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Akashic Books and Peepal Tree Press to Create New Imprint

Akashic Books & Peepal Tree Press logos

The New York independent publisher Akashic Books and Leeds based publisher Peepal Tree Press recently announced that they have joined forces to create a new imprint which will publish works by new authors based in the Caribbean. The “soft” announcement was made during the artist mixer that was a part of the second annual Kingston Book Festival on March 9, 2013.

Over its 25 year history, Peepal Tree Press has become one of the major publishers of Caribbean fiction and poetry, notably producing the ambitious Caribbean Classic Series which brought many previously out of print Caribbean books back into circulation. In recent years Akashic Books has produced several titles by Caribbean authors, including John Crow’s Devil by Marlon James and God Carlos by Anthony Winkler. Both publishing houses have produced works by authors living within the region and in the Diaspora.

Johnny Temple, Editor in Chief and Publisher of Akashic and Jeremy Poynting, Managing Editor of Peepal Tree were among the publishing experts invited by the Kingston Book Festival, participating in a series of panel discussions, networking sessions and a story pitching panel which provided feedback to writers at the Kingston Book Fair.

Poynting, who made the announcement, had earlier noted that while publishing writers from the Caribbean Diaspora was important, it is critical to also have voices who are actually living within the region. He noted that the decision had been made after much discussion between himself and Temple during KBF about what they could do to make a difference. This new imprint, as yet unnamed, is likely to bring more of those voices to the mainstream market.

Temple explained that the two publishing houses will be able to make a more concrete announcement during the staging of this year’s Bocas Literary Festival (April 25 - 28, 2013).

Festival Chair, Kellie Magnus, expressed great delight at the news that the imprint had germinated as a result of the Kingston Book Festival, explaining that it is an important goal of the KBF to produce tangible results. “”I’ve been saying, all I want is one tangible result,” Magnus enthused.

The Kingston Book Festival is organized by the Book Industry Association of Jamaica. The  2013 staging was held under the theme ‘Celebrating the Arts’ and ran from March 2 - 10.