General, Organisations

lrish Pages Press named “Small Publisher of the Year 2022 (Island of Ireland)”

30th May, 2022

The Belfast-based publisher, The Irish Pages Press/Cló An Mhíl Bhuí, has won the highly prestigious “British Book Awards Small Publisher of the Year 2022 (Island of Ireland)”. Before an audience of 1200 publishers, authors and booksellers, the awards ceremony, often likened to the BAFTAs for books, saw The Irish Pages Press become the first ever winner in any publishing category from Northern Ireland.

Book cover of Kilclief and Other Essays by Irish Pages.
Book cover of Kilclief and Other Essays by Irish Pages.

Both The Irish Pages Press, and Irish Pages: A Journal of Contemporary Writing, are published by the non-profit Irish Pages Ltd, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, The Arts Council of Ireland, and Foras na Gaeilge.

Based on the city’s Ormeau Road, despite its modest staff and resources, the journal Irish Pages (founded in 2002) has grown in strength and ambition in recent years, expanding from a twice-yearly literary publication to a publisher of non-fiction, memoir and poetry titles from established, emergent and new writers, under its new imprint The Irish Pages Press, launched in 2018.

Judges praised all aspects of The Irish Pages Press operation, saying, “Belfast-based but increasingly active in Scotland too, it excels on design and production and is an important champion of Celtic voices. Direct website sales increased during bookshop closures, and marketing and publicity give it a literary profile that belies its small size.”

Both the journal and press are edited by poet and essayist Chris Agee (Founder and General Editor), along with a small group of acclaimed poets including the Scottish Editor Kathleen Jamie (Scotland’s “Makar”, or poet laureate) and Scottish Gaelic Editor Meg Bateman.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, offered his congratulations:

“This major accolade shows how important The Irish Pages Press has become in such a short period of time, through publishing creative work at the highest standard we have become accustomed to in the pages of the journal. The prize is a credit to the small team behind the Press and to the vision which sustains it and them. The Arts Council is delighted to be part of this success story in funding great writing and effective publishing. Well done all.”

Organized by The Bookseller magazine in London, The British Book Awards, or ‘Nibbies’, are the leading awards for the book trade in the UK and Ireland. Celebrating the best books, the best bookshops and the best publishers, it is supported by all major industry associations including The Publisher Association, The Booksellers Association and the Independent Publishers Guild. Judged by leading Industry experts, it is widely regarded as ‘the BAFTAS of the book trade’.

Chris Agee said,

“While aware of the irony that an all-island Irish press based in Belfast has won under the rubric of ‘British’, the Editors strongly welcome this acknowledgment of our 2021-2022 book-publishing programme, which joins the publication of our long-standing journal Irish Pages. Of our last eight books – both poetry and non-fiction -- two are from English authors, two from Scottish authors, and four from Irish authors. This is the first time, in fact, that a press based in Northern Ireland has first been shortlisted and then won any of the three relevant British Book Awards for publishers.”