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About Us

(The story of Misfit Press is inextricably linked to the story of Misfit Incorporated, which is inextricably linked to the story of AJ and Melissa Leon. These fascinating stories have been told at length on many other occasions – in newspapers, on TEDx stages, during numerous interviews and chance meetings in wine bars. If you want to explore the weird and wonderful company that is Misfit Incorporated, peruse our site. For the full backstory, check out this video interview.)

Misfit Press itself was established in 2014, with the publication of AJ Leon’s The Life & Times of a Remarkable Misfit. The little-known backstory to The Life & Times is that it was originally slated to be published by a major American publisher, who headhunted AJ after noticing the popularity of his blog, The Pursuit of Everything. About a third of the way through the writing of the book, AJ began to get twitchy about the compromises involved in traditional publishing: uncompromising editorial pressure, a lack of say on issues such as design and artwork. Not long later, AJ bailed on the contract, and decided to publish the book himself. The Misfit team created and ran a Kickstarter, aimed at raising $15,000 to cover publishing costs. By the time the fundraising had run its course, pledges totalled more than treble that amount. With the excess funds, AJ and Misfit decided to go one better than just publishing a book, and also founded a publishing house.

Since its founding, Misfit Press has steadily flourished. In 2015, we took under our wing Wolftree, the finest arts journal in the American Midwest; we released our 2015 Anthology, featuring the finest creative work we encountered over the preceding year; and The Life & Times of a Remarkable Misfit continued to find readers across the globe. In 2016 we published Destination Shakespeare, the debut poetry collection from esteemed Shakespeare academic Paul Edmondson; and we have more Shakespeare-related publications in the works for 2017, including Shakespeare On The Road, a tale of a Shakespearian adventure across the US.

Last  year was a big growth period for the Press, and there is lots more on the way for 2017. As you’ll see from our Forthcoming Publications section, over the next twelve months we will be publishing Saya Sayama: Three Years in Myanmar by incredible photojournalist Spike Johnson, a photonarrative account documenting a unique moment in Myanmar’s history: the violent shift from General Ne Win’s fifty-year dictatorship to the country’s first steps towards democracy. Also imminent is Tangentially Reading, featuring some of the most insightful, shocking, touching, and hilarious moments from the first 200 episodes of Christopher Ryan’s much-loved podcast, Tangentially Speaking.

These are exciting times at Misfit Press. To keep up to date with everything that’s going on, follow us at our blogFacebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Into the future, we will always continue to work in the fashion we do right now: with authors we like, on projects that matter, in a way that leaves writer, reader and everyone in-between satisfied. We will also never renege on our One-for-One pledge; for every publication we ever sell, a child in India will receive money towards prescription eyeglasses, via the Misfit Foundation.

Misfit Press is an independent publishing house based out of Vancouver, Canada.

We produce books and magazines covering everything from philosophy to photography, in formats ranging from the digital to the hand-bound. We believe in works which promote the unique, the artistic and the adventurous.

Our Publications

Misfit Anthology 2015

The Misfit Anthology 2015 is a collection of the finest creative work encountered by Misfit Press over the past eighteen months. Featuring prose, poetry, photography and artwork, it showcases some of the finest pieces by independent artists from all four corners of the globe. Into the future, The Misfit Anthology will act as an annual highlights package of the work featured on misfit.co, our forthcoming online arts platform.

The Life and Times
of a Remarkable Misfit

The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit is a collection of wide-ranging essays penned by Misfit Founder and CEO, AJ Leon. These essays were written in the wake of AJ abandoning a career in investment banking in order to live a more meaningful, intentional life. Concise, thought-provoking pieces of writing drawing on some of the finest works of literature and philosophy, these essays will speak to anyone who is suspicious of the status quo; who wants to live life on their own terms, in a way that matters, right now.

WolfTree Vol.4

Based out of Fargo, ND, and published biannually, Wolftree is the finest independent arts journal in the American Midwest. A magazine for makers, dreamers and adventurers, Wolftree seeks to inspire and empower people’s creative pursuits. Volume 4 features a report on the Winnipeg Folk Festival, an interview with a San Francisco aromatherapist, a guide to wooden spoon carving, some excellent summer smoothie recipes, and much else besides.

Destination Shakespeare



“These are generous poems of praise that flash with their own desire and intensity.”

Ewan Fernie, author of Shakespeare for Freedom

“It’s as if a garden of slow-growing seeds has suddenly flowered.”

Wendy Cope, OBE, author of Family Values

 


In late 2016, to coincide with the year’s 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, Misfit Press published Destination Shakespeare, the debut poetry collection from one of the world’s pre-eminent Shakespeare scholars, Paul Edmondson. Destination Shakespeare features 24 of Paul’s brilliant poems, all drawing on Shakespeare’s inspiration in unique and colourful ways.

Ten of Destination Shakespeare‘s poems draw on an epic road trip undertaken by Paul in 2014, during which he saw 42 Shakespeare productions during ten thousand miles of travel around the US of A. (This road trip is the subject of another forthcoming Misfit Press publication, Shakespeare on the Road.) Some of Destination Shakespeare‘s poems imagine moments in Shakespeare’s life and the lives of his characters. Others are inspired by spots on the globe indelibly touched by the spirit of Shakespeare: Venice, Sicily, Elsinore, Rome, and, of course, the Birthplace itself.

Head to the Misfit shop to grab your copy of Destination Shakespeare today!

Forthcoming
Publications

Forthcoming
Publications

The East Village in photos, by jdx
Saya Sayama: Three Years in Myanmar
Sam Wanamaker Biography
Shakespeare on the Road

Our Ethos

These are strange times for publishing. From editorial policy to design methods to the very concept of the book – everything associated with the industry has been called into question. Amidst these changes, Misfit Press attempts to walk a middle path; to wed the old ways with the new. In everything we do, we synthesize the merits and hard-won wisdom of traditional publishing with the innovations of the democratised, tech-driven, independent sphere. Misfit Press aims to celebrate and disseminate literature in creative ways, and to treat bookmaking as an art form. We only work on projects with authors whose work we love, bringing our works into the world in a fashion which leaves both writer and reader fully satisfied. And throughout, we are committed to our One-for-One pledge: for every publication we ever sell, a child in India will receive a pair of prescription eyeglasses, via the Misfit Foundation.

The Team

  • Aj Leon

    Co-Founder

  • Jessie White

    Director/Co-Founder

  • Matt Owen

    Chief Editor

  • Clare Fisher

    Assistant Editor

  • Amanda Brown

    Assistant Editor

Misfit Press