So I was doing my usual mooching about on the internet when I came across Byker books (http://www.bykerbooks.co.uk), the more I look into them the more I fall in love. Doing an English lit degree with the rich and gifted can be bewildering at times and it’s so comforting to know that there’s a thriving underground publishing scene with such an awesome punk vibe. It’s even better when you realise, it’s also not in London which is crazy exciting! Many a Northerner (like me) fear the day we may have to leave our lands in search of a London career (I’m sure it’s nice once you’re there but its not home!). The idea I might be able to get somewhere in Newcastle is really exciting! So Byker is a pretty small indie publishing house that has claws – it makes a lot of really gritty stories that are beautiful, accessible, often hilarious heart-wrecking and amazingly cheap! I don’t know how they do it but I want to be in their gang! They also run what is my best website find of the year so far http://ilovebooks.uk/ I just know this is going to keep me going and inspired when I’m running out of steam.
And it turns out they’re not the only Northerners representing – Bloodaxe Books are also based in Newcastle – I never even knew! They’re a little more straight laced and famous than Byker but equally amazing! I grew up reading the books they were putting out, it’s great to know that those voices are being heard in the community around me. So happy that they’re keeping the northern literary scene alive and kicking. If you haven’t heard of them you should definitely check them out (http://www.bloodaxebooks.com)- they specialise in poetry and have published the likes of Jackie Kay who I love, Maram Al-Massri, Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and so many others.