By Lily Webber
The importance of brave publishing (gutsy if you will) is the central manifesto for the publishing house founded by Julianne Ingles in 2019.
Guts Publishing is a London-based independent press which publishes “ballsy memoirs and racy anthologies.” The founder, Julianne Ingles, started as a painter in 1990s Chicago. By 2004 she had started travelling and writing. She describes this period of her life as “feeding [her] work as an artist and writer.” Since founding Guts in 2019, the house has published sixty stories. Specifically, publishing real-life stories seems to be at the heart of Guts Publishing’s brand. The independent press focuses on shining a light over the uncomfortable and dares the reader to blink. Indeed, previously undiscussed topics are a common theme among all their published titles.
In regular newsletters Ingles updates on new moves and exciting debuts. Interestingly, a frequent topic of conversation for the founder is the blurring of fiction and non-fiction. Ingles asserts that “these days I don’t really know that the word fiction actually means all that much. Sometimes I think it just means – I’d rather not call it nonfiction.” Two years into the creation of Guts Publishing, Ingles decided to also publish fiction. Inspired by Shuggie Bain, the imprint decided to publish fictional novels and anthologies “that read like non-fiction but are not.”
An intriguing publishing house has, as you would assume, produced some very intriguing titles. One of the most notable titles published by Guts is Euphoric Recall, a memoir about drug addiction written by indie filmmaker Aidan Martin. Martin himself has described his experience of discovering Guts Publishing as an ‘aha’ moment: "Their tagline had me hooked instantly: ‘Ballsy books about life’.” The memoir was praised in the Scottish Parliament in 2020, the MP Neil Findlay noted it as “a positive contribution to the debate around drugs and drug deaths in Scotland.” And, off the back of his novel Martin has become a public speaker about the drug related death crisis in Scotland.
Another success of the maverick publishing house is Sending Nudes, an anthology about the act of nude picture taking – a perfect illustration of Guts’ ability to broadcast the taboo. Exploring “the need to be self-exposing” the title explores a modern practice that certainly divides generations. Combining male and female perspectives, the anthology attempts to answer why we’re compelled to expose ourselves digitally.
The Peanut Factory by Deborah Price is a memoir about squatting in 70s South London. Price’s life story is full of famous faces and the grubbiness of youthful rebellion. A subject rarely talked discussed, the novel elaborates on the appeal of squatting in the post-punk era. Stories About Penises is the debut title from the company, an anthology about male genitalia from all perspectives. Blade in the Shadow by Jillian Halket is a memoir about the impact of OCD on one young woman’s life and how she learns to embrace the messiness of life.
Guts Publishing has announced that in 2023 they will be publishing three more thought-provoking memoirs. Flying with Fear by Susan Milton, is an autobiography of an airhostess with a fear of flying. Milton moved from Lancaster to Saudi Arabia in the 80s – she was confronted with a culture shock, embracing the Islamic culture amidst her own struggle with dyslexia. Smashed Not Wasted by Sam Thomas is a memoir about addiction. Thomas is a writer, speaker and mental health advocate who speaks publicly about his struggles. Lastly, Dear Mr Andrews, by Lotte Latham is an illustrated memoir of a self-proclaimed “Professional Hedonist.” Lotte is a thirty-year-old sex worker struggling with the stigma of her profession. The character Mr Andrews is a John who Lotte has written many letters to over email, having developed a complicated and confessional relationship with him. As such, the memoir will be written in second person, an interesting twist.
As well as publishing boundary-pushing books, Julianne runs a publishing coaching service for those wanting to break into the industry. She describes on her website that she set up the service “because I'd like writers to know that pitching a book isn't rocket science. Anyone can do it. You just need the right tools and some guidance. Which is where I come in!”
With so many interesting titles and such a strong sense of self, Guts Publishing is certainly a unique independent press and one we should all watch out for in years to come. You can follow them on Twitter, @GutsPublishing.