Saboteur Awards 2019 Category Spotlight: Most Innovative Publisher

There are some brilliant publishers in the world of independent literature and we love to see some of these press companies celebrated through the Saboteur Awards. Remember, you have until May 12th to get your votes in for the shortlist and you can access the voting form by clicking here.

Whisky & Beards Publishing

Based in the seaside town of Margate, Whisky & Beards is an author-centric poetry publishing house, modelled on artistic collectives. We’re built to empower artists and support them throughout their career by building infrastructure and developing opportunities throughout our network. We believe in the rights of artists above all else, and that business needs creators, not the other way around. Whisky & Beards works by communicating with its poets, treating them as partners, not products.

Whisky & Beards was launched in the Autumn of 2014, in the midst of an extended period of depression. Rather than do something destructive, the company was founded as a creative outlet and a way to feel useful. Since then, we’ve helped dozens of artists find their footing through events, projects and publication, providing a first-step for many poets.

You can keep up to date with our latest plans and publications by visiting our website.

Verve Poetry Press

Verve Poetry Press is a new press focussing intently on meeting a local need in Birmingham – a need for the vibrant poetry scene here in Brum to find a way to present itself to the poetry world via publication. Co-founded by Stuart Bartholomew and Amerah Saleh, it is publishing poets from all corners of the city – poets that represent the city’s varied and energetic qualities and will communicate its many poetic stories.

Added to this is an experiemental and spoken pamphlet series featuring poets who have previously performed at the festival, and a debut performance poetry series, which will see us working with the brightest rising stars on the UK spoken word scene.

Like the festival, we will strive to think about poetry in inclusive ways and embrace the multiplicity of approaches towards this glorious art.

For more information on Verve and their upcoming publications, you can check out their website here.

Linen Press

Linen Press is a small, independent, women’s press that was established in 2005 and goes from strength to strength. We encourage and promote women writers and give voice to a wide range of perspectives and themes that are relevant to women. We celebrate the variety of female creative voices.

We publish books that are diverse, challenging and surprising – many of which have been turned down by mainstream publishers as ‘not commercial enough’. The collective background of our writers is a patchwork of cultures, ages and writing styles. We love publishing books that are exceptionally well written.

Our authors continue to win awards including the Costa, The People’s Prize, York Festival Poetry Prize and many others. Having focused on fiction and memoir, we are now branching out into anthologies and poetry, and have recently signed Avril Joy’s poetry collection, Going in with Flowers, inspired by her 25 years working with women in a Durham prison.

For more information about Linen Press and their upcoming projects, you can visit their website.

Retreat West

Amanda Saint is a novelist, short fiction writer and journalist. She started Retreat West Books in 2017 to publish the anthologies of winners from the short fiction competitions she runs. She then opened for submissions as she wanted to offer writers a different approach to publishing.

As a journalist, Amanda’s been writing about climate change and environmental sustainability for years, so she didn’t want to follow the traditional publishing model of print loads, hope they sell, then pulp those that don’t. All Retreat West books are print on demand and she doesn’t accept sale or return terms from bookshops.

Each year, Retreat West Books publishes short story anthologies to raise funds for social and environmental causes, and to showcase emerging writers alongside more established ones. As our world faces significant challenges due to climate change, Amanda hopes this will be a sustainable publishing model that can help address those challenges in more ways than one.

For more about Retreat West and their plans for a sustainable publishing future, you can visit their website just here.