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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.

Destination Shakespeare: Announcing Paul Edmondson’s Debut Poetry Collection

Today, Misfit Press is overjoyed to announce our newest author and project: the brilliantly talented Paul Edmondson, and his debut poetry collection, Destination Shakespeare.

Aside from being a lovely bloke and a longstanding friend of Misfit and Misfit Press, Paul is a true Shakespeare aficionado. He has spent his entire working life immersed in the genius of English literature’s most famous figure (having fallen in love with Shakespeare in his early teens). Paul’s titles, qualifications and achievements make for a long list. Here is a brief run-down: Paul is Head of Research for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, an Honorary Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute, an Honorary Fellow of The Society for Teachers of Speech and Drama, a trustee of The Rose Theatre Trust, Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, and Chair of The Hosking Houses Trust for women writers.

In terms of his writing and publications – are you ready? – Paul is co-series editor for Palgrave Macmillan’s Shakespeare Handbooks, and co-supervisory editor of the Penguin Shakespeare. He has co-edited Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy (2013) and A Year of Shakespeare: Re-living the World Shakespeare Festival (2013). Paul has co-authored, with Stanley Wells, Shakespeare’s Sonnets (2004), and has published various essays on topics such as Shakespearian biography, Shakespeare and the Brontës, and the poetry of Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. His newest publications include an engaging overview of Shakespeare for the general reader, Shakespeare: Ideas in Profile (Profile Books, 2015), and (co-edited with Stanley Wells) The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2016). This bumper anniversary year also sees into print Paul’s co-edited collections 1616: Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu’s China and Shakespeare’s Creative Legacies (both for Bloomsbury’s Arden Shakespeare). He is the lead author of Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: An Archaeological Biography, which will be published by Manchester University Press in July.

However, while Paul’s critical, academic and biographical work is widely read and much-loved, not many people are aware that he has another side: that of the poet. For the last few years , Paul has been drawing inspiration from his beloved Shakespeare, and filling notebooks with his own verse, his own scribblings and sonnets. For 2016, he has taken up a number of poetic commissions, including a Shakespeare song cycle, a Shakespearian church anthem, and a Shakespeare-themed libretto based on the final moments of Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. It is in this newly-revealed creative spirit that Paul will be publishing his very first collection of poems, Destination Shakespeare, with Misfit Press.

The timing of Destination Shakespeare is very deliberate: 2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of Stratford-upon-Avon’s favourite son. It is a big year for the town – in which Paul has lived for 21 years – and for all Shakespeare lovers. Destination Shakespeare will feature 24 poems, all drawing on Shakespeare’s inspiration in unique and colourful ways. Ten of the poems will draw on an epic road trip, undertaken by Paul in 2014, during which he saw 42 Shakespeare productions during ten thousand miles travel around the US of A. (The amazing road trip is the subject of another forthcoming Misfit Press publication, Shakespeare on the Road.) Some of the 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.

It is a great privilege for Misfit Press to be working with such a talented author as Paul. We are honoured that he has chosen to collaborate with us on his first poetry collection, and can’t wait to share his wonderful pieces with the world. As the much-loved poet, Wendy Cope, writes in her Foreword to Paul’s collection: “I’ve enjoyed these poems and I have no doubt that there will be many more to enjoy in future.”

Destination Shakespeare will be published in May. Sign up for our email list below to get updates, and to access early discounted presales. (In the meantime, Paul is a damn fine Tweeter.)

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MattMatt is Chief Editor at Misfit Press. Alongside overseeing all activity at the Press, he is in the latter stages of a PhD, working on a thesis examining the intersections between literature, neuroscience and the philosophy of consciousness. Soccer, snowboarding, prog metal, Dostoevsky, a good Chianti and strangers' dogs all rank amongst his favourite things.

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