Loyal as a Book #6

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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

Loyal as a Book #6Peter Gregson - Cellist and Composer

Loyal as a Book #6

“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.

Peter Gregson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1987, and lived there until he moved to London to study cello performance at the Royal Academy of Music. He splits his time between his studio at Air Studios in North London and various airports.

What does reading
mean to you?

Reading, for me, is relaxation. Like most people reading this, I spend almost all of my day staring at glossy screens. I’m working on a number of projects at the moment which are based on, or inspired by, books, so my studio bookshelf is a tell-all of movies I’ve been pitching on, or things I’ve just finished! I do struggle to find a comfy chair for reading, and reading in bed is a disaster for me because I inevitably fall asleep, so it’s usually just my desk chair where I sit and pound the pages. Maybe I’ll find a good, proper reading chair in time, but not entirely sure where it would go…

What is the first book you remember really loving?

The Diary of Anne Frank. I’m just older than the target age audience for the Harry Potter phenomenon, and growing up in Edinburgh, the home of JK Rowling, it would have been hard to escape had I been a year or two younger! I remember vividly living with the Diary of Anne Frank (I have some young Dutch cousins), it left a strong mark. I think since then, I’ve always been more interested in fact than fantasy… or at least, fiction set in real life. I’m a big sucker for crime fiction!

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

I’m reading a book about Troy, and just finished Wildlife by Richard Ford. I also tried reading a graphic novel as I was working on a movie inspired by it, but I couldn’t quite get into the flow of it so stuck to the film, I’m slightly ashamed to admit! Oh, and a new biography of Charlie Chaplin, who fascinates me. More on that below.

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

Well, I don’t think he wrote any books but Charlie Chaplin wrote scripts and screenplays… I’m fascinated by his story, he was a bizarre and dark character, but a truly fascinating visionary who lead the way for so much of what we take for granted in the entertainment industries today. I’d like the dinner to be in 1930s Hollywood, too, if that’s ok. The anecdotal glamour and style of it all, the excitement of a city springing up around an industry… and presumably there was less traffic, too.

So either Chaplin, or Charles Dickens. Same reasoning, and the dinner would be in period too, because I’d love to see what London in the 1800s was like!

Any other general thoughts on the world of books and reading?

We all live in an “always on”, always connected, always buzzing and beeping world. I hate reading on my iPad, and although I appreciate some people do love their Kindles, the attraction of reading for me is that it isn’t a screen. It’s a slow, patient enjoyment, like cooking. I think, in filling this in, I realise I don’t read enough and certainly haven’t read widely enough. I live about two minutes from one of the most beautiful book shops in London (Daunt Books in Hampstead) so I’m bang out of excuses.

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

One Month in a Nepalese Monastery

A Letter From Gandhi to Hitler

Misfit Press