Loyal as a Book #6

David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne, and the fates of the famous

One Month in a Nepalese Monastery

A Letter From Gandhi to Hitler

Quiz: Which famous author said this about writing?

Sunday Bloody Sunday

The 228 ways to call someone drunk in 1736

“Totally unoriginal, feebly plotted, instantly forgettable.”

Why do we need art?

Christmas in a Siberian labour camp, with Dostoevsky

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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.

w: Matt

Misfit Press Mixes: Ambient Music for Reading I

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” Walter Pater


Every couple of months, as a means of creative procrastination, I’ll spend an afternoon putting together a music mix. Over the years, these mixes have exhibited various styles, and various degrees of rowdiness. Nowadays, though, as I have crept ever-closer to having racked up thirty years of life, my musical/mixological tastes have mellowed. Ambient music (a genre I hadn’t even heard of ten years ago) takes up more and more of my listening time. I sometimes feel like I am gradually becoming a sort of musical ascetic: first I needed a break from the relentless distorted guitars of my teens; then I could do without vocals; then even percussion went; and now lots of what I listen to qualifies as what my father calls “whale music.”

A big reason for my infatuation with ambient music is that it is the only sort of music to which I can read or write. (Another shift from my teens: I recall revising for my GCSE history exam to the sound of Rage Against the Machine’s The Battle of Los Angeles. The folly of youth!) As other nearly-thirty-year-olds might attest, music for reading and writing has to be of a specific nature: soothing, grounding, agreeable without being distracting. I put this mix together a few months back because there was a specific set of artists and songs which I found paired particularly well with the written word – and I wanted to be able to listen to them in a format that was more graceful than a simple iTunes playlist. The result was perfect: the mix dips and swells; shifts in mood; has moments which are pleasing to the ear without pulling too hard at one’s attention. I would have loved to have stumbled across it myself. Hence I share it here.

I give you, then, the first in Misfit Press’s Music for Reading series. Should you find yourself sat down reading (or writing) anytime soon, and feel the need for something more than silence as an accompaniment, give this a go. There will be more ambient music mixes to come, as the inspiration strikes. Enjoy, and read in peace.

(p.s. Sadly, Mixcloud doesn’t allow files to be directly downloadable. I know what a pain this can be, when you don’t want to have to keep a tab permanently open to listen to something. If you want to be sent the whole file to download and do with as you please, message our Misfit Press Facebook page.)




1. “Dopamine Clouds Over Craven Cottage” – Stars of the Lid
2. “Radiance” – Slow Dancing Society
3. “West of 4th (Krista’s Song)” – Slow Dancing Society
4. “Indoor Swimming at the Space Station” – Eluvium
5. “Even If You’re Never Awake” – Stars of the Lid
6. “When I See Scissors, I Cannot Help But Think Of You” – The Dead Texan
7. “LUX 1” – Brian Eno
8. “New Animals From The Air” –Eluvium
9. “Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears” – A Winged Victory For The Sullen
10. “The Southern Sea” – Garth Stevenson

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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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