Flipped eye publishing is marking its 20th anniversary this year with a digital bookshop tour, a nationwide hunt for a young editor and a 2021 list including work from Samatar Elmi and José Eduardo Agualusa.
The London-based press was founded in 2001 by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, publishing original poetry and prose on a not-for-profit model with the aim of giving prominence to writers from society’s fringes. Those whose careers it has helped launch include T S Eliot Prize-winner Roger Robinson, Inua Ellams, Malika Booker and Nick Makoha.
New publications from flipped eye this year include Paradise and Other Hells, a collection of essays from International Dublin Award winner José Eduardo Agualusa, out in May.
There is work from new voices too, including Samatar Elmi's Portrait of Colossus this month, Aruni Kashyap's His Father’s Disease in Feburary and Blessing Musariri's Only This Once Are You Immaculate in September.
This May will also see the publication of an anthology of stories, essays and poems, Not Quite Right for Us, edited by Sharmilla Beezmohun with contributions from a range of writers including Linton Kwesi Johnson.
A 20th anniversary digital bookshop tour featuring some of flipped eye’s most exciting discoveries and alumni from the past 20 years including Roger Robinson, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Amina Jama, Malika Booker and Nick Makoha will also take place in May.
In February, flipped eye will also launch a nationwide search for a young editorial intern to join the publisher; hands-on training will involve discovering and editing a gem from its submissions window.
Parkes said: “The 20 years have come so fast that it's hard to believe, but I realise how big a deal it is for a small press to survive this long. However, more than survival, I am proud that we've managed to keep true to the things that inspired our beginnings—a commitment to produce affordable books... a quest to reflect the world around us in a way that I didn't feel was evident in the books I had to choose from as a curious reader, and an unselfish dedication to the careers of our writers, which means that we have been prepared to support them to move to another publisher if we feel it will be better for them.”
“I also feel like our impact has been wide because the work we have published and some of the successes we've had—for example, with our mouthmark series that launched Nick Makoha, Malika Booker, Warsan Shire (pictured), Inua Ellams etc—have made other publishers adapt and expand the remit of their output. Those unplanned effects are even more gratifying perhaps than the work we intended to do. I think the next 20 years will be slightly different, because, based on what we have seen in the last 20 years, we believe it will actually be better for many of our writers to stay with us, so we will be focusing on growing to support them. We might not be as small as we've been, but we will remain a powerful advocate for true representation in the publishing industry, from the boardroom to the very nature of the stories we allow the world to experience.”
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