Book Works


call for for artists and writers


Semina takes its inspiration from a series of nine loose-leaf magazines issued by Californian beat artist Wallace Berman in the 1950s and 1960s. We are looking for artists and writers interested in experimental prose fiction, who transgress all the boundaries separating art and literature.

Think of the ways in which Paul Gilroy theorised the history of modernism through the rubric of the Black Atlantic, W.E.B. Du Bois and double-consciousness, and the inescapable links between race and class: Anthony Joseph, Kathy Acker, Amiri Baraka, Samuel R. Delany, Darius James, Ishmael Reed, Ann Quin, Clarence Cooper Jr, Claude Cahun etc. Above all we’re looking for artists and writers willing to take risks with their prose and who demonstrate total disregard for the conventions that structure received ideas about fiction.


Semina is being designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio. The print-run will be up to 1,000 copies. Published works will be between 30,000 & 50,000 words or 72 & 128 pages.


Commissioned and edited by artist and writer Stewart Home, the series will publish nine books, six of which will be selected from open submission, two commissioned by the editor, with Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie by Stewart Home the final title in the series. A shortlist would be selected from the applications in June 2009, and a final commission made by Stewart Home and Book Works staff, in July- August 2009.


Book Works will be in charge of all aspects of production, including decisions involving, cover design, editorial control, budget, promotion and distribution of the book. Following commission, a first draft of the manuscript would be expected in November, to be edited in December through to February. The work will be edited by Stewart Home and Gavin Everall. Editing is expected to be a collaborative process between the editors and the commissioned artist/author, with the aim of producing a text sympathetic to the ambitions of the series. The editors would expect to work closely with the commissioned artist/author on any redrafts and revisions. You will be consulted at each stage of the process and expected to help take decisions about the way in which the work is presented in book form. You will also be asked to work to deadlines and attend meetings as agreed, and must be willing to take some active part in the launch/promotion of the book.

How to apply

Please return the registration form with a proposal outline and a sample of between 3000 & 5000 words of the proposed work. If you envisage substantial shifts in style, technique or changes in how the text operates, please indicate this with examples. Please also include a CV, a registration fee of £10, and a stamped self-addressed envelope for your reply, before the deadline of 29 May 2009. If you want your submission and supporting material returned please include sufficient postage stamps.

Submissions must be typed; hand written submissions or electronic files will not be accepted. Proposals should be text based, though this series may include illustrations. We are not looking for works that have already been written, we want to develop the book with you.


Proposals are welcome from all sections of society, irrespective of nationality and residence, and including practitioners from different culturally diverse backgrounds. Proposals must be in English.

Selection and schedule

The shortlist and selection from open submission for the third series of publications is scheduled for Summer 2009. We will write to let you know if your work has been short-listed and selected as soon as we can. If your work is short-listed we may then ring/contact you for further information or ask you to come and talk more about your proposal with us. We would expect the commissions to be underway from August, for publication in Spring 2010.


Due to the volume of applications we receive each year we will not be able to give any specific feedback on individual proposals unless short-listed. We do run free artists’ surgeries on a monthly basis, and are able to spend time discussing potential projects, offering help and advice on publishing and distribution of artists’ books at these sessions.


A commissioning fee of £500 will be paid to the selected artists/writers, plus 100 copies of their book. Book Works will be responsible for all production, publishing and marketing costs. The selected artists will be asked to sign an agreement with Book Works that will include a contract and detailed schedule for work.

Application form
Deadline: 29/05/09

Book Works
19 Holywell Row
EC2A 4JB London
phone: 020 7247 2203

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