new year, new novel

We’re delighted to be starting 2021 by welcoming a new author – our seventh – to the Ignite Books roster. People up and down the country will know Emma Purshouse as an accomplished performance poet, presenter of the episode of Radio 4’s Tongue and Talk which focussed on the dialect poets of the Black Country, and the first ever poet laureate for her beloved city of Wolverhampton. She is now also a published novelist.

Emma’s debut novel Dogged has been years in the making, and well worth the wait. It’s officially available from April 5th, but we’re happy to say it will be on sale exclusively from our online shop from February 1st, and you can pre-order your copy now. Just click here.

We’d also like to draw your attention to an (online) event on February 14th, as part of Wolverhampton Literature Festival. Emma will be in conversation with Steve Pottinger, reading extracts from Dogged, and talking about how the book came to be written. It promises to be a fascinating, funny, and insightful evening, and we recommend booking early to guarantee your place in the audience. Tickets for this event are available here.

festive thanks

From us to each and every one of you. Thanks to everyone who’s supported us by buying one (or more) of our books in this most challenging of years. Thanks to the independent bookshops who continue to do everything they can to share their passion of books with their customers, and keep a unique presence on their local high street. Thanks to initiatives like bookshop.org and hive.co.uk who make it that bit easier for them to survive.

Thanks to everyone who’s played their part in making the difficulties of this year a little less overwhelming. Who’ve looked after neighbours, who’ve been a listening ear, who’ve done what they can to spread good cheer at a time when we need it more than ever. Thank you all. Every last one of you.

We hope you get the chance to put your feet up, spend time with the ones you love, and reflect on the beauty there is in the world. That’s what we’ll be doing for the next few days. We’ll be back in 2021 with our old enthusiasm and some brand new titles. Wishing you all the very best now and in the months to come.

Ignite Books.


September 2020, and Royal Mail have decided to hike – by a considerable amount – the cost of sending parcels by airmail. They’ve also re-jigged the geography of the world, into the bargain. The USA, which was in World Zone 1, now finds itself in an entirely new category (World Zone 3) which is substantially more expensive than anywhere else.

Whether this is some kind of organisational protest about the antics of the tangerine buffoon who currently scuttles around the White House, we’ve no idea, but it beggars belief that it costs more to send a parcel to the US (dozens of flights daily, just the other side of the Atlantic) than, say, some remote village at the southernmost tip of Chile, or a far-flung island of Indonesia.

Our standard international postage outside Europe has always been surface mail, which takes at least seven weeks to crawl across the globe. Folk who bought our books in the US used to be able to add £3.00 for airmail delivery. Sadly, we can no longer do this. The good news is that digital editions of all our books are available, and while they don’t – in our opinion – have the same quality as a physical book, that may well be the only affordable option from now on. We can only apologise, but it’s out of our hands.

P.S. All existing orders will be honoured at the paid-for rate. Of course.

silver lining

It seems that one thing that’s happened through lockdown – at least as far as Ignite Books is concerned – is that people have been buying more e-books than they were previously. We’ve certainly seen a notable spike in sales. And that’s been a very welcome surprise, and a real boost to morale, in the midst of such a difficult time.

But should we have been so surprised by this? After all, the UK government recently removed the VAT on digital books, making them even better value than they were previously. If you’re in isolation, you can download an e-book without a delivery man coming to your front door, and the subsequent need to quarantine your new purchase. And in an uncertain economic climate, where charity shops (the mecca for thrifty book buyers) are shut, digital downloads are a cheaper option than brand new books.

Whatever the reason, we’re very happy to see our authors’ work ending up on so many computers, tablets, and e-readers. Thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy. We’re sure you’re going to enjoy them! And for those of you who’d like to know more about our digital publications, they’re all listed here.

It goes without saying that we remain immensely proud of the paperback editions of all our books, which are things of beauty. We’re also looking forward to the day when Tezz Roberts, Ian Elmslie, and Steve Pottinger can once more do the live events – readings, talks, and gigs – they had planned before Covid-19 changed everything. Until then, stay safe, look after each other, and happy reading.

digital books

You may be aware that the UK government has now removed the VAT levy from e-books. This welcome (some might say, overdue) move means that buying a digital copy of any Ignite publication is now better value than ever. With many of us having more time on our hands, and access to high street bookshops still little more than a hope for the future, digital books are coming into their own. So here’s a reminder of our digital publications… (note: for each of them, we’ve shared the UK kindle store details. Titles should be available on multiple platforms for both kindle and non-kindle readers, just so you know.)

First up, it’s ‘The Curious Mystery…’ by Joolz Denby. The first book we ever published, this delightful novella looks at what happens to gods and goddesses when people stop believing in them. Could they end up living in a northern town just a little bit like Bradford? You know, they just might…

We have two more digital titles from Joolz. Her novel ‘Wild Thing’ is a powerful, haunting read which deserved to get a lot more recognition than it did. The physical edition of this book sold out some time ago, and it’s now only available digitally. Thoroughly and wholeheartedly recommended. And the third of Joolz’ books available from us as a digital imprint is Billie Morgan, deservedly shortlisted for the (then) Orange Prize for Literature in 2005.

We’re incredibly proud of City Baby. This is our best-selling book in every format – the physical book is now in its fifth print run. GBH bass player Ross Lomas tells his story of thirty odd (very odd) years as a touring musician. It’s the tale of how punk rock, and love, saved his life. Whether you love punk rock or wouldn’t know GBH from the Bee Gees, we guarantee you’ll enjoy this book.

Next, it’s a romp of a tale from Carl Stanley. Kiss & Make Up tells the story of a night-clubbing, drug-fuelled schoolboy who becomes make-up artist to the stars. Finally sober after years of seeking oblivion through excess, he meets up with his mother again. After all the fights and arguments, will they kiss and make up? This book was longlisted for the Polari Prize in the year it was published.

Also longlisted for the Polari Prize when we brought it out, A Marvellous Party is a wonderfully candid and engaging account of Ian Elmslie’s journey from family home to the heart of the gay cabaret scene. A beautifully crafted paean to tolerance and acceptance, with some banging showtunes and celebrity appearances on the way. Highly recommended.

Last but not least, our final digital publication is But after the gig… Tezz Roberts is a founder member of Discharge and a punk rock legend. If there’s an edge he’s sailed close to it, leapt over it, come back, and done it again. And again. And again. An incredible read which will have you laughing and wincing by turns.

There you go. We’re proud of each and every one of these books. Any or every one of them will do what a good book should do, and allow you to lose yourself within them. Whatever your choice of e-reader, you should give these titles a go. Happy reading!

out in the world

May 1st. And today our latest publication – the sixth book of poems by performance poet Steve Pottinger – is officially out in the world. Yes, we’ve had copies with us since early March, but this was always the date from which you could walk into a bookshop and order it. Not that you can walk into a bookshop right now, of course.

These are uncertain times for all of us. In relation to our plans for this book, the launch we had scheduled in Wolverhampton in late March had to be cancelled (and hasn’t yet been re-scheduled) and the series of gigs we’d set up to promote it have all gone the same way. Given everything else that’s going on in the world, we know full well that this is incredibly small beer, and like everyone else we’re waiting to see if and how and when life may return to something we recognise as ‘normal’.

For now, here’s a wonderful review of the book by Neil Leadbeater on poetry website Write Out Loud. We’d like to think it’ll help convince you to splash out on a copy of Steve’s book to brighten up life under lockdown. You can, of course, buy ‘thirty-one small acts…’ here.

And for those of you short of spare cash, or who aren’t quite sure a book of poems is for you… here’s the poem ‘enough’ which features in ‘thirty-one small acts…’ We hope you enjoy it.

worth a read…

We don’t usually write blogs about newspaper articles, but…. yesterday, Dave Simpson, music editor of The Guardian, posted a truly wonderful piece about the impact of Clay Records on the second wave of UK punk. Those of you who know of Clay already will be aware it was the brainchild of Mike Stone, and was based in an independent record shop in Stoke-on-Trent. You’ll also know that legendary UK punk bands GBH and Discharge were two of Clay’s very successful signings.

The article is a joy to read. Our only disappointment is that it didn’t mention either City Baby or But after the gig… our two best-selling autobiographies of Ross Lomas and Tezz Roberts, respectively. But that’s being really picky. The article, as we say, is a joy. And if you haven’t read it already (or you’d like to read it again) you’ll find it here. Fill yer boots!

Stay safe. And please, share this article with your friends.

a time of change

Life has changed since we last sat down to write a blog. Then, the biggest problem in the Ignite world was that our latest publication – the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger – had arrived a day later than we’d hoped and hadn’t been available for his gigs in London and Brighton.

It’s hard to believe that was three short weeks ago. Since then we’ve seen panic buying, lockdown, and increasing pressures on our health service. Our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who are working so hard in such difficult circumstances. The nationwide applause last Thursday was well-deserved, as is the PPE they’ve been waiting for, a pay rise, and more. But you know that already.

These aren’t easy times for any of us. For now, we’re still here selling books, and we very much hope to be here when things return to normal, whenever that may be. If you decide that losing yourself in our books will be the perfect way to get through your lockdown, you can order through our online shop as always, and we’ll post them out as soon as we can. But we do understand that other things may be more or a priority right now.

Look out for each other, help each other where you can, and stay safe. Our very best wishes to you all.

thirty-one small acts…

OK, so things didn’t quite go to plan, in that the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger arrived on Tuesday morning last week rather than Monday, which meant he didn’t have copies with him for his Brighton and London gigs. But the book is here now, and looking glorious.

It’s up on our shop page already, of course, and we’re off down the Post Office tomorrow morning to send out the first batch of orders. (Our thanks to all the folk who got in there early!) We’ll be setting up a book launch – maybe two or three – in advance of the official publication date of May 1st, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

In the meantime, you can be the envy of all your friends* by getting your copy here. Trust us, it’s worth it.

*especially the ones who like poetry

a bit like buses…

… in that you wait ages for some kind of news from us, and there seems to be nothing but tumbleweed. Then, out of nowhere, there’s stuff coming at you from all angles. Last week, the news that we’re putting out a new volume of poems by Steve Pottinger; today, we’re very happy to announce that A Marvellous Party is going to the printers once more.

This book by Ian Elmslie leapt out as a great story when he first sent us the manuscript, and it’s been heartening to see our faith in his work backed up by the response of so many readers to A Marvellous Party. Ian is currently touring a show based round the book – he’s in Canterbury in the next day or so – and we recommend you catch it if you get the chance.

Oh, and get yourself a copy of the book, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

hello again

It’s been a while since we found time to spend an afternoon fettling away at the Ignite website. What can we say? Life’s been busy. But here we are, in our oily cyber-overalls, pencil behind our ear, tweaking the bits that need tweaking and hitting the rest with a hammer. Like always.

Our thanks to everyone who’s been buying our books over Xmas and the New Year. We’ve been able – with some confidence – to relate spikes in sales to Discharge shows here (Tezz Roberts: But after the gig…) or to prison visits there (Ian Elmslie: A Marvellous Party) and it’s gratifying to know that our books are being enjoyed by people across the world.

This month’s big news is that a new book of poems by Steve Pottinger is currently at the printers and will be with us by early March. The timing is immaculate, as a fine fine place completely sold out earlier this year. You can pre-order copies of ‘thirty-one small acts of love and resistance’ (snappy title, huh?) here. Steve will hopefully have copies with him at his gigs in Brighton and London on 3rd and 4th March respectively. Either way, we recommend getting your mitts on one sharpish. It’s really good.

in it together

Here at Ignite we’ve always believed in the importance of looking out for each other, supporting each other, having a laugh, and doing good where we can. It’s not rocket science, although the views of certain politicians standing in the UK election suggests they’ve as much understanding of solidarity as an earthworm has of art (but that’s a whole other blog post).

To get back to the point of this blog, a week or so ago Ross Lomas turned up five copies of the US edition of his best-selling autobiography City Baby. This was published by Bazillion Points, they sent us a few copies, we admired what they’d done, and then we put them in a safe place. Then we forgot the safe place. There, folks, is a snapshot of life at Ignite Villas for you.

Anyway, Ross found the books, and we decided the safest thing to do was let other people look after them. And why not do something good, too? Ross suggested that signing the books and selling them to raise money for charity might be a good idea, and chose Acorns Hospice as the place he’d most like the money to go to.

We’re very happy to say all five books have now been sold, and are making their way to new homes. And the generosity of these Ignite readers has raised £50.00 for Acorns, which we’ll be sending them very soon. Thanks to Jerry, Paul, Raychel, Aaron, and Chris for helping us do something good. It’s the season for that kind of thing. It should always be the season for it.

And yes, we sell books too. If you want any of our titles for Xmas presents for you, your friends, or your family, pop along to our online shop. Or visit your local, independent bookshop, and order our books through them. Ta.

waiting for my man…

Here at Ignite Villas we’re truly at the cutting edge of technology. The latest in quills and inkwells, of course, and the very speediest and keenest of racing pigeons in the loft out back, ready and waiting to get word out to our authors and customers as quickly as possible.

It’s therefore entirely in keeping with our aim to embrace every modern advantage available that we’ve hit upon an incredibly modern wheeze to deliver copies of But after the gig… to Tezz Roberts and his merry team of pranksters whenever they sell out. Not for us the slow, lumbering of horse and cart northwards to the Potteries with a crate of books. Oh no.

Instead, we arrange a meeting at Wolverhampton train station, where – as the train for Stoke arrives in a cloud of steam and the smell of burning coal – we doff our hat to Mr Roberts’ representative, hand over the box of books, wish him well on his forthcoming concert tour, and return home at breakneck speed in one of the Corporation’s new-fangled omnibusses. Quite the caper!

Those of you who haven’t yet read the musings of young Roberts as he looks back at a life spent (and, indeed, mis-spent) in the clutches of punk rock can purchase one via this link here. We assure you our best pigeons will be winging their way to you, book in beak, very very soon. And on that cheery note, we bid you good morrow.

We shall now retire to peruse the daily papers and the latest horrors there within. A stiff drink or two may well be required to steady the nerves in the face of our political masters’ conniving and skulduggery. Hey ho.

blackpool rock

This weekend we’re sending our very best wishes to all our punk rock friends up at Rebellion festival in Blackpool. We’d hoped to find time to come along ourselves and have a stall selling copies of City Baby and But after the gig… but it wasn’t to be. We know Ross Lomas is there, though – so he may be able to help any of you after his book – and it’s entirely possible Tezz Roberts will drop by too. Who can say?

Seeing as we’re not in Blackpool catching up with old friends and making new ones, we’ve been consoling ourselves by packing up book orders instead. If you live on the UK mainland, in the Channel Islands, or in Brazil (yes, Brazil!) your books will be on their way as soon as the Post Office opens tomorrow.

Some time this year we’ll finally get round to buying a world map to hang on the wall at Ignite Villas so we can mark all the different towns and cities round the world where people have bought our books. Expect a photo when we do. It’s seriously impressive. Oh, and if you want your town to be on the map, you know what to do. Now, for the love of god, someone bring us back a stick of rock from Blackpool!

incredibly marvellous

The anniversaries are coming thick and fast here at Ignite Villas. Mark Zuckerberg may not be good for much, but – following on from the 1st anniversary of But after the gig… – his social media platform has reminded us that it’s now two years since we published A Marvellous Party.

And what a book it is!

Those of you who’ve read it will know how good it is. Those of you who haven’t will expect us to tell you you’re missing a trick. And who are we to let you down? It’s an absolute belter of a story, the sort of book that reminds you of the good in people despite the obstacles they face, and makes you feel this world’s a better place than our jaded cynical zeitgeist would have you imagine.

Above all, A Marvellous Party is a reflection of its author, Ian Elmslie, who was a joy to work with from the moment he first approached us with his manuscript. The process of editing the original work into the book you now see could have been a nightmare (no author wants to hear that some of the words they’ve sweated over may be superfluous to requirements) but in Ian’s case, it wasn’t. We wouldn’t tell you that you should buy his book simply because he’s a very nice man, but he IS a very nice man. And you should buy his book.

You don’t have to take our word for it, either. Boyz loved A Marvellous Party when they reviewed it. As did Attitude. And, most importantly, hundreds of our readers.

Go on, treat yourself. It’s summer.

tezz anniversary

Yesterday, Facebook reminded us that it was exactly one year since we opened the door at Ignite Villas and took delivery of But after the gig… from our reliable, friendly, wonderful printers. Only one year? That’s hard to believe, because we’ve packed so much in to the ensuing twelve months. The first print run sold out completely, for starters, and we had to re-order. Not that we’re grumbling – that’s the kind of problem every publisher likes to have.

We’ve sent copies out to readers all around the world, too. You’d expect orders to come in from the UK and the USA, given Tezz Roberts’ travels with his guitar over the years, but this book has also been enjoyed by folk across Europe and beyond. We added Ukraine, Russia, and Indonesia to the list of countries we’ve posted books to, which is quite an achievement for a small independent publisher. We love the idea that something we put together ends up as a prized possession of someone in a town or city we’ve never been to. In idle moments (not that we have many of them) we wonder what life there is like, which stories in the book strike a chord with the person who bought it, what makes them laugh, or shake their head in disbelief, and how they feel when they turn the last page and reach the end of Tezz’s story.

We’ll never know, of course, but it’s a lot of fun wondering. Happy birthday, But after the gig… Whatever will the next year bring?

like digital rabbits

How does admin do it? It’s a question we’ve been pondering over the past few days as we ploughed through all the emails and messages which had piled up while we were away thinking of anything but work. Strewth, but there were a lot of them!

Our conclusion: computers have a lot to answer for. Communication is easier than ever, and the ability to fire off messages and comments lies at our fingertips, there on the keypad, ready to be sent anywhere in the world in an instant. And emails beget emails beget emails. They breed like digital rabbits. Which is why there was an admin mountain waiting for us when we got home.

But we’ve fought the good fight. We’ve sent out books. We’ve cleared our inbox (for a day or two anyway). And now it’s time to lounge on the sofa and enjoy a beautiful summer evening. You should too. If only you had a good book to read while you do, eh? Oh, wait. There’s the Ignite shop, there at your fingertips. We can feel the emails coming already!


There’s a lot of downsides to our modern world, where we’re constantly at the beck and call of emails, social media accounts, and the like. But there’s one huge upside which still – all these years on – lifts the spirits here at Ignite Villas and brightens the dullest of days.

You see, one of the boons of the internet is that people anywhere in the world can find and order our publications. Direct from us, with no intermediary. They log on, make the payment, and within minutes/hour/days a book is on its way to them, wherever they are.

This never fails to make us smile. We still find it just a little bit magical that books we’ve created have made their way to addresses all over the world, and are being read and shared and enjoyed in places we may never get to ourselves.

Unless we win the lottery, of course. In which case maybe we will.

after the digital gig

It’s been a bit quiet here recently, but that’s because we updated the behind-the-scenes gubbins which make this site possible a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve been learning to find our way round it since then. Old dogs and new cyber-tricks. You can imagine how much fun that’s been… We’re very happy to announce that – after lots of tears and much gnashing of teeth – we’ve finally come more or less to terms with it, and normal service can now be resumed. Hallelujah!

While we were busy being the kid at the back of the class who’s struggling to keep up, the good news is that we still found time to create the digital edition of Tezz Roberts’ autobiography ‘But after the gig…’ Those of you who prefer to do your reading via a tablet, laptop, or kindle can now enjoy this romp of a read at the touch of a digital button.

The book is available on all Amazon Kindle platforms, as well as via Smashwords. Grab yerself a copy and lose yourself in Tezz’s unbelievable story!

the roar of the greasepaint

Last month, Ignite author Ian Elmslie was in Brighton performing a live show based on his wonderful memoir A Marvellous Party. The show – drawing on Ian’s years of experience on the cabaret circuit – features selections from the book along with an eclectic collection of songs written by LGBT composers, as well as some original compositions.

The night was a huge success, and Ian will be back in Brighton again. Given how well it went, it seems wrong not to invite other towns, cities, and regions to this party. So we’re open to invitations from literary events, LGBT groups, book clubs etc etc. If you’d like Ian to come along to where you live, drop us a line at hello@ignitebooks.co.uk


There’s an interesting article in the media this week, if you bother to look for it. Microsoft are closing their eBook store (presumably because of poor sales) and this means anyone who’s bought a digital title from them will suddenly find those books go missing from their online library. This is the unspoken downside to the convenience of eBooks, and it’s one of the reasons why we at Ignite will always produce beautiful, physical print editions of our books.

We do understand why people choose digital versions of books, though. Cost, for one. The convenience of having dozens of titles on one e-reader, for another. And that’s why we create digital editions of our books, too. If you’re hankering after one of them, you’ll find them all listed here.

good poetry sells 2

We sold out of more bees bigger bonnets. Then a week or so later we sold all of the first print run of a fine fine place. And the year’s only just four months old. Not bad going!

We now have the 2nd print run of a fine fine place in stock. If you haven’t got one already, why not pop over to our shop and sort that out? The link is here.

good poetry sells

We do like good news here at Ignite Villas. And today’s good news is that we’ve now sold out of the second print run of more bees bigger bonnets, the fourth book of poems by Ignite author Steve Pottinger. That means there are 400 copies of this book out in the world, being shared and enjoyed.

Will we chalk that up as another achievement by our small but determined and independent publishing house? You bet we will.

Oh, and you can still get your mitts on Steve’s work. His latest book a fine fine place is on sale here. Good news all round, we reckon.


We did it. We made it through the long, dark, cold, miserable month of January, a month which drags on for two or three eternities. The dentist’s waiting room of life.

To add to the grind, money is tight and the days crawl by even more slowly when you’re counting the pennies. So our thanks to all those of you who chose to spend some of your hard-earned cash on our books over the past few weeks. We’re always appreciative of the importance of our customers, and that’s never more true than at this time of year.

And now, finally, it’s February. Pay cheques are in. The light comes earlier and stays a little later. Summer is on its way. You can almost taste it. If you fancy a good book to celebrate all that… well, you know where we are. (winks and walks away)

Best wishes to you all for 2019!