Maxine Peake and Courttia Newland announced as our inaugural Patrons!

We are delighted to announce the appointment of our first two patrons: actor Maxine Peake and writer Courttia Newland. Both outstanding artists in their own fields, these figureheads of contemporary British culture share our core values: the importance of bringing new perspectives from the margins into wider public consciousness; and the value of art and literary translation in promoting internationalism and cultural exchange.

North-West born Peake, best known for her performances in Shameless, The Village and The Theory of Everything, said: ‘I’m really honoured to be asked by Comma – whose books I’ve read and admired for a long time – to become one of their new patrons. Comma are cultural and political trailblazers, and I’m looking forward to working with them to promote great writing talent, both from this region and beyond.’

Literary activist, author and playwright Courttia Newland, whose own short stories have been nominated for the Frank O’Connor Award and Edge Hill Prize, said: 'The timing couldn't be better for me to become a patron for Comma Press; I'd just bought their anthology Iraq + 100, and I'd been excitedly reading about their translation initiative when the invitation came. I'm so thrilled to be working with a publishing company that sees the enormous merits of the short story, and is committed to putting their political money where their mouth is. I look forward to exciting times ahead pushing the boundaries for writers and readers alike.'  

Ra Page, founder and CEO, said: ‘Now is the time, more than ever, for literary publishers and arts organizations to remind themselves what they’re in this business for: to build greater understanding across  communities and audiences, and to offer alternatives to the ever-simplified narrative of division that runs rampant through other, less scrupulous media. Comma couldn’t imagine two people better suited to this cause; two artists whose activism and artistic integrity go hand in hand. For a modest organization like ours, this is a great honour.’

We're also really excited to announce that Courttia will be featuring in our upcoming anthology, Protest! Stories of Resistance, which features short stories set against key moments of British protest and people power, from the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 to the anti-Iraq War demos of 2003.

You can also read about this in The Bookseller.