London-based independent poetry publisher Penned in the Margins has announced its 2018 list, which, together with 2017's titles, amounts to eight consecutive books by debut authors. From poetry to creative non-fiction, the eight debut titles include five by women, three by BAME writers and two by authors with recognised disabilities.
The "exciting" run of debut voices commenced in June with At Hajj by Amaan Hyder. Inspired by the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, this collection has already seen the author named as one of "poetry’s new young guns" by the Sunday Times. Experimental poet and academic Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s celebration of wild swimming follows in September. Documenting twelve dips across England and Wales, Swims has been described by Philip Hoare as "a wondrous, perfect thing". In October, the press will release The Old Weird Albion by Justin Hopper - a series of journeys across the South Downs landscape exploring folklore, memory and the English psyche.
2018 will kick off with Natural Phenomena in February, the long-awaited debut collection by poet Meryl Pugh in which landscape, loss and the city collide with an "inventive, restless" lyric. This is followed in May by Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die by Amber Massie-Blomfield. Executive director of Camden People's Theatre, Massie-Blomfield's debut celebrates the UK’s most unusual and fascinating theatre spaces - from the "majestic" Minack in Cornwall to Margate's diminutive Tom Thumb Theatre.
Summer 2018 will see the publication of three more poetry debuts - books that "stretch the boundaries of the artform beyond the traditional lyric", according to the publisher. Canadian-born writer and artist JR Carpenter is known for non-linear hypermedia narratives and computer-generated texts. Her poetry debut, Arguments to Prove a Passage, samples textual and cartographic traces of maritime history and culture.
Cumbrian writer Kate Davis' narrative poetic work The Girl Who Forgets How to Walk tells the story of a small child who falls into the sea and explores disability across a shifting landscape.
Hackney-born British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus was recently announced as one of the first Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellows. His first full-length book, which is as-yet-untitled, explores deafness, Diaspora and language, and completes a remarkable run of debuts.
The publisher holds world rights to all eight titles.
With these eight debuts, the company is hoping to build on the success of its 2016-17 titles, including Dylan Thomas Prize-shortlisted Cain by Luke Kennard and Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton, which was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, and won the Somerset Maugham Award. Alongside its publishing activities, Penned in the Margins produces live productions that combine literature with theatre and performance.