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Monday, 23 April 2007




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 experimental prose that draws inspiration from art as much as it does from literature; for writing with a radical and extremely selfconscious understanding of itself; work that takes itself both beyond and behind the mid-twentieth century après-garde and is inspired by groups such as Cobra, the Beats, Fluxus, Oulipo, the Letterists, and those involved with the new novel and Black Mountain, as well as the more recognizably post-modern experimentation associated with figures like Kathy Acker, Dennis Cooper and Lynne Tillman. We aim to publish work that will cross any and all genre boundaries, that is unable to recognise differences between poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction, high brow and low brow, art and life; and that continually reforges the passage between formalism and sensuous activity. Themes that interest us include drugs, magic, the art world, life, death and transcendence; but above all we’re looking for unknown 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 will have a series identity and a regular format drawn from Wallace Berman’s Semina magazine and verifax collages. We will commission and work with a designer on this project. The print-run will be up to 1,500 copies. Published works will be between 30,000 & 50,000 words or 72 & 128 pages.

The Commission

Commissioned and edited by artist and writer Stewart Home, the series will publish nine books, six of which will be selected by open submission, a further two commissioned by the editor, and a final title Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie to be produced by Stewart Home. Three books will be published a year. The selection will be by Stewart Home and Book Works staff.

How to apply

Please return the attached form and send a sample of between 3000 & 5000 words of the proposed work, a CV, a registration fee of £10, and a stamped self-addressed envelope for your reply, before the deadline of 31 May 2007. 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, including practitioners from different culturally diverse backgrounds.

Selection and schedule

The shortlist and selection from open submission for the first publications is scheduled for Summer 2007. 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 2008.


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. However 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.

General information on Book Works

Book Works commissions new work in collaboration with artists, writers, and designers; publishes and produces books, multiples, videos and internet/new media projects. It organizes exhibitions, installations, time based and performance works, discussions and events. It promotes and distributes its own publications and offers a resource about book publishing, production and distribution. It has a studio offering a range of printing and binding facilities and services. For full details about Book Works past/current projects please refer to our website: www.bookworks.org.uk

Book Works
19 Holywell Row
London EC2A 4JB
Telephone: 020 7247 2203
Facsimile: 020 7247 2540


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