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A novel approach - meet the couple who publish books from their city home

PUBLISHED: 10:34 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:35 08 August 2019

Eloise Millar and Sam Jordison run Galley Beggar Press from their Unthank Road home. Picture: Galley Beggar Press

Eloise Millar and Sam Jordison run Galley Beggar Press from their Unthank Road home. Picture: Galley Beggar Press

Archant

Knock on a door at a home in the Golden Triangle and you might expect it to be opened by students.

Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar set up Galley Beggar Press in 2012. Picture: Galley Beggar PressSam Jordison and Eloise Millar set up Galley Beggar Press in 2012. Picture: Galley Beggar Press

But at one terraced house you can find an award-winning independent publisher taking on new writers.

Galley Beggar Press, whose books have been longlisted for the Man Booker prize and won the Women's Prize for Fiction, was set up in 2012 by husband and wife team Eloise Millar and Sam Jordison from their home in Unthank Road.

Lucy Ellmann's Duck, Newburyport was longlisted for the Man Booker prize this year. Picture: Galley Beggar PressLucy Ellmann's Duck, Newburyport was longlisted for the Man Booker prize this year. Picture: Galley Beggar Press

Seven years later, the 44 and 42-year-old parents still work from their home and that sometimes means accommodating 700 copies of a book that is 1000-pages long.

Mr Jordison said: "We had an articulated lorry come with loads of copies of Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport. It's a miracle the lorry didn't get stuck. That's the less glamorous but really fun part of being a small publisher. I was moving boxes off a lorry with sweat on my brow. It's all part of the romance.

"I put my back into it, quite literally."

Galley Beggar Press started by accident when the couple moved to Norwich 11 years ago and became friends with Henry Layte, owner of The Book Hive on London Street, who gave them a relative's manuscript.

Mr Jordison said: "Henry said he couldn't be objective about it as it was written by a relative so he passed it to us. The book, Robert Graves by Simon Gough, was brilliant so we decided to put it out and it got us going."

The couple then began to develop Galley Beggar Press and took inspiration from the 90s music scene, rather than fellow publishers, for their ethos.

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Mr Jordison said: "I was a 90s indie kid and used to follow record labels like 4AD. There was a culture of being a fan and following labels rather than artists and I wanted to recreate that loyalty in publishing.

"We give writers licence to write and be ambitious and don't have the same constraints as big publishers. We have the advantage of being small. So there's warmth, passion and care that comes across.Hopefully, authors think they're part of a movement that's pushing boundaries. And they will be remembered as being part of something important."

When the couple read through submissions - Mr Jordison says his wife does all the work and should get the credit - they don't look for anything in particular.

Mr Jordison said: "It's like talking about magic. It sounds really obvious, but we look for good sentences and I want to be surprised."

Galley Beggar Press's late summer recommendations:

The Five Simple Machines by Todd McEwen

Plastic Emotions by Shiromi Pinto

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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