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Carcanet Celebrates 50 Years!

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Since 1969 Carcanet has been committed to publishing poetry from around the world, and to mark the past fifty years we're busy planning parties, symposia, exhibitions and more to celebrate! You can read an interview with our founder and editorial director, Michael Schmidt, in The Bookseller, where we made our initial announcements.

To celebrate the jubilee, we are offering our readers a choice of five bundles of specially chosen books from five key areas of our list. Each bundle is priced at £50, and you can choose from debut collections, translations, LGBT, BAME and Classics bundles. More information and how to buy is avaialable here.

A recent interview with Michael Schmidt, celebrating the publication of Fifty Fifty: Carcanet's Jubilee in Letters, edited by Robyn Marsack, is available to read in The Telegraph here, and in December he was named as one of the most influential figures in publishing in 'The Bookseller 150', where Tom Tivnan wrote,‘In the long-overdue department is Carcanet’s MichaelSchmidt, who in 2019 celebrated 50 years as being arguably Britain’s mostimportant poetry publisher’.

A series of symposia are running at key locations around the UK and Ireland between Autumn 2019 - Summer 2020. We started at Poetry Ireland in October, and on January 25th will be visiting the National Centre for Writing in Norwich, befor later in the year travelling to The Scottish Poetry Library, Cardiff University and the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

In November, we celebrated in our home of Manchester over the weekend of 21st to 24th, with a series of wonderful celebratory events. Please scroll down to see the full timeline which we will update regularly over the anniversary year.

The November-December issue of PN Review is our 250th, and to celebrate we've launched the PN Review Collection at The Poetry Archive, please visit here. In December we published our anniversary edition, Fifty Fifty: Carcanet's Jubilee in Letters, edited by Robyn Marsack - more information below.

Upcoming events:

Saturday 25 January:
Carcanet at 50: National Centre for Writing
Carcanet's second symposium will take place at the National Centre for Writing in Norwich. The day will be comprised of two afternoon sessions, the first: some of Carcanet's core poets with Laura Scott, Mimi Khalvati, Caroline Bird, Alison Brackenbury, Philip Terry, Rory Waterman and Peter Scupham; the second: indie poetry publishing today with Carcanet’s Michael Schmidt, Nine Arches’ Jane Commane, Nathan Hamilton of Boiler House Press, Bridget Shine who is Chair of the IPG, and Neil Astley of Bloodaxe Books. The second session will be chaired by Arts Council England’s Director of Literature, Sarah Crown, and will be followed by a celebratory reading later in the evening.

For the evening reading we will be joined by Carcanet poets Sasha Dugdale, Julia Blackburn, Sophie Hannah and Miles Burrows.

Please visit the separate eventy listings at the National Centre for Writing's website for the afternoon symposium and the evening readings.

Tuesday 4 February:
Carcanet at 50: Half a Century of Poetry at Blackwell's, Edinburgh
Join three Carcanet poets with a Scottish connection for an evening of poetry and reflection on all that Carcanet has achieved: Frank Kuppner, Lucy Burnett and Oli Hazzard. The event will be chaired by Robyn Marsack, who is also the editor of Fifty Fifty: Carcanet's Jubilee in Letters. See the Eventbrite listing here to reserve your free tickets.

Thursday 20 February:

Carcanet at 50: Cardiff University
The third in our series of celebratory symposia, an afternoon of presentations, discussions and poetry readings, followed by evening readings at Cardiff University. Three panels will exlore some of Carcanet’s Welsh poets, contemporary and historic, and poetry publishing in Wales today. Confirmed speakers include Robert Minhinnick, Gillian Clarke, Jeremy Over, Sam Adams, Patrick McGuinness, Grevel Lindop, Lleucu Siencyn (Literature Wales), Simon Thirsk (Bloodaxe) and Gwyneth Lewis.

Please visit the separate Eventbrite pages for more information and to book free tickets for the afternoon symposium here, and the evening readings here.
Later in 2020 the press will hold symposiums at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh and in Newcastle. Further celebratory reading events will be held in Amsterdam, Paris, Oxford, Cambridge and London, and there will be anniversary events at key literary festivals.

In March 2020 an exhibition will open at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, showing Carcanet’s rich history through archival materials. The show will run for six months.

Further details and registration for the first events will open soon. Please join in the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Carcanet50.

Read the interview with Michael Schmidt in The Bookseller here.

Past events:

Friday 25 October:

Carcanet at 50: Poetry Ireland
The first in our series of celebratory symposia, an afternoon of presentations, discussions and poetry readings, followed by evening readings at Poetry Ireland, Dublin. Two panels will explore Carcanet’s core Irish poets and Irish poetry beyond Ireland. Confirmed speakers include Carcanet poets Sinéad Morrissey, Tara Bergin, John F. Deane, Mary O’Malley, Martina Evans and Moya Cannon; Gerard Smith, Eilean Ni Chuilleanáin and John McAuliffe of The Irish Times, Sarah Byrne of The Well Review and Colette Bryce.

Please visit the separate Eventbrite pages for more information and to book free tickets for the afternoon symposium here, and the evening readings here.

November 8 - 10:
Poetry in Aldeburgh
Join us at Poetry in Aldeburgh for the first literary festival edition of Carcanet at 50 events.

On Saturday afternoon, 5:30-6:30pm, join us for Carcanet at 50 - Launch of Fifty Fifty: Carcanet's Jubilee in Letters with Robyn Marsack and Michael Schmidt.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, 1-2pm, join us for Carcanet at 50: Poets Through the Generations for readings from Alison Brackenbury, Peter Sansom, Julia Blackburn, Mina Gorji, Lisa Kelly, John Greening and Jamie Osborn.

Please visit the Poetry in Aldeburgh website to book tickets to these events.

Thursday 21 November:
Annual John Rylands Reading
The esteemed readers at the historic John Rylands Library, Manchester, will be Kei Miller, Sinéad Morrissey and Matthew Welton. The event will be accompanied by a Collection Encounter, in which guests can look at specially selected items from Carcanet’s archive, which is held in the library. The readers will offer creative writing workshops earlier in the day.

Please visit Eventbrite to book a free ticket to this event.

Saturday 23 November:
Poets & Players
A special edition of Poets & Players, Manchester’s long-running poetry & music performance series, at the Whitworth Gallery.

Sunday 24 November:
Carcanet at 50: Poem of the Week with Carol Rumens
The weekend’s celebrations will close with a special Sunday afternoon event at Chetham’s Library, from 3pm to 4.30pm, in collaboration with Manchester Literature Festival. Carol Rumens’s popular ‘Poem of the Week’ blog has been featuring in the Guardian for more than a dozen years. Join her and Carcanet’s Michael Schmidt for a wide-ranging conversation about poetry and participate in the launch of Smart Devices: 52 Poems from the Guardian 'Poem of the Week'. We are joined by local writers and literary figures including Simon Armitage, Helen Mort, SuAndi, Afshan D’souza Lodhi, Stephen Raw, Matthew Frost and Zaffar Kunial, who will read their favourite Carcanet poems from the blog.

Tickets for this event are £8/£6 concession (including a complimentary drink), and can be booked via Manchester Festival online here or over the phone on 0843 208 0500.

Wednesday 4 December:
Carcanet at 50: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Join four Nottingham-based Carcanet poets for a night of readings and celebration, in association with the Nottingham Creative Writing Hub. A free, celebratory, limited-edition pamphlet will be available for all who attend the event. With Rory Waterman, Matthew Welton, Gregory Woods and Rebecca Cullen. See the shop's event page for more information, here.

Cover of Fifty Fifty: Carcanet's Jubilee in Letters edited by Robyn Marsack FiftyFifty celebrates half a century of publishing by one of theUK's most resilient and distinctive independent presses, through correspondencebetween fifty authors and their editor.

Each of Carcanet’s fifty years is marked by an exchange of letters between anauthor and the editor. The aim is to reveal a half century’s history ofpublishing and one small, ambitious press’s contribution, the nature ofediting, the author/editor relationship, the conflicts, friendships andvicissitudes that occur at the nexus between the work, its creator, publisherand readers.

Beginning in 1969 with the answer to a request to become a subscriberto the Press for £2, the book traces the development of the press as well asindividual author/editor relationships. It moves from Pin Farm in Oxfordshireto a house in Cheadle Hulme to an office in the Corn Exchange, centralManchester; from the struggle to survive as an independent to benevolentacquisition by Robert Gavron, the print magnate; surviving the Manchesterbombing in 1996 and the vicissitudes of the book trade in lean years. At itsheart is the personal relationship of author and editor/publisher, oftenbeginning with contributions to PN Review. Poets are central, butfiction writers, translators, biographers and critics also contribute to theCarcanet ferment and firmament. Famous writers are not necessarily the bestletter-writers, as editor Robyn Marsack discovered in trawling through theCarcanet Archive in the Rylands Library. The letters here are amusing,surprising, contentious, challenging. They were handwritten, typed, and nowemailed -- the changing pattern is fascinating to see. This is a rare glimpseinto the inner workings of a small, ambitious press. The book celebrates thewriter’s, editor’s and reader’s risks, passions and pleasures.

With thanks to Arts Council England for their continued support of our work moving into our fiftieth year.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
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