Stormzy announces his new venture, #Merky Books, a new publishing imprint, with the UK’s biggest publisher, Penguin Random House UK (PRH). Fresh from his #Merky festival at Ibiza Rocks, the grime artist took to Instagram to announce he would be pairing up with William Heinemann, a part of PRH, to launch the imprint, which will focus on publishing the best new fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Stormzy is quite literally taking the UK by storm. A year after releasing his album ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’ which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, and less than a week after his second successful run of #Merky festival at Ibiza Rocks featuring the likes of J Hus, Jaykae, and Ms Banks, the grime MC also known as Big Mike, The Problem, and Wicked Skengman, announced his new business venture would be in the book publishing world, which many will regard as not an easy feat.
Curated by Stormzy, #Merky Books will publish two to three titles each year, and form a home for a new generation of voices. The imprint will launch in November 2018, when Stormzy’s own title Rise Up:The #Merky Story So Far will be released. From 2014, Stormzy has been a key figure in the grime scene, earning critical acclaim for his EP ‘Dreamers Disease’, to winning a Best Grime Act MOBO in the same year, to breaking chart records by securing the first pure grime album to top the UK charts. His new venture with PRH marks a historical event for the publishing world, becoming the first grime artist to be at the forefront of a publishing imprint.
“I can be an author”
The #Merky Books initiatives include an open submission competition to find new works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and a paid internship in 2019. ‘When I 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.’ Stormzy said. ‘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.’
The imprint’s first book, Stormzy’s own story Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far will include never-before-seen photographs, annotated lyrics and contributions from those closest to him. Bought by Editorial Director Tom Avery, who secured world rights directly from the author, the story is one of faith and the ideas worth fighting for.
A year in which Wiley’s Eskiboy and DJ Target’s Grime Kids have stormed the charts, and political activist, poet and rapper, Akala’s Natives has changed the publishing landscape, Stormzy’s #Merky Books looks to change the industry forever.
You can preorder the book right here.