Indie Nobrow Press is launching a new list, Imprint 27, "for great writing heroes who are... not afraid to take a risk". Its launch title will be a collection of fiction and non-fiction exploring what is means to be censored.
Imprint 27 editorial director Harriet Birkinshaw said: "Our aim is to become home to the next great writing heroes who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd supported by an independent publisher, not afraid to take a risk. Censorship seemed such a vital topic for writers today and we put out an open call for writers from all around the world to send us their work. The response has been overwhelming and incredibly diverse across age, gender, race, sexuality, nationality, style and tone. The stories in the collection are powerful, beautiful and surprising."
The collection, Aiden Shaw's Penis & Other Stories, features a foreword by author and Guardian journalist Coco Khan and illustrations by Daniel Clarke, and includes contributions from writers in London, Cape Town, Manchester, the US, Chile, Iran, Zambia and Nigeria.
In the title piece, Ali Said’s "Aidan Shaw’s Penis" weaves vignettes of his experience in the face of official United Arab Emirates censors, "citizens who facilitate the official work through their own moral policing, or Said himself, denying and obscuring the truth of his own sexuality" through self-censorship.
The full list of authors and contributors to the collection is Ali Said, Catherine Rudolph, Deborah Green, Fernando A Torres, Kiki Gonglewski, Michael Harris Cohen, Mitra Madadi, Mubanga Kalimamukwento, Nathan Alling Long, Timi Odueso, Selma Carvalho and Stephanie Wilderspin.
Described as a "brilliantly relatable and very timely exploration of censorship", the anthology's synopsis states: "This incredibly diverse anthology reveals the complexity of censorship. Collaboration with official power is a thread through several of the stories but all offer different perspectives, such as an act of survival or a bid for love. The anthology is a bold mix of style and form including an eco-fascist dystopia, a vision of an auto-correct technology that takes over the story itself and the ‘censored’ thoughts of a narrator living with mental illness in a society that demonises it. Some of the authors kick against the assumption that censorship is innately bad and look at the role of ‘shame’ in society and how stories often serve the teller, but are also vital in sharing wisdom and having fun."
Khan, who helped judge the open call for the work, said: "Censorship is not just a matter for artists and agitators, reactionaries and revolutionaries, but for every single person daring to speak, act or indeed exist publicly."
Following the March 2021 launch of Aiden Shaw’s Penis & Other Stories, Imprint 27 will be releasing two books in autumn 2021.