Happy Birthday to Us! 🎉

Added about a year ago by Sacristy Press

Sacristy Press is a Durham-based publishing company that has just reached a significant milestone. It was founded on 16 March 2011 and is today celebrating its 10th birthday.

Over the past decade Sacristy Press has published over 100 titles, building a solid reputation for thought-provoking, often challenging publications, fact and fiction. Many of its books explore theology and religion with contributors including the newly installed Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, and Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham.

Sacristy Press’s most recent publication, Honest Sadness by John Holdsworth, is a work that examines lament as a means of articulating faithful incomprehension. Another recent release, Christian and Sikh by John Barnett, delves into issues around mixed-faith families and multiple religious participation.

Since 2014 Sacristy Press has held author events as part of Durham Book Festival Fringe. Last year the events were held online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and included topics from St Cuthbert to eco-anxiety. They can be viewed free on the Sacristy Press YouTube channel.

In 2015 Sacristy Press supported Durham Cathedral’s fundraising initiative “Durham Cathedral in LEGO” by sponsoring schoolchildren to build the Shrine of St Cuthbert and the tomb of the Venerable Bede in LEGO.  Children from St Bede's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School in Sacriston and St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School in Chester-le-Street spent two fun-filled mornings building the LEGO shrines, with one child memorably exclaiming, “This was the best school day ever!”

Novels published by Sacristy Press include the English translation of the Danish best-selling novel The Song of Hild by Vibeke Vasbo, translated by Gaye Kynoch, which takes readers into a world of dark dealings, powerful patriarchy and religious wrangling through a gritty story about the prominent role women played in the spread of Christianity in seventh-century Britain.

Another Sacristy Press author of note is Katharine Tiernan, with her fictional Cuthbert trilogy that draws on stories of St Cuthbert, characters around him, and the transition of Northumbria from an Anglo-Saxon kingdom to eleventh-century life under the Norman conquest from the perspective of the community of St Cuthbert. St Cuthbert is celebrated each year on his saint’s day, which is 20 March, particularly in the North of England and at Durham. Though for 2021, as it was for 2020, celebrations will be somewhat subdued under COVID restrictions.

Richard Hilton, co-founder of Sacristy Press and Operations Director, says:

When we began ten years ago, we were starting from scratch with no authors, no capital and, most terrifyingly of all, no experience. Fast forward to 2021, and Sacristy Press books are now reaching all corners of the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing staff, freelancers, authors and retailers who have taken a leap of faith and helped us achieve what many told us was impossible.

Sacristy Press is based in Durham, and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was already following a business model of remote working. Its staff all have Durham connections, with Richard based in Durham and his colleagues working from other parts of the country.

Natalie Watson is Publishing Director having joined Sacristy Press in 2018 as Commissioning Editor. She has a PhD in Theology from Durham University, and is herself a published author. Richard Hilton co-founded the company with Thomas Ball, having met when they were studying at Durham University. Erik Sharman is Editorial and Marketing Assistant, having previously been a Choral Scholar at Durham Cathedral.

During the pandemic, Sacristy Press has supported struggling bookshops that specialise in theology by publishing a map and directory of retailers who have been able to offer home delivery or click-and-drop during lockdown. The list can be found at www.sacristy.co.uk/bookshops.

Sacristy Press publishes around 20 titles a year, selling its titles online at www.sacristy.co.uk and through selected bookshops.

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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