“the tremendous Small Publishers Fair”

Michael Caines, TLS | Brixton Review of Books

Overview of the Fair

Small Publishers Fair is an annual celebration of books by contemporary artists, writers, composers, book designers, and their publishers. It was set up by Martin Rogers of RGAP (Research Group for Artists Publications) and first took place in 2002, the Royal Festival Hall. The year after it moved to Conway Hall where it has taken place ever since.

Since 2012 Small Publishers Fair has been curated, organised and developed by Helen Mitchell. The Fair is independent, self-funding and not-for-profit. In 2019 a StartEast* grant supported design of a typographic identity and programme, and the creation of a this new website.

Taking part

Since 2002 more than 270 publishers have taken part in Small Publishers Fair. Each year Conway Hall has room for for around sixty five publishers. For several years now, Small Publishers Fair has been a curated event. There isn’t an application process.

So how is the fair curated? Starting in May, the director writes to an initial selection of publishers inviting them to take part. Over several months, invitations continue to be sent out until all places are taken.

And what are the criteria for selection? The aim is to get a balance of geography (2/3 outside London and international), diversity of work (artists books, poetry, fine press, zines etc), and new faces alongside previous and core participants. 

If you would like to be considered please drop the director an email. If you are not immediately successful this does not mean that you won’t be another year.

* StartEast is a business support project for creative enterprises in Norfolk and Suffolk . It was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Arts Council England Creative Local Growth programme, working in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Uniformbooks at SPF2018
Uniformbooks at SPF18. Photo Caspar Evans
Essence Press at SPF 2018
Essence Press at SPF18. Photo Caspar Evans
Helen Douglas from Weproductions at Small Publishers Fair 2016. Photo Julie Mitchell
Helen Douglas, weproductions SPF16. Photo Julie Mitchell

 There are many things still to be done with
folded paper and twine.

Simon Cutts, Coracle Press