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Where have Sidekick Books been, and what’s next?

Oh, hi there! Good to see you. How’ve you been? Yeah, not bad thanks. Getting along.

Oh, sorry. WHERE have we been for the last year? It’s a good question. Thanks to the pandemic, Jon and K have been in London, Durham, Derbyshire, Buckinghamshire – all over the shop really.

This has meant an unofficial Sidekick Books hiatus throughout 2020 and halfway through 2021. Like a lot of small presses we’ve looked at the pandemic situation with a furrowed brow, and held off making concrete plans for future projects until now.

Confused red robot This last year has been testing for everyone, but it’s also been a time of discovery. During the pandemic, both Jon and K got assessed for ADHD, and both had the diagnosis confirmed. 2020 was apparently a record year for ADHD diagnosis, and this makes sense – once you’ve had a lot of social engines switched off and you’re left with your thoughts, you often spot things that have been masked by the hectic day-to-day. If you’re curious about late-diagnosis ADHD, K writes about her experience on her personal blog.

What this means is, now we know a little bit more about why we find certain aspects of publishing and, y’know, general moving through the world, especially difficult. That’s information we can work with to make Sidekick Books even better.

One-Off Indie Poetry Press Festival logo Getting back into the poetry publishing groove, Sidekick Books recently joined in the fun at the online One-Off Indie Poetry Press (OOIPP) festival from 19-25 July 2021. Organised by Jake Wild Hall of Bad Betty Press, this week-long Zoom festival celebrated UK indie poetry publishing at its finest.

There were stacks of excellent readings – many folk really playing with the Zoom format as a new tool for creative performance. Our Sidekick champions were Ian McLachlan (Confronting the Danger of Art, Bad Kid Catullus), Rowyda Amin (We Go Wandering at Night and Are Consumed By Fire, No, Robot, No!), JT Welsch, (Hell Creek Anthology) and Chelsea Cargill (Aquanauts).

Presses featured were: Bad Betty Press, Out-Spoken Press, Stewed Rhubarb Press, Broken Sleep Books, Guillemot Books, The Emma Press, flipped eye publishing, Lifeboat Press, Burning Eye Books, Hesterglock Press, HVTN Press (Haverthorn Press), Hajar Press, Verve Poetry Press and Hercules Editions.

So what’s next?

New books and calls for submissions!

In the grand Sidekick tradition, we’re planning several gorgeous, playful themed collaborative books for release in 2022. Some will be pocket rockets and some will be big old beasts. There will be hidden messages, miniature games, love, hate and inventions aplenty.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or sign up to our mailing list for new submissions calls.

Inpress logo Finally, huge thanks to our amazing sales and marketing agents Inpress, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep promoting and selling our books, testing out new technologies to help indie publishers, negotiating with various stakeholders and keeping our spirits high. They’ve also shown the patience of saints when dealing with our pre-diagnosis communications. We’re incredibly grateful for their tenacity, skills and support, and excited to work more closely with them from now on.

That’s us up to date for now. Thanks, as ever, for your support in these strange times. Onward to new adventures!

Psycho Poetica gets a Telegraph mention!

Psycho Poetica, editor Simon Barraclough’s multi-poet love letter to Hitchcock’s classic, was mentioned in the Telegraph today, in a round-up entitled ‘The best recent poetry’. That sexy, skinny volume snuggled between Poems on the Underground and Josephine Hart’s Life Saving? That’s us! Nice quote from Isobel Dixon’s ‘Trappings’,

Image copyright The Telegraph, 2012.

Birdbook 2: Freshwater Habitats

It’s here, and it’s packed. Featuring the work of:

Derek Adams, Anthony Adler, Rachael Allen, Carmen Ashworth, Andrew Bailey, Jo Bell, Emily Berry, Zoë Brigley, Sue Brown, Sam Buchan-Watts, Erika Bülow-Osborne, Mark Burnhope, Gerry Cambridge, Phil Cooper, Lois Cordelia, Sarah Coulston, Lorna Crabbe, M. P. Dean, Chris Emslie, Charlotte Geater, James Goodman, Luke Heeley, W. N. Herbert, Alexander Hutchison, Kirsten Irving, Andrew Buchanan Jackson, Valerie Josephs, Gregory Leadbetter, Alice Lee, Ann Leighton, Anna Le Moine Gray, Laurens Leysen, Ira Lightman, Rachel Lovatt, Sophie Mayer, John McCullough, Ian McLachlan, James Midgley, Harriet Moore, Siân Moore, Sarah Morrish, Sarah Ogilvie, Richard Osmond, Kate Parkinson, Abigail Parry, PopiRouge, Samuel Prince, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Erica Read, Julia Colquitt Roach, Christos Sakellaridis, Bethany Settle, Jon Stone, Katy-Rose Thorogood, Claire Trévien, Jen Wainwright, Alexis West, Chrissy Williams.

Something for Halloween: Psycho Poetica!

Arriving ahead of schedule! Simon Barraclough‘s multi-poet extravaganza Psycho Poetica is now available to buy from the Sidekick website, and will be orderable from bookshops soon! Illustrated with stills from the film, and presented in full colour, with all 12 originally commissioned poems, plus bonus ‘alternative takes’. Go here for more details.

Birdbook II/Coin Opera II update!

So a brief update is very much in order on our next two books, Birdbook II: Freshwater habitats and Coin Opera II. To accompany this, I’ve tried to find an image that captures both projects.

Birdbook II is very nearly ready to go printerwards. We’ve received a foreword from the fantastic Tim Birkhead, proofing has been done and it’s just minor tweaks to go. For the uninitiated, this is the second book in a series of four, in which we aim to gather one poem and one illustration for every species of British bird. Each book covers a group of habitats. Volume II is looking great, helped in no small part by the return of Lois Cordelia, who has once again provided her beautiful artwork for the cover.

Coin Opera II, our second anthology of poetic tributes to computer games, is looking good too. With cover art by the very talented Mike Stone and a whole bundle of computer game-themed formal Easter eggs (including what may be the world’s first set of ‘boss’ poems), this is going to be a mighty power-up from our initial micro-anthology, back in 2009. A foreword from Uncanny X Men writer and video games journalist Kieron Gillen, a spot more collaging and rearranging, a good old proof and it’ll be off to press before you can say Hadouken.

More updates to come. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter.

The Boar reviews ‘Confronting the Danger of Art’

Award-winning university newspaper The Boar has reviewed Ian McLachlan and Phil Cooper’s ‘Confronting the Danger of Art’ thus:

“Imagine a world in which artistic expression is suppressed and condemned by the government. Not too difficult, is it, considering the cuts we have suffered in recent years. Both wonderfully relevant therefore and also intriguing in its portrayal of the thing is Ian McLachlan’s ‘Confronting The Danger Of Art’, a short poetry pamphlet that talks about how to survive an influx of creative types and their work in the style of a 70s nuclear safety information booklet. It is a marriage of ideas that does not sound quite as effective as it actually is; the poetry within providing a hilarious and searing look at the way people do sometimes treat the arts, and how it is a slippery slope potentially towards more totalitarian views … perfectly crafted and delightfully witty.”

Buy ‘Confronting the Danger of Art’ here, and make an old alchemist marginally wealthier.


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