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Scratching Shed Publishing hits centenary milestone

Scratching Shed Publishing hits centenary milestone

Yorkshire publisher’s one hundredth book is by the original owner of Kes.

A publishing venture begun in May 2008 by two friends from West Yorkshire is about to celebrate the release of its 100thtitle.

The Place That Knows Me’ is a family memoir by Richard Hines, brother of ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ author Barry Hines who died in 2016. Released by Scratching Shed Publishing this month, the book was written as Richard and wife Jackie contemplated leaving their South Yorkshire roots to be closer to their family on the Sussex coast.

Richard’s interest in kestrels inspired Barry to write a novel that, in 1969, inspired the now iconic and beloved film Kes. He was appointed official falconer on the production by its director, Ken Loach.

Authors in their own right, Phil Caplan (Super League, The First Ten Years, Shoey The Lionheart) and Tony Hannan (Underdogs, On Behalf of the Committee) set up Leeds-based Scratching Shed with the intention of providing a platform for writing they felt was too often undervalued by publishers in London, while helping to preserve the unique identity and culture of the north of England.

“To say we have had a busy 16 years is an understatement,” said co-director Hannan, of a period when the publishing industry more widely has been forced to navigate turbulent times.

“The dwindling number of high street bookshops, rise of the internet and the widely held belief that people have shorter attention spans these days have all made finding audiences for books that much harder, especially for smaller independents like ours.

“However we have stuck at it and, I’m proud to say, helped to produce many great titles that might otherwise have struggled to make it into print. Nor have we finished yet.”

Initially with a focus on sport, Scratching Shed was soon publishing across many different non-fiction genres including autobiography, memoir, travel, true crime, history, and the performing arts together with children’s fiction.

Their current best-seller is ‘Woman Without a Number’ by the late holocaust survivor Iby Knill.

“We understood from the start that we would be a niche publisher,” Caplan said, “but were adamant about giving life to high quality books that were either set in the north, written by talented northern authors, or specifically about northern subject matter.

“To have stayed true to that philosophy while also designing, editing, marketing and distributing a hundred books – and counting – is an immensely gratifying achievement. Richard’s is the perfect title to encapsulate our ethos.”

Scratching Shed also produces the monthly rugby league magazine ‘Forty20’ which, in July, will celebrate its thirteenth birthday.

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