Waldean Press began life in 1993, when Phil gave up looking for someone to produce a pamphlet of his published work and decided to do it himself. Using an old Atari ST computer, some basic DTP software and the school photocopier, ‘Third Person Gossip’ was published. To Phil’s surprise, the first print run (of only 100 copies) sold out and he had to print more. The year after, following a chance ‘reunion’ with established poet Martin Stannard, who had been a tutor on a writing weekend, Phil realised there was enough in the newly established Waldean Press account to publish Stannard’s pamphlet, ‘Easter’. Published in 1994, this also sold well and by mid-1995, when Phil had been awarded a bursary and the place on the ‘New Voices’ reading tour, the press was well and truly in business.
To coincide with the tour, Phil’s second pamphlet, ‘Of Silent Houses’, came out and one by fellow ‘new voice’ Amanda Dalton, called ‘The Dad-Baby’, which sold so well it had to be re-printed… twice!
Later that same year saw the appearance of ‘The Wolf’s Tale’ by Robert Hamberger and it wasn’t long before East Midlands Arts recognised that Waldean Press was a venture worth supporting. There followed a series of high-quality production pamphlets – textured and colour printed covers – beginning with Allan E. Baker’s ‘In Bed With Judy Garland’ and Gillie Bolton’s ‘Hole in the Moon’, both of which sold out. These were followed by C.J. Allen’s ‘Elfshot’, Helen Johnson’s ‘Things That Fall’, Pam Thompson’s ‘Spin’ and, probably most successful of all, Michael Bartholomew-Biggs’ ‘Anglicised By Common Use’. The last pamphlet produced by Waldean Press was ‘Perhaps As A Warning’ by Marion Mathieu, published in 2000.
Of the poets published by Waldean since 1995, Amanda Dalton, Robert Hamberger, Pam Thompson and Michael Bartholomew-Biggs have all gone on to have major collections published.
At present, Waldean Press is dormant as a poetry publisher, rather than dead. If the right opportunities come along…who knows? However, alongside Phil’s books, you can still buy copies of the some of the pamphlets in the shop, plus there’s the opportunity to get some beautiful greetings cards designed and painted by Jenny Sutton, but more about those on their own page.