The Emma Press - book covers - Slow Culture

The Emma Press (3 books + interview) – THIS WEEK IN ARTS VOL.3

Awarded with a grant from Arts Council England only one year after being founded by Emma Wright, The Emma Press has been publishing books for eight years.

Eight years of meticulous combination of quantity and quality, eight years of uncompromising expression, eight years of unwavering determination.

We couldn’t be happier to immerse ourselves into the colorful world of The Emma Press, and couldn’t be more admirative of all the work accomplished so far. 

Selected books published by The Emma Press:

Nisha Bhakoo, The Emma Press Anthology of Contemporary Gothic Verse (2019)

The Emma Press Anthology of Contemporary Gothic Verse was built and edited to please the curious newcomer entering the gothic world and the reader accustomed to the genre.

This collection of 30 works picked by Berlin-based Nisha Bakhoo is perfectly balanced. The codes of the gothic universe are omnipresent but neither overwhelming nor redundant.

We had no precise idea of what we would find in this book, but ended with a perfect introduction to this often fantasized cultural movement.


I open the coffin lid when wheels screech past

reach out for punters as they scream

or laugh in my face.

- Excerpt from David Keyworth's "Bucket & Spade".

Jeffery Sugarman, Dear Friend(s) (2019)

Dear Friend(s) is a great map of feelings and connections.

Love, joy, pleasure and grief are expressed with a visual brilliance that romantics and naturalists will greatly appreciate.

These poems are an invitation to sets of intimacy that are neither disturbing nor indelicate for the reader.


For it's how I wanted you-

in the photos; As in-

what I'd have said

if it weren't so terribly


or lost.

- Excerpt from "Dear Friend".

Julia Bird and Anna Vaivare, Now You Can Look (2017)

Now You Can Look is the proud result of 36 enchanting pages.

Julia Bird’s poetry is rich and witty, and Anne Vaivare‘s illustrations couldn’t complete and enrich her writing more.

Now You Can Look is our favorite from the selection, to the extent that we’re now wondering how to frame all these works of the heart.


He draws the bow accross the strings.

Something roars, something sings.

- Excerpt from "For her 16th Birthday, She is taken to the Operetta at the Wintergarden".

Interview with Emma Wright, founder of The Emma Press:

The Emma Press was founded in 2012. For those who didn't follow the adventure from the beginning, what are your milestones?

The first was getting an Arts Council England grant in 2013 to run my first poetry tour: The Mildly Erotic Tour! Then the next was winning the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlet Publishers in 2016. Starting to do translations in 2017 was a big deal too, as was being awarded another Arts Council grant in 2018 to develop the children’s books side of things.

Emma Wright at the the launch of The Head That Wears A Crown- Poems about Kings and Queens. Courtesy of John Canfield
Emma Wright at the the launch of The Head That Wears A Crown - Poems about Kings and Queens. Courtesy of John Canfield.

When it comes to general design, many small presses tend to work with templates to cut costs. What keeps The Emma Press from following this way?

I suppose because that would feel like a cop-out for me, since I set out to make beautiful, illustrated books. Also, since I design most of the book covers myself it’s still cost-effective. Fundamentally, I want my covers to help the reader decide if the book is for them or not.

Three mandatory values at the core of your work and partnerships?

That we are doing something important, that isn’t being done elsewhere. The importance of beauty and literature for everyone. Genuinely believing in everything I do.

As announced on your website, publishing is a competitive market with somewhat archaic practices. Facing these realities, how do you keep your motivation?

Thanks for the question! I get enough reminders of the importance and value in what I’m doing, whether that’s reader responses or talking to authors – ones I’m publishing as well as ones who have submitted to my calls for work.

For better and for worse, the literary process is made of emotions. What is your predominant emotion while working on your titles?

Grim determination, followed by tremendous relief! And then satisfaction when the book goes to print.

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Written by  Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

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