The North Recommends: IRON Press

IRON Press has reached its half century! This year, Cullercoats-based IRON Press is celebrating 50 years of independent poetry publishing. Find out a bit about IRON’s journey, as well as the 12 hour poetry bonanza they are hosting as part of their celebrations.

IRON Press, the North East based literary publisher, this year celebrates its 50th anniversary and to mark the occasion, a bonanza twelve hour poetry marathon, Fifty at Fifty, will be held at an historic sea front venue in its home village, Cullercoats. Fifty poets from throughout the country will gather at The Watch House on Sunday October 29. Beginning at 8am, the day will run through non-stop until 8pm. It’s all free with regular musical interludes and refreshments. The well-known North East author and comedian Kate Fox is to kick the day off, performing ten minutes of her own work. Many other well-known writers including Linda France, Katrina Porteous, Kevin Fegan, John Hegley, Harry Gallagher, David Almond and Kitty Fitzgerald will also perform. All the performers have had their work published by the press, either in individual books, as part of the press’s many anthologies, or in IRON Magazine which ran for 73 editions from Spring 1973 through to 1997.

IRON was set up by its present editor Peter Mortimer when he was living in the attic of the poet Tom Pickard and Tom’s wife Connie in Gateshead; Tom will be among the poets in October. IRON has been based in Cullercoats for most of its life (since 1975) and its terraced house is a well-known psychedelic landmark.

Several major anthologies have been published by IRON Press over this half century, including The Poetry of Perestroika, the only collection of verse published in the west from the Russia in the time of Glasnost, and Voices of Conscience, a global collection of poems from writers world-wide in the 20th century persecuted, imprisoned or at times executed by the state.

IRON also published the first two short story collections of the internationally acclaimed North East author David Almond and it was in IRON Magazine that the current Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, saw one of his first poems.

Editor Peter Mortimer said, ‘I was still just in my twenties when IRON was born so the two of us have aged together.’

More details can be found on the IRON Press website, or a phone call to 0191-2531901.