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 fifteen 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.
- 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 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 and Maureen Freely spotted Linen Press and set up camp with us, as did 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 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.
We do not publish children’s books, illustrated stories, romantic fiction, chick lit, fantasy, science fiction or horror, and will only consider collections of short stories and poetry by Linen Press and other previously published authors. Please don’t send any submissions in these genres because they will not be read.