Founded in 2005, Linen Press is the only UK-wide feminist independent publisher. At a time when female autonomy and rights are under threat, our books are important for the recognition and empowerment of the female experience. We rejoice in the strength and originality of female and non-binary creative voices and champion those who are underrepresented and marginalised. The collective background of our writers is a patchwork of cultures, countries, ages and writing styles as we share stories that speak to women across barriers and boundaries.
Founder Lynn Michell shares her vision, passion and hopes for Linen Press.
My first amateur sortie into publishing came out of the blue when 94 year old Marjorie Wilson joined my writing group in Edinburgh and revealed a rare writing talent. Her turn-of-the-century memoir had been rejected by almost every publisher in the UK so I took it on – with no knowledge of the business. Childhood’s Hill sold out, was re-printed, and beat Ian Rankin one week in Blackwell’s best sellers. It is described by The Scotsman as ‘luminous, episodic, sensual—rather like memory itself’.
That was seventeen years ago. We have come a long way since then and have built a strong international list which include authors from India, South Asia, China and Nigeria.
Our bar of exceptional writing is raised with each new publication and I’m fiercely proud of our talented authors.
While the bigger companies increasingly restrict their choices to crowd pleasers and series of formulaic novels of little substance, Linen Press continues to publish books that are diverse, challenging, and surprising. The collective background of our writers is a multi-coloured patchwork of cultures, ages and writing styles. Established writers Ann Oakley, Maureen Freely, Jess Richards and Clare Best have set up camp with us, as has Costa and People’s Prize winner, Avril Joy. And alongside the literary amazons we welcome exceptional emergent and minority writers like Lindsay Parnell and Hema Macherla.
A reader writes:
I yearn for the stands that once housed the green covers of Virago and the striped spines of The Women’s Press.
My talent and passion for editing remains unchanged. At Linen Press, the editing process is crucial, central and consists of a close collaboration and dialogue, chapter by chapter, between author and publisher, until a very good book becomes a superb one. Karen Kao, author of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, describes it as Literary Ping Pong.
Linen Press has grown into a publishing house with a reputation for passion, energy and integrity. Less of a one-woman band than it was, beside me is Big Red Web Design to keep the website wheels turning, and typesetter Becky Pickard of Zebedee. And I rely on my revolving door of loyal, hard-working, talented interns for help with submissions, social media, and the injection of fresh ideas and perspectives. Some stay for more than a year, working up to Editorial Assistants. Their track record for finding jobs in publishing and being accepted on PhD courses is satisfyingly high. I thank you all.