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Pomona: News

No One Here Reads Tolstoy - Mark HodkinsonChildren of the sun!

Sunday 30 January, 2022
Mark Hodkinson's autobiographical memoir garners a spiffing review "a love letter to the north and the printed word" by the author Andrew Martin in The Observer and you can obtain a copy of No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy: Memoirs of a Working-Class Reader right here from Pomona.

Wednesday 15 December, 2021
Pomona founder, owner, editor, Jiffy bag stuffer, Mark Hodkinson, makes his major publisher debut in February, 2022. No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy: Memoirs of a Working-Class Reader is published by Canongate and is available NOW via this website for just £12 (cover price: £16.99).

This is what some esteemed folks said about the book:

"Mark Hodkinson is one of the great unsung heroes of literature, and here he tackles perhaps the last taboo in publishing: class. With verve, insight and perfectly-captured period detail, he reminds us that not only are books sacred objects that should be available to everyone, but also that working class voices remain more marginalised and underrepresented than ever. No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy redresses this imbalance beautifully, and in a just world will kickstart a long-overdue working class literary renaissance." -- BENJAMIN MYERS.

"Mark's journey into his own cocoon of books is a deeply personal tale but one with universal themes for all young lives shaped and transformed in some way by the written word . . . Thoughtful and engaging." -- MARK RADCLIFFE.

"This is an impassioned hymn of praise and declaration of love for that complex cultural object, the book. Anyone who has ever read, written or published a book will find their heart's pages turning as they sink joyfully into these craftsman-built paragraphs." -- IAN McMILLAN.

Sunday 16 March, 2019
Happy beyond happy to announce the launch (whoooooossh) of our new Sleevenotes series whereby musicians choose favourite tracks from their back catalogue and provide telling insights into their creation, meaning or mood. Often, all three. First up is Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne, followed by Joe Thompson of the most wonderful Hey Colossus. Although these books are not available yet in the shops, they are on sale from our website. Also before the end of the year we'll be bring you David Gedge of The Wedding Present and the estimable Mark Lanegan.

Friday 15 June, 2018
We're back! With a stunning new novel. That Summer Feeling by Mark Hodkinson will be published in August and it's a belter. Set in 2004, it is about a young man on a creative writing course who can't decide between two girls. So he dates them both, leading to layers of existential angst. In a bid to clear his head, he embarks on a fateful road trip with his eccentric, quarrelsome pals. Meanwhile, his young nephew has a serious illness that sets a fault-line through the entire family and his college lecturer is having a full-on beer-soaked breakdown in a rundown pub on the edge of town.

It's a novel that coalesces genres, among them: coming-of-age, campus, northern, realist and comic. It takes a literate, enigmatic and upbeat view of all that truly matters in life - childhood, families, love, friendship, ambition, writing, disillusionment and hope. Always hope. Here's a lovely excerpt from it...

"Knowing what awaits us should make us grasp at life's fading light, every single wonderful colourful noisy moment. We have around us all that cant, about living for the moment, you only get one chance and so on, but who hears that stuff? And if they do, it slips their mind in a minute or so, becomes a tiny fillip, a full stop in their book of the day. We have to really believe it, cherish it until we swoon on the beauty of being alive; every single bloody second. For it will soon be gone, soon vanished. It's the best we can do, the only thing that has a chance of saving us when our eyes close for the last time: well, I gave it my best shot, did what I wanted, made a difference, ate it all up, yum yum."

Saturday 5 August 2017
As we reach the tenth anniversary of Sophie Lancaster’s death (24 August, 2017), Pomona has brought back into print Simon Armitage’s Black Roses. The book has been sold out for several years. A third of profits will go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which aims to ‘create a lasting legacy to Sophie’: www.sophielancasterfoundation.com.
Black Roses is a poetic sequence written in the voice of Sophie Lancaster. Twenty-year-old Sophie was attacked in a Lancashire park in 2007 and died 13 days later. The ferocity of the assault caused distress and outrage when reported by the international media and led to the creation of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity opposed to all forms of hate crime and victimisation.
The radio broadcast of Black Roses won the BBC Radio Best Speech Programme of 2011 and was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry. The book can be purchased here.

Wednesday 2 August 2017
Very sad news reached us from Los Angeles last week. Clancy Sigal, whose book, Zone of the Interior, we published in 2005, has died at the age of 90. A champion of a myriad of just causes, Clancy was a wonderfully robust writer, a restless soul who always showed zero tolerance of indifference, even – especially! – in his dotage. His encouragement of small presses, especially Pomona, was heartfelt and lifelong. We send all our love to his partner, Janice and their son, Joe.

Thursday 5 November 2015
At long last, finally etc, we have sent Dale Hibbert’s epic Boy, Interrupted, Memoir of a former Smith to the printers. It is available for pre-order here and copies will be mailed on or around Monday 23 November. Dale was a founding member of The Smiths and the book gives a fascinating insight into the band, and Morrissey and Marr in particular. It also provides a detailed and thorough account of the Manchester music scene of the 1970s and early 1980s that spawned all manner of great bands, Buzzcocks to Joy Division; The Passage to The Fall; Vibrant Thigh to the Manchester Mekon; God’s Gift to Freudian Slip. All this aside, Dale’s life has been truly incredible. At times it is almost Dickensian. Really.

Wednesday 27 May, 2015

We’re back. And it feels good. So far! First up we have a most marvellous new instalment of the life and times of Bill Nelson, aka Diary of a Hyperdreamer, Volume Two. Bill is the founder of Be Bop Deluxe and Red Noise, and has lived a life steadfastly dedicated to his muse. Now in his sixties and living with his Japanese wife, Emi, in rural Yorkshire, he spends his days making music, dreaming, scheming and fretting. In these verbatim entries from his diary he also reflects, with great tenderness, on the early death of his younger brother, Ian, a fellow musician. Bill has kindly signed 100 copies and they are available for pre-order NOW. These will be dispatched before Friday 5 June, 2015.

And, in September, we bring you Boy Interrupted, Memoir of a Former Smith by Dale Hibbert. Dale was a member of The Smiths during their formative years, so was privy to the hopes and dreams and bizarre ideas of young Morrissey and Johnny Marr. He is a fund of hitherto untold stories - how the Smiths were to be launched as a 'gay' band, each of them bearing the stage name of a serial killer. There was also a plan to wear stage clothes based on American baseball teams. Dale helped shape the band's sound at his recording studio. He produced their first demo tape. He even gave Morrissey a lift to sessions on the back of his motorcycle. On the cusp of The Smiths breakthrough, Hibbert was replaced on bass by Andy Rourke. For the first time, he reveals the full details of his sacking. And, The Smiths aside, Dale has lived an incredible life, often tragic but always dogged and hopeful. It is also a comprehensive look at Manchester and its fascinating music scene both before and just after the advent of punk rock.

Enjoy the summer, brothers and sisters, sheltering under the tree of Pomona, and always love.

Tuesday 9 December, 2014
Here at Pomona we’ve recently had a delivery of overstock books and CDs from the warehouse. Instead of ‘remaindering’ them (which means garden centres or service stations paying us a pittance for each item), we’re offering pals (previous purchasers, folks who’ve made their way onto our mailing list and visitors to our website) a great super, lovely Xmas deal.

It’s this. For just a fiver (£5) we’ll mail you THREE books and THREE CDs. This includes postage. The books will be any of those still available (check our shop page) apart from the JD Salinger biography. If you specify at the Paypal stage of payment which books you’d like, we’ll try and supply these, though this isn’t a guarantee – some may run out. Our decision is final!

The albums will be a random mix of three released by Pomona Sounds - again, check the store page for what these might be. It’s all good stuff, mind. Sorry to say, but this offer is available to UK purchasers only.

Monday 26 May 2014

We've finally done a re-print of the wonderful Bill Nelson book, Diary of a Hyperdreamer. The initial print-run of 1,000 sold out in just a few weeks and this has caused a clamour among fans and collectors. The few copies that come on to the market on eBay and Amazon sell for an average price of £35, though there is currently a copy on Amazon for sale at a staggering £125.57. These copies are all second hand and of dubious quality. It was never our intention to issue this kind of curio that has seen genuine fans out of pocket. So, we've had some more done!
Update 19 July: Now sold out!

Wednesday 23 May, 2012
Sunny, at last. May, the favourite month. Clematis are in pinky purple full bloom; the gorse, bluebells and daffodils already been and gone. The acer and silver birch are in sappy green leaf. The ash tree in our garden is always last to explode. That's the official total glory arrival of summer. And my dad saw a fully grown terrapin in the Rochdale Canal today. Mercy me.

Enough of the whimsy. The news. We have a wonderful new title by Simon Armitage available. Black Roses is a poetic sequence written in the voice of Sophie Lancaster. Twenty-year-old Sophie was attacked in a Lancashire park in 2007 and died several days later. The ferocity of the assault caused distress and outrage
when reported by the international media and led to the creation of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity opposed to all forms of hatecrime and
victimisation. The radio broadcast of Black Roses won the BBC Radio Best Speech Programme of 2011 and was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for

Black Roses will not be reach the shops until August but is available NOW via the Pomona website for just £5.00. A third of all profits will be donated to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

Also, we still have plenty of Pomona back catalogue available for free. This includes books by the likes of Barry Hines, Trevor Hoyle, Ian McMillan, Ray Gosling, Hunter Davies, Mark Hodkinson etc, all top-notch literary gems, at least. Click the link here to get your hands on these goodies.

Oh, incidentally, so you know, word in your ear, Pomona is not closing down, disappearing. We've just been asked to clear the shelves at the warehouse because they need more room for snow-shakers and pot shire horses, things like that. That said, we're not as active as a few years ago because it takes a lot of love and commitment, finance and admin to publish books and we can only run hard at the big hill for so long before we flop down a bit fed up and disillusioned with it all.

Like the whole wide world, everything is strange-things-are-happening at the moment, recession, current climate, double dip, zero tolerance for optimism and publishing is especially beleaguered, what with shops shutting all over the, er, shop and margins getting smaller and everyone telling us that Kindles are soon to stand astride the world empire tall until we're all killed to death by its shadow.

But we like our books on paper with ink and proper covers and so we don't want to go 'electronic'. We know it makes more sense and more profit, probably, but if we had any sense we wouldn't be in publishing anyway, we'd be sunbed parlour owners, osteopaths, nail technicians, mobile phone salesmen - trades that the world seems to want these days.

I wonder: what does anything mean, basically? If you think you know, please drop us a line but spare us the manuscript. I know that's horrible to say (in words), sort of out-loud, but it kills us not to publish and then it kills us when we do publish and we sell 27 copies and everyone hates us - author, reps, shops etc. Like at the end of Falling Down when the Michael Douglas character turns to camera on that lovely old wooden pier and says: 'I'm the bad guy?'. Sorry about that, just slipped back to a bit of self-pitying and we said we wouldn't do that any more because it builds up bad and then it can soon become you. Most of the time we believe there is a light and it never goes out and we must seek it, always.

Monday 29 November, 2010
Sale time, folks! In an act of astonishing benevolence, the Lord of the House of Pomona has emulated Mike of Mike's Carpets of Doncaster and slashed prices. Most of Pomona's back catalogue is now available for just a fiver per book (plus p&p). The brick-sized hardback biography on JD Salinger, A Life Raised High, is on offer at half price, for just a tenner. And anyone spending more than £20 with us, and thereby showing exemplary support to independent publishing, will receive a free book with their order. See, no bah humbug-ing here!

Friday 12 November, 2010
Brothers, sisters...finally, some news. The Celestial Café by Stuart Murdoch is finished and all set for the printers. Stuart, of course, is singer with Belle and Sebastian and considers himself to be '26 % a rock star'. He may be exaggerating. Few rock stars spend time compiling lists of their favourite mathematicians or buy extra-soft slippers so they don’t disturb neighbours living in the flat below. Stuart reveals more of these non-debauched tales of life on the road or back home in his native Glasgow. A natural-born writer, he stares out from metaphorical celestial cafés throughout the world, presenting a unique and engaging take on herb tea, Felt, sunsets, church choirs, acupuncture, and, of course, catastrophic waitresses. Throughout, he runs at life fast and true, reminding us all that an empty minute is a minute wasted.

The book is available for pre-order now from this site. We're expecting copies to arrive by the end of November and they will be mailed immediately. We're going to do our level best to also have them on sale at the band's UK and Ireland shows which are: Belfast, Ulster Hall, Dec 1; Dublin, Grand Canal Theatre, Dec 3; Gateshead, Sage, Dec 5; Birmingham, Symphony Hall, Dec 6; Manchester, Apollo, Dec 7; Bournemouth, 02 Academy, Dec 9; Minehead, Butlins, Dec 10; Leicester, De Montford Hall, Dec 14; Bristol, Colston Hall, Dec 16; Glasgow, Barrowland, Dec 19, 20, 21.

The Celestial Café will filter through to conventional retail outlets in the New Year.

Tuesday 16 March, 2010
At last, JD Salinger: A Life Raised High by Kenneth Slawenski has come in to Pomona. Peter Kemp of The Sunday Times has dubbed it 'a fascinated and fascinating' biography' and Craig Brown, writing in the Mail on Sunday, has also praised the book.

Also hitting the shops is Trevor Hoyle's evocative gem, Down the Figure 7. It has been available via this site and in and around Trevor's native Rochdale (where the book is set) for some time, but is now crossing over to mainstream shops up and down the UK.

Next month we are publishing My Improper Mother and Me, a biography Lotte Berk, the radical fitness guru of the 1960s and 1970s. It is written by her daughter, Esther Fairfax.

In June we will bring you the first book by Stuart Murdoch, the mainman of Belle and Sebastian. 'The Celestial Cafe' is a wry look at life with the band, both on the road and back in Stuart's native Glasgow.

At the end of summer (appropriately) we will be publishing a book about Sophie Lancaster, the young goth from Bacup, Lancashire, who was murdered in a local park by a group of teenagers merely for dressing differently. As yet untitled, the book is by Catherine Smyth who was the first reporter on the scene, working for the local paper, the Rossendale Free Press. The book has the full support of Sophie's family and a portion of profits will go to S.O.P.H.I.E. (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere). The book will be available via this site to coincide with the third anniversary of Sophie's death in August - and in shops later.

And, looking further ahead, to either late 2010 or early 2011, we are proud to announce that we'll be publishing 'The 10 Rules of Rock 'n' Roll' by Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens. Our favourite lyricist (in the world) covers an eclectic mix of subjects from AC/DC to Nana Mouskouri, The Velvet Underground to Delta Goodrem, and also reflects beautifully on his old pal from The Go-Betweens, the late Grant McLennan, our joint favourite lyricist (in the world).

Next spring we will bring you a new book by Pomona's editor-in-chief, Ian McMillan. Ian is in the process of tracking down several 'lost' poets of the north, interviewing them (if they're still alive!) and writing up profiles on each. On his list are Harold Massingham, David Tipton, Jim Burns, Colin Simms, George Kendrick, Anna Adams and Stanley Cook. It's going to be great, easily.

Sunday 31 January 2010
It was with real sadness that we learned of the death of JD Salinger this week. The great man was one of the major reasons most of us here at Pomona Towers succumbed to the beauty and wonder of literature in the first place. We know he's not had any new material out for years and years but just knowing he isn't shuffling about somewhere on the same planet is somehow upsetting.

We've been inundated with phone calls and e-mails about Kenneth Slawenski's forthcoming biography on Salinger, JD Salinger: A Life Raised High and have decided to bring forward publication by a few weeks to Monday 15 March. Kenneth has been working on the book for seven years and it is a fantastic piece of work. It stretches to 150,000 words and will be available in hardback only initially, costing £20. He is currently adding a final chapter, summarising the response to Salinger's death. The book can be pre-ordered now. All pre-ordered copies will be sent out before the book is available in shops.

On 29 January 2010 The Times ran a two-page extract from the book and further publicity is expected over the next few weeks.

Thursday June 17, 2009
Sorry folks, we've had to put back the biography on JD Salinger, A Life Raised High, until April 2010. As we've said many times it's a lengthy tome and the editing is taking longer than expected. We're also trying to furnish it with a top-notch index which, again, takes time. The wait will be worthwhile...

Tuesday 19 May, 2009
Well, how hard do we folks work at Pomona? Three books in three months - a new record (for us!). And all of them in stock and available for sale via this site. The most recent is Mark Hodkinson's The Last Mad Surge of Youth which has already been bigged up by writers as diverse as Kevin Sampson and Alan Sillitoe, not forgetting that one-man cultural eye-in-the-sky, Andrew Collins. This is what these great chaps actually say:

'This is by far the best book I've read dealing with that rich world of boys growing up, their obsessions, their loves, their music and how this inevitably informs the people they become and the lives they end up leading. I can't recommend it highly enough.' - Kevin Sampson.

‘A note-perfect rendition of the early-80s northern English indie scene, it contains all the affection missing from John Niven’s similarly biz-themed Kill Your Friends.’ - Andrew Collins

‘It’s a masterpiece, not a wrong note. Enjoyable to the last line.’ - Alan Sillitoe.

Before Mark Hodkinson's came in, we also unleashed to an appreciative world Ian McMillan's The Richard Matthewman Stories and Barry Hines' This Artistic Life. Both books have been well-received. The only downer has been the news that Barry has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, which means this will probably be his last book. Barry is very well physically and still very much with us, although he does tend to be occasionally forgetful.

Thursday January 8 2009
First off, happy new year. And sorry, once more, that we've buggered about with the publication dates of forthcoming titles. As we look out now on a sprawling '09, here's the dates were hoping to make:

March - The Richard Matthewman Stories by Ian McMillan and Martyn Wiley. The cover has been designed by ex-NME art editor Andy Martin and bloody lovely it is, too.

April - This Artistic Life by Barry Hines (details below). The final edit and positioning of pictures etc is been done by Barry and his wife, Eleanor. Looking bloomin' good.

June - The Last Mad Surge of Youth by Mark Hodkinson. A wonderful novel about love, punk, new wave, celebrity, alcoholism - everything, really.

Autumn - JD Salinger; A Life Raised High by Kenneth Slawinski (details below). Taking longer than expected because of its sheer mind-blowing detail and intensity (and word-count) but this year is the year. Especially since the old wizard has just turned 90.

Autumn - The Celestial Cafe by Stuart Murdoch. Yes, that Stuart Murdoch, he of Belle and Sebastian. The boy can write (quite beautifully) as well as sing. Currently being edited by our man with a red pen, Andy Hollis.

Autumn - My Improper Mother and Me by Esther Fairfax. Delivered and waiting to be edited, the story of radical fitness guru, Lotte Berk, written by her daughter.

Early 2010 - Title tbc by Alan Plater. One of the UK's literary gems turns out a fine collection of incisive essays on the state of the media, culture, the north, Hull City and everything in between.

Early 2010 - Down the Figure 7 by Trevor Hoyle. One of Pomona's most brutally beautiful writers turns his eye to growing up in a northern town in the 1940s and 1950s. Hard-edged nostalgia from a masterful writer.

Thursday 25 September 2008
Simon Armitage's The Not Dead is available now by clicking here. Scroll down for details of his appearances in November specifically to promote the book.

September 2008

The Not Dead – Simon Armitage.
Rejoice! Simon Armitage's The Not Dead is available NOW for pre-order on our website and will be in the shops in mid-September. It is a short collection of poems originally aired on a Channel 4 documentary film of the same name, shown in the summer of 2007. They are featured alongside an introduction from Simon and press reviews of the film. The poems focus on the testimonies of veterans of the Gulf, Bosnia and Malayan wars - ex-soldiers who have seldom been heard before.

There are three official launches of the book, where Simon will appear, in Sheffield (The Showroom, Tuesday 11 November), London (The South Bank, Wednesday 12 November) and Manchester (MMU, Thursday 13 November). Here are the details for these events, supplied to us by the organisers:

Tuesday 11 November
The Showroom, Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1
Tickets £5.50/£4 (cons) from The Showroom - Tel. 0114 275 7727

The acclaimed and respected writer, Simon Armitage, has won numerous awards for his poetry. His new anthology The Not Dead, is a short collection of poems originally aired on a Channel 4 documentary. The poems focus on the testimonies of veterans of the Gulf, Bosnia and Malayan wars - whose voices have seldom been heard before. In a fitting event for Armistice Day, Simon will read from and talk about his new work - a book of quiet profundity.

Part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading.

Wednesday 12 November
Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
Tickets are £10. Box Office: 0871 663 2586 or book online at www.southbankcentre.co.uk.

Simon will read from The Not Dead and excerpts from the film will be shown.

Thursday 13 November

Free to students and the public.
Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University. (opposite the Commonwealth Aquatics Centre), Rosamond Street West, Off Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6LL.

Part of a Poetry & Film Festival at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The Not Dead is a collection of poems originally aired last November on a Channel 4 documentary film of the same name. The film explores the human cost of fighting and killing through the stories of three soldiers who relive their experiences of the Gulf, Bosnia and Malayan wars.

At the book launch, the film will be re-screened and Simon will discuss how he wrote its specially commissioned poetry after listening to intimate interviews with the veterans, all of whom suffered post-traumatic stress.
"Never having been to the front line, turning the words, phrases and experiences of these soldiers into verse has been the closest I've ever come to writing "real" war poetry, and as close as I ever want to get," said Simon.

The Not Dead received excellent reviews in the press and moving responses on the Web from other veterans.
"I wasn't present when the three men read their poems to camera, but it can't have been easy for them. In my view, it was a supreme act of bravery," Simon added.
The Poetry & Film Festival celebrates award-winning partnerships between poets and filmmakers. Simon Armitage and director Brian Hill of Century Films have made over 7 films together including Feltham Sings, a docu-drama set in Feltham Young Offenders Institution which won a 2003 BAFTA.

The Festival will also feature Simon's film Out of the Blue (Silver River/Channel 5) which was specially commissioned to commemorate the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Here Simon's film poetry is performed by Rufus Sewell.

Simon Armitage, a former probation officer, teaches poetry at The Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University where students are encouraged to do multi-media projects.

Spring 2009

The Richard Matthewman Stories – Ian McMillan and Martyn Wiley.
For a Yorkshireman who has spent half a lifetime in his native pit village, moving south is a mixed blessing and it is where Richard Matthewman's memories begin as he looks back with affection, humour, and no small measure of exasperation at 42 summers - and bitter winters. From boyhood through adolescence to marriage and a family, his stories are filled with a rich gallery of characters - the relations, friends and village notables of a vital community filled with life and incident but as brittle and unmistakably northern as the coal seams on which it was built. Buy now.

JD Salinger: a Life – Kenneth Slawinski.
JD Salinger: a Life reveals the surprising reality behind the enigmatic author of The Catcher in the Rye. Readers travel with the author through both his stories and the events of his life. It is a biographical journey, a story of ambition and ego that collides with integrity, an account of Salinger’s struggle to deal with the consequences of his own fame while attempting to understand the nature of God and humanity after experiencing the darkest days of human history.
With unique insights into Salinger’s complex personality, the text (stretching to more than 150,000 words) covers his youth, war years, career and relationships, as well as his emergence as an American icon and final withdrawal.
With over 400 citations and first-hand accounts, the details of Salinger’s life have been thoroughly researched and the book uncovers many surprising facts never before exposed. By peeling away myth from truth, a far more compelling life-story is actually revealed.

This Artistic Life – Barry Hines.
An anthology of essays and stories by Barry Hines, the author of the much-celebrated A Kestrel for a Knave. Many of the pieces were written at the same time as this seminal novel and have never been published before. They cover Hines’ love of sport along with his reflections on his home town of Hoyland Common, near Barnsley, both its landscape and the colourful characters that people it.

Long Overdue – Tom Palmer.
Think of your favourite library. Where is it? How old were you when you first used it? Did it change your life?
Tom Palmer’s life was changed by libraries. They helped him become a reader. And then a writer. Now a successful children’s author, he wanted to find out answers to questions about libraries that are long overdue.
Starting with those he first visited in his late teens, Palmer toured the UK from Shetland to the Scillies, County Fermanagh to Lowestoft. There, he found a network of 4000 community venues where librarians are changing thousands more lives a day. So why, he wanted to know, do libraries get so much stick? Why are they and their staff the butt of so many jokes – are they really run by a cabal of middle-aged ladies imploring ‘Shhhhh’? And who actually uses them?
Do they live up to the dreams of those who set them up in the nineteenth century – to take ideas, information and imagination to the masses? Or does that dream need reinventing in the twenty first century?
Calling at urban libraries, rural libraries, burnt out libraries, bran new libraries, libraries about to be closed down and more, Palmer learned that, if we let our public libraries die, we’ll be losing more than we can imagine.

My Improper Mother and Me, a biography of Lotte Berk - Esther Fairfax.
Britt Eckland, Maureen Lipman, Geraldine McEwan, Edna O'Brien - just four
devotees of the Lotte Berk technique, a radical fitness programme devised by
the outrageous German émigré, Lotte Berk.
My Improper Mother and Me is a compelling biography of Berk by her daughter, Esther Fairfax. Told with almost painful honesty, the book reveals the inner workings of a Bohemian life lived to the extreme. Cajoled to dance naked in Paris at the age of 16, Fairfax's story embraces drug addiction, sexual liberation, poverty, isolation, fame and, finally, hope

Music With Heart – Jack Rabid.
Jack Rabid is the founder, editor and publisher for 28 years of the respected semi-annual, cult fave New York music mag The Big Takeover, writing and overseeing 62 jam-packed issues to date. Rising from a seminal, legendary photocopied-stapled 10-page punk-era fanzine (named after a then-unreleased Bad Brains song) to a nationally-distributed, 20,000-copy, beloved 300-page glossy, it’s now the longest running independent underground rock magazine in the U.S. It’s known for its hundreds of reviews, impassioned and learned editorials, and most of all, its Playboy-length, in-depth and unguarded interviews with such thoughtful stars as The Clash’s Joe Strummer, Radiohead, Iggy Pop, Interpol, XTC, R.E.M, Belle & Sebastian, Wilco, Eric Idle, Wire, Brian Wilson, Ruts, John Peel, Damned, Buzzcocks, and The Kinks’ Ray Davies. A publication that encourages rather than insults the full intelligence and humour of its readers.
An original late '70s punk rocker/New York CBGB/Max’s scene member as a teen, Jack has evolved into a writer of rare gravitas. In Music With Heart (the magazine’s motif) he writes perceptively on music and also covers wider issues such as politics, 9/11, the death of his father, the state of America’s health service etc.

Wednesday 26 March, 2008

Brothers and sisters, it's all about to go mad busy here at Pomonaville. After taking almost a year off, we're set with another swathe of tip-top books, starting this autumn and running into next year, 2009. We've set up a partnership with Compass who will rep our books into shops while the ever-dependable Central stick them in vans and get them to where they should be (most of the time!) More titles will be added over the next few months but, for now, those listed below are all confirmed and ready to be born beautifully to the world.

Wednesday 16 January, 2008

Because we're decent fellows and it's a new year and all, we are reducing the price of all the books sold from our online shop to a fiver. Make your move now. This madness cannot last forever!

Friday 4 January, 2008

My. How. Time. Flies. First of all, sorry it's taken us ages to provide a news update. Very shabby of us, indeed. Sadly, 2007 was pretty quiet here at Pomona. We found ourselves without a repping partner when Troika called it a day in the autumn. This meant we didn't have anyone calling at shops on our behalf saying, 'Go on, be a devil - stock up on all these lovely books.'

Obviously, in such circumstances it didn't make sense to publish any new books. We've spoken to a few potential partners but are still waiting for one to come forward and embrace us carnally. We understand it can be a grind persuading shops to stock independently produced books, but we're holding out for a hero (Lord forgive us, for we be quoting Bonnie Tyler!).

Better news:

1. The very venerable Ian McMillan joined us in the late-summer as 'director of publishing'. Ian will act as a talent scout, suggesting possible old titles to bring back into print etc, and has promised us a book of his own short stories - again pending on us finding a repping partner.

2. Mark Hodkinson's Believe in the Sign was chosen as one of the sports books of the year, 2007 by both The Guardian and The Times, following on from making the long-list for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. Incidentally, we're selling copies of Mark's book at half price for a limited period of time via this website.

3. We have agreed with Barry Hines to publish a most super anthology of his writing, some of it never published before, dating back to the early 1970s.

4. Although we're currently not accepting manuscripts, we have five or six new books primed for the end of the year. All of them wonderful, and some.

Friday 15 December 2006

Another football classic, no less. Believe in the Sign is a 'sort-of-a-memoir' by Times' columnist Mark Hodkinson about growing up in a northern town supporting his local club. Much more than football though, this is a widescreen social commentary/historical narrative chock-full of wry observations and dry humour. It's 15 years since Fever Pitch and the time is right once more to get stuck into life through the prism of football, the lot of it: fathers, pies, murder, hooliganism and those oh so famous, Asda Queens.

Wednesday 1 November 2006

Finally, Hunter Davies’ new book, The Second Half, is in stock and available via this site. It’s been Hunter madness of late, with his biography of Wayne Rooney and his autobiography also in the shops, The Beatles, Football and Me. Good reads, all – especially the one we’re publishing!

We have plans for 2007, even if they’re a bit nebulous. We hope to bring forth another classic football book early in the New Year and what we hope will be the definitive biography on JD Salinger by a renowned American expert in the field. More details later.

The great Bill Nelson has (tentatively) committed to a follow-up to Diary of a Hyperdreamer. Hopefully it will surface next year though it may turn out to be early in 2008, which we might not see if all those tacky poshos keep driving around in monster 4x4s killing the world and, er, Pomona’s staff keep going on el cheapo holidays to Portugal and Spain, willy-nilly (that’s an arcane phrase, not a staff member –though if anyone called William Nilly wishes to apply for a job here he’d stand a good chance of getting one under such a brilliant nomenclature).

All our backlist is still available apart from Hunter’s The Fan which sold out some time ago. Because it was good n funny.

Unfortunately we’re still not in a position to accept submissions of new work. We’d love to (in fact, that’s why we set up Pomona Books in the first place, damn) but we only want to do books that we are confident we can do justice to, not just aesthetically (maaaaan) but getting them in the bloody shops (which, we’ve learned is the major battle for all little ‘uns like us).

Thanks for your support. Remember, every penny sent to Pomona goes either to our authors (we do ridiculous, unheard of 50/50 splits with our chaps) or to buy new shoes for our kids. Or Shoot-Out Cards. Occasionally we buy food too. But not Chicken nuggets. They’re just awful.

Check out: Be Near Me by Andrew O’Hagan; Crass, The Biography by George Berger (flawed but fascinating) and music by Tommy Guerrero (new album, From the Soil to the Soul), Levy, Guster, Kashmir, DJ Shadow (new album: Live! In Tune and On Time) Bonobo (new album: Days to Come), Matisyahu (mad Jewish reggae/toasting), Budapest, Trembling Blue Stars, Captain, Pernice Brothers (new album: Live a Little). Let us know about your newly discovered bands and books, ta.

Tuesday 11 July 2006

Mercy me, at last! After (what seems like an) age, we've finally taken delivery of Christopher Barker's opus, The Arms of The Infinite, the most very wonderful memoir of his prose-queen mother, Elizabeth Smart and his top-notch poet dad, George Barker. It is available to order on-line now and should reach book shops very soon. Sorry for the delay; all manner of things slowed us up

Thursday 23 March 2006

Well, brothers and sisters. Sorry it's been a while. When winter lasted for ever, it made us all so slow. Still, here we are. At last. So, some news. Christopher Barker's book The Arms of the Infinite is still on schedule for July, his most wonderful biography of his prose-queen mum, Ms Elizabeth Smart.

The second instalment of Hunter Davies' superlative football writing, The Second Half (what else?) will be out to coincide with the new footy season 2006/07, when we've all recovered from the World Cup. Incidentally, good old Hunt has just been asked to ghost-write Wayne Rooney's autobiography. Not on Pomona! We offered young Wayne a Toffee Crisp and our complete collection of Scorcher and Score comics from 1971-74 but, crikey, the blighter turned us down.

We have some lovely (but a bit dear!) special 'art' (they'll kill us for that!) books available from Christian Brett and Alice Smith. See below for details. They are available via our on-line store.

Music? We've been listening a lot to Tommy Guerrero (Soul Food Taqueria), lovely little electronica ditties in the DJ Shadow territory. Also The Editors (all hail the new Bunnymen!), The Upper Room, The Shout Out Louds, and old stuff revisited: Al Stewart, The Chameleons, Mouse and the Traps, Colin Bluntstone, Davy Graham, Leonard Cohen.

Books? Ginny Good by Gerard Jones is very funny and frothy and we keep returning to Bollocks to Alton Towers and The Real Life of Anthony Burgess (a bit academic but still interesting - what a fibber our favourite comb-over merchant was). And never ever let Alberto Moravia slip from memory, genius.

Saturday 05 March 2006

Handmade artists' books from Bracketpress.
Bracketpress promotes the work of Pomona's designer Christian Brett and illustrator Alice Smith, both of whom have worked on collaborative projects and exhibitions with ex-members of Crass over the last three years. The following three books are currently available through Pomona in very limited editions. Each book is printed, assembled and bound by the respective artists.

"A little book of illustrations from the novel THIS CRIPPLED FLESH" by Alice Smith with text by Penny Rimbaud, typography by Christian Brett Description: ‘A Little Book of Illustrations from the novel This Crippled Flesh’ presents visuals and extracts from the fragmented narratives and themes explored within Rimbaud's as yet unpublished manuscript. Over the last twelve months a couple of casebound editions of the 384 page novel, typeset by Christian Brett, have appeared in group shows in Manchester and London and will be exhibited in Pennsylvania, Costa Rica and Mexico City during 2006. Format: 155mm x 110mm, 24 pages, digital inkjet print on Beckett Expression candlelight 216gsm and 118gsm wove papers with tipped-in illustrations. Concertina structured hardback ribbon-tied book.

"WOMeN & MEN – An illustrative study of corporeality" by Alice Smith Description: An eclectic range of source materials and literature inspires the illustrations, drawing on issues and observations of stereotypical behaviour and the performances of women and men, with sexual and perverse undertones. These illustrations are of an adult nature. 150mm x 210mm, 28 pages, digital inkjet print on Beckett Expression candlelight 216gsm & 118gsm wove papers with tipped-in illustrations. Concertina structure within a quarter-bound book in black and red buckram with black lace tie.

"Disconnected" by Christian Brett Description: An uncomfortable, pointed and occasionally funny, typographic stream of consciousness text. Whilst pissing on the doorstep of Saatchi & Saatchi, the text kicks against ideas of relationship, the internet, reality tv, nostalgia, fakery, branding/blanding, boredom, drugs and isolation. Format: 154mm x 156mm, 76 pages, six-section sewn, digital inkjet print on Strathmore Writing natural white 118gsm wove. Quarter-bound in black buckram with letterpress text on uncovered front/back boards.

News Archive (2005)

News Archive (2004)

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