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The British Book Awards 2024 announce Small Press of the Year finalists

Small presses from across the United Kingdom and Ireland are continuing to thrive withresilient growth in the face of rising costs and the faltering economy, as determined, authentic and unique publishing steers presses through the double crises.

The British Book Awards 2024 Small Press of the Year, sponsored by CPI Books, celebrates the independentpresses dedicated to imaginative, forward-looking and diverse publishing.

In total there are 55 small presses listed across nine different regions and countries, including 12 in London, seven in both Scotland and South-East England, six in North England, five in Wales, South-West England and the Midlands, and four in the Island of Ireland and East England.

The presses—all with a turnover of less than £5m—will compete to win their region first before contending for the overall prize, when The British Book Awards ceremony returns to Grosvenor House London on Monday 13th May 2024. The overall Small Press winner will also vie to be crowned Independent Publisher of the Year.

London remains the dominant region with 12 finalists, including past winners Jacaranda Books Art Music and Magic Cat Publishing returning in a bid to reclaim their crowns.

Scotland and South-East England are vibrant contingents with seven finalists each, whilst North England remains hot on their heels with six finalists in the region.

Wales, South-West England and the Midlands are vying for supremacy with five finalists each, and EastEngland and Island of Ireland remain regional hotspots.

Many of 2023’s biggest break-out books came from the small press finalists, including critically acclaimedPenelope Unbound by Mary Morrissy at Banshee Press (Island of Ireland), Out in the Cold by DanieFerreira from Hurtwood Books (London), The Final Year by Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Joe Todd- Stanton, published by Otter-Barry Books (Midlands), Lessons From Our Ancestors by archaeologistRaksha Dave from Magic Cat (London), and breakout author Jamie Smart at David Fickling Books (South-East England).

Amongst previous winners and finalists, including 2021 Overall Winner Sweet Cherry and 2023 Regional Winner Bluemoose Books, a handful of small presses make their finalists debut, with Hurtwood Books (London), 3dtotal Publishing (Midlands), Noodle Juice (South-East England) and Bedford SquarePublishers (London) shortlisted for the first time.

Small presses committed to strengthening inclusivity in the industry have remained popular, including Scorpius Books (East England), the first trade publisher of dyslexic-friendly fiction for adults in the UK,and Out-Spoken Press (London), a press challenging the lack of diversity in publishing.

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judges for The British Book Awards, says: “I’malways incredibly happy to see the breadth of Small Press publishing across the UK and Ireland. These presses have ridden out the pandemic peaks and troughs, and have emerged into the new age strongerthan ever with some first-class publishing backed by an acute understanding of who they are and how to find their customers. The vast majority of publishers on this shortlist reported list and sales growth, alongside many successful funding applications, with investment put into both authors and their businesses. Publishing remains in safe hands – many of them.”

Sponsored by CPI Group, CPI Books’ m.d. Tanya Dunbar comments: “CPI is proud to sponsor the Small Press award again this year. The small publishers are an essential and creative part of the publishing ecosystem, and we are delighted to be part of their continuing success story.”

The regional and country winners of the Small Press of the Year award will be announced on Monday 11th March.

The 2024 Wales finalists for The British Book Awards 2024 Small Press of the Year are:

  • Parthian Books | Swansea
  • Lucent Dreaming | Cardiff
  • Firefly Press | Cardiff
  • Rily Publications | Caerphilly
  • Graffeg | Llanelli

The overall winner will be revealed during The British Book Awards ceremony at Grosvenor House on Monday 13th May 2024.