Linen Press is a labour of love.

Founder Lynn Michell shares her vision, passion and hopes for Linen Press.

I want to read beautifully crafted writing that speaks to women. I want to fall into a novel and not emerge until its ending. I want to gasp at sentences that defy literary gravity.

My first amateur sortie into publishing came when 93 year old Marjorie Wilson joined my writing group in Edinburgh and revealed a rare writing talent. Her turn-of-the-century memoir had been rejected by almost every publisher in the UK so I took it on – without any knowledge of the business. Childhood’s Hill sold out, was re-printed, and beat Ian Rankin one week in Blackwells’ best sellers. It is described by The Scotsman as ‘luminous, episodic, sensual, rather like memory itself’.

About Linen Press

Several years and a dozen books later Linen Press is evolving to accommodate a fast-changing book trade. While the bigger companies have become cautious, restricting their choices to crowd pleasers, Linen Press continues to publish books which are diverse, challenging, and surprising. The collective background of our writers is a multi-coloured patchwork of cultures, ages and writing styles. Established women writers have spotted Linen Press and set up camp with us, but alongside these literary amazons I will continue to publish books by emergent and minority writers.

My talent and passion for editing remains unchanged. I understand structure and voice, pace and tension, character and dialogue. At Linen Press, the editing process is crucial – a close collaboration and dialogue, often chapter by chapter, between author and publisher until a very good book becomes a superb one.

Linen Press has grown from an amateur venture into a young publishing house with a reputation for passion, energy and integrity. I’ve been called, amongst other things, ‘a plucky little publisher’. It’s less of a one-woman band. Beside me is Louise Santa Ana who manages the website and a lot more besides. And I rely on my loyal, hard-working interns for help with submissions, social media, and the injection of fresh ideas. Their track record for finding jobs in publishing is satisfyingly high.

While Linen Press has been on its character-building journey, I’ve been on a personal jaunt which has ended in a clearing in a French oak forest, up a steep track where, with my husband, I’m building a house. Life is a rainbow rotation of writing, editing, running Linen Press, and labouring inside and out to build a house that slots into the magnificent Languedoc landscape of vineyards and mountains. Hands on, like everything I do.

A reader writes:

I yearn for the stands that once housed the green covers of Virago and the striped spines of The Women’s Press.

The story unfolds…

Awards

RICHARD AND JUDY
Shortlisted:
Hema Macherla
Breeze From The River Manjeera


THE BIG RED READ
Runner-up:
Hema Macherla
Breeze From The River Manjeera


PARIS PRIZE FOR FICTION
Shortlisted:
Juliet Bates
The Missing


MANGA JIMAN ILLUSTRATED POETRY COMPETITION
Runner-up:
Stephanie Taylor
Raku Ninja


GUARDIAN/FABER CHILDREN’S NOVEL
Runner-up:
Lynn Michell
Dance of the Dolphins


WOMAN’S OWN SHORT STORY COMPETITION
Runner-up:
Lynn Michell
Cactus Flower


SHE SHORT STORY COMPETITION
Runner-up:
Lynn Michell
Moving Apart


ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON AWARD FOR A WORK IN PROGRESS
Shortlisted:
Lynn Michell
White Lies


ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON AWARD FOR AN EMERGENT WRITER
Shortlisted:
Lynn Michell
White Lies


THE LUCY CAVENDISH FICTION PRIZE 2011
Shortlisted:
Vicki Jarrett
Nothing Is Heavy


MACALLAN SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY COMPETITION
Second Prize:
Vicki Jarrett


MANCHESTER FICTION PRIZE 2009
Runner-Up:
Vicki Jarrett


Meet the team →