Founder Lynn Michell shares her vision, passion and hopes for Linen Press.

Linen Press is a labour of love; the only UK-wide independent women’s 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 – without any 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 thirteen years ago. We have come a long way since then and have built a strong international list.

  • 2015 – finalist for the Pandora Women in Publishing Prize.
  • 2019 – short-listed for the Saboteur award for Innovative Publisher

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 ghost written books of celebs, 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 like Maureen Freely, President of English PEN and translator or Orhan Pamuk, spotted Linen Press and set up camp with us, as well as Costa and People’s Prize winner, Avril Joy. But alongside these literary amazons we continue to welcome exceptional emergent and minority writers like Lindsay Parnell, Mona Dash 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 keeping the website wheels turning, and typesetter Becky Pickard of Zebedee. And I rely on my revolving door of loyal, hard-working 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.

Submissions

We do not publish children’s books, illustrated stories, romantic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, chick lit, novellas, short stories or poetry. Please don’t send any submissions in these genres because they will not be read.

Author awards

THE YORK LITERARY FESTIVAL POETRY PRIZE
Winner:
Avril Joy


THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE
Long listed:
Ali Bacon
In the Blink of an Eye


THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE
Long listed:
Lynn Michell
The Red Beach Hut


THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE
Best Achievement Award:
Avril Joy
Sometimes a River Song


RAYMOND CARVER SHORT STORY PRIZE
Longlisted:
Avril Joy
How the River Breaks Your Heart


THE GUARDIAN’S NOT THE BOOKER PRIZE
Longlisted:
Avril Joy
Sometimes a River Song


RICHARD AND JUDY
Shortlisted:
Hema Macherla
Breeze From The River Manjeera


THE BIG RED READ
Runner-up:
Hema Macherla
Breeze From The River Manjeera


PARIS PRIZE FOR FICTION
Shortlisted:
Juliet Bates
The Missing


BRIDPORT PRIZE
Shortlisted:
Avril Joy
Small town looks


MANCHESTER PRIZE FOR FICTION
Shortlisted:
Avril Joy
Eating Words


MANGA JIMAN ILLUSTRATED POETRY COMPETITION
Runner-up:
Stephanie Taylor
Raku Ninja


GUARDIAN/FABER CHILDREN’S NOVEL
Runner-up:
Lynn Michell
Dance of the Dolphins


WOMAN’S OWN SHORT STORY COMPETITION
Runner-up:
Lynn Michell
Cactus Flower


SHE SHORT STORY COMPETITION
Runner-up:
Lynn Michell
Moving Apart


ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON AWARD FOR A WORK IN PROGRESS
Shortlisted:
Lynn Michell
White Lies


ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON AWARD FOR AN EMERGENT WRITER
Shortlisted:
Lynn Michell
White Lies


BRISTOL PRIZE
Shortlsted:
Avril Joy
Meat


THE LUCY CAVENDISH FICTION PRIZE 2011
Shortlisted:
Vicki Jarrett
Nothing Is Heavy