What to say about 2015? Ceaseless, but in a good way. In 2015 Burning Eye expanded the team of collaborators that already included Thommie Gillow (Hammer & Tongue Bristol) as poetry editor by adding Alice Furse (Everybody Knows This is Nowhere) as fiction editor, and Liv Torc who despite being 8 months pregnant at the time, took over typesetting duties on a bunch of titles. Then in June, our website editor and PR manager Jenn Hart found herself part of team.
We released a variety of poetry this year, from the hugely anticipated Cherry Pie by Hollie McNish to the Secrets I Let Slip by Young London Laureate Selina Nwulu, which has been causing more than just ripples. We thanked our majority female poets and celebrated more with The Venus Papers by Lydia Towsey. We helped Mark Grist, Jess Green, Robert Garnham, Molly Case and Rebecca Tantony put together their first collections. Our sides split at Geoff Allnutt‘s parody genius, flushed with pride at the power of Liv Torc‘s Show Me Life and with great intrigue, we released An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in London by Nathan Penlington and Sarah Lester. We were delighted that Chris Riddell, who illustrated A.F. Harrold‘s Things You find in a Poet’s Beard became the Children’s Laureate and the book is our first (and not the last) formatted with Dyslexie, designed for dyslexic readers.
A big highlight for Burning Eye this year was the Edinburgh Festival and PBH’s Free Fringe in particular which we prepared everyone for with The Edinburgh Fringe in a Nutshell by Paul Eccentric (if you’re applying for the Free Fringe this year, we highly recommend this book!). Clive Birnie was a judge for the BBC Poetry Slam which made the wonderful Scott Tyrell the new UK Champion. There were many great shows including Harry Baker‘s The Sunshine Kid which won the Best Show in the PBH Free Fringe awards and Sophia Walker‘s TWO shows Cult Friction (awarded best cast) and Can’t Care, Won’t Care. Monkey Poet Matt Panesh coincided the release of his new collection TR!BE with a month-run of shows.
We also want to mention Hollie’s Sabotage Award for Best Spoken Word Performer (which she added to the Arts Foundation Award for Spoken Word), Selina Nwulu becoming London’s Young Laureate and Salena Godden’s poems for Paris and for Charleston. Molly Case was invited to speak at the Alpine Fellowship, Sophia Walker curated Eternal Graffiti and Vanessa Kisuule ended the year by organising the fundraising event Ahlan Wa Sahlan (‘Welcome’ in Arabic), in aid of refugees.
What’s new for 2016?
As you may have noticed we’ve teamed up with Poetry Rivals, a national competition, open to everyone above the age of eighteen. Previous years have been won by the likes of Vanessa Kisuule and Carmina Masoliver and hosted by Mark Grist and Hollie McNish. 2016 is the first year that video and audio submissions have been accepted and as a result of the partnership, the 1st prize is a publishing contract with Burning Eye Books – we hope you entered!
From March 2016 our spring releases will be available on our webstore. We will kick off with Kirsten Luckins The Trouble With Compassion which will launch at StAnza in March. It will be followed by (amongst others) a debut full collection from Sally Jenkinson, Chris Redmond‘s Hunting Pigs and Strange Keys the follow up collection to Ash Dickinson‘s Slinky Espadrilles – which was of course Burning Eye’s very first title back in May 2012! We will post more details on the 2016 programme as January gets under way. Look out for more fiction and anthologies as the year progresses as well. A submissions call for the 2017 list will be announced shortly. Please keep an eye out – it will be a short window and we already know the competition will be hot if the last open call is anything to go – that yielded over 100 quality submissions 20 of which have since been published.
We’re very excited to announce the launch of Bx3 – an alternative publishing service that we hope will provide poets with a quality alternative to self-publishing and allow flexible print on demand for promotion, gigs, festivals, etc. Bx3, named after the final line from Tony Harrison’s poem Bookends which ends “books, books, books.” will be a subsidiary of Burning Eye. The service includes the professional type-setting and copy-editing by members of the extended Burning Eye team of freelancers, but will not include the full Burning Eye distribution & promotion package. The Bx3 service is also a way for writers to have the finished product more quickly, without the long process of Burning Eye.
The submissions window for Bx3 will open in January and will stay open (depending on the volume of submissions). To get more information on how the service works and how to submit, please visit the Bx3 website. Please be aware that the Bx3 service is separate from Burning Eye Books. Contact details are available on the website.