"We hope this will instil belief and ambition in young writers": Stormzy announces #Merky Books

Stormzy has today (July 6) announced #Merky Books, a brand-new imprint in partnership with William Heinemann, a part of Penguin Random House UK. The imprint will be dedicated to publishing the best new fiction, non-fiction and poetry and curated by Stormzy.

The first title, Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far, will launch on November 1, and #Merky Books will proceed to publish two to three titles per year. Rise Up will tell Stormzy’s life story in his own words, and will also feature a number of never-before-seen photographs, annotated lyrics and contributions from those closest to him. 

William Heinemann editorial director Tom Avery acquired world rights directly from the author and hailed Stormzy as “not only an exceptionally talented and dedicated musician, but also an artist who is shaping British culture” and said #Merky Books “will look to the future, establishing a platform and a home for new writing that matters.”

Speaking about the imprint’s launch, Stormzy said: “When was in school I fell in love with literature and looking back it’s safe to say that this was the start of a life-long journey with words, poetry and writing. I read books religiously and often wrote poems which were undeniably setting me up for a career as a songwriter and a rapper. We’ve created #Merky Books for many reasons, the first simply for it to be a reference point for talented young writers to say ‘I can be an author’ and for that to be a feasible and realistic achievement and not something in the distance.  We hope this imprint will instil belief and ambition in young writers, making publishing seem less prohibitive and making the dream of being a published author a reality. We want #Merky Books to be a source of confidence and I look forward to publishing writers from all different walks of life, especially those who may have never had the opportunity to get into the industry so early.”

Susan Sandon, managing director of Cornerstone, a division of Penguin Random House UK, said: “Stormzy is an artist who has achieved an extraordinary level of success on his own terms, and created a new model in music for others to follow. #Merky Books is a channel for another of his passions, and an initiative that we hope will have a similar impact on the book world: helping to open up publishing for a new generation of writers and readers. We are all extremely proud to be working with him and the team on such an exciting and important venture.”

Future #Merky Books initiatives will include an open submission competition to find new works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, and a paid internship. You can visit www.penguin.co.uk/merkybooks to register for the #Merky Books newsletter and to receive updates on the programme, including submission dates and guidelines.


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