More than a quarter of the publishers taking part in this online fair have made books that have been influenced in some way by Lockdown. This feature shines a light on them and draws on the words of publishers and others to do so.
N.B. Where prices are in euros, Paypal will re-calculate payments into pounds sterling. p&p will be added.
SETTING, Helen Douglas, Weproductions, 2020
The image for this year’s Fair is a photograph by Helen Douglas from her artist’s book SETTING. The cover and five page spreads are shown above. Set in spring and early Summer 2020 Helen writes:
“In lockdown my focus became the birds within my garden, the trees, the sky and all that settled within and flew overhead. Following the swallows led me out into the field by the Mill, open to the sky, to the gathering storm clouds and settings west.”
In this visual narrative Douglas charts the unfurling of spring, chronicling the birds she saw in the trees, branches and sky within the cycles of both sun and moon. By day and night, skies of blues and cloud settings form backdrops to branches and birds perched in song and patient watchfulness. Within the clarity of lockdown Nature breathes; all comes closer and all connects.
432 pages, offset printed, full colour on Galerie Art Matt, 135gsm, threadbound, card cover with dust jacket, edition of 500, £25.00.
Buy SETTING from Weproductions here
Lockdown, Corinne Welch, 2020
“Lockdown is an eight-page single sheet folded book created as a manifesto for everything I felt was important to focus on in the Coronavirus Lockdown situation. A personal manifesto, small enough to keep in your pocket.”
Digitally printed version of an original book created with hand-carved rubber stamps, 150gsm fresco gesso paper, unlimited edition, £6.00
Buy Lockdown for £6.00 from Corinne Welch
Covid Road Signs, Mike Clements, 2021
Covid Road Signs features imaginery roads signs for vaccination, circuit breaker, Covid 19, hand washing, lockdown, no touching mouth, nose or face; shielding and tiers.
Artist’s book with castellated spine binding. Unlimited edition.
Buy Covid Road Signs, for £25.00 from Mike Clements
The Line, Anne Rook, 2019/20
The line is a very short poem over 7 pages with a single line of text per page. Started in November 2019 as a response to migration and exile, it was re-written in early 2020 as its focus changed to the isolation and barriers that lockdown imposed.
became a border
a stumble along the way
a crack in the water
a scratch on the skyline
a longing over there
Inkjet prints on fine art paper, watercolour paper cover with ink drawing, 2019/2020, edition of 30, £15.00
Buy The Line from Anne Rook
Deputy Mayor Nico van Driel picks up tompouces at the Hema Elisabeth Tonnard, 2020
Pamphlet 11 in the series Indirections, which focuses on the manoeuvring involved when ideas are presented to the public eye with the aim of persuasion. Whether we look at Soviet propaganda or at minor deceits in the local newspaper, things are bent, spun and twisted. The series presents found image-and-caption combinations from books, leaflets and newspapers. Each item in the series is a folded sheet containing a single found image with its caption. The caption is on the front, the image is hidden inside. Unsigned edition of 90, €7.50
Buy Indirections 11 from Elizabeth Tonnard
Recipes Under Confinement, edited by Sharon Kivland, Ma Bibliotheque, 2021
Recipes Under Confinement is a cookbook that follows a call on Facebook by Sharon Kivland to friends and acquaintances, a few months into confinement, asking for their recipes under confinement. She mentioned Alice B. Toklas’s cook book as an example, which is a mingling of recipe and reminiscence.
The recipes come from hundred and fifteen cooks, who are also writers, poets, artists, art historians, editors, philologists, lovers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters (and of course, children and grandmothers and other kin).
Buy Recipes Under Confinement for £10.00 from Ma Bibliotheque here
Profits from sales of Recipes Under Confinement will go to the Trussell Trust.
Hausmusik Kollektiv, edited by Claudia Molitor, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 2021
Small Publishers Fair showcases books by artists, poets, writers, composers, book designers and their publishers. This book is a one-off published by Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (HCMF) and designed by Colin Sackett.
In March 2020, when the pandemic forced us all to lock down, we had no choice but to spend long periods of time in our homes. For musicians and audiences, who thrive on meeting to perform, listen and share, this led to explorations of creative ways to continue to connect. Composer and artist Claudia Molitor invited composers and performers to contribute;
“One page pieces to create, experience or perform at home.”
Hausmusik Kollektiv brings together these 29 scores. Proceeds from sales will support new commissions by artists for future editions of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Buy Hausmusic Kollektiv from HCMF for £20.00 here
Poetry & Covid-19, Edited by Anthony Caleshu and Rory Waterman, Shearsman Books, 2021
In the summer of 2020, Anthony Caleshu and Rory Waterman invited nineteen UK poets to partner with poets from around the world, to work collaboratively on poems responding to the virus. These poems are as personal as they are communal, and as local as they are international. Between them, the writers reside in all of the world’s permanently populated continents, recognising that the pandemic has truly hit us everywhere.
The contributors are: Sinéad Morrissey and Jan Wagner (trans. Iain Galbraith); Carol Leeming and Rakhshan Rizwan; George Szirtes and Alvin Pang; Vahni Capildeo and Vivek Narayanan; Rory Waterman and Togara Muzanenhamo; Rachael Allen and Ilya Kaminsky; Zoë Skoulding and Yana Lucila Lema Otavalo; Inua Ellams and Omar Musa; Matthew Welton and Hazel Smith; Vidyan Ravinthiran and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra; Anthony Caleshu and Mariko Nagai; Selima Hill and Wang Xiaoni (trans. Eleanor Goodman); Declan Ryan and Linda Stern Zisquit; David Herd and Sharmistha Mohant; Luke Kennard and Hwang Yu Won (trans. Jake Levine); André Naffis-Sahely and Stacy Hardy; Harriet Tarlo and Craig Santos Pérez; Jennifer Cooke and Jèssica Pujol Duran; Momtaza Mehri and A. E. Stallings.
Paperback, 156 pages, £12.95
Buy Poetry and Covid 19 from Shearsman Books here
Home use ONLY, Mette Ambeck, 2020
Mette Ambeck’s artist’s book Home use ONLY is included because, though not able to take part in Online Small Publishers Fair 2021, Mette is an SPF regular and this book will be of interest. Mette says:
“A white, featureless book.
The pandemic is similarly mysterious; specifics are vague, symptoms shifting. The carrier is within the greater crowd, within the covers of society.
Flick through to reveal the iconic virus structure, drifting discretely in print and cut-out on the pages. Appearing out of the spine to again disappear – as we hope it will.”
Printed and perfect bound on demand, hand-cut by artist, softcover, 150 pages, edition of 19, £85.00
Already in public collections including Tate Britain and Manchester Metropolitan University Library.
Read more and watch a short film here
To buy email mette(dot)ambeck(at)gmail(dot)com
Panic! Pandemic Diary from Italy, Francesca Colombara, Centrala, 2021
Panic! is a quirky drawn lockdown story. It tells the story of the three months quarantine of Diego and Viola, and their dog Panic, in a little flat in the suburbs of Bologna.
Watch a film about how the book was made here
96 colour pages, softcover, edition of 200, £17.00
Buy Panic! from Centrala here
Panic! Pandemic Diary from Italy, Francesca Colombara, Centrala
Covid-19 doodling & Covid-19 diary, Antic-Ham, 2020
Drawings and diaries made during the lockdown time in Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Laser printed and hand bound as two books in one
2020, edition of 69 copies, 32.00
Buy Covid-19 doodling & Covid-19 diary from Antic Ham here
bio auto graphic #33 – ‘Uncharted Side Roads’ A chronicle of a plague year and a half, Mike Nicholson, Ensixteen, 2021
Like his partner Mette (Ambeck Design), Mike was unable to do the Fair this year. Mike says of his bio auto graphic series:
“The series began tentatively, with my attempt to insert myself – or at least a version of myself – into a narrative combining my existing illustrative skills and a desire for writing that had existed since I was a child. After several parallel professional careers as illustrator, storyboard artist and designer in 2004 I first tried to say something in a more personal voice. I was 42 years old at that point and it was time to clear my throat, put my cards on the table and make a few things clear.“*
For many, Small Publishers Fair is the time to seek out the latest issue.
Zine-format, saddle-stitched with illustrated paper covers in single brilliant colour, open edition, £6.00 plus p&p
To buy email Mike at ladnicholson@yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk
* With thanks to Rebecca Lowe for this quote from her blog ‘Ensixteen Editions: Mike Nicholson’
Spring Journal, Jonathan Gibbs, CB Editions, 2020
Too many are dead, but jobs are dying too, all over.
The virus reveals the flaw
In our way of living: the rich fly it around the planet
And dump it on the doorsteps of the poor.
Louis MacNeice’s Autumn Journal, written August to December 1938, was an immediate personal response to the public events of those months and the mood on the streets. ‘It is the nature of this poem,’ a prefatory note declared, ‘to be neither final nor balanced.’
In Spring Journal, written between March and late August 2020, the novelist Jonathan Gibbs replies to MacNeice and redeploys his form in an urgent, fluent act of witness to the events of this Covid year. Angry, desperately sad, self-aware, sceptical about what writing is for, the book is both a week-by-week record and something ‘carved from chaos’.
Read about Spring Journal, what it is and how it came to pass on Jonathan Gibb’s blog Tiny Camels
Buy this epic poem for £8.99 from CB Editions
No. 91/92: Notes on a Parisian Commute, Lauren Elkin, Les Fugitives, 2021
Commuting between English and French, Lauren Elkin chronicles a life in transit. Written in a period of social angst on public transport and in public space in general because of terror attacks, Notes on a Parisian Commute pre-empts the physical distancing and the ‘new normal’ of the pandemic.
Buy Notes on a Parisian Commute for £8.99 from Les Fugitives here
En Suites Available, Sarah Horn, Occasional Papers, 2021
Sarah Horn’s photographs of hotel frontages in Blackpool are a unique archive of coastal architecture, vernacular typography and unconscious poetry.
The photos are from before lockdown. The book came about because of the new interest in walking and local tourism that resulted from Covid.
Buy En-Suite’s Available for £15.00 from Occasional Papers here
Haunting Nest, J.Hackson, Clod Magazine, 2020
Haunting nest is an opus to Luton’s town centre and its ‘characters’. An onslaught of language and song, from a bygone age when proximity was celebrated, not discouraged. 10,000 words of stream-of-consciousness, lilted language. J Hackson (co-editor of Clod Magazine) said:
“Researched up until 23rd March 2020, ‘Haunting Nest’ felt all the more poignant as the opportunity to be close to the people in town, in the venues in town, seemed like they might be gone forever. (Which for some people and places was true, sadly).”
Sign-posts, posters, shirt fronts, billboards, headstones, impressions and overheard conversations, lyrically and poetically piped into a 10,000-word song, a stream-of-conscious text, combined with printed graphics, illustrations and photographs.
170 pages, photocopied with lino-printed cover, rubber-stamped (in places) paperback, plastic comb-bound copies, A5, black and white, edition of 100, £10.00
Buy Haunting Nest from Clod here
Bat Cans, Malcolm Green, Red Sphinx, 2020
Malcolm Green writes
“In 2018 I made several dozen miniature Heinz 57 varieties cans for an exhibition in Berlin, using empty tins from a nut vending machine; a year later, while working on a number of pieces that explored the figure of Batman, his mask and his aura, his similarity even to African masks collaged by Hannah Höch, I noticed a distinct resemblance between Batman’s own mask with its pointy ears and the outline of the Heinz logo.
The marriage of the two, Heinz and Batman was almost complete: the go-between was of course the tales that began to emerge about bats being eaten and spreading Covid 19, which came at exactly that time. Chance played its hand and presented me with rich possibilities for a humour tinged with dark enchantments – feral fairytales à la Bruno Bettlehem for young and old. Together with loose time, as a result of the lockdown.”
120 “Bat Cans” over 24 full colour pages £8.00
Buy Bat Cans from Red Sphinx here
London in Lockdown, Hoxton Mini Press 2021
24 photographers capture a city gripped by Covid.
For those living in urban centres, lockdown made us wonder if city life as we knew it was gone forever. The images in this book express the anxiety, the love, the boredom, the tranquillity and the reconnection with nature that isolation brought. Uncanny but often uplifting, they show London at a defining moment in its history – telling a story that will resonate far beyond the pandemic.
Featuring the work of: Olivia Arthur, Peter Dench, Chris Dorley-Brown, Giles Duley, Philipp Ebeling, Sophia Evans, Lydia Goldblatt, Olivia Harris, Will Hartley, Grey Hutton, Celine Marchbank, Roy Mehta, Mimi Mollica, Spencer Murphy, Simon Norfolk, Morgana Secco, Andy Sewell, Christian Sinibaldi, Hannah Starkey, Alys Tomlinson, Joanna Vestey, Sophie Wedgwood, Greg White and Jemima Yong.
256 pages hardback, 170 x 220mm. Written by Jilke Golbach and published in collaboration with the Museum of London
Buy London in Lockdown from Hoxton Mini Press here
Seasonal Words, Harry Gilonis, Coracle, 2021
These versions of Japanese haiku from various writers, translated by the poet, Harry Gilonis were initially sent out as a daily e-mail; initially to a handful of friends, but the number grew and grew. They were not begun with a set plan, nor duration; they went out from 17 September to 24 December; neatly dividing almost exactly into autumn and winter (by Japanese seasonal definitions).
Harry Gilonis is a poet, editor, publisher, and critic writing on art, poetry, and music.
Offset, casebound, edition of 300, €25.00
Buy Seasonal Words from Coracle here
A Table in Ballybeg, Erica Van Horn and Simon Cutts, Coracle, 2021
Made at the time of the epidemic lockdown in all of Europe, but where life in our valley was much as it usually is, but with no visitors. We have endured almost a year eating our own food, with no abatement. No cafés to visit. No tables to travel to. No take-away. We live in a suspension of the past and of the imagined future, anticipating a time when we can hang up the apron, if only temporarily.
64 page, 4-colour offset, 185 x 145mm, casebound paper over boards, edition of 250, €20.00
Buy A Table in Ballybeg from Coracle here
Curtain, Egidija Čiricaitė, 2020
An etheral digital print on light semi translucent pages, that allow letters to billow in the breeze. Egidija writes:
“A net curtain billowing in the breeze moves with the same nostalgic softness regardless of where in the world the window is. The pages drift between English and Lithuanian, suspended in the bilingual air.”
Curtain is a signed and numbered edition of 50 and costs £30.00
Buy Curtain from Egidija
Early in the pandemic, London, print maker and book artist David Mitchell died from Covid 19. David usually shared a table with Grania Hayes. At the front desk we got used to being asked “Can you tell me where David Mitchell’s table is please?” We miss him.
Around the same time, cartographer, artist and writer Tim Robinson of Folding Landscapes, and his wife and collaborator Mairéad Robinson also died from Covid. Ill health had bought them back to London from their home in Roundstone, County Gallway. Tim only took part in the Fair once, in 2005, but he was part of its extended community.