For the past three years, a little-known publishing fair has been gaining momentum in London. Forget Hay-on-Wye and Frankfurt Book Fair, Publish and Be Damned is a one-day literary art event that is packed to the rafters with indie publishers producing books and periodicals that span a wide range, from black-and-white folded A3 sheets and hand-drawn fanzines to intriguing one-off designs and sumptuous magazines.
It’s an eclectic and idiosyncratic collection that recreates the energy, enthusiasm and fan-like dedication of the original punk publishing phenomenon; it’s huge fun to wander the packed space with a beer in one hand and a pile of publications in the other, chatting to the producers and discussing everything from printing techniques and bindings to content, design and covers. For the producers, explains organiser Sarah McRory, ‘it offers a rare opportunity to meet readers and network with fellow practitioners, particularly as galleries tend not to focus on this aspect of their practice’.
The fair was conceived in 2003 by contemporary art curators Emily Pethick and Kit Hammonds, and while this year’s event retains their original aim of expanding and encouraging a distribution and communication network for producers of self-published material, the range has increased so much that McRory has had to find a bigger home for it. So get there while it still retains its down-home spirit of spiky, inventive independence.
The Publish and Be Damned One-Day Self-Publishing Fair is on 30 July at Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London E2 from 12pm to 7pm. Entry is free.