Skein Press is a writer-centred publishing house. We support writers traditionally underrepresented in Irish literature by publishing beautiful, thought-provoking books. We also offer development opportunities designed to create a more inclusive literary landscape.
Skein Press was set up in 2017 as a small collaborative project between writers and publishers to publish beautiful, thought-provoking books by writers traditionally underrepresented in Irish publishing. Even though Ireland is a multi-cultural society, there have been very few books published that reflect its diversity, intersectionality and richness of experiences. Overall, there is very little inclusion and representation in the Irish literary and publishing sector in terms of writers, creatives or other professionals from underrepresented backgrounds and communities. We believe that this needs to be addressed through the creation of systematic pathways for writers from backgrounds and communities traditionally underrepresented to develop and publish their work and engage in the Irish literary and publishing scene. Irish literature should reflect the richness and diversity of the society we live in and we strive to contribute to this through our work and the books we publish.
Skein’s first publishing project, This Hostel Life by Melatu Uche Okorie, features stories of migrant women in a hidden Ireland. It was shortlisted for the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year Award at the Irish Book Awards in 2018 and adapted into an operatic work by the Irish National Opera. In 2020, Skein published Why The Moon Travels by Oein DeBhairduin, a collection of stories rooted in the Irish Traveller community’s oral tradition, which won The Special Judges Award and the Eilís Dillion Award at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Award 2021.
In both cases, it was the first time that writers from these communities had published their work in Ireland. The response to the books has been extremely positive, demonstrating that there is an audience for literature from new and diverse voices. Our third book, Unsettled, a collection of essays by Dr Rosaleen McDonagh, will explore racism, abuse, ableism and resistance, and will be published in September 2021.
Alongside its publishing programme, Skein Press will pilot the Play It Forward Fellowships, a joint initiative with The Stinging Fly and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, which is spearheaded by poet and editor Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe. Play It Forward is a professional development programme aimed at supporting writers whose voices and stories have traditionally been underrepresented in Irish literature and publishing. The programme seeks to advance new perspectives in contemporary cultural discourse and broaden conversations around diversity, inclusion, access and opportunity across the literary landscape.
We look forward to continuing to produce books collaboratively with writers traditionally underrepresented in Irish literature and contribute to developing a more inclusive and diverse Irish literary and publishing sector. Learn more about our work in the Skein Press Strategic Plan 2021-2023.
The Skein Press Team
Gráinne O’Toole (editor, marketing)
Fionnuala Cloke (editor, book production)
Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe (editor, programme manager)
Gill Distribution (printed books)
Gardners (e-books and audiobooks)