1. Tell us about the mission of your publishing house and why you started it.
In 2015 I hand-typed some books as part of an exhibition at a gallery in Paris (‘Suicide Notes’), and felt
like they needed to have a publisher, so I typed “Morbid Books” on the title page. Shortly after I invited my
friends on social media to write 100 Haikus about Haemorrhoid Cream as a kind of party game, and
was surprised at how easy it was to publish books. I commissioned, co-wrote, edited, and released it in
under two months, which is unheard of in the mainstream literary complex. I also sold most of them hand-
to-hand in my local pub before Christmas. In doing that I guess I had made peace with the idea, so might as
well embrace, guerrilla tactics.
Because publishing is essentially a process of attaining permission and approval from your social superiors,
just going ahead and doing it without waiting to be accepted – and doing something the wet blouses who
run the poetry business would almost certainly regard with contempt, both in its content and its “anybody-
can-do- this” approach – felt both illicit and liberating.
Since then I’ve continued to publish books and a magazine, A Void, which deliberately confronts
established norms for publishing. So while the cultural industries love to promote individual talent with
marquee names, winner-takes- all prizes and fellowships, I make a point of refusing work from individuals
who only want to use my publications for their own X Factor-style ambitions. There are thousands of other
magazines that fill that function, or rather would fill that function if readers hadn’t snagged what these
circle jerks are all about, and therefore don’t read them.
All but one of my books (100 Haikus about Penetration) have been collaborative efforts, including our
latest, a prose work called Takeaway by Tommy Hazard. It’s the dictated monologue of a London
ambulance driver. Tommy Hazard is a collective pseudonym for the pair of us. The book just came back
from the printers and I’m so happy with it, I think if I was a more affable person who knew how to play the
promotional game better, this book would thrill and disturb a lot of people.
2. What do you offer writers that they cannot find at another press?
Fruity rum-based cocktails from authentic tiki mugs, and the chance to throw a year-long tantrum because
I edited your haiku.
Also, collaboration! We write collaborative poetry in A Void. If you want in, just email me. I can even hook
you up with a partner. And I do actually reply to emails promptly.
3. Tell us about the books you have released and/or upcoming releases.
A Void is our magazine of literature and morbid arts. I set out to make the only ballsy, stylish poetry
magazine in the current market, but I realised you can’t really call yourself a poetry magazine when you
have interviews with Situationist pranksters and absurdist performance artists, but no poets, because
they’re all so fucking boring. So instead what we have is a magazine that uses experimental, collectivist
poetry and prose in a magazine of “psychic terror,” whose subject matter is basically whatever I feel is
missing from the cultural conversation at that moment, whether it be a timely essay about why Ernest
Hemingway sucks, a celebration of an underground author like Supervert, or satire that pokes fun at the
dishonest, corrupt and ultimately dull literary establishment.
Before that we had the three absurdist haiku collections, and Takeaway, I’ve already mentioned.
4. What do you feel writer's need to do to be successful?
Learn how to use an apostrophe.
5. What challenges do you see in the industry that your press addresses?
I’m not interested in helping the publishing industry address any of its problems. I feel like I owe it what it
owes me, which is less than nothing. Obviously there are some authors and artists for whom that channel
works, and there are definitely great, honourable people continuing to push dangerous ideas into consciousness from those high perches. But overall, heroes like DeLillo and Pynchon are fading exceptions, and there are fewer and fewer of them appearing now that publishers are playing short-term numbers games based on what sells this week or month, rather than what might still resonate in a century. Arguably those great works of literature justified the elitism of publishing, but nowadays I’m not sure they have enough trophies to justify what they do. Paul Beatty and Marlon James, for example, were both published by Oneworld, a husband-and- wife publisher, so they can’t claim him. And the best novel of the millennium by a mile, A Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava, was self-published for christ’s sake.
6. What is your attitude toward conferences and how do you gain exposure for authors
outside of the usual festival and conference circuit?
Never been, but they sound hideous.
7. What are your five year goals for your company?
I don’t have any. I make it up as I go along.