My Inspiration: Gareth Bartaby (InkyLab) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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InkyLab is a small independent publisher based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Their aim is to publish, encourage and promote new and unknown authors from the region and across the UK, from a wide range of genres. They are always on the lookout for submissions to feature in their anthologies (see information on their website), which can be purchased from their website or from Amazon and regardless of whether a submission is shortlisted or submitted they will always offer feedback. 

InkyLab Anthology No.1 is out now. Editor, Gareth Bartaby tells us a bit about the inspiration behind it and them.

I think we were just fed up, basically, as writers, with sending our writing off to publishers, editors, agents, what-have-you, and having them write back with the same ‘Well, we really like your writing, but…’ response. You know, ‘it’s not really mainstream’; ‘I don’t know what genre it would fit into’; ‘I can’t think who the target audience would be’; ‘it’s a bit… avant-garde’. It’s weird, we didn’t think that’s what we were doing. I mean, what is avant-garde? I can’t find a satisfactory definition. Anything not mainstream, really. Well, we’re happy with that. We didn’t want to be mainstream. We were writing stuff we liked. Stuff we would want to read. And I think that’s where it clicked. If we’d want to read it, there must be other people out there who’d want to read it too. And there must be other writers out there doing exactly the same as us. No, maybe the mainstream publishers didn’t want us, maybe even the indie presses already out there didn’t want us, but somebody out there must be interested. I’d read this, so I’d assume there must be somebody else out there who’d read it too. 

So we decided to set up our own indie press. For all the weirdos, I guess. For writers who don’t want to play in the mainstream. For readers who want something else, something a little off the beaten track. I mean, how many novels now considered as twentieth-century classics, how many writers considered as the great innovators, would ever have managed to be published in today’s market? The Sound and the Fury, Naked Lunch, these would never be published now. They wouldn’t make any money. At Swim-Two-Birds? Finnegans Wake? Forget it! Not a chance! And I must say at this point I’m not claiming we’ve got anything like that – we should be so lucky! – but the principle, the ambition, that’s the same. Break the rules. Aim for the moon. Even if you fall short, you’re a mile above mundanity. 

The anthology we have out now, our first one, NE14 10S, definitely has some good off-the-beaten-track stuff like this – we’ve got some very good writers – but it also has some really good straight-up well-crafted short stories in there as well. There’s a whole range, there’s something in there for everyone, pretty much. And hopefully there’ll be more, we’re working on our next anthologies and we’re always looking for more writers. And poets. We’re hoping to put together a poetry anthology too, so… So anyone interested, yeah, get in touch. 


InkyLab Anthology No.1, NE14 10S, £9.99, is available now at and on Amazon Marketplace, as well as selected retailers. Details for submissions and availability on the website. 

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