distinct and vibrant literature, both in the novel and short form.

Why voters think they should win:

  • Unthank Books frequently steps out of their comfort zone, taking risks with new writers and in writing that stretches beyond the format of the short story, experiments with prose and subject matter.
  • Seven years in and still burning a trail, Unthank is managing to create a world all of its own. It’s great to see such a commitment to the short story and collaborative work.
  • Dedication to the consistent production and promotion of work which lies outside the commercial mainstream.


I’m delighted that zimZalla has been nominated for this award. As a small publisher producing weird things on an imaginary budget, it’s fantastic to be recognised. -Tom Jenks

zimZalla is interested in doing different things in different ways. As well as pamphlets and books, zimZalla has published a poetry board game, badges, coasters, tea bags, betting slips and a takeaway poem in a styrofoam box, with a complimentary sauce sachet. zimZalla is a home for the unusual, the improbable and the practically impossible.

Why voters think they should win:

  • Genuinely innovative, in form and content, quietly producing some of the most exciting publications for many years now. Deserves far more recognition.
  • Tom Jenks is an inspiring and talented poet whose contribution to underground and experimental work is invaluable.
  • A publisher of genuinely innovative poetry, constantly pushing boundaries and perception of what poetry is and where it can be found,be it pamphlets,badges,games or teabags.