Saturday, 3 October 2015

Make Mine an Indie: Cinnamon Press


Hey everybody, welcome back to Make Mine an Indie! Every Saturday here on the blog I feature a different independent publisher as research for my year of buying independent in 2016. So far I've learned about a great selection of publishers, and this week is no exception!

Image result for cinnamon press

After a brief trip across the pond last week we are back in the UK this week with Cinnamon Press, a small family - run publisher based in North Wales. One of my favourite things about researching and writing this series is how much amazing stuff I discover and how many great ways there are to support indpendent publishing. Like And Other Stories, Cinnamon Press has an option where you can pay an amount and be sent new titles throughout the year. In their case they call it the Cinnamon Book Club and you pay £30 (plus postage if you're outside of the UK) for six titles over the course of the year. You can pick your titles from a range of recently released books and I still think it's a fantastic idea. Cinnamon also have a subscriber option though, where you can support them with £20 or £50 a year and receive a load of benefits including money off their books, book club subscriptions and magazine subscriptions (their magazine, Envoi, has been running for 51 years!) as well as some freebies. As if that wasn't enough, you can also become a Cinnamon Friend. Basically you pledge an amount of money per month - anything from £1 upwards, whatever you can afford - to be used towards the running of the press. Similar to a monthly charity donation, you'd be using your money to support literature!

The final exciting thing about Cinnamon Press is their competitions. If you're a writer you should be paying attention right now! They have an annual Debut Novel/Novella award for which the prize is £700 and a publishing contract, a Debut Poetry Collection Prize (£500 and publishing contract), Single Poem Prize (various amounts & publication), Poetry Pamphlet Prize (4 prizes of £100 each plus publication), and a Short Story Prize (various amounts and publication for winner & up to 10 runners up). That's some pretty amazing opportunities right there!

Now on to the funnest part for me, talking about their books! Here are some that I'm excited to read: 

Via Negativa by Omar Sabbagh 


via_negIn this kaleidoscopic and engrossing novella, the reader is drawn into the shifting world of Beirut, "city of whores and city of dames", when Yusuf, an inveterate observer of his native city, is given several unfinished stories by one of his most promising students and finds that his life’s drift is about to hit rough water …
I'm intrigued by this. Firstly because its setting is one I'm not overly familiar with and as you know I like to use reading to explore what I don't know. The premise also sounds vaguely mysterious, and I'm keen to learn more!

The Disobedient Wife by Annika Milisic - Stanley 
the-disobedient-wifeIn 2008, there were a series of small explosions in Dushanbe.  No one claimed responsibility. There are ten banned opposition parties in Tajikistan. Many of them are multi-national and would like to see Central Asia become an Islamic 'superstate'.  Religious minorities are not allowed to register new places of worship and all mosques and churches are required to be registered.  Proselytising and missionary activity was officially banned in 2008.
Dedicated to the women of Tajikistan, The Disobedient Wife intertwines the narratives of Harriet Simenon, whose journal portrays a darker interior world than that of the rich wife of the powerful Henri Simenon, and Nargis, her local nanny and maid, struggling with poverty, yet with a strength that Harriet comes to admire as her own life unravels against a backdrop of violence and betrayal.
Rich with sense of place and deeply humane, Milisic-Stanley brings the acute observation of an artist and social anthropologist to bear on this moving and compelling story of how two women survive and thrive in difficult circumstances.
Again, this takes place against a backdrop of a part of the world that I know nothing about. I also really like stories that are two people's stories in one and this sounds really interesting. 
The Milliner and the Phrenologist by Kay Syrad
the-milliner-and-the-phrenologistWhen Alice Heapy, an unusual and artistic young milliner, daringly sets up her own business, the mother of John Motton, eminent phrenologist, is amongst the first of her bourgeois and eccentric clients. Alice is intrigued by the phrenologist’s belief that he can determine his clients’ character and moral capacity by measuring their heads, whilst Motton is astonished at the power Alice’s poetic hats exert on the lives of his mother and her peculiar friends. But under each other’s exacting and increasingly hostile gaze, Alice and Motton begin to reveal—and, in desperation, attempt to conceal—their own characters.
As Alice and Motton play out the ferocious Victorian tensions between social classes, men and women, science and art, faith and reason—tensions which continue to challenge us—we are drawn into the sensuous imagery and subtle humour of this sharply observed drama, eager to know where it will lead.
A highly original and visual novel, brimming with delicious wit, The Milliner and the Phrenologist is a remarkable debut from Kay Syrad.
I find that the Victorian period always makes for a great setting and this sounds really unusual. I admit to being drawn by it having an unknown word in the title (phrenologist - student of the science of character divination, faculty psychology and theory of brain) but generally it just sounds great. 
That's just a few, but I'd highly recommend checking out the shop on their website! You can also find them on twitter and facebook
Find a list of the other publishers featured on Make Mine an Indie here.  

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