As another working year draws to a close and we turn our attention to festive things, friends and loved ones we asked some of our authors for their Parthian highlights from 2019...
'Many of my best literary moments of 2019 involve the great folks at Parthian. Discovering the fresh and exciting poems of Roberto Pastore and being thrilled to see that Kittie Beltree's brilliant collection lived up to the promise of the great poems I had seen by her. Kate Noakes's erudite work for Poetry Wales, and the contributions of a range of Parthian writers to an anthology of young Welsh poets for publication in Greece. The pleasure of working with Susie Wildsmith and Richard Lewis Davies on Saints and Lodgers, a selected poems of WH Davies, due next year. Enjoying Lloyd Markham's Bad Ideas/Chemicals so much that I accidentally stole it from the local library (I did take it back!) More than anything, re-reading Rachel Trezise's Fresh Apples for the ten thousandth time and being as inspired as I was the first time I read it. I am hugely looking forward to the collections forthcoming next year from Susie, Natalie Ann Holborow and Christina Thatcher. All hail Parthian!' – Jonathan Edwards (Saints and Lodgers)
'Thanks to Parthian for organising an event with Haydar Ergülen, and for making this work which has been an essential part of the Turkish poetry scene for years, available to the English-speaking world for the first time. A great honour to meet him and hear him read his poems in their original Turkish in such a unique and intimate setting at St. Cannas was such a treat.' – Roberto Pastore (Hey Bert)
'The Canton Book festival: three days of events and discussion with some fascinating insights into writing and the literary life. It'll be coming back to Chapter and St Canna's in June 2020.' – Richard Davies, Publishing Director, Parthian
'My second collection, How to Carry Fire, was accepted by Parthian Books this year. As an editor, Susie Wildsmith has been incredibly organised and forward thinking. The book has now gone off to print and I couldn't be happier!
'In this time of political unrest and upset, attending this Zoë Brigley's launch of Notes from a Swing State was a necessity. These beautifully observed essays reveal the impact of violence and social injustice on both sides of the Atlantic. An important and timely read.
'I spent the whole weekend attending fiction, nonfiction and poetry panels at the Canton Book Festival. The events were relaxed and inviting, showcasing a variety of writers from Wales and beyond. Sunday wrapped up with a literary quiz in a cozy pub and, although our team didn't win, it was a the perfect end to this friendly festival. Can't wait for the next one!' – Christina Thatcher (More than you were)
'Working with you this year on the safe delivery of my seventh collection was great experience. I was delighted with it. It is a lovely book, and looked great on the Aldeburgh book table at this year's festival. I'm looking forward to reading Zoë Brigley's essays. It's on my to do list.' – Kate Noakes (The Filthy Quiet)
'It's a real privilege for me to be involved with Parthian a second time for my forthcoming book, Small. Parthian are more than just a publisher – they're friends whom we writers can always count on to be there cheering us on through every little success. Throughout university, I read their publications voraciously, and it was my dream to have a book appear alongside those slim volumes of poetry I'd adored so much. Rich, Susie and the team: keep being the passionate, brilliant people you are.' – Natalie Ann Holborow (And Suddenly You Find Yourself)
'Working with Rich, Susie and the other folks at Parthian on Pomegranate Garden, the collection of poems by Haydar Ergülen, was a pleasure all the way from preliminary plans for the book to the completed manuscript and printed copies. I was surprised as I hardly ever am by their convivial attitudes, their professional editorial concern, and the efforts they put into the design and promotion of the book.' – Mel Kenne, Co-editor of Pomegranate Garden: a Selection of Poems by Haydar Ergülen
'Working with Parthian Books has been inspiring! Not only have they helped us create a timely, beautifully designed poetry book, but also in the process we have discovered a wonderful independent press dedicated to publishing a diversity of voices, and committed to disseminate exciting new writing. Susie Wildsmith, our editor, was passionate about our multilingual poetry anthology exploring notions of 'home' through poetry, translation and film art by contemporary British and international poets and artists. Susie worked closely with us, assisting and advising with the particular demands of this multivocal poetry project, supporting us all the way from drafting of the manuscript and cover design to our first book launch.' – Manuela Perteghella, Co-editor, Home on the Move
'It has been wonderful to work with Parthian and in the process I’ve discovered some writers and poets I wouldn’t have known otherwise, like Maï-Do Hamisultane or Roberto Pastore.' – Ricarda Vidal, Co-editor, Home on the Move
Personally, I've enjoyed finding out more about the cultures and literature of other European destinations this year, visiting Santiago de Compostela, Valencia and Paris all in the name of developing our translation list and my knowledge base and sharing our own publishing vision with those gathered in presentations and informal chats.
Our poetry list this year has also made me happy with new titles in translation, selected works from J.Brookes and W.H. Davies, a seventh collection from Kate Noakes where Mark Blayney and I performed at her delightful London Poetry Cafe launch, debut collections from Roberto Pastore and Kittie Belltree, and two books in translation – Pomegranate Garden by prominent Turkish poet Haydar Ergülen and the Home on the Move project – which have further added to my cultural exchange of a year. As did working with my own editor and friend, the poet Zoë Brigley, on her insightful and timely collection of essays Notes from a Swing State which we launched at Cardiff Made. Next year, expect more great poetry with second collections from Christina Thatcher, Natalie Ann Holborow and ... erm, me ... as well as a new collection from Dave Hughes and a selected poems from Topher Mills.
In fiction I have been transported into a mysterious alchemical dream of a story in Richard Gwyn's latest novel The Blue Tent, and I'm close to signing off two new fiction titles for 2020 both set on Yns Môn, a debut novel HELLO FRIEND WE MISSED YOU by Richard Owain Roberts and a new short story collection Shattercone by Tristan Hughes, both out in May.
And of course we've released so many more wonderful books, have many more lined up for 2020, and have put on so many other great 2019 events including a glitzy launch in a gin distillery for Jodie Bond's fantasy novel The Vagabond King, but these are from my working list. It's like Dolly Parton says on having favourites: 'My songs are like my children – I expect them to support me when I'm old.' ;)
And it has been a delight to see the good reviews pour in and the prize short-listings including Ironopolis's success with the Portico Prize.
Here's wishing you a wonderful festive season, however you spend it. We value your support of our indie press, your indie booksellers and each other. In these tumultuous times be good to yourselves, and each other and if you have cash to spare after buying your books for winter hibernation please consider donating to food banks or homeless charities in your area. In Cardiff we favour Huggard.
Until 2020, happy reading!