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: Clare

w: Clare

Loyal As a Book #3Devon Glover (The Sonnet Man)

Loyal As a Book #3

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway

Misfit Press’s Loyal as a Book series is composed of short, illuminating interviews with readers. It uncovers and explores the reading lives of people from across the globe, coming from all walks of life.

Devon Glover is a teacher/poet/rapper, born in 1981, from Brooklyn, NY. He is best known for teaching Shakespeare through hip-hop as The Sonnet Man. Devon has been featured on media outlets worldwide and has toured internationally, providing shows and workshops for students of all ages throughout the world.  In honor of the the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Devon completed a #SonnetMarathon Tour through the US, UK, and Morocco, which was highlighted by Glover rapping all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets in succession at Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust. Devon has created music videos for Sonnet 130 and Hamlet – with the latter being chosen for the Shakespeare Short Film festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.

What does reading mean to you?

I use reading as a form of motivation to write, and a way for me to expand my imagination. Language is so beautiful, and I love to get lost in the author’s wordplay. Since my early school days, I used reading as a way to gain wisdom, and that hasn’t changed. I love to discover the origin of lives of influential people, events, etc. Reading is a way for me to put me where these people/things first started. As an introvert, reading brings me pleasure, and puts me in a bubble. I feel like I’m in that world, right there with the characters.

What is the first book you remember really loving?

It wasn’t a book that I read, but rather a magazine. As a wrestling fan, I remember taking a trip to my local card shop (Mr. Winston’s) to get my daily fix of cards. He had a collection of old Wrestling Magazines – Pro Wrestling Illustrated – which had biographies and backstories of my favorite wrestlers before they made it to the WWF/WWE. From then on, most of my money that I earned as a teen went to these magazines in order to discover the origins of my favorite wrestling heroes.

What are you reading right now? Why did you pick it up, out of all the millions of books out there?

Right now, I am reading William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. I became a huge fan of The Bard’s work after being asked to help out a class with another one of his plays. His creativity, use of rhythm, and wordplay is astounding. He’s been a great inspiration to my work. This is one of his many plays that have been adapted for over 400 years. It’s one of his more popular plays that are read in schools, and I’ve been asked to create some music based on the story.

What is the strongest emotional response a book has ever provoked in you?

I remember reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for High School, and connecting with the character Lennie. He was huge in stature, and was misunderstood by many. After reading that book, it made me and my fellow classmates more considerate of other people’s ills and misfortunes. We felt the change after every chapter. It gave me an open mind to accept people from different backgrounds as I ventured on to college.

If you could go for dinner and drinks with one author, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?

It would be a toss-up between Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. Their stories connect with me and my background more than any other author. I would love to discover what was the inspiration of their works. I would say Toni, since I read more of her work.

If you could go for dinner and drinks with one character, who would it be, and why?

I would love to chat with the title character of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. I would love to get his thoughts on the world as it is today, insight on how can we change it for the better.

Do you have an all-time favourite book, or selection of books? Why is it/are they your favourite?

I don’t have an all-time favorite book. Since I’m a fan of history, backstories and hip-hop, I seem to keep picking up The Big Payback by Dan Charnas, and Decoded by Jay-Z.

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ClareClare is Assistant Editor at Misfit Press. She enjoys taking pictures with a variety of strange cameras, chasing after cats, drinking pale ale and exploring new places.

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Rambles: In My Own Way, by Alan Watts

“It was like a genie out of the bottle, and it began to walk all on its own and in directions I did not want.”

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