CB editions publishes short fiction, poetry, translations and other work which, as the Guardian noted, ‘might otherwise fall through the cracks between the big publishers’. The first four books were published in November 2007. CBe titles have won a fiction prize, a translation prize and three poetry prizes, and have been shortlisted for other awards. An overview of CBe (‘if it began as a publisher of last resort, it has become one of first-class tastes’), published in the online Guardian in 2011, can be read here.
For a snapshot history of CBe, see this Sonofabook blog post.
The covers of the books, which (with the occasional exception) feature simply the title and author’s name on manilla board, allude with respect and thanks to the paperback London Magazine editions published by Alan Ross in the late 1960s and early 70s. (For images of those books, see this interview.)
CBe titles are distributed by Central Books and represented to the trade by Inpress. CBe benefits most from purchases made direct from this site; delivery within the UK is free and the books are usually sent within 24 hours of ordering.
CBe is a one-person venture. It receives no external funding, public or private, and relies entirely on sales of the books to stay alive.
Jennie Walker’s 24 for 3 (McKitterick Prize, 2008), one of the first four CBe titles in 2007, is now published by Bloomsbury (and by Soho Press in the US, Einaudi in Italy and Unionsverlag in Germany). Christopher Reid’s The Song of Lunch, first published by CBe in 2009 and filmed for the BBC in 2010, is now published by Faber.
Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair, a platform for poetry publishers to present and sell their work direct to the public, was initiated by CBe in 2011 and has grown in size each following year. From 2014 the book fair will be run independently by Chrissy Williams and Joey Connolly. The pictures below show the 2012 poetry book fair at Candid Arts, London, and the 2013 fair at the Conway Hall, London.
On 21 March 2014, the London Review Bookshop hosted the launch party for May-Lan Tan’s Things to Make and Break and Will Eaves’s The Absent Therapist; Alan Sheridan, the translator of Agota Kristof’s novel The Notebook, was also present.
The 2014 Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation has been won by Beverley Bie Brahic for her translations of poems by Apollinaire published as The Little Auto.
Dan O’Brien’s War Reporter: winner of the 2013 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Prize 2013. (CBe’s two other first collections – J.O. Morgan’s Natural Mechanical and Nancy Gaffield’s Tokaido Road) – also both won the Aldeburgh Prize and were shortlisted for the Forward.)
Free Verse 2013 took place on Saturday, 7 September at the Conway Hall in London, where almost 700 people came through the door to talk, meet, browse and buy the books of more than 50 poetry publishers; blog post here.
For one week in July 2013, CBe and Eyewear Publishing ran a pop-up shop in Portobello Road, London W11, hosting readings by many writers and selling our own books and those of three other presses.
Dai Vaughan – film editor, teacher, essayist, poet, novelist, and author of Sister of the artist – died on 6 June 2012.
‘Wildly inventive and surreal . . . erotically polymorphous . . . bizarre andomic and macabre . . . fantastical . . . savagel beautiful . . . darkly cy surreal . . . apocalyptically violent . . . a thin line between brilliance and total barminesss’ – see The Queue.
The CBe Facebook page has albums of selected Nights and Days photos, selected Recessional photos and photos roughly pertaining to the whole business.
Photos of the CBe reading at the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris on 15 November – with Beverley Bie Brahic, Gabriel Josipovici and Wiesiek Powaga – can be seen here. (Photos by Lauren Goldenberg.)