As part of #ScotLitFest, we’re hoping to shine a spotlight on not just the authors, but the publishers in Scotland with a five point guide. Today, we’ll be looking at Linen Press.
The who, where, what and why.
Linen Press was set up in 2008 by Lynn Michell to publish Marjorie Wilson’s Childhood’s Hill, a lyrical memoir of Edinburgh at the turn of the century. It had been rejected by every publisher in the land but with Lynn Michell’s sharp eye for exceptional prose and literary beauty, it sold out, was reprinted, and even beat Ian Rankin for a week in Edinburgh Blackwells bestsellers list. A new small press was born. Linen Press continues to publish extraordinary, memorable books that hit the core.
In a publishing world skewed towards male writers in terms of awards and reviews, Linen Press encourages and promotes women writers and gives voice to a wide range of perspectives and themes that are relevant to women, rejoicing in the differences in women’s voices rather than defining them as a single genre.
You may know them for publishing…
Sailing Through Byzantium by Maureen Freely
Breeze From The River Manjeera by Hema Macherla
Childhood’s Hill by Marjorie Wilson
Dogwood by Lindsay Parnell
What’s unique to them?
Linen Press aim to read all submissions and give feedback regardless of whether or not they decide to accept them. They are open to new and emerging writers even if they do not have a portfolio of work behind them, and read unsolicited manuscripts because they know talent can emerge anywhere.
Linen spend months editing and collaborating with authors to achieve perfection down to the smallest detail.
Integrity – Linen Press is a labour of love. They publish and support books that may not attain the status of a bestseller commercial success but they reach and touch many readers with their beauty and uniqueness.
Passion – what is reading without it?
Claim To Fame.
Their authors have been successful in fierce competition for many awards: Vicki Jarrett was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, Lynn Michell was shortlisted twice for the Robert Louis Stevenson Award, Juliet Bates for the Paris Prize for Fiction, and Hema Macherla for Richard and Judy. And there are many more.
Their latest publication is Avril Joy’s Sometimes A River Song, a haunting novel set in a river boat community in Arkansas in the 1930s and narrated in the naive but lyrical voice of Aiyana Weir. Avril Joy won the inaugural Costa Short Story Award in 2012 and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Manchester Prize for Fiction and The Raymond Carver Short Story Prize.
Avril Joy also worked in HMP Low Newton, a woman’s prison, for 25 years. Her experiences there became the basis for much of her work that feature marginalised female protagonists who are unconventionally clever and sharply intuitive, like Aiyana Weir of Sometimes A River Song.