Go into any bookshop in the UK and you might marvel at the vast sea of popular literature, often filled with similar characters, recurring themes and ‘in-vogue’ genres. Major publishers seem to be concerned with spotting ‘the next big thing’, books that hold the potential to generate bestselling series, film adaptations and global franchises. All it takes is one big hit and what follows is a stream of almost identical work, hoping to piggy-back on its success and maximise on trends of popular interest.

Enter the Indie publishers, working to unearth great writers and give voice to the otherwise unheard, printing debut authors and experimental work alike. “Literature is not the same thing as publishing”, reads the tagline at the end of each book published by US independent Coffee House Press. Many independent presses are working with a similar ethos, striving for quality and providing opportunities for a wide range of literature from writers of every denomination.

This event will explore the influence that Indie presses exert upon the publishing world and examine how they are changing the way that books are commissioned, sold and consumed. And in an age of the six-figure book deal, what are the politics of operating in the shadow of bigger publishing houses? Join Kevin Duffy, co-founder of Bluemoose Books and Valerie Brandes of Jacaranda as they discuss the politics of indie publishing with moderator, David Barnett.

About The Speakers

Valerie Brandes

Valerie Brandes is the Founder and Publisher at Jacaranda Books Art Music, a fresh and exciting new independent publishing house based in London. She bought her first title Fashion Africa in 2012 which was published in February 2014. Valerie is an ardent supporter of promoting ethnic and gender equality and diversity in the publishing industry.

Kevin Duffy

Kevin Duffy worked in sales and marketing in publishing houses for 25 years. Kevin and his wife Hetha started Bluemoose Books in 2006. Their authors have been shortlisted for and have won several national and international literary prizes. Bluemoose books have been translated into several languages and are now sold in over 42 countries.

Alessandro Gallenzi

Alessandro Gallenzi is the founder of Hesperus Press, Alma Books and Alma Classics.  As well as being a literary publisher with over fifteen years of experience, he is a prize-winning translator, a poet, a playwright and a novelist. His satirical literary novel, Bestseller, was published in 2010, followed by InterRail in 2012 and The Tower in 2014.

About The Chair

David Barnett

David Barnett is an author and journalist based in West Yorkshire. His latest novel is Calling Major Tom, published by Trapeze. He writes mainly for the UK national press on books, culture and general topics, and is published regularly in the Guardian, Independent, and several magazines and online platforms.