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!

Call for Submissions!

It’s not often we do this! Sidekick is issuing an open call for submissions over the next three weeks for two brand new anthologies: Aquanauts and Bad Kid Catullus. But there’s a twist: we’re after calligrams and visual poems primarily. For further details, follow the link.

PS. You will notice that the Sidekick site is mid-reconstruction at the moment as we gradually move our way over to a WordPress content management system. Bear with us!

Call for Writers


posted by the Judge

Like most other poetry webzines, Dr Fulminare’s Irregular Features is run on a non-profit, voluntary basis by its staff and depends on the passion of its reviewers to provide the high standards of articles it is committed to deliver. Thus, our call for writers is ongoing: if you are interested in publishing reviews or feature articles on contemporary poetry of any kind, then we want to hear from you.

Though we are not able to pay you for your writing, we are happy to provide review copies; if there are any collections you are particularly keen on reviewing, we will do our best to get you a free copy of that. What kind of writers are we looking for? A university background in the humanities is appreciated, but we are also happy to interact with thinkers from outside the academic institutions or with experience in different fields, especially if they are able to refer to their experience to provide an unorthodox or fresh perspective on poetry. Undergraduate students are welcome to apply, but should be aware that a considerable work of revision will likely be requested of their drafts, and some may be turned down altogether. Our purpose is to develop a consistent critical voice, meaning that, while we will consider pitches for one-off reviews or articles, we are mostly looking for long-term writers who are willing to embark on a project with us and become part of our regular staff. In exchange, we can offer a readership which includes many of the prominent artists, editors, critics and publishers working in British poetry today, and of course free poetry books.

We have specific standards for both our reviews and feature articles. We will be expecting a critical approach that questions rather than simply promotes the values inherent in both the poetry being analysed, and the (sub)culture of poetry in general. Our writers can expect – especially for the first few articles – a work of exchange and revision in partnership with our editor to ensure that the site’s standards are met and that its ideological mission is being respected.

If you think the Drfulminare project is something you would like to be part of, and if you believe you know your poetry, then send a line to our reviews editor at avptallarita@hotmail.com. Briefly state who you are and what you do, and attach a sample of your critical writing (either a review, a feature or an academic essay – no creative writing, please).

We’ll get back to you.

The editors.