Penned in the Margins

5th Apr 2011

Penned in the Margins

Founded by writer and promoter Tom Chivers in 2004, Penned in the Margins is something of an independent one stop shop for exciting literary publications and events, boasting an impressive portfolio: literary cabarets, national tours, consultancy and curation with organisations such as Salt Publishing and The Poetry Society, and the publication of cutting-edge poetry books.

Penned in the Margins combines literature, music and comedy in unusual ways and live events are at the heart of what they do to reach both existing and new audiences. Whatever they’re doing, it seems to be working! Live events at venues like The Spitz, Whitechapel Gallery and Everyman Cinema Club have taken prize-winning authors and poets, spoken word artists and emerging voices to sell-out crowds, and in 2007, the pioneering poetry production Generation Txt toured nationally to young, diverse audiences.

Their first publication was the Generation Txt anthology (2006), featuring Abigail Oborne and Joe Dunthorne (whose coming of age drama, Submarine, is currently reaching and charming a huge cinema-going audience thanks to Richard Ayoade’s adaptation). Generation Txt was relaunched in 2009 with a series of debut poetry books, including Tamsin Kendrick’s Charismatic Megafauna which was Highly Commended in the Forward Prize 2010. Showing no signs of slowing, Penned in the Margin continue to publish innovative literature. Love / All That / & OK, an experimental ‘anti-confessional’ collection of poems by Emily Critchley was published earlier this year, followed by Limits of Control by Steve Spence. 

The newest title is A Body Made Of You, by Melissa Lee-Houghton, a collection “charged with sexuality and an uncomfortable sense of the strange, [that] introduces a powerful new voice in poetry.” For any readers based in or around Manchester, there will be a launch event for this collection on 23rd April at Nexus Art Café (free in, 7.30pm, see you there?).

If you can’t wait to get your hands on one of the books (with Chris McCabe’s  Shad Times, Broken Wharf  recently featured as one of Time Out’s ‘most beautiful books in the land’, you might need to form an orderly queue!), you can check out Hand + Star.  This site is part of Penned in the Margins’ “interplay between text, technology and popular culture,” seeking out fresh new voices in poetry and fiction.  You can also have a nosey at upcoming events at Aubin & Wills and keep in touch with this sociable bunch via Twitter, youtube, Facebook or the main website. Guess what I’ve spent most of my recent lunch hours doing?

Alex Herod