Tuesday 4 July 2023


A slow start to this year: a reprint with new cover of Apollinaire, The Little Auto, translated by Beverley Brie Brahic, winner of the Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation, and a reissue in new format of J.O. Morgan’s first book, Natural Mechanical, first published by CBe in 2009, winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and Forward-shortlisted (his more recent fiction and poetry have been published by Cape). For the first orders of Natural Mechanical (I’ll stop when I start to get worried) I’ll add in copies of Morgan’s At Maldon and a Poetry Archive CD of his reading that for free. In September and October, a rush: House on the A34, new poetry from Philip Hancock; Take Two by Caroline Thonger and Vivian Thonger, a memoir of growing up in London in the 1950s and later told in the contrasting voices of two sisters, with objects and playlist as well as stories and playscripts; Bebe by Julian George, a fantasia on Bebe Rebozo, Mafia-related buddy of Nixon in the 1970s, in the spirit of Philip Guston’s drawings of Nixon (coinciding with the opening of a big Guston show at Tate Modern); The Simplon Road by Ann Pearson and Charles Boyle, who have both written novels about Stendhal and write here about literary obsession.

Into next year … Joe Hill Makes His Way into the Castle by Katy-Evans Bush, poems of justified rage delivered with skill and lightness. Do Not Send Me Out Among Strangers by Joshua Segun-Lean, a journal in which on days when the author cannot write he lets photographs, iPhone drawings and paintings speak for him. A playscript, Newtown, by Dan O’Brien, coinciding with the play’s first production. Spent Light by Lara Pawson: one of those books of which many have already said can’t wait (but they will have to). Invisible Dogs by Charles Boyle, the diary of a writer visiting a country in which (officially) there are no dogs. Paris 1935 by Jean Follain, the first English translation of an impressionistic prose book by a French poet I hugely admire. Ghost Stations, essays by the scholar, poet, translator, editor and novelist Patrick McGuinness.

I need help with this storm of new titles. To say that current sales are sluggish is an insult to slugs – even they can move faster. CBe is run single-handed and has had no Arts Council support for any of its books. I need help in the form of a freelance publicist who has experience and a Little Black Book whose contents will help the new books gain some attention in the world. If you are interested, please email me. If you know someone who might be interested, please let them know.

In other news: congratulations to Studio Expurgamento, whose Bookworks, a gathering of mini-artist’s-books by UK, European and Cuban artists curated by Natalia Zagorska-Thomas and exhibited in Havana, Cuba, in 2018 and then at Studio Expurgamento in London in 2019 and most recently at Bookartbookshop, has been purchased by the archive of University of the Arts, London, with proceeds going to the Cuban artists. Bookworks includes work by four CBe writers. There are affinities: without public funding, CBe has published books by more than 50 writers over 15 years and Studio Expurgamento has shown the work of around 80 artists over 10 years. There are two co-publications: Blush and The Camden Hoard. For both outfits, the goal is not profit but survival.

The photo above is here to advertise the Season Tickets available from the website home page – 6 books of your choice for £40, or 12 books for £75 (UK addresses only; free postage) – and I need more people to press those buttons because the lady in the post office is worrying that she has done something wrong, why don’t I come to see her as often as I used to?