Margate publisher Whisky & Beards competes for Saboteur Awards title

Connor (centre) and the Whisky & Beards team

Margate publisher Whisky & Beards has been shortlisted for “Most Innovative Publisher” at the 2019 Saboteur Awards. The awards, now in their ninth year, celebrate independent and experimental works within the poetry industry and take place as part of a day long festival.

Director Connor Sansby said:“This nomination is incredible. The fact this nomination comes from the poets I work alongside is fantastic and I’m extremely grateful, but this isn’t just an award for me. It’s an award for every poet who has performed at the events I’ve been involved with, the audiences at those shows and, most of all, the poets I’ve had the privilege of publishing.”

The Saboteur Awards were originally created to celebrate Sabotage Reviews first birthday and have gone on to become a major award for poetry outside the mainstream, championing independent and small-press works, as well as performers, shows and collections that might otherwise go unrecognised. Past nominees have included Dean Atta and Salena Godden, both past headliners of the Margate Bookie Slam.

This comes at an exciting time for the small-press publisher. Last year, Whisky & Beards ran the celebrated Poetry Micro-Residency Scheme as part of Margate Festival, featuring seventeen poets in different venues around the town, and future plans have begun to take shape for the coming year.

Recent signings have included Brighton-based Tony Frisby and Broadstairs theatre company Hags Ahoy, with upcoming releases including Kent Poetry Champion Sadie Davidson’s sophomore collection, The Poverty Guide Handbook, and Dramatis Personae by Medway poet Philip Kane, both in April.

Outside of Whisky & Beards, Connor is active in the local writing community, hosting poetry performances for Tom Thumb Theatre and Margate Bookie, regularly drawing crowds.

He also serves as poetry editor for local publisher and community organisation Thanet Writers, who to date have published 147 poems from Thanet-linked writers, and attends Open School East as an associate artist.

Final votes, which decide the winner, are open on the Saboteur Review website. Winners are to be announced at the awards ceremony in Birmingham on May 18.