Bath & Bristol publishers gather at Friends Meeting House

Bath Friends Meeting House hosted 30 local publishers and visitors at the inaugural Bath & Bristol Small Publishers’ Gathering Sat 3 Nov.

Organiser Kate Macdonald of Handheld Press – a Bath Quaker – says the main purpose of the event was building a community:

Many of the publishers who came work in relative isolation from the rest of the publishing industry, so the Gathering has made them all more aware of the creative community that exists in the Bath & Bristol area, and who they can talk to about their work and creative issues.

Over 30 small publishers met for the first time in Bath Friends Meeting House.

This new networking event for small independent publishers in the south west was organized by Bath publisher Handheld Press and Bristol poetry publisher Sad Press, to bring local publishers and the public together.

Three invited speakers opened the trade section of the day: event sponsor the Independent Publishers’ Guild Chief Executive, Bridget Shine, Alastair Giles of Holt-based awards management and marketing agency Agile Ideas, and Lily Green of Bristol’s multimedia community publisher No Bindings.

Kate Macdonald adds:

Samantha Walton of Sad Press and I designed the Bath & Bristol Small Publishers’ Gathering to bring together the independent publishers of the south  west. Independent publishing is beginning to break free of London’s gravitational pull, with new groupings of publishers established in the north and in Scotland and Wales. It’s time that publishers in the south west had their own event, and their own identity as a vigorous economic and creative activity for British business. We are delighted that so many publishers have brought their books to sell at the Gathering, and we knew it was a great success as soon as the tables began to be put up: there was a constant buzz of conversation and discussions. The networking was really brilliant to see, all these people meeting and sharing and ideas, demonstrating how vibrant the publishing sector is in the south-west.

Local publishers exhibiting included:

  • From Bristol: Shearsman Books, Tangent Books, Stuart Press, Writers Unchained, Sad Press and HammerOn Press
  • From Bath: Singing Apple Press, Rats Tales Publishing, Handheld Press, the Self-Publishing Partnership, Douglas Westcott and Wacky Bee Books
  • From Frome: Silver Crow Books
  • From Trowbridge: Wizard’s Tower Press
  • From Langport: Red Robin Books

And many more from further afield.

Plans to make this event annual are developing. Anyone interested in finding out more can email the Gathering at, or check the website at

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