A blog from Tonto Books, featuring musings from the publishing world and some occasional special guest appearances.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Cementing art at the Brick Works

A few weeks ago, David Whetstone of the Newcastle Journal wrote a piece about the opening of the Brick Works studios, including a profile of Tonto...

Studio seven has become the headquarters of the fledgling publishing company run by Paul Brown and Stuart Wheatman.

The pair met on the creative writing MA course at Northumbria University.

"Basically, we set up the company because we thought there weren't enough opportunities for writers in the area to get published, or for new writers anywhere," says Stuart.

Paul elaborates, saying there were poetry publishers but fewer aiming at the more commercial market.

They have enjoyed significant success since setting up the company in November 2005, notably with a book called The Burglar's Dog, an alternative guide to North-East pubs by the fearless critic Mark Jones.

The Tonto pair spotted his successful website and put out a book in the run-up to Christmas. "We sold 4,000 books in the first few weeks," says Paul.

Another commercially successful book was Wor Al, containing fans' memories of Alan Shearer. More than £1,500 was raised through sales for the NSPCC, one of the ex-footballer's favourite charities.

Tonto Short Stories, published with a grant from the Arts Council, featured 20 tales by talented new writers, many from the region.

More Tonto Short Stories, also edited by Stuart and Paul, is published this month, priced £9.99.

A mark of the publishers' success is that it features far more stories from further afield. The Tonto Press name has been circulating widely, mainly via www.tontopress.com.

You can read the full article, with profiles of other Brick Works occupants, here.


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