Indie literature readers and indie culture fans unite! After a successful inaugural Manchester Independent Books And Arts Fair at PLANT NOMA last summer, it’s back, with independent publishing house Dostoyevsky Wannabe this time teaming up with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation to bring you Manchester Indie Book Fair 2.
So, what to expect? In keeping with the first event, the emphasis is on a relaxed afternoon showcasing the wealth of indie literary activity our there – this time featuring coming up for 20 publishers, and not just from the Rainy City but from the whole of the north of England. Each with a stall, there will be book-shopping and book-chatting opportunities aplenty, covering poetry pamphlets, short story anthologies, prose collections and even novels.
There’s no formal programme of events lined up (no readings, performances, spoons-tapping-wine-glasses speeches), although the invisible Astronaut Wives Club Dostoyevsky Wannabe DJs will be providing “a bit of book-browsing music at book-browsing volume” and the Burgess bar will be open for coffees and other such refreshment. Perfect for kicking back and hanging out with your new purchases and new indie bookseller pals. As the good folks at DW say: “See, we’ve thought of everything to ease your post-Christmas existential crisis.”
So, who are these Dostoyevsky Wannabe people? Well, they’re a Manchester-based publisher of novels, non-fiction titles and collections, busily making a name for themselves and celebrating titles on various end of year lists for 2018 including that of the Times Literary Supplement. Since getting underway five years ago, two-strong team Victoria Brown and Richard Brammer have published well over 50 books, including Manchester-based Richard Barrett (Peter Barlow’s Cigarette regular) and Steve Hanson (Some Roast Poet collaborator) tome The Acts on the Dostoyevsky Wannabe Experiment imprint and anthology Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities: Manchester, part of the international Cities series (in 2019 extending its reach and stretching from America to Venice) and featuring contributions from prose and poetry writers Bryony Bates, Tristan Burke, Sian Cummins, Valerie O’Riordan, Anthony Trevelyan, Peter Wild, me (sshhhh) and Thom Cuell, of London-Manchester publisher Dodo Ink – who have a stall, naturally.
So then, who else to expect? Alongside Dostoyevsky Wannabe and Dodo Ink, other presses at the fair include, in the Manchester corner: Carcanet, Comma Press (one of five Northern Fiction Alliance members in attendance), Generic Greeting, If P then Q, Incline, Knives, Forks and Spoons, Nightjar, Saraband and Zimzalla. From Yorkshire, there’s Blue Moose books (Hebden Bridge publishers of Ben Myers’ hit The Gallows Pole) and Synchronise Witches (Huddersfield), along with And Other Stories (who originally printed Booker shortlistee Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home), Gordian Projects, Longbarrow Press and The Poetry Business (all Sheffield), while Liverpool-based Northern Soul Awards Northern Publisher of the Year Dead Ink (and hopefully Blue the dog) will also be there.