Open Space Books*

Open Space Books

We are a small, quixotic indie book publisher, and you find us at the beginning of our journey.

We are an independent publisher from the North of England. In 2021 we published ‘Where Lay May Homeward Path,’ selected stories by Edward Thomas, a writer revered for his poetry but forgotten for his fiction. We believed that we had put together a small collection of neglected treasures and set out to champion this slender but sublime body of work. We released a limited edition of hardback books handmade by ourselves in North Yorkshire.

This year (2023), we moved onto the next stage of our indie publishing adventure: a paperback edition that is now available in bookshops such as The Grove in Ilkley and The Stripey Badger, Grassington. Copies are also available now from our online shop, and a Kindle version is available here now, and a Kobo version is available here.

Of course, we are preparing to release new titles soon. Please feel free to return to this website over the next few months to see how things unfurl.

Twitter: @OpenSpaceBooks

In their own words…

When did you start publishing?

I began during lockdown but with handmade books – this year is the first time we have mass produced paperbacks.

What made you want to start an independent publisher?

First of all – and however silly it sounds – I needed an adventure, and this was ideal. It was a chance to publish work that excited me; to search out forgotten authors; to champion new ones and to create a space in which my own work (specialising in pre-cinema history) could be published with complete creative freedom – what could be better than that?!

I’m guided by the spirit of quixotic companies such as the old Olympia Press, the Shakespeare & Co bookshop and Tony Wilson’s Factory Records in Manchester.

Where Lay My Homeward Path
Where Lay My Homeward Path

What genres do you specialise in?

There is no brief, no criteria, no limit to what we will take on.

Our first book was a collection of short stories by Edward Thomas (far better known as a poet); our second is a novel about Eastern European refugees and the third will be my own non-fiction account of inventor, Wordsworth Donisthorpe’s, attempt to finance his final experiments in motion pictures through blackmail.

Where are you based?

We are based in a cottage on a hill in the village of Hebden in North Yorkshire.

Do you have a submission window, if so when?

We have nothing as organised as that. We have four books being prepared for publication and are simply unable to consider anything else for a while, I’m afraid.

What is your submission procedure?

See above. We don’t take unsolicited manuscripts. There is a real responsibility to authors not to make them wait on tenterhooks unnecessarily, not to raise their hopes etc so we would rather not stray into that area for now.

Who are you (team photo if possible)?

The project is effectively just me – although, as with everything I do, I wouldn’t get anywhere without the help and support of my partner, Tracie. I have researched and written each introduction to our books; put together the text blocks, designed the covers (with blurbs); done all the paperwork etc. It can be difficult keeping all these plates spinning but the upside is the creative freedom it gives you.

What was your background in the book industry before this venture?

My background was as a writer and researcher. I co-wrote a feature length documentary released in 2016, and have written for magazines such as Cineaste, History Today and the Times Educational Supplement. There have been a variety of projects and publishing just seemed one more variation that combined a lot of things I had done previously.

Talk about some of your books if possible, upcoming, favourite?

I’d really like to mention Monica Stirling’s Sigh For A Strange Land at this point. It was first published in 1958 and is about refugees from an unnamed East European country. It is an absolutely lovely book, and with the events in Ukraine unfolding, it also feels incredibly timely. I want to mention Sigh for a couple of very specific reasons: the first is that we will use profits to help support a couple of charities providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine – we were there in 2016 and met with soldiers and charity workers who had been involved in the struggle since 2014 (when eastern parts of the country were first invaded). The second reason is that Monica Stirling was such a wonderful writer that it is criminal that she’s been forgotten. Her life was as dramatic as her work and we hope that by publishing this book, we will encourage a new generation of readers to discover her. We have had some incredible support from Monica’s surviving relatives who are not only excited about a new life for her work, but for the fact it is being put to use for a good cause. There is just a great deal of good feeling around this book and we are nervous and excited to see what becomes of it.

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Author: IndieFan

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