Peepal Tree Press

Peepal Tree Press is a publisher based in Leeds, England which publishes Caribbean, Black British, and South Asian fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and academic books.[1] It was founded after a paper shortage in Guyana halted production of new books in the region, and was named after the sacred peepal trees transplanted to the Caribbean with Indian indentured labourers, after founder Jeremy Poynting heard a story of workers gathering under the tree to tell stories.[1]

Peepal Tree Press
IndustryBook Publishing
Founded1985; 37 years ago (1985)
FounderJeremy Poynting

Peepal Tree is a wholly independent company, founded in 1985, and now publishes around 20 books a year.[1]

Peepal Tree Press has published more than 300 titles, and states a commitment to keeping them in print on their website.[1] The list features new writers and established voices. In 2009 the press launched the Caribbean Modern Classics Series, which restores to print important books from the 1950s and 1960s.[2] Peepal Tree Press is part-funded by Arts Council England and was included in their 2011, 2014 and 2018 National Portfolios (prior to this the company was a Regularly Funded Organisation from 2006).[3]

Peepal Tree Press is recognised also for Inscribe and Young Inscribe, a writer development project which supports emerging writers of African and Asian descent in the UK, which has included writers such as Adam Lowe, Degna Stone, Khadijah Ibrahiim, Seni Seneviratne and Rommi Smith, who has been Writer-in-Residence for the Houses of Parliament, the BBC during the Commonwealth Games, BBC Music Live, the British Council at California State University in Los Angeles, and Keats House.[4]

Peepal Tree Press is a founding core partner in the SI Leeds Literary Prize for unpublished fiction written by Black and Asian women resident in the UK.[5][6][7]

The focus of Peepal Tree Press is "on what George Lamming calls the Caribbean nation, wherever it is in the world",[8] though the company is also concerned with Black British writing and South Asian writers of British or Caribbean descent.[9]

The press is based in Leeds in Yorkshire, part of the growing, independent publishing sector outside London. The head office is based at 17 King's Avenue, in Burley, "a rundown, multicultural part of Leeds".[1]

Peepal Tree Press has published, in various forms, such writers as T. S. Eliot Prize-winner Roger Robinson, Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo, Anthony Kellman, Emmy Award-winner Kwame Dawes, his father Neville Dawes, Aldeburgh Poetry Prize-winner and Forward Poetry Prize-nominee Christian Campbell, Jhalak Prize-winner Jacob Ross, Christine Craig, Opal Palmer Adisa, Angela Barry, Ishion Hutchinson, Dorothea Smartt, Alecia McKenzie, Una Marson, Shivanee Ramlochan, Jack Mapanje, Patience Agbabi, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Daljit Nagra, Grace Nichols, Lemn Sissay, John Agard, Vahni Capildeo, Raymond Antrobus, Keith Jarrett, Rishi Dastidar, Gemma Weekes, Pete Kalu, Maggie Harris, Courttia Newland, Jackie Kay, Jan Shinebourne, and Kamau Brathwaite.[10]

In November 2017, Peepal Tree Press was awarded the Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers, with plans announced to use the £10,000 prize money for a podcast project, New Caribbean Voices (inspired by the BBC World Service's Caribbean Voices radio show).[11][12]


  1. ^ a b c d e "About Us". Peepal Tree Press. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Writing worth keeping alive", Jeremy Poynting interviewed by Nicholas Laughlin, Caribbean Review of Books, May 2010.
  3. ^ "Download the full list of our National Portfolio Organisations". Arts Council England. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Inscribe". Peepal Tree Press. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  5. ^ Our Partners: Peepal Tree Press, SI Leeds Literary Prize.
  6. ^ "SI Leeds Literary Prize", Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland.
  7. ^ "About the SI Leeds Literary Prize". SI Leeds Literary Prize. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Branching Out: Peepal Tree Press", Spike Magazine, 7 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Black Britons". Peepal Tree Press. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Books". Peepal Tree Press. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  11. ^ Katherine Cowdrey, "Peepal Tree scoops £10k Clarissa Luard Award", The Bookseller, 9 November 2017.
  12. ^ "New Caribbean Voices: Episode One". Peepal Tree Press. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.

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