5 Minute Interview with Sophie O’Neill

5 Minute Interview with Sophie O’Neill

Sophie O’Neill joined Inpress as the managing director in 2013, and in 2016 Inpress took on the running of the Poetry Book Society, moving it from London to its new home in Newcastle.  Her career has seen her working in both independent and corporate publishing until arriving at Inpress. She is passionate about the promotion of literature in all its forms and is delighted with the current growth of both independent publishing and poetry. She is the Chairperson of the northern writer development organisation, The Writing Squad and sits on the board of Mslexia.

@poetrybooksoc @inpressbooks

Photo credit: Jez Smith Photography 

What was the last book you read?

The Perseverance – Raymond Antrobus. It’s published by Penned in the Margins, one of our brilliant Inpress publishers, and has been selected as a PBS Choice for Winter. I have been a massive fan of Raymond since he performed at our Festival of Publishing dinner earlier this year – the entire room was transfixed, you could have heard a pin drop. The reading experience is equally as powerful.

How did you buy it?

I’m afraid I read the proof! But I will be buying a copy for myself in my nearest bookshop which is Waterstones Emerson Chambers, in Newcastle.

What’s next on your reading list?

Sticking with the poetry theme, I will be reading Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After The First World War which launched at Contains Strong Language in Hull last weekend. Contemporary and Caribbean and diaspora poets were invited to fill that unwritten space, exploring the nature of war and humanity now and during the time of Empire and WW1.

Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?

John Wilmot, The Earl of Rochester – his poetry is filthy.

What TV series are you obsessing over right now?

Ozark season 2, which is giving me major anxiety, it’s so stressful! I really want to plough through and finish. Then I want to give Killing Eve a go, more relentless violence! I’m also really enjoying the ITV Vanity Fair series for a bit of period drama.

Tell us what you do in 20 words.

Champion brilliant independent presses from across the UK and promote the best in contemporary poetry through the PBS.

What is the one thing about your company that we need to know?

We are extremely dedicated to the promotion of literature and have a good sense of humour. Get in touch to find out more.

What do you like about your job?

The variety. Seeing the successes of publishers we support, promoting contemporary poetry, being one of the first to read some of the amazing work being produced today and working with many unsung heroes across the writing and independent publishing world. No day is the same.

Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?

This is the sort of question I really can’t answer, there are too many shops I love! Locally it has to be Forum Books in Corbridge. I don’t get to go there very often, but Main Street Trading Company in St Boswells also has my heart and there is the brand new Wrecking Ball Books and Music which opened its doors last week in Hull. Then Waterstone’s Piccadilly is always an amazing experience, and Foyles Charing Cross Road, I’d better stop there.

What do you love about The London Book Fair?

The buzz and the energy and definitely catching up with old faces. We run the Poetry Pavilion at the fair, and last year was definitely our best yet! We are in the process of cooking up plans for 2019.


LBF is excited to partner with Inpress and Poetry Book Society on the Poetry Collective and Poet’s Corner.

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