New pigs on the block, Lincolnshire-based indie press Wild Boar Books, boast some proper weird, proper original releases. We thought we’d hit up our neighbours, and snorted in the direction of founders and editors Guy and Richard about the Midlands lit scene, gold star awards, and anti-establishment, porcine publishing...
First off, could you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Wild Boar Books is run by two wild boars, sometimes known as Guy and Richard. Guy Wilgress Hudson was born in Mansfield in 1973 and grew up in Lincolnshire. Guy is poetry editor at Wild Boar Books. He’s also a poet himself and rune teller. Richard Daniels edits the fiction. We met in a bookshop while getting a rune reading and, shortly after, the bookshop closed down. We set the press up for both fiction and poetry, because it’s possible. Plus, our support worker said that it would be nice to find writers who would probably be dismissed or overlooked by other more traditional publishers.
Our support worker also suggested it would keep our hands busy. We had to point out to her that boars don’t have hands. To get our small press off the ground, we decided we should start with some things we had written ourselves and if we didn’t totally mess it up, maybe other authors might want to be published by us. So far, so good. We have another poet potentially in the pipeline. He’s chained up back at our boar pen.
What was the inspiration for setting up Wild Boar Books?
I read a quote by Peter Saville recently, the old graphic designer for Factory Records. He said, “Pop culture used to be like LSD: different, eye-opening and reasonably dangerous. It’s now like crack: isolating and wasteful.” With the way things are at the moment, I think there’s probably a lot of truth in that statement. Wild Boar Books has an ambition to be more like LSD than crack. We hope to make a small contribution to the world of publishing by seeking out and publishing books that we truly believe in. Wild Boar Books is inspired by indie record labels, like Factory Records.
Are you writers? If so, what got you into writing?
Yes, we are both writers. Richard had an Olivetti typewriter he got from his grandad one Christmas when he was around nine. That, the thrill of imaginative escape, and a broad suspicion of reality got him into writing. Guy started writing song lyrics for a school band, and his classmates refused to believe that he’d written them. When he was at primary school, the whole class was set the task of writing about the passion of Christ. Most of his classmates managed a page or two, whereas Guy continued through morning break and into lunchbreak, finally handing in a twelve-page Passion of Christ. He won a gold star for that piece. Guy’s always going on about his bloody gold star.
What are your thoughts on the Midlands writing and publishing scene?
Where we are in Lincoln, it seems pretty healthy. There are people writing and there are more outlets for it. The audience seems to be willing to get on board, but it’s always a struggle for any artistic endeavour to break through the apathy. Things are still evolving and you get the sense that there is potential. We started to get a feeling that somehow not only can we do this for ourselves, but we could do it better. In Lincoln, the writing scene currently seems vibrant with good turnouts at spoken-word open-mic nights. Although, it would be great to see people from outside the local scene coming to Lincoln more often to join our own brand of spoken-word mayhem. Our night is called Out The Snout.
Are there any other small presses or publishers in Nottingham you’re particularly interested in or inspired by?
We’re still trying to discover more and more about what’s happening in Nottingham. We hear Crosswords under the Malt Cross pub is good. Nottingham certainly has a great vibe and everyone we’ve spoken with has been very friendly. Richard’s been putting out a free zine called Venusian Astro Dirt for about a year at places like The Alley Café and JamCafé. We went to the open mic at the JamCafé a month ago and thought it had a real buzz. We certainly want to start snouting about in Nottingham a lot more.
Anything new in the pipeline?
We’ve just launched our first two titles. There’s Onesie by Guy Wilgress Hudson is a kaleidoscopic and surreal journey, both dreamlike and reality-like, through the lens of a onesie. For fiction, there’s Our Bright Dark Summer by Richard Daniels. A perfect summer read featuring nineties nostalgia, kidnapping, ghosts and the British seaside.
We’re speaking with a well-known poet from the North East about publishing his latest collection, though it’s early days at the moment. Our next big plan is to produce a podcast of our spoken-word night. Out The Snout takes place on the first Thursday of the month at the brilliant Angel Coffee House in Lincoln.
Any final words for the people of Nottingham?
Thanks for your time. That’s a lovely blouse you’re wearing, really suits you. Maybe we can go for a coffee sometime. You know, whenever, if you like. Call me.
Wild Boar Books website