The occasion: Sabotage awards evening cum 3rd birthday bash – a celebration of the best in indie publishing, as decided by open online vote.
The Venue: The Book Club in London’s trendy Shoreditch.
The hosts: Sabotage review team – Richard Watson (Fiction)
– Claire Trevien (Poetry)
– James Webster (Performance)
The vibe: lively, alternative (to a provincial poet).
Room’s distinctive features: cellar bar with an amazing false ceiling crammed with light bulbs; bar with white-tiled back wall featuring cocktail list, including one Shoreditch Tw*t.
Also on offer: a mini book fair.
It was lovely to see a familiar face at the bar in Jonathan Taylor, and to catch up with Agnes Marton whom I met earlier this year at a poetry residential in Cumbria run by Kim Moore and Jennifer Copley.
The runners-up and winners in each category were announced by the Sabotage team. Most of the winners were there to receive their no-expense-spared rosettes and to take their five minutes of fame behind the mike. There was much banter with the audience and general hilarity.
Award winners by category as follows:
Best One-off: Shake the Dust. Jacob Sam La Rose and his team were there and talked briefly about this schools slam poetry initiative and to introduce two young voices who then performed a short, spliced piece.
Best Short Story Collection: Tony Williams’ All the Bananas I’ve Ever Eaten.
Best Magazine: Rising. Its ethos: ‘tough on poetry, tough on the causes of poetry.’
Best Poetry Pamphlet: Charlotte Newman’s Selected Poems.
Best Spoken Word Performer: Vanessa Kisuule. (Click here for this Hammer & Tongue finalist’s performance of ‘Even Now’).
Best Regular Spoken Word Night: Bang Said the Gun
Best Spoken Word Show: Martin Figura’s ‘Whistle.’
Best Poetry Anthology: Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot.
Best Fiction Anthology: ‘Overheard: Stories to be Read Aloud.’ Jonathan Taylor read his story from the anthology.
Best Mixed Anthology: ‘Estuary: a Confluence of Art & Poetry.’ Agnes Marton spoke about these pairings of visual art and poetry in conversation with each other. (Click here to view pages from this beautifully produced book).
Best Novella: Luke Kennard’s Holophin.
Most Innovative Publisher: Penned in the Margins.
I’d have stayed for the musical conclusion to the evening, but it had been a long day and I decided to catch the penultimate train home – after making a couple of purchases at the book fair on the way out, of course: Binders Full of Women (click here to read online or download/donate) and Poems for Pussy Riot (read more here).
My apologies to all the runners-up and for missing details of the winners due to running out of notebook pages. An in-depth post will soon be available on the Sabotage site (click here).