Ocean Publishing Partnership

Do you suffer from Abibliophobia? If so, a new collective in Stonehouse is seeking funding from POP to provide people in the area, afflicted by the condition, with the necessary remedy.

Abibliophobia manifests as “a fear of running out of reading material”. The recently formed Ocean Publishing Partnership based in the Royal William Yard is determined that individuals in Stonehouse will no longer be at risk from this disorder! The area’s first public library will soon open in Ocean Studios with more than a thousand books already having been donated. As well as establishing the means for people to borrow and read more books, the collective behind Ocean Publishing is setting itself the more-ambitious outcome of attempting to raise the literacy rate in Stonehouse. Government research consistently shows poor literacy rates in areas of multiple deprivation.

As one of the most-deprived areas of Plymouth, those involved felt a compulsion to provide literary and literacy workshops for local Stonehouse people alongside the library. Letter press artist and typographer, Alan Qualtrough, who lives and works in Stonehouse, believes a local library is crucial in helping to raise literacy rates: “We think we can provide a great resource for the neighbourhood. Stonehouse has no public library, and there is concern about the literacy level of young people, not only in Plymouth but across the UK.” Ocean Publishing evolved after the donation to Alan’s print studio – Kiss and Bite Press – of a rather wonderful machine, the 1953 Heidelburg, which came not from Germany but from Billacombe, which was then swiftly followed, somewhat coincidentally, by a second beautiful letter press, the 1858 Albion, which arrived from Oreston. The acquisition of the presses generated a flurry of new ideas between Alan; Lindsey Hall from Real Ideas and Emma Weatherhead, the founder of Slate Publishing House. Several conversations later and Ocean Publishing Partnership was born to support people to write; to print; to bind and to publish their own literary works. The partnership has applied for £5,000 from the POP Collectives Fund to support their venture.

Emma Weatherhead, who has been in the business for more than ten years, says with few literary opportunities for people in the south west and many obstacles to overcome, she hopes the partnership will help a greater number of aspiring local writers to succeed: “We’ve set up Ocean Publishing Partnership as a platform to help those who want to improve their literacy as well as providing for emerging writers, helping them to improve their writing, and to publish it. We believe it will be really empowering for people to see their work in print.” The Ocean Library is due to open in the Royal William Yard next month.

If you have any books you might like to donate or would like to find out more about the project please contact emma@slatepublishinghouse.com.

Prisons in the UK are legally obliged to have libraries: primary schools are not.

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