Why Publish? Embracing the Unfamiliar

Tuesday, 13 December, 7-8.30pm
Online, free. RSVP.

To mark the publication of Battles, Vol 1 by Francesco Pedraglio, join us online for an evening of readings and discussion with publishers and readers: Book Works, Juan de la Cosa, MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE, MOIST, and Prototype, and Paul Becker, Jen Calleja, Sharon Kivland, Mira Mattar, Francesco Pedraglio, and Adrian Rifkin.

Francesco Pedraglio’s new book takes battles as a story-telling frame to focus on the small details and absurdities that characterise almost all historical events and end up changing the course of their action. Mixed into the historical stories are personal accounts, trivial and idiosyncratic events that become elevated to the same status as those that affect history. Each story comes with a drawing, a ‘potential stage’ for re-enacting the battle. Each story could be read as a script for a performance. Each performance could restage a battle, or simply a moment of everyday life that takes on, in that moment, the significance of a battle.

For the launch of this book, Pedraglio has produced four short videos for Book Works’ Instagram account and organised, with Book Works, this event to give the opportunity to publishers and writers to explore a shared territory of art, writing, and publishing with those working in similar ways.

Juan de la Cosa/John of the Thing is a collaboration between Tania Pérez Córdova and Francesco Pedraglio, that started as a personal collection of experimental writings in translation. Aside from books, they also produce performances and live events with a focus on storytelling.

MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE is a not-for-profit project by the artist and writer Sharon Kivland. In her role as the editor, she invites authors she considers to be good readers, whom she would like to house in her library or to become her library, inhabited. She agrees with Nabakov that a good reader, an active and creative reader, is a re-reader.

MOIST was founded by Paul Finlay, and exists both to put a dampener on the mainstream ‘literary’ gatekeepers and to juice up the tentative fumblings that occur on the fringes. Art school, state school, and resolutely European, MOIST is always aroused and arousing and not always polite. In Spring 2023 Paul’s daughter Susan, currently published by the press, will join him as co-director.

Prototype, founded in 2019 by Jess Chandler, is a publisher of fiction, poetry, anthologies and interdisciplinary projects. With an emphasis on producing unique and beautiful books, we are committed to championing the work of new voices in free-form contemporary literature.

Paul Becker has exhibited widely, in the UK and internationally with solo exhibitions at Mackintosh Lane, London in 2022, M_HKA Antwerp in 2017, Le Salon, Brussels in 2013 and Chapter Gallery, Cardiff in 2005. In 2022 he published How We Made ‘The Kick Inside’ with JOAN Publishing, a fiction set within the production of Kate Bush’s legendary first album. In 2017, alongside Juan de la Cosa, Becker published Choreography/Coreografia, a fiction based around RW Fassbinder’s Chinese Roulette (1976). For several years he has been compiling The Kink in the Arc, a collective dream novel set inside a sanatorium for the weary of image. Becker was recently awarded a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and in 2020, he was the Abbey Fellow in Painting at the British School at Rome. He will be reading from Choreography (JDLC, 2017)

Jen Calleja is a poet, short story writer and essayist who has been widely published, including in The White Review, The London Magazine, and Best British Short Stories (Salt). She has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize as a literary translator from German into English and was the inaugural Translator in Residence at the British Library. Calleja played and toured in the DIY punk bands Sauna Youth, Feature, Monotony, Gold Foil and Mind Jail spanning a period of over a decade as both a drummer and a vocalist. She was awarded an Authors’ Foundation Grant from the Society of Authors to work on her forthcoming verse novel Vehicle (Prototype, 2023), from which she’ll be reading, and was shortlisted for the Short Fiction/University of Essex Prize for an excerpt from the novel. She was also longlisted for the Ivan Juritz Prize for Experimentation in Text.

Sharon Kivland is an artist and writer. Her work considers what is put at stake by art, politics, and psychoanalysis. She is currently working on the natural form, fables after La Fontaine, and the furies. She is also an editor and publisher, the latter under the imprint MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE. She is writing a new book, entitled Almanach, and will be reading from Abécédaire (MOIST, 2022)

Mira Mattar writes fiction and poetry. She is an independent researcher, editor, and tutor. Her novel, Yes, I Am A Destroyer was published in 2020 by MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE and her chapbook, Affiliation, was published in 2021 by Sad Press. Her first collection of poems, The Bow, was recently published by the87press. A new chapbook is forthcoming from Veer2. She regularly reads her work in the UK and abroad. She lives and works in London. She is reading from Yes, I am a Destroyer (MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE , 2020).

Artist, writer and editor living between Italy and Mexico City, Francesco Pedraglio is interested in storytelling as a tool to decode intimate encounters with both mundane and historically complex situations. He looks at how the process of narrating and staging – oneself, or a situation – influences the relationship between teller and listener, making visible the fantasies and fictions that constitute our reality. Recent exhibitions: MACRO, Rome (2020); Artists’ Film International, GAMEC Bergamo (2020); Norma Mangione Gallery (solo), Turin (2019); Kettle’s Yard (solo), Cambridge (2018); Museo Leonora Carrington (solo), San Luis Potosí (2018); Casa Tomada, Mexico City (2018); Kunstverein Munich, Munich (2017). He has contributed to Again, A Time Machine (2012), and The Happy Hypocrite – Fresh Hell, issue 8, edited by Sophia Al-Maria (2015), and published A man in a room spray-painting a fly… (or at least trying to…), (2014), all by Book Works. He is reading from Battles, Vol 1, (Book Works, 2022).

Adrian Rifkin worked in art departments as a historian and a studio tutor, in historical and cultural studies as well as visual culture, from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1970 to Goldsmiths, University of London in 2012, where he was a professor of Art Writing. A collection of essays, Communards and Other Cultural Histories, edited and introduced by Steve Edwards, was published in 2017. Interdisciplinary Encounters, Hidden and Visible Explorations of the Work of Adrian Rifkin, edited by Dana Arnold, appeared in 2015. He is reading from Future Imperfect (MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE, 2021)