Pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb rescues two Freight poets

Pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb rescues two Freight poets

Pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb is set to reissue two poetry collections previously taken out of print following the collapse of Scottish press Freight Books late last year.

Tonguit by Harry Giles – a collection shortlisted for both the Edwin Morgan Award and the Forward Prize for First Collection – and The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate by former BBC Scotland Poet in Residence Rachel McCrum, will be republished by the press this month.

Giles and McCrum had both previously published pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb before being picked up for their debut full collections by Freight.

Scottish indie Freight Books went into liquidation in October 2017, following "irreconcilable differences" between its two directors. The situation meant that writers, agents and the publisher's printer were not paid for several months.

Stewed Rhubarb editor and designer James T Harding said:  “I was so excited when Rachel and Harry were taken on by Freight. I thought a bigger publisher would be able to advance their careers better than I could. When Freight went into liquidation, Harry Giles emailed to ask if they could buy one of my ISBN numbers to self-publish a reissue. I thought I could do better than that… so here we are, a few months later.”

The new edition of Tonguit is currently available to order from bookshops and online, and McCrum’s The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate will be released in May.

"Stewed Rhubarb's dedication to fertilising the roots of literature is immense and impressive", Giles said. "They care about poetry, and they're doing difficult work to keep Scottish poets in print at a vulnerable and precarious time -- and they're doing it with gusto. After a tumultuous year, working with Stewed Rhubarb again felt like coming home. Also, they design gorgeous books.”

McCrum said: “'I am thrilled to my core to be working with Stewed Rhubarb again, and honoured to be among the first for their new wave of publishing. Their books are immaculately designed and edited, and their publishing model is responsive, considered, and places the author at the heart of things. Scotland should be proud of them. I can't wait to see what they do next.”

Rhubarb was founded in 2013, winning the Callum Macdonald Award for its first pamphlet, The Glassblower Dances by McCrum. Since then, the imprint has published 16 pamphlets from writers ranging from Edinburgh to the Appalachian Mountains, including playwright Jo Clifford, Scottish spoken-word luminary Jenny Lindsay, and Freight author Russell Jones.

In November, Saraband and Hodder acquired two debut titles from authors originally published by Freight Books: Goblin by Ever Dundas (Saraband) and Sarah Maine’s The House Between Tides (Hodder).