This year as usual I’ll be entering Calder Wood Press titles for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. This annual award, supported by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, and sponsored by the National Library of Scotland, is something most Scottish poetry pamphlet publishers – including self-publishers – enter. I’ve got two 2008 pamphlets that fit within the submission guidelines – most of the others exceed the maximum page numbers allowed. (I’d be happier if we could go to 36pp rather than 30).
Up to now it’s been the only award of its kind, but now this year a new UK-wide award has been launched, and I wonder how many will try for it.
The Poetry Book Society and the British Library, again with the support of the Michael Marks Trust, have got together to sponsor an award in two categories – a Poetry Award and a Publishers Award. The winning publisher in each category will receive £5,000. The judging panel consists of Ian MacMillan (chair), with Jackie Kay and Richard Price. The Poetry Award is for single titles, whereas for the Publishers Award we are asked to submit five copies of all of the pamphlets we published in 2008. In my case that’s a bit of an overhead, so I have to weigh up my chances carefully, and I think the competition from the larger pamphlet publishers would be formidable. I’ll probably enter for the Poetry Award this year, but not for the Publishers one. We’ll see.
Anyway, I’m delighted that pamphlet publishing is gaining more recognition, and I wish both Awards every success. Good luck to all who enter!
PS: Just back from a very snowy Edinburgh, at the Poetry Not At the Great Grog reading. Excellent readings, and I’m delighted to have met Andrew Shields for the first time. Hope our paths cross again soon.