Michael Curran [pictured right with Nick Lee, co-owner of The Peckham Pelican], founder of London-based press and book binder Tangerine Press, has organised next weekend’s The Uncorrected Independent Book Fair, a showcase for seven eclectic independent publishers. Natasha Onwuemezi talks to him about the event, and to five of its exhibitors.
Why have you organised this fair?
Looking around at the independent fairs that already exist, they seemed to focus specifically on photo books, comic books/ graphic novels, poetry, and so on, which got me thinking: what about publishers of poetry, prose, spoken word, etc? In other words, publishers who get involved in all manner of projects and genres, often in many different formats.
I also wanted to avoid the “hall” environment these events usually occupy, which is why [south-east London cafe/venue] The Peckham Pelican is perfect. The venue is very much part of what we are trying to achieve: it is an arts space with cheap, affordable, good-quality beers, ciders, wine, coffee and food, available all day. It’s light, airy, welcoming with an old-school “co-operative” vibe and access is no problem, as it’s straight off the street.
Why is it called the “Uncorrected” fair?
“Uncorrected” is a term used to describe a manuscript in its raw form - I believe that is what the indie press scene is: publishing in its rawest form, at the cutting edge, innova- tive, risk-taking, truly maverick in outlook. You won’t find these publishers rushing out a cookery book or adult colouring-in book to keep their accountants happy, put it that way. Feel free to uncorrect me if you think I’m wrong.
How did you select the publishers?
I approached a number of publishers who I thought had a particular vision. I was after variety, [lists] not necessarily publishing the same type of work as Tangerine. We often talk of writers with a unique voice but I wanted to highlight that quality in the publishers themselves. I didn’t want the fair to be solely “literary” or to take the limited edition/hand-bound route, so what you’ll find is variety not just in subject matter, but also presentation.
I believe there’s something for everyone. You have the more overtly ‘literary’ publish- ers, like CB Editions; creative non-fiction/ site-specific work from Influx Press; quirky, challenging letterpress books and newspapers from Walden Press; artwork from L-13 Light Industrial Workshop; Test Centre’s unique vision includes spoken word on vinyl, old-school pamphlets; John King’s London Books puts out quality reissues of lost London classics.
As for Tangerine... For the past 11 years we’ve published work by various misfits, mavericks and misanthropes, both dead and alive, and we’ve been known to dabble in 1970s pornography. Our books range from affordable paperbacks to collectable, handbound, signed limited-edition hardcovers.
Founder, London Books
“The fair appeals because of the publishers involved. Small independents, putting out books they truly believe in. Real labours of love, quality editions which probably won’t get much of a chance in the commercial, mainstream bookshops. These sorts of lists are what makes publishing exciting. There’s a lot of range to the exhibitors, and hopefully London Books can play its part.”
Founder, CB Editions
“The most exciting place to be today is among the small presses. No less professional in their skills and acumen than the big boys, and a lot more personal in their interaction with writers and readers, the breadth of small presses shows publishing can be radical, innovative and fun. Each has its own character, but the scene is collaborative. Fairs such as [UBF] crystallise this, bringing together readers, writers and publishers in one congenial place.”
Co-founder, Test Centre
“Opportunities to come together with other presses with similar interests and a shared ethos are a highlight of what we do, and a reminder of why we do it. The cost of exhibiting at some of the bigger book fairs can be prohibitive for small companies, so we’re excited to be part of this new fair. We’re looking forward to spending the weekend meeting people and forming new relationships with the publishers, writers and readers we encounter.”
Co-founder, Influx Press
“Influx is delighted to be invited to The Uncorrected Book Fair; Michael is doing wonderful things at Tangerine, and it’s a pleasure to be running a stall alongside many other exciting indie publishers. This is a great time for the small presses, and we need more of these book fairs to show off what we’re doing to an unsuspecting public.”
Founder, L-13 Light Industrial Workshop
“L-13 is passionate about independent creative activity, publishing in particular. We love print as a way of disseminating our position in culture. We’ve had a long-running relationship with Tangerine Press, and are very pleased to take part. I like the intimacy of its size and scope: each exhibitor has been invited by Michael for reasons only known to him. I hope it will be a lot of fun for both the exhibitors and punters.”
The Uncorrected Book Fair takes place at The Peckham Pelican on 22nd - 23rd July 2017, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days, with readings on Sunday at 6 p.m.
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