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Faerie Press: The Origins and our Launch

Updated: Apr 10

Faerie Press began as a collaboration between the London-based literary organisation, Pop-Up Projects CIC, and the Belfast-based LGBTQIA+ charity, Cara-Friend.

Initially, the project brought together a group of LGBTQ+ people across Northern Ireland, all aged 18-25. This was an exciting way to meld a group of people who were passionate about literature, who otherwise wouldn’t have met. Most of the Faerie Press team are from different areas in Northern Ireland, with many of us living outside of Belfast. This meant we had a large combination of identities, experiences and ideas to bring to the table.

Before we even started trying to operate as an organisation, we had a lot to learn. The publishing industry is quite small. For the UK and Ireland, most publishing houses and literary agents work in London and Dublin. It can be hard for people outside of the industry to enter it.

However, thanks to the people dedicated to ensuring Faerie Press could happen, we were able to attend training sessions and seminars with a huge array of publishing industry professionals, receiving personalised advice and a breakdown of all the steps required to set up a publishing organisation. It was exciting to see behind the curtain into book binding, distribution, and event planning; all the aspects of the industry you don’t see before you buy a book.

After we’d learned as much as we could from other people in the industry, it was time to try and do things ourselves.

In July 2023, most of the Faerie Press team got together for a five-day residential at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. This was the first time many of our organisation had met in person, and it was really exciting to get to know each other while we solidified our organisation’s vision and values. Working together let us all know that we were on the same page about prioritising inclusive, positive stories that uplifted LGBTQ+ voices. We also realised we wanted to give ample opportunity for young people and creatives based in Ireland, especially the North. We had all experienced first-hand how difficult it could be to work creatively in Northern Ireland, and we wanted to do our piece to change that.

A photo of various people gathered in a group, all of them are smiling
Faerie Press during the 2023 summer residential

Still, it’s one thing to talk the talk – but it’s totally another to actually walk the walk! The Faerie Press as you see it today has only happened because so many people in our team have been so dedicated to making sure it happens. Most of us are in full time education or employment, so we have been juggling daily life alongside all the work that goes into setting up a real, registered company.

We had several meetings late at night, and months of discussions online about the direction of Faerie Press. To be a successful publisher, turns out you need to actually publish something.

Thankfully, we have enough funding to publish an anthology of queer short stories, comics, and poetry, and we have been working hard to make sure that anthology is going to be excellent. We want to highlight stories about the INNER CHILD – who that person is to LGBTQ+ people, and what we can all learn from our inner child.

As well as working towards the anthology, Faerie Press also got to collaborate closely with design and illustration company, UsFolk, who have been helping us set up a clear brand identity. Getting a logo and coming up with our brand colours may seem small, but it’s played a huge part in Faerie Press learning who it is.  

Of course, all our incredible branding and ideas for the anthology meant nothing if no one else had heard of us… We wanted people to be able to submit to our anthology and get published. So, we needed to get the Faerie Press name OUT THERE!

On 11 November, several of our team made the journey from Belfast to Dublin to attend the Our Stories event in Dublin Castle. This was organised by Pop-Up Projects and Dublin’s UNESCO City of Literature team as an all-day event, dedicated to uplifting the LGBTQ+ voices in the Irish publishing scene.

It was here that we first formally launched our brand name, ethos, and plan for the future. It was a little scary, as we were the last talk of the day – which meant we were following a lot of really incredible, positive queer voices. However, everyone there was so lovely. It was a really positive, joyous place to present Faerie Press to the world.

It was on 11 November that we also made our first Instagram posts. Our dedicated Marketing team made sure we had beautiful looking graphics that explained who we were, and what we were accepting submissions for. The result? Overwhelming positivity! So many people followed us and shared our posts in the first few days – it was really moving to see.  

Since then, we’ve spent the past few months non-stop. We had our first Annual General Meeting, we assigned our official Chair, Treasurer, and Secretaries, and we’ve been working hard to make fun content (like this blog post… hopefully).

There’s much more to come. We still need to get the anthology onto shelves, and we don’t plan to stop there. So, if you want to be involved in seeing where we go from here – make sure you follow us on social media!  

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