MOIST is a socialist enterprise. This means that our contracts are as generous as they can afford to be; that we channel the majority of our profits into funding new MOIST ventures; and that our beautifully designed, sometimes coordinating, paperbacks are printed in places other than China. We believe that language is always political, that language is always physical, and that language generates meaning. Our language is grimy and MOIST.
In their own words
When did you start publishing?
Our first book, a reissue of the late, great Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra’s Equilibrium, will be published in September 2020.
What made you want to start an independent publisher?
The word ‘alternative’, as used within the British publishing industry, usually refers to works that fit within a very Oxbridge, very Bloomsbury (i.e. upper and upper-middle-class) framework. On the rare occasions that a publisher’s list includes literary fiction by a working or lower-middle-class author that does not conform to the above their book will then be edited and/or marketed in terms of either Bake-Off blandness (or in the publisher’s parlance ‘to appeal to a regional audience’), or as poverty-porn (or distressing subject matter masquerading as ‘inclusivity’ and ‘diversity’ on the publisher’s part). First, this is boring. Second, there are lots of great authors who remain largely unknown precisely because they are not boring (or posh, or produce a posh person’s idea of a ‘common’ person’s writing). The rest is, as they should say, the future…
What genres do you specialise in?
Literary and experimental fiction and creative non-fiction, often with a link to the visual arts.
Where are you based?
Do you have a submission window, if so when?
We only publish three books a year, which means that our list for the next two-plus years is already full. However, all going well we hope to re-open for submissions at some point in 2021.
What is your submission procedure?
We like to receive the whole book as a word document and a brief blurb as the author imagines that it would appear on the back of the dustjacket. We don’t care whether or not an author has an agent, or about their publication history, and we actively encourage submissions from those with educational backgrounds that other publishers might consider ‘unconventional’.
Who are you (team photo if possible)?
Officially Paul and Sarah with occasional, unofficial, help from Susie and Tom.
What was your background in the book industry before this venture?
We have no background in the book industry – which we consider to be our great advantage! Our backgrounds are in academia and advertising.
Talk about some of your books if possible, upcoming, favourite?
Our first season, ‘A Trilogy of Alienation,’ consists of the aforementioned Equilibrium, which has already received a glowing endorsement from the Academy Award winning actress Samantha Morton; My Other Spruce and Maple Self the next novel from Susan Finlay, whose current one, Objektophilia, is receiving rave reviews at present; and Florilegia by the artist and illustrator Annabel Dover, a fictionalised account of early photographer and amateur botanist Anna Atkins’ life. Stylistically each of these books is very different, but they all centre on somewhat disenfranchised figures, are heavily influenced by film and photography, and feature beautiful coordinating covers. We hope that this, as well as the obvious quality of the writing, will make our readers especially keen to acquire the whole set!